25 May 2022  •  Blog, Mental Health  •  3min read By  • Les Jones

Don’t tear your hair out, tear some paper instead

Practice Plan’s Creative Director, Les Jones explains how making collages helped him during lockdown and has now become a part of his life.

At the start of the first lockdown, I turned to art and creativity as an outlet for my thoughts and worries, and as a coping mechanism for the huge impact Covid-19 was having on me.

I quickly realised that many thousands of people had done the same, because every time I went onto an art supplies website, they seemed to have sold out of almost everything.

So, I decided to get creative about how I could get creative – and I turned to collage. Collage didn’t require fancy paints, materials or lots of space. All I needed was the kitchen table, some old magazines, a pair of scissors and a stick of glue. There were literally no barriers to entry.

It was a revelation!

Not only did I enjoy the freedom collage gave me to be creative, but I was also surprised at how it helped me to switch off and relax. I found that the worries of the day seeped away and I was able to lose myself for hours at a time, immersed in the act of cutting, ripping and gluing. The resulting collages were almost a bonus – a pleasant memento of the immersive experience.

Fast forward just over two years and, not only am I still collaging whenever I can find the time, I’ve also launched a new online digital magazine featuring the most exciting and innovative collage artists from across the world – Contemporary Collage Magazine. I did this because I couldn’t find any magazines about collage when I looked and it felt like a gap in the market was waiting to be filled.

Since producing the magazine, I’ve interviewed over 100 collage artists and a similar theme always comes out in those interviews and that is, how much collage helps each artist with their mental wellbeing alongside satisfying their creative urges. Many talk about its calming, almost meditative effects.

The other great thing about collage is you can get up and running very quickly. There is little preparation required and images can be created within minutes, if not seconds. You don’t have to have a set idea of what you’re trying to create, you can simply go with the flow and work intuitively; this is how many of the world’s leading collage artists’ work. They don’t plan, they just start creating and then follow their creative noses.

Dentistry, as you will no doubt be aware, is a particularly stressful profession and many dentists and dental professionals struggle with their mental wellbeing. So, why not turn to collage as an escape? Try it, you might be surprised at how enjoyable and relaxing the process is and how it can help you to disconnect from everyday worries and pressures.

Don’t tear your hair out when things get stressful, tear some paper instead.

And, whilst looking after your mental health, you might also ignite your creative side that has, perhaps, lain dormant for way too long.  Win/Win!


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