“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
~ Carl Jung
The art of intuitive collage offers a creative and magical approach to making the unconscious conscious. Intuitive collage is used by artists, art therapists, and creativity coaches to explore aspects of the self that are hidden from your conscious awareness. This practice is easy to do at home and offers a simple, effective way of exploring the hidden wonders of your inner life.
In this article, I will share 10 easy steps to get started with intuitive collage along with several recent images I have created.
About a decade ago I stumbled across a creative process called SoulCollage® and was instantly hooked by this intuitive process of story telling and exploring aspects of myself. I became a facilitator of the process and started using it in my own daily creative practice.
SoulCollage® founder Seena Frost says that, “Images have a way of bypassing the chatter of our logical minds and nudging our deep soul wisdom where intuitive answers can be found and spoken.”
I’ve always struggled with traditional forms of meditation and sitting still for extended periods of time but I can create collage and then journal with those collages for hours and receive the same sense of peace, openness and awareness required to access our innate knowing.
Over the years I’ve incorporated a variety of intuitive collage processes into my work as an artist and as a creativity coach. Collage has become a persistent part of my spiritual practice. I find the process invaluable for getting to the core of who I am. I’ve never found another process that so effortlessly offers access to hidden thoughts, beliefs or stories that I’m not present to at a conscious level.
What I love most about the experience of creative and intuitive collage is the journey. There are hidden worlds and beautiful realms deep inside each of us. Some of those realms are filled with forgotten dreams, others with sorrows and still others with deep gladness or creative ideas waiting for you to bring them to the surface. Like any heroine’s journey, you get to be the adventurer on a quest to know yourself.
How can you create your own intuitive collage?
First, you do not have to be an artist or think you need some special creativity ability.
Second, intuitive collage can be very childlike and playful. The more playful you are, the more enjoyable to process.
Finally, you don’t need any fancy art supplies to get started.
What you need to create your collage:
- Something to create it on like index cards, poster board or a blank journal page. Even a piece of regular printer paper or a recycled cereal box work well.
- A pile of images cut from magazines, including a few photos of yourself if you’d like. Wondering where to find images? Read my resource article here.
- A sharp pair of scissors or small Exacto knife
- A glue stick
- A journal for writing
- A favorite pen
Ready to get started creating your first collage?
Here are simple, easy-to-follow instructions to create your first or 500th intuitive collage. Note: do not use words for this process. Focus on only using images and resist using words. Words are limiters and labels that tell your brain what something is. Images are expansive and unlimited, let them tell you the story.
- Gather your supplies ahead of time so they are easy to find and you don’t have to spend your precious time hunting them down.
- Make space to create: the dining room table, a desk, the living room floor… you will want space to spread out a bit.
- Make the space sacred: add a candle or sacred object like a rock, crystal or feather.
- Set the tone for your creative play time with a simple ritual like lighting the candle and taking a few deep breaths, saying a prayer or doing a quick meditation.
- Lay out a stack of images (it’s helpful to prepare images ahead of time but you can do this as part of the process just be sure to set a timer so you don’t get caught up in looking at the magazines and never get to the art-making.
- Intuitively start to select the images you want to play with. Gather, sort and lay them together to find an arrangement that pleases you.
- Once you’ve selected the images, you will want to cut the primary image away from it’s background. If you have a photo of a dog running in a park, cut out the dog and place it on a new background. This is where the magic really starts to happen. If you look closely at my examples you can see that they are made up of many different images trimmed and put together.
- Glue the images to your background when you feel ready, you might find the order changes as you glue or you feel called to replace or cover up an image. Trust the process!
- Once you have covered the surface with images to your satisfaction, look at it, admire it, sit with it for a few moments. You might want to take a break before journaling with your collage or not. You decide.
- You are most likely already seeing the story emerge through image, symbol and color. This last step is often the most powerful for people, especially if you are new to working intuitively this way. You are going to take your journal and you are going to write as if you are in conversation or dialogue with the collage.
Here are a few journaling prompts to get you going:
- What do you have to tell me?
- What is your name?
- What do you want me to know about you?
- What gift do you have for me today?
Allow the images to speak and the answers to surface in your mind. Don’t overthink it or try to analyze what’s showing up.
I guarantee this process will surprise and delight you. The collages you create will linger in your mind long after you make them. The more often you create this way, the deeper the process will take you. I can’t wait to see what you create.
Dr. Minette Riordan is passionate about supporting women to find the most authentic expression of their creative voice. Her clients are artists, writers, nurses and data scientists who have never picked up a paintbrush but know they are creative. You can learn more about her at www.MinetteRiordan.com