Unless stated otherwise, all poetry on Swimming in Lines of Haiku is Copyright Kirsten Cliff and may not be reprinted in any form without written permission from the author. kirsten(DOT)cliff(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Friday, May 20, 2011

STOP! Haiga In Progress. DO NOT DISTURB!

Finally! I have found a decent time/energy envelope to focus back on my collage haiga. I haven't made one in well over a month: exhausting myself with poetry prompts throughout April and having nothing left to give to my hands-on artwork/play. I've been itching to get stuck into it again! And I'm very excited about my first piece back.

About a week after NaPoWriMo ended for me (which was four days later than everyone else:) an idea flooded my vision for a haiga, as I knew it would: Create the space and the creation will come. (Note: Always have pencil and Post-It notes handy!)

So I started work/play on the idea last week and have had to leave it sitting for a few days at a time as health (or rather illness) demands. But I'm in the final stage now of sticking stuff to other stuff (one of my most favourite things to do!) and then I shall place my collage haiga on my easel and stand back to delight in the full 3D effect of my original vision.

My currently empty easel

I've found haiga are the artwork/play that most often turns out better than my original idea or vision in my mind's eye. And this is the magic for me.

My writing of prose pieces never turns out the same as first thought, which doesn't usually mean that it's better or worse than the first concept, just different. But I am sometimes left with a feeling that I haven't quite created what I set out to achieve. Granted this hasn't happened for some time as I haven't done much prose work; not as in previous years. I've been concentrating more on poetry and this has been wonderful: my diary has never been so empty of appointments and so full of haiku, senryu, tanka, small stones, one-liners, inspirations, poetry, Poetry, POERTY!

With my visual art I've learned (after much struggle!) to just go with my gut and NOT my head. I may think that a poem involving blood tests or transfusions should sit on red card, and so instinctively allow my mind to override my unconscious flow and grab for the red straight away. But when I just sit for a moment I find I want to choose blue card for this one. I can't explain why, and my mind tries to fight this, puts up an argument that there is no good reason to choose blue over red, red is of course the obvious choice for this haiga!

However, my mind does NOT know best: definitely not when it comes to art anyway! So I've learnt to slow down, enjoy the process, quiet my mind, and go with what comes up without questioning.

"My Art is my Heart" February 2011
Paint, origami, transfers, stickers on stretched canvas.

Too often in the past I would complete an artwork, say a painting, and just not be satisfied by what I'd created because I could see where I had fought against a natural colour choice or natural stopping/finishing point. I had listened to my head instead of my heart/soul/spirit/unconscious.

Now I gain so much enjoyment from my art work/play and I know it's because this process of creation is one of the few times in a day that I really let my spirit have a voice, and this is vital to my well being.

The haiga I'm creating is for a senryu that's part of my collection exploring my leukaemia journey, and has been accepted for the next issue of Prune Juice. I hope to have it finished this week. Then I can sit back and wait for a new idea to pass through me and onto the page. Happy creating to you! 

"Peace is the Way of my Heart" February 2011
Paint, origami, transfers, stickers, brads on stretched canvas.


  1. Wow, Kirsten. That is so cool! 3-D haiga. I've been trying to play with haiga myself lately, but 3-D haiga! That blows me away. Thanks for sharing. Best, Margaret

  2. Thanks, Margaret :)
    I love using objects both bought and found in my artwork/play, and am a very tactile person - just have to touch things!
    The haiga I talk about in this post uses an old cardboard pill packet and one of those plastic Monday-Sunday pill boxes.
    I will get myself organised one day to scan these collage haiga so I can put them up on my website for viewing.
    Thanks for stopping by, and taking the time to read and comment!
    Kirsten x

  3. Kirsten- I am delighted to learn a bit more about your artistic play. You may recall we have met over on WOWH during the Inkseeds project in April. What I find most interesting is your tactile art play is coming back into focus. The writing I did January through April was like tilling the soil for me- I am in the midst of an almost frenzied renewal of photographic drive as well as preparing my art space for doing collage- after a 25 year hiatus... Thank you for this insight and sharing this post! xo teri

  4. Hi there, Teri! Good to see you here :) and to hear about your photographic and collage art. May it bring you as much joy as mine does to me. Kirsten x