Artist Elisabeth Grace spent her childhood outside, building micro-environment forts out of her backyard’s tree branches and bushes. She’d hide away in her detailed structures, studying the grasses and flowers surrounding her to escape from reality. Forever fascinated by nature’s detail, Elisabeth still reflects this inspiration in her collages, paintings and art installations today.
Elisabeth sells three-dimensional succulent mandalas on her online store, but her collages focus more on untouchable nature—space, the deep ocean and mountain peaks—with leaves and colorful flowers sprinkled throughout.
Collaging was a side-hustle while Elisabeth worked at Anthropologie for five years after graduating from the University of Colorado Boulder in oil painting. She focuses more on this medium since leaving the clothing store, known for their elaborate, hand-made window and store displays, at the start of the pandemic.
In 2016, Elisabeth started completing 200 hours of yoga teacher training and developing her Visual Vinyasa collage workshops that instill yogic principles through visual art.
“When I started collaging, I realized how creatively freeing and meditative it was,” Elisabeth says. "I thought, if I can create a world within the boundaries of this page, I have the ability to do the same type of creation within my life." Motivated by the same childhood desire to surround herself and the built world with natural imagery, Elisabeth collaged to embolden herself to paint abstractly and create her physical art installations.
She started offering workshops in the Denver area and on Zoom, wanting to offer the same sense of encouragement to others. She opens workshops with a yoga review and how it applies to the private group, like a small business or bridal party, she workshops with.
In Sanskrit, “Vinyasa” translates to “place in a special way.” As yoga has key principles of mindfulness and intention, so does collaging, allowing creatives to focus on the present moment and meditate while crafting an aesthetically pleasing composition.
“Collage is such an accessible art form,” Elisabeth says. “My favorite part is seeing people have those creative revelations.” She prompts private Visual Vinyasa participants with unique themes or ideas to spark inspiration, like life transitions or intentions for the following year. Then participants choose their subject matter and take home their art to remind them of their manifested intentions. Elisabeth has also held public collaging workshops at yoga studios and taprooms like Improper City in Denver.
When Elisabeth collages on her own in her home’s spare room studio, she starts by printing out photos taken on her phone or cutting out those in beautiful magazines and coffee table books she often buys from estate sales. Elisabeth then categorizes images by color and size. When inspiration hits, she chooses photos from her natural, feminine image archive and arranges them to portray the look she’s going for.
As businesses anticipate the world reopening after the pandemic, Elisabeth ramps up her installation art piece production for the world outside her garage, where she paints and works with bulkier, larger materials. She recently constructed light-up clouds made from paper lanterns and cotton stuffing in one of Fort Greene Bar’s rooms in Denver. Elisabeth plans to continue offering collaging workshops to help people realize their creative power and take a moment to breathe during their busy days.