The individuals I work with tend not to make strong attachments to the art they create, so more often than not I am left with piles of discarded work. At times the work is incomplete or unfinished other times it is scrap pieces used for testing a media (as was the case here). More often than not, it just takes a nudge in the right direction before they can see the potentiality of it. When this happens I give my clients the option of placing the pieces in a pile to be recycled.** We discuss that some items can be given new purpose even if we don't know what that is yet.
By August of 2013 we had a small pile of such discarded and printed pieces.
Participants were asked to cut the paper scraps into any shape they wanted (hint: they didn't know what they would be doing with the pieces). Some became really really excited and cut complex shapes but nothing recognizable.
A square 19”x19” poster board served as the containment space. The circle was drawn by tracing a large circular object (ie. garbage can, bowl, hoops, etc). This could also have been done by using string and a pencil.
If I recall correctly, the rules were something similar to these:
1. All space within the circle must be covered.
2. Pieces had to “fit-in”. No overlapping (or very minimal amount of overlapping).
3. Pieces can be trimmed to improve their fit.
4. Pieces must touch each other (ie. a piece cannot be placed on its own).
5. Work from either outside IN or center OUT. But not both. This is a decision the group makes before placing down their first piece.
Lastly, and most importantly... the therapists’ role was such:
1. Mod-podge (or craft acrylic) facilitator.
2. Keep the group on task & within the ‘activity rules’.
This particular group soon realized that starting on the outside meant they now had to be much more careful in selecting and placing the remaining pieces. Once complete the entire collage was coated in mod-podge to ensure they adhere well.
The mandala collage was displayed in the group room until this August when it was retired.
By giving pieces that tend to be discarded a second purpose (or even a third) there tends to be a silent exchange.
No worries it won't be in the recycling pile any time soon.
**To clarify, pieces that go in the recycle pile must have names removed & are generally abstract. These pieces “rest” in the to-be recycled pile for a few weeks or more before they are considered ready. Giving time to the original owner to return and retrieve their piece if needed. Quite often it is the original owner who initiates the cutting-down and reusing of the piece.