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#februllage: Weeks 1 & 2

I learned about the #februllage art challenge a few days before it began. Similar to #inktober, it focuses on collage and mixed media work instead of illustration. Without overthinking it, I jumped in beginning on Day 4, and my only aim is to check in on the prompts each day and decide then and there whether I want to explore it. I'm not holding myself to a certain number, but open to doing as many as I have time and ideas for.

So far, I've managed to shared responses about half of the days, but in all transparency, 2 are pieces I revisited ('cloth' and 'ghost'), and 1 involved repurposing an illustration from #lacelitober and turning it into a digital collage ('cactus'). Leaving space for flexibility has been good for me, and I've found myself drawn back to my art journal more times again and again.

The sweetest parts have been:

  1. getting to respond to prompts alongside fellow collage artists who've inspired my foray into this medium (dear Ashley from @agatheringofshapes and Carole Terumi @washisakura),

  2. meeting a slew of collage artists whose work I've never encountered before,

  3. being surprised by several of the pieces that have spilled out onto the page of my art journal, several of them are way up there in my favorite makings... ever?!

A handful of lovelies have asked if I've ever considered compiling my poetry into a book of some kind, and I think I'm starting to dream about a volume of sorts filled with pages of collaged poems, handwritten poetry, and mixed media art... For now, I'm going to keep making and writing, and we'll see how this new dream grows.

You're Invited // I'm excited to tackle my next prompt ('weep') for Day 17 during an IG Live tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 17, 12pm PT. Come pop in to say hello or even make something of your own alongside me as I explore the prompt!

. . .

Here are my explorations so far...

#februllage 3: Mushroom // I love mushrooms' round, domed shapes and the way they grow up together in endearing clusters as tiny, woodland communities. I couldn't resist playing with repurposed materials that had their own unique patterns + incorporating colored pencil here and there for added texture! And then for extra kicks, I drew a 2 little mushroom friends because #mushroomlove. Close-up video of Mushroom with narration.

. . .

#februllage 4: Bridge // The imagery of layered archways of stone floated up in my mind, reminding me of my thoughtful friend, Kate Laing (@lionheartcanyonstudio), and her love of the desert’s rock and stone; layers of lime and silt and sand.

We could

Climb over or through

So, we did

The layers of earth and stone hold story and memory in such a visible way, and Kate's love of them has increased mine. I remember visiting Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon as a 9-year-old, and the poetry of the arches made such an impression on me that I still remember them even though it’s been decades since I was last in their presence. Kate's photos and weavings draw them back into focus, and making this piece was such a kind morning. Close-up video of Bridge.

. . .

#februllage 5: Cloth // For this prompt, I revisited an exploration of layers and weaving together disparate source materials into one paper textile. The materials all came from matte-print catalogs, and many of them from photographs of linens and knits (though I couldn’t resist adding some wood and trees ). Close-up video of Cloth with narration.

. . .

#februllage 6: Cactus // For this prompt, I decided to repurpose Castle Prickly Pear illo from #lacelitober last year and turn it into a digital collage mixed with photographed paper pieces + digital textures I drew in Procreate. The shadow turned up when I accidentally filled a duplicate cactus layer with a grass pattern, and it sparked the idea of changing its opacity to add the feeling of long shadows in the sand. I love the surprises that pop up along the way. Close-up video of Cactus with narration.

. . .

#februllage 7: Exit // This one has my heart. This was one of those pieces where you sit down to make, and something entirely unexpected pours out. Only once the disparate pieces have all found their place and been pasted down do you realize how they feel like they’ve been there all along- a whispered proverb, a kindly note to remember. There are things I’m needing to let go of, especially this year. Certain expectations about what I can and can no longer do. The memory of things that still twinge in my heart sometimes. And the literal stuff that’s accumulated over decades that would benefit (as would I) from finding new homes and being appreciated by new hands. ☺️ When letting go and making our way to the exit, it’s always good to consider a soft place to land. Close-up video of Exit with narration.

. . .

#februllage 10: Ghost // For this prompt, I revisited a found words collage piece from a Spooky-themed creative retreat I hosted. Working with monochromatic palettes and spooky imagery, isn’t something I’ve done much, so this was especially fun.

. . .

#februllage 14: Life // As soon as I began, it kind of all just spilled out onto the page with pieces of cut paper and some colored pencil drawing and a found words poem:

I looked inside,

and hope was able to grow

in the space between

wilting and falling apart

My anxiety and depression often flare during weeks with a lot of moving parts that lie outside my control. So, I’m trying to wriggle my toes and root my feet in place beneath the silt and sediment, and bend by knees to flow with the current as it comes. There’s so much outside of us that we can’t predict or know, but we can decide how we respond, and move to meet them when they come into focus. Today I’m practicing the holding of hope and uncertainty in tension, letting them both exist at the same time. Close-up video of Life with narration.

. . .

#februllage 15: Boat // Sometimes pieces and words seem to float to the surface, catching my eye, and stirring something true.

remembering not to hide the

pain and sorrow


the story goes still further,

in the next chapter

Bridge, Exit, Life, and Boat all feel tied together in some way. They may just find their way into a collection of some kind. I'd love to hear your thoughts and what you see!

♡ Kimberly Kuniko

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© Kimberly Kuniko

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Welcome to the personal blog of of Kimberly Kuniko, a Nikkei American illustrator, collage artist, poet, and host of cozy, virtual guided creative retreats with a new theme each month.

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