Last month, I ended my newsletter article by saying, “Let the creative journey begin!” But in truth, I have been on my creative journey for a very long time and I suspect that you have too. In 2007, I started a blog that I called “Creative Play.” My idea was to try something new each week, to play around in my studio and to post the results. My last project was a year-long weekly journal quilt project that I wrapped up the week after my daughter was born. She then became my study in creativity. I began to realize both that creativity is innate and that it is important, important enough to be a vital part of early life.
I appreciate now that “Creative Play” came about because I unconsciously realized that I was missing both creativity and play in my life. If I think back to the playing that I did as a child, I recognize that most of it was actually just pretend work. I created a library card catalogue for my children’s books. I played architect and drew floor plans at a TV tray desk that I set up in my room. I got a label maker for my 11th birthday and I loved it. I understand that there is creativity in each of these, but one of the things that I finally realized during the past year was that I forgot how to truly play a really long time ago. Relearning that and more importantly, believing that playing is really okay, was a major step in rediscovering my creativity.
One of the things that I have done this year, to bring about more play in my life, is to create a toy box for myself. Friends of ours from England generously hauled across an ocean a Fortnum & Mason hamper to us. Once the tea, biscuits, and jam were gone, I appropriated the hamper to be my toy chest and I filled it with art supplies. Now, when I am in the need of a little play time and want a change from my typical medium, I reach into it for some crayons or paints and I play.
Coloring has been a huge delight for me. I can get carried away downgrading it as “not as creative…” as other hobbies. Truth be told, as much as I enjoy painting, drawing, etc., it is hard to get started: what subject matter to tackle. That is where coloring books have come to my rescue- the subject is presented, and there are so many fabulous options. I get to relax into choosing colors, and medium….easy and fun. It has been a real positive in my life, where, as for so many, creative time is limited to a few hours at most, once or twice a week. I’m learning that creative play does not need to be judged as good or worthy, it just is, and it is good enough, no matter how it gets done.
Kima, I think that you make excellent points. Creative play should absolutely not need judging, but yet, we are the ones often doing all of that judging. And you’re right that it’s so easy to get stuck feeling like the work isn’t worthy so we never get started. So, hear, hear! Put marks on paper in any way, in any form as long as it brings your joy. I’ve been enjoying coloring books too, though I’m having to fight to keep my 4 year old out of my books. She’s got plenty of her own, but she wants the one that I am working on. Typical.