Getting Unstuck – Finding Inspiration in Collage Making: Guest Post by Kathryn Antyr, True North Arts

September 18th, 2009

kathryn unstuck

I find inspiration in the simple act of cutting and gluing images together to create collages. The process of creating always pulls me out of a funk and stirs within me a sense of excitement and adventure. Pictured above is a collage I made in thirty minutes by shuffling through my paper scraps and collection of ephemera. I was feeling restless and unfocused on the day I made it. I had no plans for the collage; my only goal was to see what I could throw together.

Here is a look at my process for creating collages.

1. Select your background. I often make collages in a sketch book, journal, or on a piece of cardboard.
2. Flip through magazines and any collections that you have of images and ephemera. Move quickly and grab only those images that grab you. I work intuitively throughout the entire collage process and feel more like an observer than a creator. Don't worry about the meaning of the images.
3. Cut your images out -- you may want to include some of the background or cut out images close to the edges.
4. Play with the arrangement of your various pieces. Move them around before gluing them down. Consider how the images look above, below, next to, overlapping, or peeking through other images. Notice the colors, lines, shapes, and textures. Again, I don’t get distracted by placing meaning on my images but rather think of each piece as a design element.
5. Once you’ve settled on the placement of the images glue them down. I prefer UHU glue sticks and Golden gel matt medium. There are times when I glue as I go -- I felt so daring when I did this on the collage pictured above. It kept me moving and not spending too much time over thinking the process.
6. Time for reflection. This is one of my favorite parts of creating my collages. I prop up the collage on a stand or leave it next to my spot at the kitchen table. It may be days before I get the hidden meaning in my collages.

kathryn passioncollage

Intuition and Insights

When I created the collage pictured above, I was feeling restless and seeking that glorious feeling of passion. When I set out to make the collage I didn’t have a clear idea of where I was going, I just knew I needed a creative fix. What I discovered after making the collage was one answer on how to rekindle my passion. Here is a look at how I interpret the collage:

The empty boat in the still water will not move without passion. The angels or muses are blowing to encourage movement. It is by taking steady steps each day that I find my passion (depicted as the person walking toward the flower). The passion is represented by the sunny daffodil blossom. Under the figure's left foot is the word authentic in Italian. I know that each one of us has our own unique path. We share many of the same steps but we each have our own way. After interpreting the collage I felt comforted and ready to take simple, steady steps each day to nurture my passion.

Feeling restless? Try making a collage. The process of collage is accessible to everyone whether or not you believe you are creative or an artist. The wonderful thing about collage is that anything goes. There are no hard fast rules. The results are so personal and provide an opportunity to look within.


Bio: Kathryn Antyr is a mixed media artist, educator, and Web professional. She regularly publishes creative prompts and online workshops on her blog You can also connect with her at, on FaceBook and Twitter.

14 Responses

Thank you Leah for asking me to participate. What an honor! I’m in such great company. It is so very, very inspiring.

{soul hugs}


Thanks for sharing your collage and your creative process as well.

You are the best!


I’ve actually been stuck for ages at creating collages. ;^) How do we get unstuck from here?


Have you tried setting a time limit when you work? Pull out things that you have already collected and give yourself 30 minutes to pull something together. Some times limitations also help — say pick a color and only work with that one color. Let me know how it works for you.

xoxo k

Kathryn, thank you for your interesting post.

Leah has already got me making pretty collage boxes so I can collect and store all images that grab me.

Now, I anticipate making my first collage board, and … the best part … interpreting what it means! This will be a great exercise for me, it will help me to understand myself more. I hadn’t thought to do this part. That’s pretty dumb on my behalf.

Thanks Kathryn, and precious Leah!

Thanks, Kathryn! I loved your post. There are so many days when I feel stuck. I go to my art room, shift around stuff, etc. without really creating. I never realized that collage could be so expressive and artistic without having a plan. that often stops me cold. Next time I feel that way, I am going to do an intuitive collage without having to have a plan for it or even attach meaning to it initially. Hooray!! Thanks again. You always inspire me!

I just loved this post–easy to read and you really explained the process so well–I really like the idea of the collaging being for yourself–how you prop it up and look at it for days as you walk by it etc. to find out what it’s telling you. Very liberating!

I’m giddy! Two of my favorites – Collage Diva herself right here on CED! What a special convergence of powerful and creative forces! So glad to follow you both!

Just a quick note: Try SoulCollage for finding and understanding the meanings in your collaged cards. There are workshops and classes world wide. I enjoyed it so much I took the training to become a facilitator (Australia)

Loved your post Kathryn. Really enjoyed your course as well. Lots of fun and learned a lot about myself! I love collage as well.

Loved the article and the process. I’ve been stuck for months now, and it’s getting a bit old! I’ll have to try your process and see where it takes me! Thanks!

Bravo for my favorite collage diva: Kathryn!

Thank you for this post! I love doing collages, but most of the time, I’m too busy to do one! However, what you mentioned about not thinking about it but just going with the energy and flow makes sense because I think that’s what I need to do! Just let go and play, and don’t try to strategize a collage (if that makes any sense), because I would try to hunt for the meaning of a certain collage I’m making at the moment (during the process) and eventually get frustrated for not being able to finish it. I think I should try the hands-off, letting go approach. Thank you for the INSPIRATION! :)

Your collaging is beautiful! I especially like the first one above, the clock is divine!

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