Balance is a tricky thing to manage in life sometimes. Too much work and too little play equals stress. Too much play and too little work equals boredom, maybe. It depends on your definition of work and play.
Work for me is defined as anything that becomes a chore. Laundry. Weeding. Cleaning toilets. Ironing. Mopping. Dusting. Ok, any kind of cleaning, even in my studio.
Play defined are actions and non actions that feel light and easy. Reading. Walking. Watching a sunset. Listening to music.
I see a pattern here, it's not really about the act but the feeling. Sometimes my work in the studio; throwing clay, under glazing, sculpting, hand building or sgraffito can be both work and play.
If I sit down at the wheel with the pressure of production or a show looming over my head, it becomes work very fast. I get impatient, frustrated and stressed. If I get out my clay with no end in mind, whether it's throwing or hand building, it becomes a playful adventure full of welcome surprises.
Over the last few weeks, I've spent a lot of time on my laptop writing blogs and media releases, filling out event calendar forms, setting up social media sites with new content, organizing contact lists, sending out emails, editing and scheduling. I am doing volunteer public relations work for a local open studios group. I'm glad to be able to use my writing and media skills to help promote art and artists in and around my own neighborhood. BUT it is definitely work.
That's why this week, after a big surge of serious pr work, it was time for play.
I went out and about. Walked around a colorful store filled with papers and gadgets and boxes. Played around with colors and shapes. Slapped a slab on my rolling table and let it just be the shape it wound up. I pressed a placemat into the clay and wacked it with a meat tenderizer. Then I rolled it up and stuck it together unevenly.
Oh my...was that fun!!!
Will it turn out into a cool sculpture? I don't know and I'm not going to think about it. The success or failure of the piece doesn't matter. Because I got what I needed.
Playing around... just what I needed!