collage (From the French: à coller, to glue, French pronunciation: [kɔ.laːʒ]) is a technique of art production, primarily used in the visual arts, where the artwork is made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole.

NB–This post was written last fall & for whatever reasons I didn’t post it then. It seems fitting to finally get it up today after my delightful visit to Paper Odyssey, a one of a kind store run by a one of a kind couple, Tony & Sara, in Eureka Springs, AR, who provide their beautiful wares not only to those of us in the Ozarks but to creative folks all over the world. If you are into (or would like to try out) visual journaling, collage, stamping, etc, using professional quality mixed media supplies then you owe it to yourself to check out this gem of a store! See below for contact info.

I recently realized that my life is like a collage. This was an interesting insight to me  after an unexpectedly difficult summer. In addition to some additional responsibilities there was the tedious trying out of assorted new medications and treatment protocols for my chronic illnesses, at times resulting in copious amounts of brain fog, sleep deprivation, and a general sense of exhaustion, all of which meant blogging was more of an effort than an outlet and so I switched over to tweeting the bits and pieces of inspiration I wanted to share. As is usually the case with life, the unexpected events that figured into the mix were both challenging and encouraging, the most significant of these being the vanishing of daily chronic pain and therefore the end of years of pain meds; Deo gratias!

One of the neatest things that occurred during this challenging time of ups and downs physically and otherwise was that I began seriously playing around with color, words, and images strictly for the sheer fun of doing so. Somewhere near the end of the summer I discovered that there’s even a name for this sort of activity: art journaling. Upon learning this I felt a brain burst of sheer joy and vindication that my penchant for playing around with markers and watercolor paint, collecting images that have a strong appeal to me (including but not limited to pictures of favorite works of art), and keeping a portfolio (or play book, as I have more recently referred to it) of visually oriented inspirational information that I need to be reminded of periodically–in order to help me better see The Big Picture in life–was actually something shared and enjoyed by others.

I don’t know why in recent years I frequently tend to slip into the sort of thinking that implies I am so different from my fellow companions on this planet as to be an anomaly but it happens. When I used to live in a city I felt far more connected to my fellow lovers of beauty because there were so many places where our lives would intersect naturally: art galleries, public parks, those special restaurants, shops with a creative focus, bookstores, coffee bars, tea rooms, and of course the greatest of all public forums for lovers of beauty, the library. Why, you ask, the repository of books and not works of art? Well, for me there’s an never-ending quest for information that is beautiful in and of itself, alongside the individual beauty of learning or experiencing something new. All my life I have basked in the glow of new experiences, particularly those that are information or aesthetically driven. Music, art, nature, people, buildings, imaginary worlds and their delightful panoply of familiar friends–all have contributed to making my life anything but boring.

However, when my access to those things that feed my soul has been restricted in some way or another, as relocating to a rural area and experiencing chronic illness have resulted in, life gradually (and initially unrecognized by me) began to take on a more tedious feel. A couple of years after having reached its most crushing point I now have a much better understanding of what makes me tick and how I not only can but must seek to balance my life’s hardships with those things that feed my soul and enable my particular brain chemistry to thrive instead of just survive.

So to all you fellow lovers of words, images, beauty, humor, philosophical insights, or whatever moves you to live, laugh, and, most of all, love more deeply, give yourself permission to incorporate time into you life for whatever form of “play,” as I like to call it, will recharge your batteries, connect you with others, and, above all, keep you sane.

Paper Odyssey
63 N Main St
Eureka Springs, AR  72632

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sara Knight
    Jan 26, 2013 @ 20:44:22

    It was a great delight meeting you Sabryna! It’s so much fun to have someone in the store and PLAY! We have so many things in common, it is startling to me each time I think of another thing. Thanks for coming in, and let’s do it again soon–when you can stay longer, and we can create more!



    • readytobewriting
      Jan 26, 2013 @ 20:51:52

      Sara, you are spot on about our sharing so much in common and I can’t wait to see what else we’ll find out the next time I’m in your unique shop. BTW, I’ve been alternating between ogling and caressing my new papers and although I was too pooped today to play with them or any of my new “toys” I did find a decorative container to attractively corral them and look forward to interacting with them soon–hopefully tomorrow. Can’t wait ’til our next “play date.” 🙂



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