Altered book

posted in: Art, Faith | 0

The fascinating part of this process is the things that just happen. The words that are left uncovered, without planning anything, speak to me. While working on the pages, things that are bothering me or puzzling me tend to untangle themselves.

In a matter of minutes, this messy little collage put itself together (the gel wasn’t even dry when I took that picture). It may not look like much, but it spoke so much to me during the process. When I think about my creative gifts, I wonder if the purpose of them is simply my way of connecting and communicating with God. I have been wrestling with the idea of what the purpose of attending church is.  An element in the picture symbolizes this struggle. My whole world has been rocked over the past few months as I’ve started wondering if the entire 33 years of church attendance was totally in vain. We asked each other if we should attend church today, but it’s still not time. Neither of us see the point of attending a large church service, because everything we value about true community in the context of faith does not seem to play out there. Instead we took to the sanctuary of the forest, where everything was green. Where birdsongs played out and rushing river refreshed us all. We ate lunch on a shore and stood in the cold mist at the place where we got engaged. We piggy backed and chased our kids along the 6km of somewhat muddy trail.

Something else that surfaced in that picture has to do with image, and the shoes on the pavement are where I feel like I am right now, but most of me, where I feel most at home, is somewhere totally other, saturated in the green of nature, the quiet of another life. I dream of writing a novel, living the more rural life where there are chickens and large gardens and art and joy.

Which made us ask each other, what is the purpose of our current life? Why are we striving and working to make ends meet here, if where our souls are is somewhere else?

Two phrases surfaced on the page: looking glass, and live free.

I thought I would post some older altered pages I did a few years ago to give a feel for what else has been done. This has been so cathartic for me that I think I will try to do a weekly post using the altered book as a starting place.

The page above was done in January 2008, when we were going through a hard time at our rental house and were deciding to move out. I had nothing to say through writing or art, and then I noticed the phrase that is circled: the words did not come the same as they used to do.”

This was around the same time in January 2008, and I had done 3 pages of morning pages but wrote one on top of the other, because I didn’t want anyone (including me) to have to read the thoughts. The phrase that came through from the altered book was “Oh dear, what nonsense I’m talking.”

So you can see, it’s really just a fun place to play around with technique, colour, and thoughts, but I find it quite therapeutic!

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