On Monday we heard from artists who consider everything they do in the studio to be “play,” no matter what they’re actually working on. That’s a terrific way to look at it, but it’s not the only terrific way, and today we’ll hear from artists who find other ways to loosen it up when they’re working. A lot of us like to have several things going at once so we can switch back and forth, which feels freer and more like play.
Maven wrote, “I also like to do what I call “tinkering” with other techniques and art forms. So if I get a bit burnt out or too much RSI from crochet, I’ll switch to needle felting, or stenciling, or weaving…” Melanie says, “When I feel myself tighten up, I allow myself to delve into differently creative realms. If I am journaling, I might dye print, if I am designing prints, I might sew. My goal is to be creative and working all the time. Diversity of end goal is important.”
I know that feeling: I like to feel that I’m being productive, rather than just having fun, so I have to have a variety of things going so that I can switch back and forth. What’s wrong with “just having fun”? Well, that’s a big part of why I’m jumping into this whole topic of play: I want to find out more.
In the meantime, though, here are more excellent ideas, ideas like Jean’s: “Because I am a writer, first and foremost, I play by switching to something that either is tactile (sewing, cooking, gardening) or involves movement (walking, yoga, gardening). I’m realizing that anything that involves the computer (pinterest, etc.) is not that restful to the brain or spirit.” Sharon wrote, “Multiple projects, so I can flip from one to another if I feel myself getting frustrated with what I am currently working on. I fix a cup of tea, then I switch projects to something easy. I also may take time out to play hide-and-seek with my cat. :=)”
Lynne has several things going at once, and she tosses in a little of what Jean mentions, as well. She says, “I do usually have several things going at once on the tables so I shift from one to another during the course of the working/ creating time. In between the play time comes with a bit of wild dancing in the studio. I don’t have an i-pod or keep my laptop in that area so the dancing happens when a fav song comes on the radio. The break and play is arbitrary when those songs come on. Otherwise, if there are days with not many dancing songs……..I take a play break by calling my friend, Cheryl, who is a fabric artist, who lives in NH. We both get out our Benjamin Moore paint chips, discuss room redos and play with the colors.” I really like the idea of having multiple ways to loosen up in case one just doesn’t do it for you that day. I find I’m most productive with at least three things in the works so I can move back and forth, and having one that feels like play—like a treat or a reward for “working” hard—is a great motivation to slog through email.
On Friday we’ll have one last post on studio play, this time with some of the answers that were less common but every bit as wonderful for bringing a hit of happy into the workspace. See you then!
Ricë is the author of Living the Creative Life, Creative Time and Space, and Destination Creativity. She also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.
One great way to take a break from work is with Gina Rossi Armfield’s No Excuses Art Journaling. You can take a break to work on your art journal for as long or as little as you want with these prompts!
MORE RESOURCES FOR MIXED MEDIA ARTISTS