HeArtful Assembly

My first ‘zine capturing the Start with the Art project

Three years ago, I embarked on an archiving project. It was really an overwhelming clear out project, sorting through old contract binders, overflowing filing cabinets and file drawers, and a storage locker that was filled to the rafters. I had an inner prompting to Start with the Art.

That idea gave me some motivation for and energy around the daunting task. If I could find the artistic thread in each of my projects, the essence of each contract, as if I was preparing a presentation on the concept for a client, what would it look like? What would I highlight for them? How would I capture the idea? I documented that process from Sept 2021 to December 2022. I did 65 entries leading up to my 65th birthday, accompanied by photographs of my Collections. I had also cleared out a tremendous amount of paper.

I am a writer at heart. So as a next step, I decided to work on my poetic language. I took each of those 65 posts and turned them into poems. I tried out different poetry styles, although most of the posts were free verse and haiku, the ones I am most familiar with. I was also trying to cultivate my inner artist, so I decided to accompany the poems with water colours, abstract paintings of the photos from Collections. I have no painting skills, but I just decided to play with paint and colour and to try not to judge the paintings. I did 65 posts of Poems & Paintings (started dec 18 2022, ended Mar 10th 2024). I wrote the poems quickly on Sunday mornings. Going fast helped me to not judge the end product and sometimes circumvent the running refrain from my inner critic: “You are neither poet nor artist”.

I now want to deepen my artistic practice. I have been inspired by an artist named Sonja Ahlers. She too is more of a writer than an artist; she calls herself a visual poet. Serendipitously, I discovered she too was going through an archiving process. I attended her exhibition last fall. She uses a lot of collage and while at her event, I tried making a ‘zine and found it fun. I wasn’t inhibited by just cutting out pictures and text. Neither were any of the kids at my table. So collage is something that appeals. I have now made a few zines and that led me to something called “assemblage”. Here’s a definition:

Assemblage is an artistic form or medium usually created on a defined substrate that consists of three-dimensional elements projecting out of or from the substrate. It is similar to collage, a two-dimensional medium. It is part of the visual arts and it typically uses found objects, but is not limited to these materials. – Wikipedia.

I came across a Facebook group called Artful Assemblage that inspired me further. I am a collector and an environmentalist, so making art out of found and random objects appeals to me. And it feels like a medium I can play in and not be judging my artistic talent too much. So, I have decided on a theme for my next series: I will just make stuff, stitch, paint, work with pastels, do some collage, fabric art, etc.

It’s a mish mash, an assemblage of artistic practices if you will (this is still the Compost Diaries after all). So, because I am not doing pure assemblage and am expanding the expression of it, I will not use that word itself here, but you will see the influence. I mashed together the name from the group above and my company name, Garden Heart. The art is contained in my heart, even though it may not yet be expressed through my unskilled hands. So here we go, series #3, HeArtful Assembly.

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