Quest Cycles Applying the Hero Quest to the crises in our lives Linda S. Griggs

Collages and mosaics

More ways to make art that don't have to be - in fact, that can't be - perfect.


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  • resurrection
  • HQ map
    Hero Quest Map
  • HQ box
    Hero Quest Box
  • masks
    Masks We Don't Wear



Resurrection (2005)

I made this collage painting in a workshop with Rick Beerhorst. Apart from painting my shrines, I'd never done any "real painting." So I went into the workshop full of trepidation.

But Rick gave the class permission to "just play with the colors - don't make it pretty." He also advised us not to have too much of a pre-conceived notion of what our pieces would ultimately be about. "Just follow your intuition and see what happens."

Still clinging to my perfectionism, I had brought my own post cards and magazines to use in the collaging - sure there wouldn't be anything that spoke to me in the materials Rick provided. To my surprise, however, I found myself elbowing my way with the rest of the class into Rick's pile of images, grabbing this, grabbing that, furiously cutting out images that had nothing at all to do with each other.

After two hours, this piece magically created itself. I love the colors, the implied transformation from childhood to adulthood that occurs from bottom to top, and from death on the left to life on the right - all via the "Underworld" image in the center.

Making this piece taught me how to really let go, to really trust my intuition in art-making. I love how - from completely new and unfamiliar materials - my subconscious took over and created something so much more profound than anything I ever could have conceived of ahead of time: a death and resurrection story straight out of my Hero Quest.

HQ map


Hero Quest Map (2009)

I made this mosaic in preparation for Karen Godfrey's and my Hero Quest workshop.

We needed a simple, cheap art technique that anyone could use to illustrate their Hero Quest. Beans and rice glued to cardboard did the trick.

My map of the Hero Quest uses a petroglyph design in the center to represent the Hero. Circling around the Hero are runes and simple icons to represent the stages of the Hero Quest.

Clockwise from the upper right: the runes for disruption (call to adventure), then gathering spirit guides (turtle), then descent into the Underworld (labyrinth), and finally the return to the world with the boon (sun icon).

HQ box


Hero Quest Box (2009

This is another "beans and rice" mosaic I made in preparation for our Hero Quest workshop.

Again, there is a petroglyph-based "Hero" in the center and the stages of the Hero Quest circling around him, this time represented by various figures I've collected here and there on my quest.

Clockwise from lower left: Call to adventure (bronze holy icon of St. Martins), descent into the Underworld (clay figure of moon goddess), battles with demons (clay Sheela-na-gig figure), return with the boon (shell sun).



Masks We Don't Wear (2004)

I made this piece as part of a tutorial Mary Ellen McNaughton did on how to make clay figures and masks and then how to incorporate them into a mosaic.

The central box was originally a key cabinet with 16 hooks inside. I was going to remove the hooks, but then discovered my newly created array of variously demonic clay masks hung perfectly on them.

Then, daunted by the thought of trying to mosaic the outside of the box, I decided to add the plywood oval behind it, so I'd at least have a flat surface to mosaic.

As part of the tutorial, I'd made a variety of clay figures just for practice, without any regard to how they might relate to each other. But once I started laying out the mosaic pieces, I needed something for visual interest, so the lizard and scarab and blank faces and snakes became part of that exterior design.

Once everything was in place in the mosaic, I needed a title to pull it all together. Since the blank faces were on the outside and the more interesting ones were inside the box - out of sight - it occurred to me what this peice was about: how we let our external personas cover up our many more "real" faces, which we often leave hidden inside.

Through the Hero Quest, we learn to open the doors to our authentic, much more interesting selves - to finally reveal "the masks we don't wear."

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