24 June 2008

Creative Play

June has been an overloaded month. Professional commitments, following one after the other, have kept me hopping. The month is drawing to a close and I am exhausted. I have a few more days and then I have two blessed weeks off.

Knowing the craziness of my schedule, I have been practicing all the time management and healthy living skills I know. I've been eating well, exercising, scheduling some quiet time to laze about, asking for help, and temporarily dropping my standards. But on Sunday, I learned something new: that time for creative play--even in the midst of a hectic schedule--can provide an energy boost.

Sunday was a very scattered day. I slept in (until 10:00 a.m.!), ate, got dressed, and completed various chores. I planned my day around watching the Spain/Italy quarterfinal at 2:45 p.m. (Hey! No matter how busy I am, I must have my weekly footie allotment.) After extra time and penalty kicks, which Spain won (Viva Espana!), I headed back upstairs, feeling like a slug after having not really moved from the couch for the duration of the game.

I sat around in my sluggish state waiting for a late dinner because neither of us were hungry. Then I had a Thought! (Given my mental and physical exhaustion, having a Thought! was momentous.) Why not go play in my studio?

So I headed to my studio with the intent to play. That meant that projects currently in progress were verboten. I wasn't to finish anything or even start anything with an intention of finishing it. Instead, I was just to find simple pleasure in cutting up fabric and sewing it together.

I paged through books and riffled through my stash hoping to find something fun, easy, and inspirational. And then I found a bag containing my play project from a couple years ago. My plan was to make various freeform quilt parts and then figure out how they would go together. I didn't get very far before I packaged it up, but one thing I did have was a pile of precut fabric strips in copper and teal and plum and moss and taupes. I pulled out the strips and began sewing them together.

I sewed them together using varying seam allowances for a free-form look and created this little strip set before dinner. But, more importantly, as I went upstairs to chop veggies for salad, I felt more energized and excited than I had all day. (Well, not including the excitement I felt when Spain won!)

This was a revelation to me. Usually when I'm busy I don't make time to sew or play. My assumption is that my creative energy lies dormant during busy times. Instead, I learned that it is there, beneath the surface, ready to be tapped.

I have a few more busy days ahead of me. If I have time, I'll play a little more with this project. If not, that's okay too. But I'll try to remember during future busy stretches that creative play can be energizing, even when I think I'm too exhausted.

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