This was the third year of Floydfest’s Teen Scene at the Imagine Tent and the first year that guest artist Josh Copus presented daily collage journaling workshops for teens throughout the four day festival.
Teens were provided with blank journals, magazines and art supplies. There was a color printer for printing out self-portraits, taken with phones, and a manual typewriter available for creating typewritten poems, word bubbles, and bios.
Josh, a potter and artist from Asheville who grew up in Floyd, brought some of his own custom-made journals of multi-media collage art to show what is possible. He explained some of his own practice, encouraged the teens to let go into the process and gave them a series of daily directives.
The first directive was stream-of-consciousness place writing, which the teens then painted over with a whitewash called Gesso, covering the writing to a degree (depending on how thick it was painted on) and creating a kind of translucent base for layering, which is an important part of the collage making process.
“When I write something down on the page and glue over it, it doesn’t mean it’s gone. It’s still there, just underneath. I never cover it fully, because I want to leave that little glimpse as a reminder of those feelings. The words underneath make the page what it is, like how my experiences make me who I am. When someone meets me, they don’t see all of that, but in a way they do without fully knowing it, because it’s what’s underneath that makes me who I am,” Josh wrote in the Floydfest program’s workshop description.
“Collect color,” was the next directive Copus gave the teens. They began pouring through magazines and cutting and tearing out images or shapes, gluing and sticking.
Workshop 3 focused on “found objects,” things found around the festival that represented a feeling and could be glued into the work. Friday night’s “homework” was to collect 10 overheard soundbites at the festival.
Here’s Josh spray painting a handmade cloud stencil. The creative possibilities are endless.
Here is a finished product made by Christy.
And one made by Abby.
“It was a huge success. The tables were busy everyday throughout the festival,” said Joe Klein, director of the Imagine Tent, a place for teens to meet each other, hang out and be creative. Klein explained that even teens that didn’t make collages were interested and were watching. Some poured over Josh’s journals, which were in circulation. “You’d see a kid on a couch for an hour absorbed in one of his journals.”
He went on, “The journaling not only gives the teens good memories of the festival, but it gives them a process that can become a lifelong practice for self-expression and creative healing.”
A typewritten message left for Josh by a teen, says it all.
Post notes - For those that don’t already know, Josh is my son and Joe is my husband. See some photos of Josh’s work HERE. Read about his collage journals and how he started collage journaling HERE and HERE.