“I’m not a teacher, but an awakener.”- Robert Frost
Recently, collage work has occupied much of my studio time. I’ve been preparing pieces for an upcoming art show and fund-raising event. It’s become apparent that my visit to the Low Countries has taken center stage. Photographs and memorabilia from my trip abroad have merged with an assortment of vintage papers and miscellany.
When I approached the completion of this collage, I started searching for a particular tone to better balance a section of the piece. After experimenting with a number of items, none of which seemed quite right, I started sorting through some French vocabulary cards. I selected one after consideration of its definition and hue. This choice led, in turn, to the addition of a French/Dutch book page I acquired in Amsterdam.
Shortly after beginning this piece, I started reading Russell Shorto’s Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City. A friend had suggested it after hearing of my fascination with the city. (Actually, she mentioned it before my visit, but trip preparations took precedence.) Interestingly, the evening after the aforementioned text pieces were set into place, I came across Shorto’s description of Willem of Orange’s 16th century call to “awake”- a verbal urging focused on ending Spain's persecution of the Low Countries. Evidently, Willem, like so many other liberators, was an “awakener”.
The multi-faceted relationships between a collage’s layers are seldom clear to me at their inception or even their conclusion. As such, I must be patient and listen, so I may be awake to whatever unfolds before me.