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Anatomy Of A Collage Playshop

The Tissue Paper Collage Process

Creating collages, journaling, dance, meditation and exploring how the story of our inner landscape informs our lives are the cornerstones of the Tissue Paper Collage process.

Upload: November 3, 2016The visual and kinesthetic process of collage making cultivates creativity by simultaneously encouraging imaginative play and artistic expression. We begin with thirty colors of translucent tissue paper, glue, brush and board. The instructions are simple: tear the tissue paper and paste on the board. Allow whatever arises to lead the way. We come to life, as does the collage, as we play with the colors, shapes, and textures of the paper.

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Once the collages dry, we spend time with them in order to gain an understanding of their meaning.


Collage Playshop by Karen Stefano

More Than Just Collage Making

Imagination is the bridge between body and soul. To have healthy power, an image needs to be taken into our body on the breath. Only then can the image connect with the life force. Only then can things change.

—Marion Woodman, Jungian Analyst, Mythopoetic Author

Upload: December 5, 2016

The symbols and meaning that arise from the unconscious are remarkably visible in the collages, offering us an uncommon encounter with ourselves. As the imaginal world opens, it also opens a doorway into our greatest potential.

Making collages helps to bypass the linear mind because the hands do all the thinking. Playing inventively with colorful tissue paper, the mutual activity of the hands, eyes and brain produce a subtly different kind of awareness allowing the mind to let go of words and any purposeful thought. As the symbolic language of the unconscious speaks to us in image and metaphor through our collages, we are able to process, understand and integrate what is being revealed. When the instinctual and primitive parts of the brain are activated, deeper interior truths are free to emerge. Creating collages from this mindful space allows the wisdom of the body to reveal insights about ourselves and our world.

Our lives today are busy and complex and what is natural to us has become blocked or shut down. In this condition we lose the capacity to feel and experience the power of life which dramatically constricts us.

Tissue Paper Collage Making

The collage process has the potential to awaken us, providing a channel to release deeply held thoughts, feelings and emotions that otherwise might not have a way of expressing themselves. The imagination opens us to the language and meaning of our inner world and directs us towards a more authentic life.



Storytelling Through Fairy Tales and Myths

Metaphor is the language of the soul. Through a physical image, metaphor reveals a spiritual truth or condition.

— Marion Woodman

Upload: November 3, 2016

The collage process begins before arriving at the playshop when you are invited to write a short biography (1-5 pages) in the form of a fairytale or myth. Writing the story in this fashion takes us out of linear time, and brings us into a new creative space. The story emanates from a deep interior truth invoking new images, symbols and metaphors. Most people are surprised at the twists and turns that evolve as their stories progress. Ultimately, your story becomes a catalyst for change.


Nothing is more revealing than movement…movement never lies…

—Martha Graham, Choreographer/American Modern Dancer

Upload: November 3, 2016

Movement, dance and yoga enliven the body and mind; this helps to deepen the work that emerges from the collage process. These forms of movement give us a new language of expression and an outlet for what is not yet known.


Writing is the act of discovery.

—Natalie Goldberg: Author, Painter

Upload: December 6, 2016

Writing provides an opportunity to reflect upon what arises in the collage images and in one’s own psyche. Through journaling we ground the experiences of our inner world to gain insight and understanding of our internal world and our interconnectedness to all life.


To understand the immeasurable, the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, still.

—Jiddu Krishnamurti, Philosophical and Spiritual Teacher, Writer

Upload: November 3, 2016

Morning and evening meditations explore body sensation, breath and connection to the sacred.

Edith Wallace and Karen Stefano in 2000 at a Tesuque, New Mexico Playshop


Upload: December 8, 2016

During the playshops we spend time individually looking at our collages and journaling about them. Spending time with the collages allows for a reflection of feelings, sensations and thoughts as emergent issues associated with the colors, forms, and sequential patterns in the collage's arise.


Upload: December 6, 2016

After viewing the collages individually, participants show their collages to the group. They are encouraged to reflect on their meaning in relation to self, family, and culture, from the personal to the archetypal. After the person showing has finished speaking, the group reflects on shared meanings and insights.


Without this playing with fantasy, no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable.

—C.G.Jung, Psychiatrist/Psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology

Upload: December 22, 2016

Playing and making tissue paper collages may seem like creative activities reserved for kindergarten students, however, it is these basic inventive and imaginative actions that have the power to shape lifelong changes in our body, mind and emotions. Connecting us to the world of potential, playing is a way to access and develop the imagination. Our playshop’s utilize a purposeful form of play which has the same effect as any form of play—being able to transform ourselves and enhance our world.

The Power Of Place

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike.

—John Muir, Naturalist, Environmental Philosopher, Author

Upload: November 3, 2016
Every year we hold a four-day playshop in New Mexico. The beauty and energy of the landscape offers deep nourishment and renewal, a perfect place for the imagination to take flight. We also facilitate one and a half day and four-day playshop’s in cities across the United States and in countries around the world, including China, Japan, Turkey, England, and Mexico.

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Tissue Paper Collage As Potent Alchemy

Upload: November 3, 2016

  • Awaken creativity
  • Reconnect to a sense of beauty
  • Allow intuitive intelligence to guide the way
  • Ignite the heart with inspiration
  • Connect to the sacred
  • Break out of linear thinking to express freely in image, color, movement, and sound
  • Cultivate self-awareness and open vision
  • Develop a connection to the symbolic language of the unconscious
  • Unearth metaphors living in your body
  • Access authentic & organic expressions of self