Finding happiness in New England - torn paper collage by eibhlin

Finding Happiness – Torn Paper Collage

Unlike most of my collages, this is about place. It has no people in it. Not even a hint of one.

It’s because place was on my mind when I woke up this morning.

  • Places where I fit in.  That’s New England. Mostly Boston and coastal Maine, NH, and Massachusetts. And almost any arts community.
  • Places where I can tweak how I talk and act, so I’m a comfortable fit with a slightly different culture. That’s L.A., where my complete disinterest in being in IMDb makes me a bit of an anomaly, but – with my background and skills – I’m useful. Maybe even fun. And definitely not competition.
  • Places where I don’t fit it. Oh my. That’s a long list, with Illinois, Florida, and a lot of Texas near the top of it. Utah was awkward but okay, up to a point. Interior Maine, ditto.

Yes, I’ve moved a lot. Lived in lots of states. Traveled a lot, too, and I keep returning to specific places like Portsmouth (NH) and Stratford-upon-Avon (England).

This morning, defining that, clearly… it was a breakthrough. I can quit trying to “fit in,” here. I don’t speak my neighbors’ languages. (And since Disney’s layoffs, that’s literally true.)

Expecting to find a sense of place – a sense of “home” – here…? Connecting with a network of like-minded people…?

It’s not impossible, but it’s like paddling a boat against the current.

And now I have a to-do list to shift gears, a little radically, to get back to shore. Pun intended: New England shore.

So, with that on my mind, today’s collage was going to be different. It’s about symbols that represent home-and-comfort.

Size: 8.5″ x 11″

Materials: Torn magazine pages, and Yes Paste, on acid-free art paper.

Almost all the images are from Yankee magazine. The exception is the vertical strip along the left side, with evergreens reflected in water. That’s one of my own photos from Lake Winnisquam (NH).

And yes, some of the tears are untidy. Life is like that, and I wanted that to be part of this piece. Especially what follows the word “Happiness,” that’s just a hint of something else.