Playing with words

Children play; adults usually don’t.  At least, not in the same way.  Adults play an instrument, or tennis, but they don’t often ‘play’ like children do, to learn, to find out what happens if….., which is a shame. Children play to learn, not because they don’t have proper jobs or a hundred chores to do before breakfast like grown ups do.  To play is to learn, and learning is a serious business. To learn to paint, you need to play around with the materials, not feel pressurised to come up with a finished painting every time.  To be a writer, you have to play around with words, follow them and see where they take you.

So why don’t we play?  Perhaps as adults we’re expected to be competent, and we don’t like feeling silly.  Playing to learn can look silly, and it doesn’t always lead to perfect results.  We like to get things wrong in a discreet and dignified way.

I decided long ago that if I was afraid of looking silly, I’d never dare do anything at all.    But learning to play with silver is particularly challenging because I’m not used to messing with something that’s so expensive to waste!  I’m making progress, but the cost of silver is inhibiting and I’ve got a pot of failed unfired pieces to chop up and reconstitute if I can.

This was the result of playing with string, silicon, resin and silver clay.  Uncharted territory for me, so the first attempt failed but I was happier with this one.  It’s interesting to work with new materials, learning the craft (how to handle the materials) as well as the art (design elements).

Me, an artist?  Nah, I’m just playing at it!

Only three weeks to go until the Dinghy Show at Alexander Palace – always a nice family show.  There’s a bit of a party on to launch my book on the Saturday afternoon so I hope there’s a bottle or two of fizz involved.  The struggle of working all day every day on ‘Go Green’ seems a long time ago now, but the anticipation of that glass of fizz and a bit of a buzz kept me going when I was struggling with how to draw sea squirts and write about sea defences in a fun, fascinating way.

Hope to see you there!


1 thought on “Playing with words”

  1. Nick Cross says:

    But that’s so nice! Amazing what you can do with a bit of string.

    I only play with words at present – my family indulge in all sorts of crafts (quilling is the new craze), but I’m afraid that I’m one of those people who needs a purpose to do something. But I think I might have been like that as a child too!

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