Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Collage 505

Yesterday we taught a master class in collage at Yasnaya Polyana in Tula, Russia! Lola was both poised and on fire in front of three television crews. It was great to watch over thirty participants rip pages from J.D. Salinger, Kerouac, world poetry, Tolstoy and Somerset Maughm to make their own collages. One design student burned the edges of her paper before she glued it down; two friends made a celebration of childhood that included curlicues that bounced and a little rolled tissue paper candy; and we were honored that three folk artists from YP who had taught us the traditional art of "floweristika"participated.

We're teaching a second master class today and we'll be posting images on Facebook when we can; Internet access is limited. But check in when you can! --Trish

In this collage, the image of the hand made me think of both the common soldier and of the Emperor Napoleon, who is so often portrayed with his hand tucked into his coat. It is odd and fascinating to me that this image, which comes from a New York Times Magazine fashion ad for wool overcoats, can take on a darker meaning when combined with other images. That's what I love about collage.

Trish Crapo
from page 265-266, volume 2 of original text
collage, twine
made 5/27/11
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 875

1 comment:


    When in Russia, someone asked me how and why I had become interested in The War & Peace Project. I would like to tell that story now.

    I first met Lola Baltzell at a small show of my photos and collage in Orange, Massachusetts. I was also reading my poetry along with other readers and we had a quirky band, called Pitchfork, who riffed behind the readers. I knew who Lola and her husband Mark were because they have a home (now I like to say a "dacha") in my town of Leyden but I had not really met them to talk with them before. Lola liked my work, told me about the War and Peace Project, and invited me to make a few collages.

    There is no way she could have known that Tolstoy's War and Peace had a special meaning to me. Several years back, my sister Susan, my niece Rachel and I had made a pact to read it together. We all started earnestly enough. After a while, Rachel and I let daily life intervene and put the book aside. Only Susan finished it.

    In November of 2008, my sister died of breast cancer. She was 52, my age today. When Lola asked me to play a small role as guest artist in her incredible project, I was moved to think that it could offer me a way to fulfill my promise to Susan and to finish War and Peace. I am about halfway there.

    Trish Crapo