my big creative year : playing with words

I started collecting words accidentally. I almost always cut paper for paper mache ships in a particular way. For my top layer I like newsprint, cut rather than torn. I separate my strips by text size and weight and I prefer that the strips are horizontal – flowing with the text. When I’m cutting newspaper, things invariably jump out at me. There is some mood or meaning, some sensation or memory evoked by a word or phrase. And so I save them.

collected words

entrhall, confound

The original intention was to use them on ships and boats and I do, but something else happens when I take out my box of words – I get all sorts of new ideas. It has become an intentional practice. When I’m wandering and inviting inspiration I sort through the box –  a single word can spark something, shift my direction just a little, send me to a place I would not have gotten to, intersections appear.

It is a kind of listening.

collected words

collected words

I love the happenstance of it.




  1. Roz Perlmutter

    HI.. Love it. Am doing word salad.. Let’s play!! Am an oooold friend of Shareens… Awesome stuff..

  2. As ever, beautiful work long admired from afar, have you seen ‘The Boy Who Loved Words’ by Roni Schotter with beautiful illustrations by Giselle Potter ? A children’s book, but a kindred wordsmith.

  3. As Hanna said, words are powerful and can suggest creative options in so many forms. I am following along here learning and taking it all in! Thank you for sharing so much inspiration.

  4. Kristin Freeman

    For years I have cut out storage has not had the great orderliness that yours has – it is time to give some attention to that, perhaps. When using words I “pour” out a collection of words from a container and like for you, phrases and words pop ot and call to be included in the project.
    Your posts are truly inspiring and I appreciate your open sharing. Thanks a million!

  5. Jackie Koreen

    Yes, love using words, but just looking at your pictures…I see a parasol , oh the words that could go with it!

  6. Jackie Koreen

    When designing cards or scrapbook pages where I use to work, I would go home turn on the tv, spread out my papers, lay on the couch and every so often move some of the papers. Ideas would pop into my head and shortly I could start designing. The tv took the pressure off my brain and made it easier for thoughts to come.

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