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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Finding Time? to Play

One of the most difficult things for me to do is to find the time to PLAY.
Like most people, I can't seem to find enough time to really Play with the materials that I have. It's hard to experiment when the time is so precious. I feel guilty for not accomplishing anything. Its been ingrained into me that I must have something to show for my work; a completed project (or at least a good plan). Otherwise, I've been taught, my time has been wasted.

Here's my schedule for the most part. I work 39 hours every week at my job (which is a great job, really). I don't work most weekends but when we're busy, I may work a Saturday here and there. Only around Christmas holiday time, do I work later than 7pm on weeknights. This schedule allows me to work on artwork/creative projects on weekends. The evenings on some weekdays are available but really, I'm so brain-dead after work, I have little creative energy. Besides, those evenings are easily put to use planning what I can do on the weekend!
Unlike a lot of people, the TIME isn't the problem. It's accepting the fact that I don't have to produce anything that seems to restrict me. I haven't quite accepted the fact that I don't have to finish a project in one sitting. Or that I even have to work on a Something at all. Why can't I just sit down and scribble? Make random notes on a page? Dabble with new ink colors? I think it might be because then I'd throw them out!

Yup, I think that's the root of the problem. I don't like to experiment too much because I'm wasting material, not time. I pay for all this. I bought it. I didn't buy it to throw it away. My frugal nature is surfacing and telling my creatively playful side to be more practical. Reuse, recycle...it's being ingrained in us. Resources are not unlimited...is that why I can't throw away a scrap of paper before asking myself if I could possibly use that for another SomeThing?

I was raised in a small house with 4 other siblings. I got hand-me-down clothes and toys. We were taught not to waste anything because there wasn't a whole lot of extra money to replace anything. I wouldn't say we were poor but we had the attitude of poor people. We didn't need food stamps or reduced price lunches at school...I mean, those were the poor. We were okay. We were taught to use our imaginations and we played that way. We also learned crafts from our Mom and her friends. We learned to produce things in our spare time. I remember making Pom-Pom animals and Christmas ornaments; Paper chains and flowers; we carved the soap bars and painted them with watercolor paint. We did all sorts of little craft projects but we always had a finished project to hold in your hand at the end of it. I don't think I've grown out of that. Or the fact that we found a use for everything...cardboard boxes and odd foam pieces were the basis for many PlaySets for dolls and action figures. Everything could be made into something else, rather than thrown away.

Now it's starting to sound like an episode of Hoarders.
It wasn't. I can describe it best as Alton Brown's Golden Rule: No Uni-Taskers in the kitchen! Everything should have mulitple uses no matter how imaginative the use. Disposable meant "use it till it fell apart due to overuse".

I'm starting to think that is the root of my problem. I don't want to Play with my materials because it's a waste of materials. I have to get past this part. If I don't experiement with the stuff, I'm never going to realize it's maximum potential and thereby CREATE a UNI-TASKER! The more I know about the types of ink I have, the more uses I can find for them and therefore, I can get more use out of them. Every product made has some sort of waste associated with it's creation. I need to accept that this is part of that "waste". My experimental play time is the part of the factory that Mike Rowe usually ends up cleaning with a shovel and a gas mask.

When I started this article, I thought the problem was Time. But it really isn't, the problem is getting over my inhibitions and freeing myself to waste a little. It's really going to be hard for me because I'm always trying to figure out how to re-use something. I'm the girl who starts putting plastic WalMart bags on her garbage cans to re-use them. (Since I always forget to bring my fabric re-usable shopping bags with me!) When I heard you could use that plastic to make Slider Cards, I was estastic. Another use for the plastic bag!

Hopefully, I can work on this. I think maybe a Smash Journal might help my therapy. Take all that "waste that might someday have a use" that's lying around and put it all together in a journal.
(smile) Yeah, baby, that's the ticket, right there...

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