Play is vital to the manifestation of anything good.
Walter Benjamin emphasizes play as being necessary for “ontogenetic” maturation, or physical maturation. If I consider my creative process a being with growing potential that I need to help develop and mold, then by all means, let’s play!
For me, play begins as a curiosity. For instance, the other morning I wondered what would happen if I froze a dead beetle I found, if the ice would preserve it and for how long. Then, how long would it take to melt? Before that, I wondered how long it would take for a dandelion to disperse its seeds through a bowl of wine. (The wine dried up before the dandelion lost all of its seeds, just in case you want to know).
These questions, for me, are blind, spontaneous, and innocent of reasoning, with no conceptual motive I can gather at the given time. I have to think about what it means and says to the masses or even says to myself much after a project is completed.
I think many artists (and scientists) work this way. And it has taken me a very long time to accept that this is okay.
A few images from my most recent playtime with water, trinkets from my grandmother’s house, dead bugs, and the freezer. I froze these objects in jars then set them out in the sun on my deck. My plan was to time and document how long the ice took to melt and how the trinkets and bugs would react to their new found freedom. Sadly, I had to go to class before they melted, so I refroze the pieces and will try again on another sunny day.
The side view of my frozen trinkets and bugs sitting on my deck ledge.
My frozen doily. Like a stitched snowflake.