The most frequently asked question at a SoulCollage® with Megan Menkveld workshop is, "Where do you get all your images?" The easiest place for you to get them is a SoulCollage® with Megan Menkveld workshop, but if you want to start collecting your own, here's where I find most of mine, shown above: Goodwill, Goodwill Outlet, Half Price Books (clearance section), used magazines, cheap used books online (always add'l $3.99 shipping), and free travel brochures.
I let people know that I always want free books and magazines for SoulCollage®, and I keep watch in my neighborhood Buy Nothing group, but mostly the key is to stay on the lookout all the time. You'll find them on greeting cards, stickers, kid-made art, junkmail, at antique and thrift stores, yard sales or a friend's donate pile. People are usually glad that someone will get a use out of their stuff and will give it to you freely. Happy image sourcing!
I've never regretted taking the time to make detailed cuts. I'm not very good with the Exacto knife yet, but I'm pretty good with scissors. In this example, which I made square for a special project, I didn't even have that many curves to get around, but it still took time. It was worth it, though, because otherwise I wouldn't be able to use these images together in this way where the person looks like she's inside the building, instead of behind it or on top of it.
I've had participants make just one card during a workshop because they were making so many detailed cuts. The results are always amazing. Next time you look at an image, wonder what it would look like if you could see through it and make some cut-outs if you're so moved!
A 3-card SoulCollage® spread that speaks of strength and rebuilding.
At practically all SoulCollage® with Megan Menkveld workshops you'll be offered a card reading question. You "pull" a card that you made during that workshop, ask it the card reading question, and journal the answer. The key to card reading in SoulCollage® is that you are reading your own cards for yourself which is different than Tarot or other Oracle cards which are 1) not made by you, and 2) can be read for you by another person.
There are exceptions, of course, such as if someone showed up for a card reading weekend retreat and accidentally left their deck at home, far away. That person would likely be very sad, and hopefully welcome to pull cards from others' decks. They would still do their own reading, it would just be from someone else's card(s).
There may be an occassion where someone wants to do a card pull for themselves, but doesn't have enough cards to make a deck yet, or someone doesn't complete a card during the workshop time. Borrowing cards is appropriate in those situations, too. Ideally, though, in SoulCollage®, you read your own cards.
Three years ago a colleague and I were facilitating Engaged at Work: A Right-Brained Approach, which is SoulCollage® for the corporate space and is highly rated by participants. If you are interested, please go to the Engaged at Work page. One of the participants made the SoulCollage® above, "I am one who wants to live on a farm."
This summer, three years later, she posted a picture of her SoulCollage® and her NEW FARM on Facebook! This is a facilitator's dream! She is smiling and glowing in front of heavy-duty farm equipment and acres of land. Maybe her horses can even move in! Would it have happened without SoulCollage®? We'll never know, but I can say, SoulCollage® is a dream-maker.
Do you ever look at a bunch of clouds and see shapes in it, like a rabbit or dog? It happens in SoulCollage®, too! Whether intentional or not, sometimes I see animals where there isn't one.
A warrior princess and her steed.
A sleeping polar bear
A breaching whale
SoulCollage® makes frames to help collagers figure out what portion of an image they want to show on their cards. It's not part of the collage, it's a super handy tool (you can also make your own out of card stock).
In this example, there's a celestial body that is bigger than 8"x5" and needs to be trimmed down. I use the frame to decide what part I want, and then put the card down to trace. I avoid tracing the inside of the frame because it's not the exact same size as the card and likely will come out slightly too small - ugh. I always trace the outside of the actual card I'm using to avoid that.
The brain will imagine the rest of the image. Participants will give me sad eyes saying their image doesn't fit on the card, and I can identify, but then I show them how to use the frame to get what they need, and let the rest be imagined or let go. It's all part of the process!
I had no idea that mining images would not only result in quality choices for participants but would blow my mind with the huge amount of information out there. There are so many books and magazines covering topics I didn’t even know were topics to be covered like gravity maps (pictured above). Who knew gravity wasn’t the same everywhere on the planet? I’ve seen animals that look like plants and plants that look like animals. There are so many different aliens, mythical beings, stories and legends, and when you combine all that on a SoulCollage® card, the magic comes alive. My world has changed because of SoulCollage®. I believe in the unknown and have faith in the universe.
We as humans try to put things in boxes, but the universe is not a box. Humans say mammals are animals that have hair and give live birth, but then there’s the platypus that has hair and lays eggs. Even I try to categorize people and animals in image piles and then I get a centaur and don't know where to put it in (that's why I say, "loosely categorized"). Boxes are generally not expansive, so if you want to expand and grow, get out of the box, peruse lots of SoulCollage® with Megan Menkveld images and feel the magic!
I go through a lot of National Geographic magazines and books, and so I often run across the same images more than once. Sometimes I intentionally cut the same one out twice, sometimes it happens by mistake, and sometimes I’ve used an image for personal SoulCollaging® and then see it again and am glad I can put a copy in the workshop pile. The keychain zombie is an example of that.
I recently and intentionally bought a second copy of Earth from Above 365 because I know it’s been at least a year since I bought it the first time, and it was on sale at Half Price Books, and it has 365 images, a great deal! I’ve also learned that an image may be passed by one day and selected for a card on another depending on the energy and personal situation. I pick out images for myself throughout the image life cycle which means sometimes I’ve passed them by at least three times and all of a sudden it definitely needs to be chosen.
I once asked if participants would feel like they needed an image refresh for a multi-day workshop and the answer was yes and no. Yes, new images are always fun, but no, there are images that either haven’t been seen yet, or may be chosen on day two. And so you may see familiar images now and then, and it’s not de ja vu, it’s the same image again!
For workshops, I try to trim images to be 5 inches or 8 inches in at least one direction when possible, but there are many images that don't fit that mold and are odd-sized, like a background that’s only 7.5 inches tall. If you’re like me and don’t want to see blank card under your SoulCollage®, you either have to pass on the image, or find a creative solution. Here are some examples from my deck of instances where I've "fixed" this problem.
"I am one who has spirit guides."
During share time at the end of SoulCollage® with Megan Menkveld workshops I get to see lots of different spirit guides that have shown up for their creators. To hear the interpretations, personal stories, and messages, and to see the variety of shapes and appearances of the spirit guides, the emotion in the creator's face, and the validating response of the group, make it impossible not to believe in spirit guides and the ability that SoulCollage® has to give them life.
The example above is one of many that has revealed itself to me. The shaman-music healer and white heron are a team. The bird is my Earthly contact to the deep magic that is the shaman-music healer. I find it calming and comforting and that's what their messages often convey.
Come find your spirit guides at a SoulCollage® with Megan Menkveld workshop, or on your own, through SoulCollage®. It has exceeded what I thought possible over and over again.
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.