Back blogging after a break! I have been really busy, showing work, giving a talk in Germany and organising workshops.
I really must thank Ruth Geldard for her great piece capturing the feeling of the artist-to-artist workshop I organised recently with Rosie James. I hesitate to say “led” because the idea is that these workshops are non-tutor led and are about making stuff in a peer-to-peer environment.
Actually, less about making stuff and more about playing, something I did again in a Dover Arts Development Spontaneous Creativity workshop yesterday. The first edition of this workshop took place last year and, like this year, was very much driven by DAD co-director Joanna Jones.
I did a “spontaneous drawing” on a long piece of Chinese paper, as I listened to and watched the improvised music and movement that was going on around me. Ruth mentioned anxiety of the social kind in her blog – my feeling was more like panic initially at the thought of singing, playing an instrument or feigning dance: the very thought of it brought back the horrors of eurythmics at school, failed ballet classes, inadequate violin playing and awful singing. Maybe next year I will try and expunge those memories, but this time, doing an “unplanned” drawing was my way of being spontaneous and of playing.
As Francois (workshop leader) said, it’s not that we should permanently lead a life of play, rather that playing is important for learning, as much for adults as it is for children. Through play we can make and deepen connections with people we know as well as those we don’t. The workshop gave everyone permission to play, something that we don’t always allow time for, although I think artists do allow themselves to play, but maybe not enough always. There is an intimate link between play, creativity and discovering something new.
Play also nurtures trust: an unexpected outcome of the workshop was a collaborative painting – Joanna started it and others just added to it without being explicitly invited to do so. How often do we let anyone add marks to our work? Challenge our authorship or belief in the authenticity of our own work?