The Art of Play / by Stephanie Miller

One of the most important skills for an artist is being able to play. Getting to know each different art media is an important part of mastering it. When I approach a new media I begin by just using it and testing it's bounds. I try it on different papers or combined with other materials. If it is a clay or sculptural media I stretch it, blend it and try making different shapes to help know what it can or can't do. Much of this process is asking questions. I wonder if this clay can make tall, skinny shapes. I wonder what this looks like on dark colored paper. I wonder what would happen if I mix this with water.

This idea of play is the genesis of our studio Play Dates. My friend Jacqueline Myers-Cho and I offer monthly events at our studio where we invite people to come and play with art materials. We intentionally didn't call them workshops, though we do offer help and suggestions when participants ask, we don't teach. We want people, whether they consider themselves artistic or not, to have the experience of playing with art materials. So far we have offered Play Dates that included coloring, print-making, clay and paper pulp sculptures, and we even made party hats.  For more information on our Play Dates you can visit the events section on this website or visit my Facebook page where I  post upcoming Play Dates.