A Year in Collage – Dr Cathryn Lloyd

Michelle Ockers with Dr Cathryn Lloyd

It is serendipitous that I found myself in Brisbane on an unplanned visit at the same time as my industry colleague and friend, Dr Cathryn Lloyd, has an art exhibition running. Even better, when I visited the exhibition today to find that she was there!

Titled ‘A Year in Collage mm365’ the exhibition consists of 365 postcard sized collages, one created every day in 2022. I’m drawn to examples of daily practice as a way of learning and building a body of work, especially when the process and progress are shared publicly. Technically this is a form of ‘working out loud’ – a recurring theme in how I aspire to own approach to learning and work since 2014.

I once completed a 30 day challenge where I created and posted a video every day, and several times I’ve endeavoured to build a daily blogging habit. I had a sense of what it must have taken for her to push through all the friction and excuses that can get in the way of building and sustaining a daily practice. I’m incredibly impressed by her discipline and commitment.

On Cathryn’s LinkedIn profile she calls herself a ‘Creative Conduit’ whose work focuses on creative facilitation and coaching. Our paths initially crossed at least five years ago through membership of the Australian Institute of Training and Development. While her work is by nature creative, she explained to me today that the mm365 project was a way of reconnecting with her arts background. She has a BA in Graphic Design and a Ph.D in Creativity and Arts-based Professional Development.

The collages were displayed in creation date sequence on a set of 12 monthly boards. Below each was text that she had written at the time of creating each collage, each posted on Instagram @maverickminds1. I walked through the boards from January to December, reading the description of those that especially caught my eye. It was hard to pick where to focus my attention as it was such a delicious visual feast! So I just followed my instinct to see where my gaze was lingering. It helped that I knew I could scroll through them all again on Instagram, reducing my fear that I would miss something.

I wonder how many others view the exhibition in this way – and, as a result, how many different ‘experiences’ people have of this body of work. We bring our own lenses to our experience and interpretation of any artform. The aspects that most stood out to me were about how Cathryn grappled with priorities, time, energy and inspiration as she sought to complete one collage a day. I could relate to this struggle. It’s inspiring to me that she overcame it, motivating me to sit down and do this blog post immediately upon returning home from her exhibition.

The works are highly varied in colour, style and topic. Occasionally she explored a subject or style for several days at a time. There are also recurring themes such as the experience of swimming or the moon. The artworks in combination with the text also act as a form of journal, providing a commentary on Catherine’s professional work, past-times, emotional flows and contemporary arts. In this way it was a fascinating journey through a year with her, as well as a form of social history.

If you are in Brisbane before 28 June 2023 pop into Scrumptious Reads at Red Hill and be enchanted.

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