Monday, June 13, 2011


by Patty Lakinsmith

Lately I've been a little too caught up with To Do List items, and my creative soul has been famished. In addition to polishing up some decidedly rusty lampworking skills, I've been having some playtime in my studio and have been making all kinds of bead caps using copper and brass. Nothing fancy, just good old soldering, punching and dapping, and you know what? I found it very difficult to stop. I tried all sorts of things - some just didn't work out at all (like trying to solder a fine silver bezel onto a brass back), and others may work out eventually.


I had no real agenda with most of these (that's the point of play, right?), and found myself almost hypnotized by the flame, and the predictable changes that solder goes through as it heats and finally melts. There's also something soothing about repetitive tasks while your mind is busy working out other issues in the background.

I'm love love LOVing the richness of copper and brass as its rendered by the flame, and captured with renaissance wax. It just looks as if it has a story to tell.

I found an interesting read on the value of creative play, that makes me think I should try harder to get some of this into my normal routine. Here are the main points from the article:

1. Play can inspire you to think differently.
2. Play can bring you peace and joy, stress reduction, and ultimately increased longevity.
3. Play can increase your creativity and enhance your energy levels.
4. Play can let you experiment without fear of negative consequences.
5. Play can make you a person that others enjoy being around.

I can certainly attest to most of these benefits. My husband knows when I've been away from the studio too long, and (bless his heart, 'cuz I can get super cranky) will encourage me to get my fix. It would seem that adults in creative professions like architecture can attest to this idea too.

When is the last time you played just for the fun of it? Is it hard for you to play without a specific goal in mind?


Alice said...

Oh goodness I don't remember the last time I played just for the fun of playing. I guess it's time.

MÂȘ Reyes said...

Te ha quedado precioso. Besos

Jen V. said...

I think the hardest part for me about playing is being afraid of waste. How much of my experiment am I going to have to toss into a never-use pile because they aren't quite right. But, I have to say, that I'm getting better. In my last class with Barbara Lewis she actually gave us a lot of time to play and the freedom to really mess stuff up without feeling guilty about messing up a bead or two (or 10). By the end of the day I was running around the classroom completely elated with my results and didn't feel even slightly bad about the pile of yucks that I took home along with the goodies! Bottom line is that I think it takes practice to play. :)

stacilouise said...

Play is what we could all use more of! We need to slow down, try new things, almost like children do, with wonder at any outcome. Us grown ups can be so uptight! LOL!

Your play session was very productive. Those bead caps turned out really awesome. I love the organic nature, yet the patterns throw in some modern touches.

I am certainly happiest with a torch in my hand. Nothing like it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, how I miss rolling around on the floor, laughing uncontrollably... Loving the bead caps!

mairedodd said...

your work is so wonderful! i love that colors that the torch reveals as well... i am very overdue for a session of play - hoping to do that soon... and i am so very glad that you did!

Patty said...

Jen, you are so right! I'm the same way, thinking too often about how much my mistakes might cost. Nice part about messing around with the brass and copper is that it wasn't too expensive.

Thanks for the kind words, everyone!

MaCarroll Beads said...

I just love those!!! Copper is so much fun!!! ... and it carries an addictive quality.....

Danielle Olivyea Christian said...

I could play all day with a spool of silver wire, pliers and a hammer. And yes, waste is a concern, but you can usually salvage just about any mistake made with wire.

But I truly enjoy sketching out my ideas first. Something about watching the plan come to life entices me.

Beautiful bead caps, by the way!!

Pretty Things said...

Those are incredible!

D'Arsie Manzella said...

This a great reminder to let go and goof off for a while! Your gorgeous results are inspiring~

Shaiha said...

I think that I will just play tomorrow. I had already planned on spending the time in my studio so why not. I just got in some new copper wire and I want to figure out some charms...

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