One of the wisest things I did in the year after my husband’s death, which was also soon after I had sold my company of 25 years that made educational children’s products, was to take some art classes.  Since I had to sign a 5-year non-compete agreement for children’s products with the company that bought my company, I needed to reinvent myself in my working career as well as in my personal life.  In short, the ground shifted every which way.

That year, I took a painting class and  several textile design classes.  They were part of my effort to stay as busy as I physically could manage and try to distract myself, as much as I possibly could.

The plan worked, to a large extent. I would come back from late afternoon or evening classes simply too exhausted to do much thinking, but with new design perspectives and skills.  My goal is eventually to make hand-made textile products and then follow-up with a website on ETSY, a great outlet for artisanal crafts. Unfortunately,  the textile supplies wouldn’t fit into my temporary apartment and needed to go into the storage warehouse with everything else.

However, since I decided that this 4-month renovation interlude should be about trying out new experiences, I thought I would try a class in collage.  I’ve certainly seen wonderful collages by Picasso and Matisse, but had never thought about the possibilities of glue and paper.  The class I found is taught by an artist who has worked exclusively in collage.  She favors mixed media and has a good eye for composition.

I’m enjoying it immensely, especially being able to incorporate any material into a composition, both 2-dimensionally and 3-dimensionally. The Atget show at MOMA, particularly his photographs of trees in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris,

Photograph by Eugene Atget of trees in the Luxembourg Gardens

inspired one recent piece, which used sandpaper, wire, paper and rice paper.

Collage with trees and bird

It affirms once again the value of always being open to new experiences.