The ‘Scrap Project’: Pure Imagination

Paper scraps & Ink – Words: Anthony Newley

Greetings! I am back from my break with new work, new ideas and new thoughts to share. I was very busy these past three months and look forward to sharing all sorts of fun and creative things. Here we go!

A while ago a dear friend proposed a ‘Scrap Challenge’. I had just started collecting small scraps of handmade papers from my projects by putting them into a large, glass jar. She challenged me to fill the jar then create work only from the papers in that jar. It took me over four years to fill it and this piece is the first from that project. I completed five works in total, each different from work I have done before.

When I combine paper, pen and prose I have learned to create the mat first. It is easier to blend or mix inks to compliment the handmade papers than to try and find a paper to work with inks. On this mat I wanted to combine greens and teals into something whimsical. I knew I wanted to leverage the lyrics from the movie Willy Wonka for the text, which meant the surrounding mat had to be fun. Most mats take me a couple hours, this one took me multiple days. My imagination was pushed beyond it’s regular limits which was a frustrating and exciting process. I had to let go of the designs I developed over many decades and slow down. My brain had to work harder, my fingers had to move differently, and I had to let my ideas percolate in order for them to be stronger. On each of he five pieces I reminded myself that I wanted them to be a new approach which meant thinking and acting in new ways.

New is wonderful, exciting and brings a fresh perspective. It is also exhausting, challenging and has the power to beat us up. I found myself questioning my skills by wondering if a jar of paper scraps was going to be the source of my undoing. After taking many deep breaths and long walks I had time to let my ideas settle. That settling gave me the gift of new ideas, new work and a renewed energy for multiple areas in my life.

It might seem like a strange suggestion after a year of living through a global pandemic, however your life may benefit from taking a break. Giving up tv, or ice cream, leaving the news behind for a couple weeks, or even allow yourself time to not do what drives you. Take a break from family or friends, or the internet, or even reality tv. Sound crazy? Let my voice of experience remind you that pure imagination only comes when we let go of the normal and seek out the unimaginable. When we are bombarded with our regular life our ideas and creativity are crowded out, pushed to the side or even squelched. Dare to believe that your life can be better than it is right now, give yourself the gift of time AND be open to something you never imagined was possible.

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