Playtime for Quilters
I’ve been thinking about play.
I’ve been visiting my daughter and her family in Hong Kong, where they work at Hong Kong International School. The lower primary school finished a new building over the summer.
What is knocking my socks off is how the educational areas of this building are designed for children aged 4 to 7, and it’s all about play.
The philosophy is that play is as important as anything young children do, perhaps the most important thing they do.
Every space is designed with little kids in mind. Everywhere they turn, play is encouraged.
Kids are moved to be curious, to experiment and to explore. In this way they are learning to solve problems, to improvise and to create. I can’t tell you how this is inspiring me.
Look at this bulletin board from the kindergarten area.
When we play, we learn to…
• Invent and create
•Use our imagination
•Figure things out
And that’s just the beginning. The wisdom of the bulletin board continues in another area:
•Use math concepts
•Plan and design
What does this have to do with quilting?
A quilter who is willing to play makes the best discoveries. A quilter who invests the time to explore, to solve problems and to take risks? That’s the quilter who will make something drop-dead fabulous that has never been made before.
My quilt Hot Mess Christmas is an example of creative play from start to finish. The blocks are from an exchange, where every house maker played around to create something unique. I played with various settings.
I was curious about getting the candy canes to work between the houses.
I experimented to figure out how to decorate trees with selvage color windows.
I played around with it.
I asked questions like “what would happen if” and “would it work if I tried…?”
I solved problems.
I created something that’s never been made before.
Do you know what a high that gives? I hope you’ve experienced it too! But if you haven’t, let me tell you, you should!
When I first started to understand the importance of play, I felt like I was wasting time. But let me ask you: Do we think of childhood as wasted time? Do we think of it as a necessary evil just to get to the real good times of adulthood? Absolutely not. We think of it as a most wondrous and special experience. Remember this as you mess around and experiment and imagine your way to amazing quilts.
Now go out and play!