Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I Can Play, Too!

Mono-print on cotton with ProChemical Inks
Children have the most unusual ideas about appropriate activities for their parents. Our children always have busy weekends.  Last weekend, as a gesture of feinted concern, my son asked, "What are you doing today?" 

I proudly responded, "I have a play date."
He scrunched his nose, bucked his eyes, and with raised brows declared, "You are too old for a play date!"

Every artist should make time to play with their friends.  You may wonder what is an artist's "play date".  It is an opportunity for like minded artists to come together to share ideas, techniques, and processes.   A play date is an opportunity to explore possibilities with the support of others who aren't afraid to try something new.   It is an chance to expand your artistic process.

Play dates are especially important in a depressed economy.  When an artist is having difficulty selling their work funds are limited for intensive workshops and professional development.  Without these opportunities, an artist runs the risk of becoming stagnant.  Play dates allow the artist to learn from other artists working in the same media.

Mono-print on cotton with Setacolor paints
How does a play date work?  It's very simple.  You get together some friends. Bring some toys to their studio. And after playing for hours you eat together.   In my case, my friends were 5 members of Professional Art Quilters Alliance (PAQA), which is based in Illinois.  We decided before hand to play with mono-printing on fabric.  So our toys were inks, paints, fabrics, and tools from our personal stashes. During my younger play dates, we always tired of the game we came to play and thought of something new to do.  This is also the case today.  We soon tired of mono-printing and began exploring stamping.  Finally, the youngest member of the group anxiously announced, "I have an hour before I have to pick-up my kids!"

That was the signal for the best part of the play date - LUNCH!  Each person brought something to share.  Like most health conscious artists we had a balanced lunch of fresh, organic salad made with lettuce from our hostess's garden accompanied with homemade bread and followed by three different decadent desserts. (OK, you're right! The meal wasn't really balanced.)  But it allowed us to ruminate about life the way only a bunch of creative ladies know how.

I hope you are in no way like my son.  Don't ever think you are too old to play!  I know I can't wait until our next  4 hours of artistic fun. Who are you going to call to schedule a  play date? 

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