I subscribe to a group online that send a daily message to my email about things that are really important in life. Yesterday, this arrived in my in-box:
"Play is as essential to the aged as it is to the young. I count that day lost when I am not moved to tears or laughter, but even more if I have not played.
-George Sheehan in "Going the Distance"
Think of play as harvest..Thee harvest of pleasure after work. Western society is so urbanized and so ferociously work-oriented. That makes us scared of play...frightened of what we believe to be subversive and anarchic.
Aristotle said, "Nature requires us not only to be able to work well but also to idle well." With a deep sigh, we struggle with this notion. To really play is to let go of the hand of the clock. It is a chancey, risky, wild business, uncontrolled by a clock, uncommanded and uncharted. Without a clock you are on your own and it is a difficult but rich experience, this play time.
Play time...where your spirit is refreshed, your mind cleared, and your body relaxed. It can keep you alive, sane, energized, and able to face your work time with clarity and purpose. "
It was very timely as I spent all day yesterday playing with a lovely group of women. This group of ladies took my 6 week altered book class. It was unique in that everyone just "clicked" and became fast friends. Since the class, we have been getting together for play dates.
Yesterday we all trooped over to Janice's home and spent the entire day making journals for Artfest. Four of the group (myself included) are going to Artfest and the rest just wanted to create one for their own use. Everyone brought cool rubber stamps and all kinds of stuff was laid out on the table for sharing. Each person also brought something for the potluck lunch which was utterly delicious.
I have to say that having a group of friends to share art making time with is uplifting. As one friend put it, if you get stuck, the rest are there to jump start your creativity. It's true! I was amazed once again at how everyone can begin with the same basic materials and by the time they are finished, no two projects are alike. It fantastic and if that doesn't inspire you, I don't know what would!
I also came home with a pile of goodies:
From Janice: This really cool tag bookmark that has 3M flags inside it for marking pages in your magazines.
From Val: a healthy chunk of bee's wax from her very own apiary.
From Nadine: some great envelopes for my journal.
From Nadine's sister Deb: A wonderful lazer cut alphabet that is actually attaches to things like a paper clip.
From Pat: A vintage Raggedy Ann story book to add to my collection and a bunch of paper to make art on.
From the Gang: ATC from our November swap-Solstice.
Every time we get together, it's like Christmas!!
I think it is vital that as an artist, you spend some time playing with friends and taking classes. For the most part, art can be a pretty solitary thing but you have to fill the creative well up from time to time. Trust me, it's true! Part of the joy of altered art is the wonderful community of people you meet. For me, this is by far the best part. Some of my closest friend have been made through the art community, both in person and online.
So yes, do get out there and PLAY!!