Friday, August 12, 2016

Processes: The playful element in creativity - importance of “Playing”

Sometimes, in my workshops, I use the phrase: the playful element in creativity or try being playful. So what do I mean by that?

Do you remember how you played on the beach, ran your hands through the sand to make patterns, splashed the water or played in the park, running, jumping and leaping in the wild belief that you could eventually fly. Do you remember pretending and creating needed objects out of discarded junk? What do you remember about playing as a child? Take time to think about it and write down some of your thoughts. Even those of you who “never had a childhood” I bet you had active imaginations creating scenarios, stories and faraway places where you would rather have been.  

Bring out the child.

Each one of us still carries with us the child we once were. There are the memories and the feelings of childhood. Remember the pure joy of play: there was no responsibility: just time and space to play. What were you like as a child? What colours did you like? Or what toys or games did you enjoy? 

We all can remember being:
·         Curious or ashamed
·         Sharing or selfish
·         Playful or earnest
·         Angry or happy
·         Rebellious or submissive
·         … you can add in your words of what you were like

What is play?

Play is an activity which involves either fun or spontaneity; filled with exploration and experimentation; and it might involve chance. As children, risk taking might come more naturally because we didn’t think of the consequences or the outcomes and now being risk averse hampers our ability to let go and ‘play’ again. There is a freedom in play and normally it doesn’t include work. Games and scenarios evolve; some have rules but others are open ended and full of possibilities. There are no mistakes in play or mistakes can be easily remedied in play by add-libbing. Play may involve role playing or use of similes. 

Games and play involves:
·         Either just Yourself
·         Or Yourself and “the other”
·         Or as in creativity Yourself and creative materials

When you come to my creative workshops I want to encourage you to play with different materials and ideas. I hope that you will feel lost in time and space for the few hours you are here with me.  Stepping out of your comfort zone to risk making mistakes, exploring new possibilities, experimenting with what is at hand just like a child would if they were given the chance.

Why is play important?

Some people have forgotten how to play, others never played and still others were not given the opportunity to play with different creative materials. It is important to find your playful child again and it is important to enjoy play and have fun. You control the possibilities and anything goes. Nothing is too wild to try. Play is a form of entertainment and its relaxing.

Play helps your development as you learn new things, new possibilities, and new ways of doing things. Through the playful element you find new inspiration and break through creative blocks. Being too serious is very adult but it doesn’t serve us well to always be the adult. There are times when we need to take ourselves less seriously… and PLAY.

The importance of the playful element in creativity helps you discover or stumble upon new inspiration. So doing “silly” or playful things should be welcomed into your creative experience.

Here are some verbs to inspire playful art:
doodling, scribbling, splashing, spraying, blowing, flicking, cutting, chopping, dotting, gluing, creating coloured dust, mixing, shaping, colouring, grading, layering, finger-painting, making marks and more.

Play is joyful, peaceful and soulful.  It fosters relaxation. In creativity new seeds of inspiration emerge through play and per chance it becomes something new and unintended. Similes are seen. Metaphors are observed. It is then that you may want to take these seeds of inspiration and “work into them.”

"The playful element" helps you extend your creativity beyond your expectation. It is also used as a device in the journey of self-discovery. 
"The playful element" is one of the many creative processes I encourage in my workshops.

A Warm Smile,
Morag Noffke

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