I could hike Circle Bluff again.
Or I could swim in Blue Hole.
Or I could lay claim to a hammock.
But I want to do art, I say.
I used to do art.
Crocheting, cross-stitching, soapmaking, scrapbooking, stamping, quilting.
Painting–not so much.
But doing art takes money.
And there’s the clutter factor.
Fabric bolts and scraps and papers of all patterns and designs and glues and threads and scissors and yarns and raffia and oils and stamps and inks and rulers and cutting boards.
And these days, I don’t have time to do that kind of art.
So now I pretty much stick to making word art–sewing scraps into sentences.
But today I want to do art.
I can swim later–if I’m brave enough to don my suit.
Freud recognized the importance of creation and mastery in childhood:
Should we not look for the first traces of imaginative activity as early as in childhood? The child’s best-loved and most intense occupation is with his play or games. Might we not say that every child at play behaves like a creative writer, in that he creates a world of his own, or rather rearranges the things of his world in a new way which pleases him?
The child’s serious re-creation can become the adult’s playful recreation. ~ Ellen Langer in Mindfulness, pp. 63-64
I’m not a big fan of Freud, but he might be on to something here.
Anyway, I don’t know what to expect.
My eyes land on the sign.
“Look around,” Kathy, our instructor, says.
So I look around and wonder if I still have time to catch the hikers, but I take a seat on a stool.
Kathy hands me a tiny square of copper. I stare at it, unsure of what kind of design to press into it. Finally I make some squiggly lines that are supposed to look like a river.
Kathy shows us various watercolor techniques, and I get lost. When and what do with the salt? Am I squeezing too much water out of the Niji brush? Not enough? Dabbing too much color? Is this supposed to be wet on wet or wet on dry? Do I circle these words for my black-out poetry with pencil or pen? What? I’m not supposed to use the marker? I need to use acrylic paint? Okay, I’ll use brown. But the black marker will peek through. What glue am I supposed to use? Did I do this right?
I’m a little tense.
But I start to relax and realize time is whooshing, and I probably won’t have time to swim.
I’m not as focused on the product as I am on the journey.
. . . our outcome orientation tends to deaden a playful approach. ~Ellen Langer in Mindfulness, p. 64
I choose mats and paper scraps, arrange and glue.
I toss several pieces of ragged-edged paper as I try to write “see deep” with a stick dipped in ink. I’m a bit frustrated because it won’t come out just right.
“You can’t do it wrong,” says Kathy.
Finally, I’ve made a piece of “art,” flawed.
I’ve heard that Amish women purposely weave a “mistake” into their quilts, because only God is perfect. I don’t know if that is true.
Before I go, I collect some scraps and “create” a gift for Grace.
Others do this, too. Salvage scraps and throwaways and rearrange, create gifts for others.
In the end, I realize I’ve played.
And I’ve had fun.
Hanging out with folks from The High Calling today as they discuss the book, Mindfulness, by Ellen Langer.
Check it out.