Thursday, February 22, 2018

One Little Word - February

Collage, Collage by June Anderson, One Little Word Collage by June Anderson, One Little Word Build, One Little Word, February One Little Word, OLW, Ali Edwards One Little Word,

Hey everyone! Welcome back to month two of my year long journey through the online One Little Word workshop, taught by designer, blogger, and teacher Ali Edwards.

The February creative prompt is to create a vision board that reflects your word. A vision board is, according to Ali, "a visual intention - a collection of images and words and phrases that speak to you for one reason or another in your life right now."

I am a collage artist and my word this year is BUILD. And if there is one thing I love, it is a collection of something! Over the years I have assembled a library of images that I've painstakingly cut from a variety of magazines. This 'library' consists of file folders labeled according to subject such as floral/fauna, letters/phrases, and home/garden. For instance, some of the images used in my vision board (above) are from Martha Stewart Living, House Beautiful, Smithsonian, The New Yorker, Better Homes and Gardens, National Geographic, Vogue, and some scrapbook and art publications that I don't remember the names of.

It was so much fun looking through my file folders while at the same time focusing on my word. It actually was a bit uncanny how many images I catalogued that reminded me of the word 'build'. In fact, at that beginning stage, I had chosen enough images to fill a board twice the size of the finished work and was seriously thinking of going out and buying a larger canvas. But eventually I talked myself out of the idea realizing it was crazy to make a huge collage simply because I was having a hard time whittling down my choices.

The piece, 18"x24", consists of both literal depictions and symbolic imagery.

The literal depictions are easy to spot: Gehry tower in the lower left corner; the scissors, camera, typewriter and paintbrushes are my go-to 'tools of the trade'; the watering can, bird house, roses, and Japanese-style garden lantern indicate essentials in the garden; the 'blue onion' patterned dinnerware plate calls to mind my newest interest in collecting vintage and antique dish ware; the tiny blue tassel reflects my obsession with the ever popular chinoiserie style of home decor; the textiles, wallpaper samples and hanging pendant bird lamp help to remind me of the home improvement and decorating projects I want to make happen.

Some of the symbolic imagery can be quite obvious as well: the plum blossoms stand for this Under The Plum Blossom Tree blog and the cup of tea stands for my Etsy shop Vintage Tea Treasures. As well, the image of women and books is characteristic of my feelings for all the awe-inspiring creative women I've met on Instagram, in particular through #collectandstyle, a hash tag project I started; the watch and the clock - obvious reminders of time passing, time running out and making the most of the time that I have.

You may have noticed the minimal use of words and phrases on my vision board. The truth is I am an introvert. I prefer quiet, solitude and contemplation over crowds, noise and nonthinking. Even the aforementioned file folder marked 'words/phrases' is quite scant compared to the other folders, but I was pleased with what I did find: 'fun' because that's the way it should be; 'on a roll' to keep my spirit up; 'presence of mind' to keep me focused; 'power' to help me be strong; 'Pleasure, purpose, pride - the three strands of happiness' because, like in mathematics, there's an order of operations, right?

My favorite images are the free-form style white buildings with birds and flowers encircling them (upper left corner) and the whimsical people-like creatures riding unicycles (lower right corner). These represent a subjective symbolism for me because of their made up structure. They remind me that life is constantly full of new opportunities and new ways of seeing the world. They allow me to re-imagine a new way of living. And that is the kind of thinking that gives me hope, helps me to keep going in my endeavors, and enables me the willingness and the courage needed to look towards an unknown future.

Also, too, the fact that several of the images I've assembled on my vision board are collections of objects is a strong reminder that it takes practice, time and a caring attitude to build anything significant in life. I'm reminded of the many other words used to describe 'build', such as construct, oversee, incorporate, compile, establish, and develop.

I'm sure it's easy to conclude that my love of Mother Nature is evident. But on a deeper level my fascination with, and respect for, the natural world is steeped in the wonders of the essential 'building blocks' of nature; isn't it amazing how unseen particles and matter, coupled with the abstract concepts of time and space, unite and produce the physical elements that create beautiful life forms like the wing of a dragonfly, the feather of a bird or the perfect shape of an egg? The infinitesimal array of shapes, patterns, and colors delight the eye, command our awe and can inspire us to contemplate our very existence.

June Anderson, June Anderson and collage, original collage artwork by June Anderson, One Little Word February creative prompt, One Little Word BUILD, One Little Word creative project, One Little Word February prompt

My favorite part of Ali's words in her description of the project was that "it's a way to connect your head, your heart and your hands". I'm always in for a good art project, especially one with rich meaning, so I couldn't agree more!

Thank you Ali Edwards, and thank you dear reader! If you feel inspired to make your own vision board, I'm happy to answer any questions you may have. You can leave me a comment here or send me an email.

And if you like this series, please visit me next month for the March One Little Word creative prompt. If you would like to be informed when I publish the post you can sign up for an email notification at the top of this blog - look for 'subscribe' under my profile photo, enter your email address, and Blogger will send you an email. 


  1. So lovely to find out about you through your vision board and descriptions of it's meaning. I would love to see some of your collages (I also create collages, another thing we have in common) xx

  2. Hello Madeline,

    So nice to have you visit here! Thank you for taking the time. I've just finished a collage project and hope to have a post up about it sometime soon. I do love the collage self portrait I've seen on your instagram profile. I'd love to know more about how you made it.


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