Workshop, Playshop, Passion

More and more artists aren’t teaching “workshops” anymore, they are teaching “playshops,” because work is so odious that we don’t want to be involved with it in our free time.

I love play. It feels freeing and effortless. I also love work. Work results in some sort of good, or change, or results, often interesting or at least useful. Calling a day of learning “play” instead of “work” seems to diminish both terms.

“Set a table in your garden,” Quinn McDonald © 2012, watercolor pencils on paper, collage.

Work is honorable and doesn’t have to mean suffering. Work indicates that the results are not gained in a way that is fast, fun, or free. Work is best done deliberately, with full concentration and effort. It requires an investment of energy and time. That’s what makes it satisfying.

We often say our work is our passion. And while we think of passion as unchecked emotion, the Latin root word of passion is pati, which means suffering.

Sometimes work is hard, sometimes it causes us to suffer. But that doesn’t make it bad. Some of the hardest times of life finish up with some of the best learning, best results, and best ideas. Hard work, both physical and mental, can feel painful while it feels like growth.

So I’m going to continue teaching workshops. Where people show courage by working intuitively, writing deeply, and speaking their truth. We’ll also laugh and be astonished at the results, because hard work feels good.

-Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach who loves her work.

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10 responses to “Workshop, Playshop, Passion

  1. I fully agree. I love work and I love play. As a quilt teacher, I teach workshops, where the students work, but like you and I, thoroughly enjoy that “work”. But a playshop is an interesting concept. Not to replace the workshop, rather a different kind of shop–to get together and do something creative, lighthearted, and easy.

  2. When I head into my studio with nothing in particular in mind, that’s when I play with different things like tape, coloured/patterned papers, string, whatever I find in the various boxes or stashed on a shelf. I find that a few hours of concentrated play time gives me ideas to flesh out, perhaps even some of the play items have found there way onto a mixed media piece. Play time is invaluable, but I do focus when I am playing and tune out the telephone and any other interuptions that might derail me. Now, when I go into the studio with a mission, I concentrate even more, but I still have fun and thoroughly enjoy my time to the point where I lose track of time completely. I have looked up at the clock to find that it is long past midnight, shrugged my shoulders and thought “oh well.” Working hard at work or play is not something to cause me despair, rather the time allows me to grow and challenge myself to come up with more creative things. I find that even if I am doing something completely different, my thoughts veer over to artistic pursuits and I end up jotting down ideas to work on. This morning while doing some kumihimo braiding I got the idea to work it into a mixed media piece and thoughts came to me on how to make up a special portfolio of these pieces. At home, work or play, artistic thoughts will always find their way to get through to me.

    • It sounds like your brain and your studio are both perfect places for ideas to send down roots. Whether it’s work or play, you are ready to do what shows up, and that’s wonderful. Isn’t kumihimo amazing? The patterns are so amazing.

  3. I agree with you Quinn.

    Carol great “play on words” and terms.

    Politically correct (making it palatable for spoon feeding to the masses) can be so very funny if not taken seriously, but so very ridiculous usually.

    • Carol’s examples were wonderful. I began to think that the guy who needs to repair my block fence better not have “brickplay” on his business card, and that the restoration work in my mouth is certainly not dentalplay.

  4. We’ll have to call clock mechanisms clockplays, because it is too onerous to consider the passing of time.

    And artwork simply will not do, although a body of play does not make sense, or sound particularly professional.

    We must use netplaying nstead of networking, of course.

    One can go on and on. But I like your take on good, honest work.

    • Oh, Carol, these words are such excellent choices to show the importance of work in our lives. Thank you so much for giving them to us all to think about us. All of them are gems.

  5. Play or work, they’re both shops! An alternative might be a worklibrary, although I suppose you’d have to work hard quietly.

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