The Importance of Play

Recently, my 8-year-old niece came to visit for what has become an annual week of "Camp Waldheim." (We call our home Waldheim which is German for Wood Home. We are the Woods living next to the woods in a wood home. It fits.) Since the beginning of COVID, I have read to H over FaceTime. We have read 14 novels including all the Harry Potter books. Camp Waldheim is a time when we can be interact in person, play with art supplies, take interesting field trips, and check out the natural world.  This year's activities included going to NYC by train to the newly opened Harry Potter Store for shopping and butter beer,  tie-dying shirts, marbling paper using shaving cream, bookbinding (a character in the Inkheart series we are reading is a book binder), going to the zoo and local gardens, making cards, and hoprocking in Naaman's Creek in the Arden Forest. (Hoprocking is what the natives call it. The rest of the population argues that it is rock-hopping).​

I am not recounting all this to brag, though the week is worthy of superlatives. I mention this week because I want to say how difficult it was for me to take time off from my art making/selling enterprise to make this week happen. I had just gotten my momentum going on the website. I had ideas for painting--that I need to get after because my November show will be here before I know it. As much as I wanted to spend time with my niece, I wanted to honor my art making. But here is the thing. I did both. My "playtime" was fruitful for me as an artist. I got to work with new materials. Shaving cream as a medium? Who knew? I played with color ways. I explored the natural world. I recharged my batteries. Now I am back in Waldheim Studio (I don't have the luxury of a separate art-making space) and I am  energetic and ready to move forward with my ideas. How do you play? How do you recharge? It is a dialog worth having.