There is an old Sanskrit word, lila, which means play. Richer than our word, it means divine play, the play of creation, destruction, and re-creation, the folding and unfolding of the cosmos. Lila, free and deep, is both the delight and enjoyment of this moment… [and] may be the simplest thing there is – spontaneous, childish, disarming. But as we grow and experience the complexities of life, it may also be the most difficult and hard-won achievement imaginable, and its coming to fruition is a kind of homecoming to our true selves. [emphasis mine]
-Stephen Nachmanovitch, in Free Play: Improvisation in Life and the Arts
Free Play is a wonderfully helpful and inspiring reference that I must recommend to anyone who has ever struggled with the gift and burden it is to have a human mind. When I first read it several years ago, I had one of those “Ah ha!” moments upon which I realized that the most I could possibly wish for in my life and work would be to practice that kind of free play – that joyful doing that is unburdened by criticism, by doubt, and by fear. All other things being equal, I think that if I can find that feeling everyday of my life, I’ll be a pretty happy camper.
I chose the name FREEPLAYCRAFT for this blog to pay homage to that book and because I like how there are so many meanings you can tease out of the word FREE. Unrestrained, independent, liberated, having no cost… these are qualities that are important to me and that shape the form of my craft. My work is predominantly made from supposedly exhausted items – other people’s garbage, old clothing, old furniture. FREE for me is liberating the materials of my craft from capitalism’s tight description of what is useful and beautiful, and not being constrained by what the “intended” function of an object might be. FREE is a reflection of the fact that it’s not at all necessary to have wads of cash to spend on “proper” art tools or materials, that salvaged goods are everywhere, plentiful, free for the taking, and often offer much richer opportunities for creativity in their very limitations.
The emerging REPLAY in the name is to emphasize the recycling, reusing, and recreating that I do when working with secondhand materials. FREEPLAYCRAFT is also an imperative, a call action when all three words are read as verbs. Keeping this blog is both a promise to myself and place to record this playful process of homecoming to my true self. It is also a good reminder to not get so bogged down in analyzing my life that I forget to live it. As this dialogue with myself evolves, my hope is that you may find something in it that inspires conversation with your own self, and that in turn we might inspire and converse with one another.
Now then, with this business of introductions aside, can I just say that it is so lovely to see you?