When I was a kid, the day after Christmas would find me on the floor before a pile of Legos, a Lite Brite, or maybe a brand new box of crayons. Not a care in the world, playing. Trying out new ideas, stretching my mind, learning. Of course, I had no such goals — I was simply at play, delighting in possibilities.
Now I’m not a kid, and the cares of the world swarm around me. Yet greenwood carving provides me with all sorts of opportunities to play, and I find myself refreshed with a childlike exuberance that quiets the buzzing.
Fitting play into our lives is important for many reasons and there is all sorts of research on the idea. If you approach at least some of your time in the workshop with a sense of play, you’ll reap benefits in terms of what you produce and in terms of satisfaction. You don’t really even have to try. It comes naturally as it does for a child.
For me, the fun and exploration begins with finding material. Walking through little pockets of woodlands with the excuse of looking for fallen trees and branches is an adventure. Finding something is a bonus. If you have a fun-loving dog or child to take along, you’ll find even more inspiration.
Play in a sketchbook. Let your mind go free with (sometimes) absurd ideas that may lead to something wonderful, or may not. The paper and pencil act like an extension of your brain, leading to all sorts of fun connections. It’s about drawing, not the drawing.
Try some of these ideas in the workshop. Explore them with a sense of excitement, fully aware that they may not work out as expected. Some of the possibilities might be whimsical. I wrote a post a few years ago with some toy ideas.
And, of course, playmates are nice. Friends, axes, knives, wood chips. Wishing you all a happy 2021 with more playdate opportunities!