it’s a funny thing, when I post pics of me working, typically at a kitchen table, while all kinds of things are being created, bags of clay everywhere, tools thrown about, a real mess; the most common response i get is “I want to come play!”. I’ve heard this for years. It makes me laugh a little because of the word “play”. Am I playing? It shoots me back to a memory I had visiting my Aunt Maureen for the first time in years, in Boston, with my cousins and my little daughter Lainey about seven years ago. I had been gone a long time, so it was somewhat surreal being back among family again, and I was nervous about it. My aunt Maureen was always the strict aunt, and memories of her brushing my hair so hard my scalp would bleed came rushing back like a slap. We entered her impeccable home in Brighton, and as we sat down to dinner she said, “so what do you do?”. I proceeded to explain I was an artist, and I worked with clay. At which point, I got cut off, and she said, “so basically, you play with dirt? You mean like you did when you were a kid?”, she said this while she made a face, and maybe I detected a snuff that came out when she spoke. My cousin shot her a glare and apologized to me with her eyes. My little daughter jumped up and said, “she has a website!”, even knowing at this young age that I was being insulted and was trying to make me more legitimate. I quickly changed the subject. I bet she never did art in her life. I wonder if she played. Did she forget how?
Since then, when I hear, I want to come play when I post my work, or hear ‘you’re always playing with clay’, I do this tiny step back. Am I playing? Am I trying to pay bills? Am I working? Am I creating something from a deeper place within me that longs to play? I mean, my work is whimsical. It is meant to make people smile, even laugh on occasion, so what’s the big freaking deal about the word “play”? There was a time when I lived to hear, do you want to come out and play? Maybe I need to find that little girl again, and just go out and play. Nourish my human spirit. Things we forget to do, the simplest things. Play. I guess I’m lucky that I get to “Play” every day! I hope everybody else out there gets to play every day. And better even, get paid for it. Cheers to Playing! (and working doing what you love)