Grief has seemed constant over the past year. 8 days into the new year offers little hope of reprieve. A variety of emotions are being felt collectively as we mourn the events of 1/6/21, and individually as we reflect on the pandemic and what we have lost personally, and our sorrow over what others have lost

Sometimes, the visual arts can help us to tend to our emotions, especially if we like to keep them tucked away for safe keeping. If you are grieving any kind of loss, or dealing with trauma reactions from the events of the past year, I invite you to try collage as a visual representation of your grief at this time, and a way to use your hands and everyday materials to tend to your emotions.

I enjoy doing collage for self-care, or when I need to make a decision about something. The same approach can be used as an approach for coping with grief.

First, gather your materials:

  • A blank piece of paper or canvas, to serve as the base of your collage. I like to use construction paper
  • Colored tissue paper, colored construction paper, magazine clippings, or pages from a coloring book
  • Feathers, craft foam shapes, buttons
  • Sequins, washi tape
  • Anything you wish to use

Next, take a moment to set an intention for your collage. Are you making a collage to tend to your own grief, or to honor someone else’s? Here are some questions you might consider as you get started

  • Name the loss you are grieving
  • What is the impact this loss has had on your life?
  • What did this person or thing (job/dream/idea/etc) mean to you?
  • How do you feel?

Ponder these questions, and as you do, take 3 deep breaths. Breathe in deeply, hold for 3 seconds, breathe out slowly. Repeat 3 times.

Now, take a moment to plan your collage. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. You may want to list what you are feeling right now and assign a color to each emotion, and work your collage using materials in variations of those colors. Maybe you want to freestyle and just see what happens as you begin to put your collage together.

The idea is not to create an artistic masterpiece, but to connect with and tend to your emotions. This is an expression of your inner self, just for you, so let it be what it needs to be, for you.

When you are ready, begin. If you are using magazine clippings, flip through the pages slowly, selecting images that speak to you. Choose materials slowly, turning them over in your hands, paying attention to your emotions as you create. This is a process.

When you have finished, take a moment to relax a bit, and then go about your day. You may complete it all in one sitting, or you may discern that you need to do this in stages. That is ok.

You have done a hard thing, facing your emotions and expressing your grief. Well done. I’m proud of you.

3 Comment on “Series: Coping with Grief – Suggestions for Making a Grief Collage

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