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!
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.
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.