WHAT IS AN ART PLAYSHOP?
“I learned at least two things at Sue’s PLAYshop. I learned I hardly ever play. I also learned I really like to play. This affected me in both my work and my personal life – for the good!”
Jim, past participant
Art PLAYshops were born from my desire to create art with others. Many of us have a notion that only some people are artists – the talented ones. This stops us from playing and exploring with visual colours, shapes, lines and textures. Art exploration opens us to a whole new possible world – of world of expression which goes beyond words. Many adults have a lot of fear about creating art, so in art PLAYshops, I try to create a setting where exploration, fun, joy, asking “what if? (I tried this?”) help to take away some of that fear. Usually the emphasis is on the process rather than the final product. Techniques are learned, but a curious and exploring nature is key. I notice what deep pleasure and comfort people get from working and playing with their hands. Movement is usually a part of an art PLAYshop – we create with our whole body, so periodic opportunities to stretch and wiggle are woven into the experience.
Art PLAYshops typically last 3 hours (a morning or afternoon), a whole day, or a weekend.
Art PLAYshops can be one on one, with a small group and sometimes with a large group. I have worked a variety of groups, with co-workers, with businesses, with families and with youth, including youth with special needs. PLAYshops have grown and stretched because people have asked me to do things I never imagined possible!
Art PLAYshops can be for a specific age group, but are also great for all ages.
I supply all materials needed (for a specific cost) or you can bring your own. Sometimes a combination of the two – bring some of your own/use some of mine works well.
Although a list of a variety of past art PLAYshops or retreats is provided at the end of this page, the two most common art PLAYshops I offer are watercolour and collage PLAYshops. Scroll down and have a look at art with families as well!
I have offered this art PLAYshop in 2 – 3 hour sessions, one day sessions, weekend sessions and as part of a women’s retreat. I prefer to work with groups no larger than six. It is best when we can all fit around one table.
The magical element in watercolour painting is the water. Water is like spirit – who knows exactly how it is going to flow or where it is headed? Combine water with beautiful pigments and colours, textured or smooth paper and your brush and see what happens. In a 3 hour session, we will explore hue, washes, lines, and wet on wet painting.
Longer sessions see us exploring the color wheel, mixing colours and exploring a variety of exercises which immerse us in this wonderful medium. Depending on setting, a longer session allows us to paint in the natural world.
“Sue’s Watercolor Playshops bring back the long lost joy of playing with paint just to find out what it will do if you try this or that. It is fun to try out the different brushes and color combinations. It is always amazing to discover what beauty can emerge from play.”
Linda, Past Participant
“Little did I know that attending a Fearless Watercolour PLAYshop would be the beginning of a year-long watercolour-as-meditation; watercolour-as-therapy; watercolour as playfulness; watercolour-as-poe
try. I created a series of elephant watercolours, playing on the metaphor of “the elephant in the room”, allowing these paintings to voice things I was not able to speak. I was amazed that one Playshop with Sue would give me the skills and the confidence to take this creative journey toward self-awareness and mindfulness.”
Sheena, Past Participant
Collage PLAYshops can run from 1 hour to a half day or whole day. Once I was part of a party for 35 guests where everyone made a rice paper bird! The hostess called it the “Have a Lark!” party! Typically, a collage PLAYshop has between 6 and 12 people but I have offered a collage PLAYshops to a group with over 100 participants. And I survived to tell the tale!
I work with many kinds of paper, including rice paper, candy wrappers and cigarette foils. People who are attracted to a collage PLAYshop often have a secret stash of paper – bits of paper collected through the years that are too beautiful to throw out! To date, we have explored themes (like colours of spring, fall or winter) using all materials and papers at hand. Some people like to work from a template while others prefer to go free range. I encourage people to let the beauty of the papers guide them and lead them. I am present as a gentle guide – everyone in the room is a teacher. Past experience shows that chocolates – with great wrappers – is the perfect thing to keep your collage stamina up as you hit late afternoon.
Collage is a little less scary that watercolours because people’s ideas are not as firm or as certain about what it entails.
Participants have also enjoyed creating rice paper plexi glass collages while exploring the translucent properties of rice paper.
Sometimes we take a scrapbasket of papers and see what beauty can be created from things we usually throw away.
“I attended a paper collage PLAYshop, and discovered again my love for the textures and possibilities of making art with paper. Sue was so generous with her fabulous paper supplies, and helpful in solving how I could incorporate twigs, feathers, and other multi-media objects into my projects. After a day of this sort of play, I left with a smile of deep satisfaction that came from feeding my creative core.”
– Raye, past participant
“Sue’s Paper Collage PLAYshops give me the permission to play with paper that I don’t seem to be able to give myself. They bring out a deeply buried creativity that makes my heart sing. I become lost in the contentment of the moment. I can’t wait to come back!”
-Linda, past participant
“I attended one of Sue’s Collage PLAYshops, facilitated to a group of over one hundred women. We used scraps of paper, metaphorically, like the scraps of our lives, and made a collage. It was fun, relaxing, and a great community building experience. I recommend her PLAYshops to writers, artists, educators, professionals, retirees, youth… well, I actually can’t think of a group who would not enjoy exploring creatively with Sue. Sue’s PLAYshops are safe and generative because Sue understands the power of play.”
-Sheena, Past Participant
ART WITH FAMILIES
Families could enjoy any of the above watercolour or collage PLAyshops. “Create a Family Portrait” is another great option for families and works for those who don’t think they are artistic as well as those who enjoy creating. Full body photos are taken of each family member in a “power pose” (happy, feeling great, feeling proud) and printed out. Using magazines and other papers each family member cuts photos they can use to alter the original photo using their imagination and their sense of humour!! Family members then arrange the photos on a background and choose materials (string, wire, wool, dental floss, fishing line, etc) to connect each family member to another. Your family has a great memento of what life is like for all of you in that moment. This works with all ages and is tried and tested with grown families
“Sue is lively and warm and inviting. She gives just the right mix of structure and letting you go with your own creativity. We had so much fun as a family, learning more about each other and working together as a team. It was a really wonderful, energizing experience!”
-the Yake family
This family PLAYshop can be adapted to your family’s needs and ages. It is usually done in one of your homes. It is great to combine with a meal, as I love to eat and create art.
A Sample of Past PLAYshops and Retreats
The Zen of Art and Horses – a 3 day retreat for women, Fall 2015 in collaboration with Carol Marriott and Kate Hersberger at Ravenheart Farm – An opportunity to learn from the gentle horses, dogs and cats at Ravenheart Farms, and to create art in a variety of mediums as a response and to deepen our experience with the horses.
Pause and Play – a 1 day retreat for Women in collaboration with Michelle Brass in Fort Qu’Appelle, Spring 2015 – A chance to “pause” for a day…to take opportunities for stillness, to dance with Journey dance guide Michelle and the play with watercolours and create a mandala.
Sweet Darkness– A 4 day silent retreat at Valley View Farm in collaboration with Debra Brown, December 2014 – An opportunity to sink into silence and consider darkness, light and all the shades in between in the beauty of the Qu’Appelle Valley.
Immersed in Nature – A Weekend Art Retreat at Valley View Farm in collaboration with Debra Brown, August 2014 – Immersed in the natural beauty of the eastern Qu’Appelle, we consider and explore line, shape and colour.
Tree PLAYshop– An All Ages PLAYshop at Kerry Farm. This day was all about trees (and chickens!) and included girls ages 7 – 10 and women of every decade up to 60. A “tree” scavenger hunt ended at Grandmother Willow where a basket held our picnic lunch and fine china…lunch in a tree! Drawing lessons in a tree!
How to plan and price your own art PLAYshop
Prices will vary depending on the number of people, travel costs (if any), length of PLAYshop and who is providing food and paying for the venue. For more info, please contact me at 306-333-4501 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sue brings Peace, Play, and Possibility to each Playshop I have attended. Her playshops are always on my recommend list for sure! I love Poached Egg Woman!
Kate, Past participant