Paper might just be my first love and my longest relationship. On little scraps of paper and loving the weird things you love.
The bottom of my paper bin
My paper bins are a bit of loosely organized chaos. It makes a few of my paper hoarding friends kinda nuts but the system has worked for me for a long time. I tried to organize it once but it devolved into chaos again within one or two art making sessions so I realized that I could spend my time rearranging scraps of paper or I could make art. I chose making things.
I have a hash tag on a lot of my collage posts on Instagram called #LittleScrapsOfPaper. I’m not the only person to use it but it is mostly my work on there. I don’t remember exactly when I started using it but it is my personal shout out/remembrance.
I heart paper
I have loved paper for as long as I can remember. Maybe it’s the legacy of sitting on my mom’s lap as she read to me. It conjures that childhood connection to my primary care giver and evokes a feeling of safety and pleasure. Maybe it’s the remembrance of adventure I got from the stories she read. Maybe it’s my own sense of imagination and possibility I explored drawing pictures as a kid.
For so many years, I only saw blank drawing paper in the stores but with the scrapbooking craze of the late 90s and early 2000s patterned paper became widely available. I realized I could use it to make so many things. Scrapbooking was never my thing but oh man, did I appreciate the paper! I started building a paper library. I quickly realized that the paper went in and out of fashion so fast that hanging on to it created an automatic feeling of nostalgia and lent the things I made a retro feel even when the paper was only a few years old. More recently, as I’ve started building my personal library/stash of papers I’ve painted and dyed and made marks on I enjoy combining them with the scrapbooking papers as another way to layer.
I’ve made paper, dyed paper, cooked paper, ironed paper, folded paper, cut paper, torn paper, stapled paper, glued paper, painted paper, sewn paper. I’ve spent time with it in all of its various stages and enjoyed each of them. It seems obsessive when I list it like that but it boils down to my desire to understand it and manipulate it in all of its forms.
I currently have five big bins with paper scraps in them. I tend to rotate through them and by doing that I give myself the gift of treasure hunting. At the bottom of every bin these tiny bits collect. Little scraps of paper. I tend to not throw things away, so those little bits filter to the bottom of each bin. They make me smile because to anyone else they would be straight trash. But to me, they are a world of possibility. You never know when you need a sea shell smaller than a dime or a leaf cut out of a magazine.
I did these 1″ circular collages one year and when I was finished dropped them in a bin. I run across one occasionally and admire it. All through the pandemic I did Amy Maricle’s Slow Drawing classes and generated SO MANY drawings on little cards. They all went into the bin. When I cut things out and don’t use them, I throw them back into the bin. If I trim a piece of scrapbook paper and there are small scraps left, they go into the bin as well. Old book pages I pull but don’t use? Into the bin.
See how it turns into a treasure hunt pretty fast?
Why am I telling you this?
We all have things we love. Most of those things are at least a little bit weird to other people. I’m telling you so you can unabashedly love the weird thing that you like to collect.
There’s a lot of anger in this world. A lot of judgement to go around. Enjoying your hobbies and enjoying other folks enjoying their hobbies is one small way to push back on all of that anger. Is it gonna cure cancer? Of course not, but every little bit of anger we take out of the system makes it better for everyone.
What’s the weird little thing you love? Let me know in the comments or on socials so I can see them! If it’s paper, feel free to use the #LittleScrapsOfPaper hashtag.
Hi Misty, I have really fallen in love with your work, and find myself looking at individual pictures on your blog or on instagram often. I especially felt in tune with your latest blog post about your love of papers…all kinds and sizes etc. I too have half boxes of scraps and other sizes of items I save for my mixed media collages. It is always fun to come upon another paper lover!
I also want to comment about your post titled:” Leave a little trail…..”. What a great idea for our art making, but also I like thinking of leaving other trails for myself in my life. Your phrase seems to have opened a window for me; I’m not sure what it means exactly( outside of its useful art trail idea ), but I like the phrase and thinking about it and where it might lead me. I am really enjoying you on Instagram and on your blog, and will follow your hashtag once I return to Instagram. Enjoy your days and creating, Leslie Gardiner
Leslie! Thank you so much for reading and leaving this note! Leave a little trail does have some punch behind it. Hansel and Gretel maybe? Except art at the end of the trail and not mayhem? 😉 Keep me posted on your art making adventures!!
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