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Collage as a way of recollection

Visiting icons of decorative art can be overwhelming. It’s easy to fall into the ‘tourist trap’ of taking a million photos, but not really seeing the place while there.  I document all the interesting details first, then take time to sit and let them all soak in…as best I can, knowing there are other visitors waiting to do the same!

Topkapi Palace Harem

Collages are a working tool to help me see and revisit a site again. Easier than scrolling though every last shot, I select my favorites and assemble them roughly in the order of the site layout, if possible. Or I collect all the similar details – the circles, the tilework – and compile those for later inspiration in my design work.

Circular forms of the Hagia Sophia

Designers have long used collages, or “mood boards”, before anyone ever thought of creating a site like Pinterest. The point is to compile the visual best of each ‘idea’, whether that idea is a place I’d like to remember, a knitwear collection I’m designing, or a room I want to live in.

The Southeast: Mardin and Midyat

Places have moods; they evoke certain emotions when experienced. When images are gathered together, those feelings return. Like Mardin, as a warm colored, rough-hewn, handmade place.

The Aegean: Ephesus Sirince Selcuk

Or the Aegean region, dominated by blues and whites, formed by the grand cultures of eastern capitals,  now in ruin but clearly impressive in their day, and even today.
The Turkish Tulip Trip 2013

The Turkish Tulip Trip 2013

Collecting images from our entire Tulip Trip, it’d be easy to focus on the handcrafts, forgetting to look at the environment in which they were made. Better to start with the big picture, then revisit each of the colorful kaleidoscope bits, one by one.

5 comments to Collage as a way of recollection

  • Judith van Praag

    My favorite is the Tulip Trip, probably because I made that one, doing research for a play about Haçivat and Karagöz decades ago in the Netherlands.

    • Judith, would love to learn more about that play. Those two characters are still so relevant today, with Turkey’s current public forums and shadow play interactions between those of various opinions. Thanks, you’ve given me an idea for an upcoming post!

      • Justine

        Fantastic collages, Catherine. And tagging onto Judith’s comment, do you follow Liz Cameron’s SlowlybySlowly blog? She uses the Karagoz puppets as tour guides through her cross-cultural marriage.

        • Thanks for stopping by, Justine! Yes, I do know Liz’s blog. She’s wise to use the puppets as characters in her cross-cultural marriage; I get myself into trouble writing much about mine. Which is why our memoir may never get published…

  • Emily Kisa

    I love how you have explained these collections! To explain the blues and whites of the Aegean. To put colors to a place! Lovely

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