Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Power of Play

Right now I am finishing Steven Johnson's Where Good Ideas Come From, a book that I read about in Helen Carnac's blog. As an artist with both art and psychology degrees, I read a lot of books and articles about ideas and creativity that are written from a range of perspectives: business, art and design, psychology, biology, and spirituality. In the past few months I have read Warren Berger's Glimmer; Norman Doidge's The Brain that Changes Itself; Matthew E. May's In Pursuit of Elegance; Chip and Dan Heath's Switch and Made to Stick, and more. Yesterday I found Laura Seargeant Richardson's article Play Power: How to Turn Around Our Creativity Crisis in the Atlantic online. According to the article, American children have difficulty with ambiguity and complexity. It's no wonder when school systems across North America are cutting art and music programs. Many parents are over-programming their children so that they have no time to just play. The world needs more MacGyvers and people who can come up with 50 alternative uses for a pencil.

Yesterday I dug out my mosaic tiles and started playing. Before I knew it, ideas were flowing and I grabbed a pad of paper to capture them. I'd been reluctant to play with the tiles for fear that I might spoil a cherished childhood memory of playing with my Aunt Erika's tiles. Thankfully the good memory remains intact and now I'll pull out the tiles more often.

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