The Creative Stretch: Be Playful

Day 4 prompt of The Creative Stretch was “be playful” and you all know that’s something that falls right in my wheelhouse. But there was a twist … Andrea and Minette invited us to play in a way we normally wouldn’t. I am very experimental in my art, combining media wantonly and following all of my ”what if’s” without any restraint…so what was something I could do that was so out of my radar or comfort zone?

I looked around my studio and realized I have ALL these scraps of paper from pocket-making projects saved for ”some day” — well, today seemed like the perfect day to use them!

I wrote out the definition of playful as I thought of it: being free, giving myself permission to experiment, and allowing myself to ”fail miserably.” Playing to me doesn’t involve planning or regretting … bookends that seem to stifle the process in between.

I spread my book binder’s glue generously all over my journal spread and just started placing these scraps of printed paper willy-nilly — the point was to be playful, keep my head out of the process and work fast.

The key to this kind of playful experimentation is to work fast. I notice that the moment we slow down, thoughts start taking over and intuition gets kicked to the shadows. I overlapped some shapes, I scattered others and once the page was completely covered I thought of adding some foil. But I don’t like the amount of time embossing tools and heat tools take…nor the effort. So, I decided to see if the foiling sheets traditionally designed to work with gels, adhesives and pressure would ”stick” to water — don’t take my word for whether or not it does. Try it out for yourself 🙂

Next step was to paint over all of this yummy collaged goodness. I did not hesitate. My fingers dipped in red and yellow, I skimmed the bumpy surface, and suddenly it all came together. The colors, the shapes, the textures, the word…and then I took it one step further and added embossing glaze – through a stencil! Did it work? Kind of. The more I pushed myself, the more curious I got. The more I let myself loose, the less importance I gave that little squeaky voice of fear blurting ”you will mess it up!”

To be completely honest, I had no idea where the collaging bits would lead me given their odd sizes/shapes and colors…and how this spread would become my own. It was a great reminder that when I let curiosity be my driver, instead of fear, I am able to fully trust the process and let whatever happen, happen.

The more I dive into these projects with an open mind and a willing heart, the more I am being reminded of what nurtures and nourishes my soul. How about you? What have you experimented with lately?

If you’d like to travel down this creative path and make some self-discoveries of your own, I invite you to join me in The Creative Stretch — a 10-week soul-fulfilling, guided workshop that encourages you to be whoever you want to be.

Published by mansimakes

Hi there, I am Mansi, a self-taught artist based in Silicon Valley. I was a full-time communications professional for two decades, with a desk job and a six-figure salary until I decided to become a mom. Motherhood, as many will attest, can be extremely exhausting, especially in those first years. Art became my quiet place. It restored my sense of self. It gave me renewed energy. It helped me become a better mom. I was led down the path of creation by instinct and “discovered“ in early 2019 by a fellow kindred spirit at one of my art pop-ups who asked me to join her entrepreneurial venture. While I immersed myself full time in the role of CFO and co-founder of this women-led venture supporting local women makers, I missed experimenting with mixed-media. So, in 2021, I've decided to focus my energies full time in finessing my craft, producing more online tutorials and offering in-person art workshops for both adults and children. Thank you for joining me on this adventure as I experiment, learn and continue creating custom pieces of joy.

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