Meghan’s Artistic Process

What is calendar collage?

Calendar collage is a process in which the images from repurposed wall calendars are transformed into art. The images from the calendars are each carefully selected, torn gently into individual pieces, massaged with a polymer medium and applied in a painterly fashion onto a figurative pencil drawing thus being shaped into colorful collages and pieces of art. Some of the collages find their homes on painted canvas. Others are meant to stand alone or to be suspended. In all cases the natural curving and changing shape of the applied papers over time are not meant to be flattened or contained. Instead, an allowance of this transformation is critical. This in an artistic process representative of the ever changing nature and evolution of all things. There is also a second side to each creation on which the numerical aspect of the original calendars and drawing may be experienced. There you might find the notation of a doctor’s appointment or a birthday—yet another reminder of the passage of time and acknowledgement of change as the only real constant in life.

How did calendar collage originate?

It is late last winter (February, 2014). I am sitting in my well-heated car in a parking lot allowing the quiet to wash over me in the space between a babysitter hand-off and the start of a school meeting. I pick up my phone and notice in my inbox an announcement from a local gallery. They are seeking entries for submission into their coming exhibit, “A Body of Work.” It will be a collection of work all based on the human body. I have been on a long hiatus from my past-life as an artist. Instead, these last five years have been about creating babies and connections and providing loving care without distraction. Sitting in the car—and even in the months leading up to this moment—I have begun to feel the desire to create visual art come alive in me again. I begin to think about what I might create and submit to be considered by this gallery for their show. I begin to feel about what I might create and submit to their call for entries. Suddenly, I am thinking about color and movement and the human body. I am thinking about how a single posture in a human being can communicate a vast depth of emotion. I am thinking about how applying color to that posture might magnify its impact further. I am aware that something is being placed in me now and I pick up my journal. I make a list of the most powerful and comprehensive emotions that I know. Joy. Sorrow. Fear. Love. But how? How exactly will they come to life visually? I flash to a stack of beautiful wall-calendar pages from years past that I’ve saved. I had noticed them again recently. They are in my children’s art closet. I had placed them there in the hopes that they might be a source of inspiration or simply good for little hands practicing cutting and pasting. In the warmth of my car, I felt chills and the hairs on the back of my neck raise as I imagined how I might use these beautiful images to bring life to the figures already coming to life through drawing in my mind. I had once—years ago—gone through a “collage period” in which I combined various inspiring images into rectangular pieces, but I had never collaged into the form of a figure or using calendars specifically in the way that I was seeing now. I closed my journal and felt resolved to step back into a place that I hadn’t been in a long while. It was a day or two later that I laid out a long sheet of tracing paper—because it is what I had—on my dining room table and began my work in what I now refer to as calendar collage.  I decided to take on, “joy” first. I could never have imagined the creating that would follow.

What is the Wild Woman Collective?

I first read Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes book, “Women Who Run with the Wolves.” in my mid-20’s. It came to me as a wise teacher awakening in me my connection to the women who have gone before me, introducing me to myths that were trapping me and inviting me to peer more deeply within. Some of the wisdom that I read sunk in and stayed with me. Some of the wisdom only grazed me. Over the years, I have counted this book among the many that have opened me to the value of my true spirit—that which comes forth when I am creating, that which comes forth when I am connecting. I picked up this book again this year as I was gaining momentum with the women I was bringing to life in my collage work. I knew that I was somehow meant to bring the deeper aspects of a women’s nature to life through my work. In reading only a few chapters again, I felt connected to the message once again—only more. Now—as a mother—and with more miles on my red shoes, I began to hear the cry of the wild woman inside of me and the need to not only bring attention to her for my own sake, but to also bring her to life as a source of inspiration to other women (and men) who may not be heeding her call themselves. The Wild Women Collective was born. I carry the book now like a talisman and this work has evolved to become my own artistic expression about inner-wisdom and listening. It is a body of work about living from the inside out. The wolf plays a central role as representative of our connection to God, our highest-self, our creative self, that which cannot be ignored and so much more. Through listening—both to my own inner-voice and the wisdom of those artists who have gone before me—I have come to know that these are women who are meant to stand alone—and together as a collective—representing the power of the presence of women on our planet—and within us—today and for all of time.

Acorn Art, 2014
Mixed Media, 104”x42”

The summer days are dwindling and we’ve just returned from our final travels of the season. The little boys in our home are in need of grounding and so am I. Our back porch is covered in a layer of acorns—there must be hundreds. I am standing on the porch, taking in my surroundings when inspiration comes through me like an end of summer breeze. Before I know it, I am drawing the outline of a large tree trunk on a sheet of tracing paper that I normally use for my calendar collage work. Next, fingers—both little and big—are becoming sticky as we begin a process of gluing acorns to paper within the outline of the trunk. Together in our work we become like tree roots sinking down into a rich soil that nestles us all in. It is fall now. Our Acorn Art has long been transported off of the porch and into our living room. It is positioned on the floor next to a wall of windows that look out onto the giant oak tree that released these plentiful fruit into our care. I am working on constructing the tree alone now—my son busy with puzzles nearby. I am working and I am suddenly aware of how I might combine this tree with my other collage work. I am listening intently now and allowing my mind to take in the various images that are sweeping through me—this time like a gust of Autumn air. What began as a side project—meant to calm my children—is suddenly coming alive with the possibility of being more central to my body of work as an artist than I could ever have imagined on my porch a few months ago. This continues to be a work in progress and I have visions of creating a forest with a new tree planted each year.