Julie S.

I looked at this exercise and kept putting it off in favour of the washing up. I was overwhelmed by the instructions. Do this, cut this, use this. Don’t do this that or the other.  Although I am an art college graduate I’ve never done this before. I put it off until Saturday evening (we have a lot of dirty dishes in our house).

I went into my attic (loft) space and found the black paper. I’m not going to measure it, this size will do. I cut the corners off straight away. Ha! Then I didn’t know where to stick them. These thoughts passed through my mind, am I sticking them in the right place? Fear of failure and judgement. I will be found wanting. A mild panic descended. You’ll be sorry, it’s wrong, you’re in trouble. You can’t even get this right. At this point some faint memory of school when I was 11 years old floated into my consciousness. Then deflation. I don’t want to do this. What’s the point? Trying to play by somebody elses’ rules. Feeling I’ve failed, giving up. I coloured in the square. Instant satisfaction. I’m questioning my rebel tendencies at this point.

 No 1 square.

Second attempt. Play by the rules. I’ve never done this so do it right. I had the urge to start cutting small phallic shapes. I resisted. Why? It would have amused me!

 No 2 square. Look it’s a sea/wood creature. It’s also a fish.

 I coloured this in also. Satisfaction guaranteed!!

I felt weirdly different to the first attempt. Does this mean I like to play by the rules a little bit?

Attempt 3.

I was getting really cross with myself because I kept gluing the wrong side of the piece. Does it really matter? Apparently it did. Back to the judgement thoughts and the thinking that people are laughing at me. Then there was a feeling of sheer boredom that these same old thoughts kept cropping up in my head. Again why am I doing this? Yet by now there is a satisfaction with the process.  I like the clean stark lines. My cuts had a Matisse element to them. I tried to pin down what it was that I didn’t like but couldn’t quite get the thought out.

 No 3 square. Only a little colouring in and look, another creature.

I decided to have one last go. Cut up a square and just glued the pieces down. I started to think about the relationships of the pieces and their relationship to the edge of the paper. And look, I’ve created another creature!

 No 4 square. It’s a frog!!

I feel pleased that I’ve done this. When I was restricted to keeping the square I didn’t enjoy the process. But I did enjoy some of the limitations such as using a set amount of paper in certain colours. And where are all these creatures coming from?