Bricolage. A fancy name for

making do.

With bricolage, you play with the materials at hand, even if they are old soggy paint-logged facial tissues.

‘These magical acts of creation are analogous to pulling a large amount of rabbit from a small amount of hat.’ 

says Stephen Nachmanovitch in ‘Free Play – the Power of Improvisation in  Life and the Arts’. *

bricolage tissue watercolour painting

Sally Swain © original art
picture made from other people’s leftover paint tissues, plus glue, watercolour, pen.
Quite 3 dimensional. Coiled tissue pirals in the centre.

Remember a couple of

weeks back an Ancestor Boat was grabbed to play a part in a super-short animation? Why? Because it was there. And it turned out to spontaneously fulfil a purpose.

I’ve taken to making use of leftover paper tissues and serviettes.

I don’t mean tissues or serviettes smeared with human leakage – urgh.

The ones that you dab your watercolour paintbrush on, to clean between colours.
They can be rather beautiful, bricolage-ically speaking.

*Here’s another bricolage quote from ‘Free Play’.

‘…to a child’s imagination a twig is a man, a bridge, a telescope. This transmutation through creative vision is the actual, day-to-day realization of alchemy. In bricolage, we take the ordinary materials in our hands and turn them into new living matter – the “green gold” of the alchemists.’

Do you knowingly or unknowingly practise bricolage in your creative work?
Is this a fancy way of asking if you play?


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