I started pre-cutting images because I was bothered by the extra space when laying out my cards. I was also bored. Then I kept doing it because they store better that way (taped to scrap paper), and it’s a good thing to do when I’m too tired to think through a whole collage, but I feel like doing something crafty and mindful. I don’t use all of the ones I cut, but it’s still worth it. I love being able to go to my folder and be able to create my cards without the extra time of cutting. I can automatically see what it will look like when glued down without squishing together a bunch of larger pieces of paper, and they are easy to peruse all taped to scrap paper.
Most of the time I do SoulCollage® it’s because I feel the need to do it, or it’s workshop time, but sometimes I do it just for fun. The “fun” cards are just as meaningful as the “serious” ones, but they have a lighter, more joyful energy about them. Sometimes I get to demonstrate my sense of humor, sometimes funny images find me, and probably more often than not, it’s my inner child wanting to play.
I even laugh at the alarm clock card – I really dislike getting up with an alarm in the morning, but this still makes me giggle inside, as if funny me is trying to wake up crabby me. I’ve also made several mate-manifestation cards, but the Batman and Rose walking dinosaur bones card remains one of my favorites. I would love that to be me someday. And the alien-cat-Joshua Tree card is a combination of several fun things I like, and this card connects me to them.
It’s important to keep these around in your deck, because even if you’re like me and you feel like you’re not growing if you’re not meditating, studying, or doing something mindful, they do provide growth. Sometimes it’s a reverse growth, like being an adult who finds that healthy inner child that has been pushed into the dark for too long. With all the fun killers out there, like work, bills, traffic, news, fun has to hold its own space, so make fun cards, let the silly flow, let the happy joker dance across your cards, and then smile at what you’ve done.
One of the only absolute rules to SoulCollage® is that there's no such thing as a bad SoulCollage®, yet there are still those participants that will scowl at their cards because they "messed up." No, you didn't! That's part of the magic of SoulCollage® is that everything on the SoulCollage® is how it's meant to be. It may not be as you intended it, but now you have the gift of figuring out why it's exactly as it should be.
I had a participant who was intentionally wanting to address a "gremlin" in her life. She was open to whatever the images had for her, but as part of another project, she had gremlins on her mind. During share time, she showed us her gremlin card which had a cartoon creature with wings that she'd spent time to cut around in detail, but she left one little spot of white, similar to what you see in the image above, to address her perfectionism. He was her Perfectionist Gremlin, and it was clear in her voice and expression as she shared, that it was very hard for her to leave that white space, but it acheived exactly what she needed.
Would you be able to leave the white space? Are there "gremlins" needing some attention, then letting go? They're itching to be on a SoulCollage®.
You will rarely find images with words in the image piles at a SoulCollage® with Megan Menkveld workshop because for some reason, I want the image selection to be just that: images. But that doesn't mean they don't show up here and there, and even on my cards once in a while, too, and since there are no rules to SoulCollage®, participants are welcome to add their own words that they find wherever, and I've seen some beautifully meaningful cards with words.
In these examples, the words are all used differently. The stickers are documentary, with the words not necessarily meant to be read independently, but to blend in with the overall sticker as an image. The head, heart and gut are very intentional, and those words are powerful to me when I read them. In the last SoulCollage® card above, the words are part of a sign, kind of self-explanatory, but I like how it announces that there's something there for me. These words, like everything that ends up on my SoulCollage® cards, wanted to be there, and made space for themselves. Mostly they humor me and let me get away with my "random" rule about no words on a SoulCollage®, but there's no resisting the universe's suggestions during SoulCollage® when it gives me words. They go on a card!
The great thing about recycling material is that it's cheaper for me (and you!), and it's good for the environment. Not only do I source almost all of my images from used books and magazines, I re-use parts of the re-used materials, like hard-covers for Exacto knife cutting surfaces, unused pages from magazines for scrap paper, and the latest idea, soft-covers for mini-binder separators!
Recycling is your best bet for emergency SoulCollage®, too. Use old folders or soft-covers for card stock and cut it to 5" x 8". Reach into your or a friend's recycle bin for magazines, or hit a thrift store for a used book or two. My mom makes my dad give me magazines rather than let them sit in a pile that becomes permanent storage. He understands.
There are so many images waiting to be rescued and placed on your SoulCollage® card!
So, you've been to a few SoulCollage® with Megan Menkveld workshops and have some SoulCollage® cards. What do you do with them? I keep an active deck, and put retired cards in a separate bigger box for permanent storage. At first I kept my new cards in a canvas bag like the one you see above, which are hand maid by a friend and are for sale at the MMSoul store complete with cards and sleeves and are the perfect size for SoulCollage® cards, just $12.
Once I had too many to fit in one or two bags, I had to find a new solution, which was an inexpensive box I found at a hobby shop to hold my first, official active deck. If you decide to go with a box, pick one that let's you easily draw from it for when you do card readings and will hold the number of cards you want to have in your active deck. There is no rule on the number of cards in a deck.
And of course there's electronic storage - I always take pictures of my SoulCollage® cards and keep a copy on my phone and one in the e-cloud, as they are priceless and I would hate to lose them. Whatever you do, I encourage you to keep them all somehow, somewhere.
What have you done with your cards?
Sometimes the creativity is flowing, and I have tons of images ready to be put on their SoulCollages®, and the first few cards, or even several, practically put themselves together and I know they’ll be favorites for a while. Then as my pile of images gets smaller, I find myself wanting to keep going and use as many as possible, but the cards stop coming together as naturally. I’ve made many quick-to-be-retired SoulCollages® while in that state.
I’ve found that when I get to that point, I’m best to stop, put away images and partially made cards, and wait for another time, maybe after I collect more images, or when I’m in a fresh state of mind. I can always glue the cards together as originally imagined, or maybe the images will rearrange themselves in a more meaningful way. You can always retire images from your reserves, too. Thank them for being wonderful options, and then recycle or return to a SoulCollage® with Megan Menkveld workshop!
Holidays can be a hard time, as the happy family commercials start running, and we're told about all the magic we should be experiencing. Especially in the Pacific Northwest where it keeps getting darker and darker during the day, this can be draining. I've had better and worse holidays, and now I know that when good times turn not so good, or when I'm high on life, I go to SoulCollage®! It can be disguised as a regular, old art project or you can tell people that it's a key part of your self-care routine. Do it in private or in public, day or night, it's there for you. Find some scissors, glue and a 5x8 piece of something and you're on your way.
I call SoulCollage® meditation. It's an excuse for me to be focused and quiet, to ignore all the messages around me, and retreat. It's okay to need a break and to take a break when you need it! Even better is if you find others who need some SoulCollage®, and you can do it together for some healthy group time. SoulCollage® with Megan Menkveld is open, too, and you are welcome! Come as you are!
This doesn't happen often, but it does happen, where I see something in an image that I've seen in real life, but not like it's a specific place I've visited, more like an experience I've had, a moment in time I've been before. I know there are differences to the images above, but when I saw the one on the right, the similarities and essence of the image caught me off-guard as I remembered wandering through the woods, and turning around at just the right time to see what you see on the right! I call it SoulCollage® magic!
Every time I go through my active deck to retire cards, I wonder what the oldest cards are that have remained through many retirement rounds, so I looked. The oldest ones in my current deck are from December 31, 2015 which is when I was off from work to take care of my health, and I was doing a lot of SoulCollage®, so much so it was all I wanted to do that New Year's Eve.
I was also in regular therapy, and I told my therapist about SoulCollage®, he wanted to see some, loved them, and told me to do as much as possible. I did! Both of these cards have come up in card readings throughout the years as they seem to hold timeless wisdom for me. Of course I can't know how long they'll stay, but so far, every time I've seen them during the sort, they bring a smile to my face as I reflect on where I was when they were created and how, today, I've come to find so much of the strength and vulnerability represented in the cards. What a gift!
Megan Menkveld created MMSoul to have a platform from which she could share SoulCollage® and the overall gift of art in order to create balance and wellness for all individuals open to receiving it. This blog is a way to stay in touch and keep the conversation going outside of workshop time. Please visit regularly, comment and share! All are welcome.