365 Collages | My Creative Process

The wooden box that I bought earlier this year is now full of my square collages. Full to the brim, and the last weeks will not even fit in there.

365 Collages in 2013

Looking at this box I am filled with amazement and wonder. A year of creativity is a big thing, maybe that is why I called my first book just that. I like that the beginning and ending of each year invites us to reflect, look back – and plan ahead. I like that a year is a circle that can encompass a big project of this sort.

This box is full of finished art that I have made this year, striving to reach the goal of my personal challenge 365 Collages in 2013. Oh, I love the look of this box!

This project has helped me so much, in many ways. I am grateful that I took this huge task upon my shoulders, and I feel certain that I shall finish all 365 collages before the year ends.

My Creative Process

How I create my collages depends on my mood, how much time I have and what I feel like doing. I’m not very organized with my paper scraps, so I move my materials around a lot on my desk, and most of the time I just sit down and grab what is nearest. I will talk more about staying organized with a 365 in a later post.

That first scrap that I grab will inform me of what I need next in my Creative Process. Sometimes the next bit is close by, other times I dig through some box or folder to find the right thing. Sometimes I arrange all the scraps before I glue everything down together. Other times I glue down the first bit before looking for the next one.

Often I have an idea about what I wish my collage should look like. Often it looks nothing like my idea. But always, when it’s finished, it says something about how I feel, what I’m thinking about or about the season we’re in. Always. In this way, to me, these collages are very personal and much like self portraits or a diary. A very secret diary that only I can read or (fully) understand. I think it’s interesting to note that the meaning is so clear to me when the collage is finished, though most of the time I don’t understand it until then (or even a few days later).

When I have seven collages, often on Sunday evening, I sit down and scan them into the computer. While one is scanning I give the next one a title, and sign it. This is a big part of my process too. When they’re uploaded I blog about them, and the process of posting them here has been a great help in keeping up with the project. I don’t want to be late with that weekly post.

365 Collages in 2013


Glue Stick
Beforehand I have cut up substrates in the right size to work on. All collages this year are squares of 12,5×12,5 centimeters (4.92×4.92 inches). In the beginning of the year all I used was a thick watercolour paper as canvas. Then I got a pile of awesome A3-sized white cardstock that cut to size. I’ve used up a pile of purple papers that I don’t want to look at (I don’t like purple), so those are covered in collage and the color is only visible on the backside now. I’ve also recycled thick poster-like cards that I didn’t want to hang or keep. Anything that is sturdy enough to support the collage papers goes.

And to glue ephemera, paper scraps and magazine clippings I use a regular glue stick. And I love my glue stick! I use different brands all the time, buying what is available and cheap – and they’ve all held together good through the years for me. I can not live without a glue stick.

My Weekly Goal

I think that I am most pleased with my goal of seven collages per week. A weekly goal, with the weekly posts on my blog, was the perfect goal for me, and my personality. Most 365-projects that I have read about has a Daily Goal of finishing something. Taking a daily photo, creating a daily art journal page, or posting daily to your blog. I have tried this already, especially in my Daily Art Cards but also when doing the Index Card Summer. I enjoy the push a daily goal gives me, but I think I’ve enjoyed not having a daily goal even more this year. Not sure if that makes sense, but the weekly push feels quite enough for me. I can do a daily task, small or huge like when documenting everything in Week in the Life, but not for a entire year. A week of that is enough.

Some days I create several square collages at once, getting into the flow of creating. Some days I go to bed early, eat out with a friend or don’t find the energy to be creative when I come home from work. Then I sit in my sofa and have TV-series marathons. And it is all okay in this project.

Right now I don’t know how I will “end” this project or where these collages will go, but I’m sure it will sort itself out eventually.

That’s a bit about my creative process. Let me know if you have any further questions.

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28 Responses to 365 Collages | My Creative Process

  1. jenni says:

    I loved reading about your creative process for this big project. It must be really satisfying to look at that box full of creativity for the year, it can be a tough thing to tackle a project that big. Congratulations! :)

  2. Jana says:

    Just wanted to let you know I enjoyed reading this post very much. The box full of all these collages looks scrumptious!

    Cheers, Jana

    • iHanna says:

      Thanks Jana, that means a lot to me! I love when I take the time to write a lot about a subject. It’s always a nice feeling, and then when someone actually takes the time to read it. Yay for that!

  3. Maria says:

    Hur hftigt som helst! r det ett om dagen?

    • iHanna says:

      Maria, ja det r en ganska cool knsla. Men inte ett om dagen, utan sju per vecka. Ibland ett eller tv, ibland alla sju p lrdagen nr jag r ledig. Passar mig, min energi, mitt schema och min kreativitet perfekt. :-)

  4. Ellen says:

    I really enjoyed reading about your creative process. I am always energized after I read your blog. I liked the partial display of some of your collages. It was like looking at a lovely quilt. I could imagine hanging it on a wall or snuggling under it with my Kindle for a read and a nap. Thank you again for sharing snippets of yourself.

  5. Chris says:

    Thank you for sharing this on Google+. I am getting a little more used to that platform and it’s good to have more practice.

    That box truly looks amazing. I love it the same way I love seeing a filled journal bursting at the seams.

  6. Erica says:

    Quite possibly one of my favorite posts by you. Thank you for sharing a little insight into your creative process with your collages. I think when I’m finished with dinner in a little bit I’m going to go into my studio and make a collage- my first collage since I was in middle school and gluing down pictures of the Hanson brothers.

    ^.^ Looking forward to see what I come up with.

  7. Corrine says:

    Love your box chock full of the goodness of your life….I enjoyed hearing about your process so much. xox

  8. SueM says:

    Loved reading this post and seeing some of your amazing creations Hanna … And the overflowing box! You explained so well the way that the meaning I’d found sometimes days later! I find that too!

  9. Madde says:

    Great job! Creativity is a good thing :)

  10. zouzou says:

    Thank you for sharing your “creative process”, it’s a great lesson and an encouragement
    for our creativity. I like the idea that for you it’s like your secret diary.
    My question why have you choose squares of 12,5 centimeters ?

    • iHanna says:

      Thanks for leaving a comment! Why they are square is because that is a format I’ve come to love, after experimenting with different sizes for a few years. Right now I have no idea why I picked this particular size for my collage cards… Hmm… I guess I had some papers in the beginning of the year that I cut in half and got that size. Yes, that might be why. :-)

  11. It’s always great to read how others work, how they process an art idea through their head and onto paper (or whatever). When I read that you were starting this project I jumped on the bandwagon immediately. Like you, I have loved every step, every collage (even when I didn’t particularly love the finished collage). My box of finished pieces isn’t as pretty and tidy as your since my sizes were all random, but it’s still a pretty impressive sight to see all 280+ collages in one place!

    A couple years ago I committed to the photo-a-day challenge. While I learned a lot and mostly enjoyed the process, this idea of completing a year’s worth of collage, but on a less regimented schedule, works so much better. I have to thank you for sharing your idea in the first place and then the weekly inspiration all year.

  12. Jane Cullen says:

    Hi Hanna! Thanks for sharing with us. It’s amazing to see them in that box and the mosaic you made. You must feel pretty accomplished. It makes me want to start a project like that as well. Do you think you’ll do it again next year or try something different?

    • iHanna says:

      Thanks for asking Jane! I won’t do another 365 in 2014, I need at least a year of “other creative projects” before I feel inspired to do something similar. But I will compile a list of ideas that I want to work on through next year. More about this in my next post.

  13. Thank you for sharing your process with us. I’ve been thinking about taking on a big project like yours next year but wasn’t sure I had time to create and post everyday. Reading about how you sometimes make more than one in a day or do marathons just to get your 7-a-week done reassures me that its possible to do this while living a life too :) I really like your collage project with all its variations. Congratulations and thanks for the inspiration.

  14. Tiffani says:

    What a beautiful collection! Thanks for sharing your process, materials, and storage ideas!

  15. dawn says:

    Thanks so much for this fun post, I enjoyed reading it! So awesome that you’ve made it thru most of the year, you should be VERY PROUD!! I like the collage of all them here, looks so happy and colorful.
    So glad you share these with us, each time inspires me to keep going on all forms of art. Hoping to stick with this collage making thru the new year.
    Happy Collaging!!
    p.s. I agree about the posting on blog, that’s what helps me stay on top of my PL each week. It’s the only thing I’ve stayed committed to for 4 years now.

  16. Deb says:

    Good for you! It’s always nice to be able to complete a project! {:-D

  17. Carin says:

    Hanna, look at all those yummy collages. So cool! I think I lasted about a week with my ATC project, but I did learn something from it…I need to have a personal connection with my 365 projects, I can’t just do it to get used to a new medium or whatever, so if I do something like this next year (will you have another 365 challenge next year?), it really has to mean something to me.

  18. Patricia says:

    How did I miss this fabulous post!?! I am always fascinated by the creative process, so I really appreciate this post! You articulated your process so well, especially the way in which your collages are like secret diaries…that is exactly how I feel about my little playing ard collages…amazing how one little peace of art can hold so much! What a treasure this project is for you! A great accomplishment! A definite cause for celebration on collage #365!

  19. rosa verdosa says:

    Today I discover your blog and I feel exciting!!!! It’s so beatifull and creative, and it inspires me a lot!!! I really love the collages and art journals!!! I’m thinking about a 365 collages for the next year…


  20. Diane says:

    What a very creative, awesome and impressive idea! I love making collages and working with paper, but the idea of making 365 mini ones never occurred to me. The way you went about it…not feeling you HAD to make one every day, but were flexible when you made your weekly amount…would work for me, I think, because I have trouble following through with long-term projects.

    Thanks for sharing and being so inspiring!!

    • iHanna says:

      Thanks for lovely comment, I wish you good luck on doing a 365-project of your own, next year or another time. Why not start with a 30 days long project, and see where it leads you…

  21. Barb says:

    I was so excited finding your collage work. That is my next project and you have such beautiful collage cards. I was torn on how I wanted to start and with your help, now I know.
    I am really going to enjoy each and every day of your collage work. They are really special.

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