We went to Melbourne to meet with Walter the Re-use Guru... And little did we know... but he IS reuse in Florida. He has helped many of the centers get started. He has consulted and helped many people with their programs. His background is in early child development and education.
We went to lunch at an organic restaurant in Melbourne, where we talked about our program, picked his brain a bit and he shared a bunch of information with us. We went back to the center and he did some work while we went to Kinkos to copy some of his paperwork. When we got back, he put on some soft music and started making art kits with open ended materials for us to play with. Danita made something for him to display, and she looked to be having so much fun, I want to make something too. The energy in the room just seemed make you want to make something!
The music he played provoked creativity. It didn't distract with lyrics, but generated a highly focused creative space that felt nurturing. I quickly slipped into the "zone" he spoke of and time seemed more fluid. I felt myself rushing around within a timeframe that seemed expansive. I remember asking him if he needed to leave, and him saying no because he were getting things done, and I dove right back into it again. I don't allow myself to just play and be creative much anymore, because I have so many more "important" things to do. I learned in this session, that play IS important, in fact it is vital to the human spirit. Making the time to just let your imagination run wild while you create something with a pile of stuff is very liberating. Having no set structure, rules or guidelines was fun. I could make whatever inspired me... I knew I wanted to make a shadowbox, and was pleased with how it turned out, but the real creativity began when I decided what to put in it... I wanted it to be like a stage, and I couldn't find any people, so I made the harvest sprites out of a fall floral spray that he had there. It turned into the harvest sprite ballet theatre, and I was really happy with how it turned out. My only regret was that I didn't have time to really finish it the way I would have liked... The internal critic in me started overanalyzing it and wanting to pick at it and tweak it and make it perfect. I just had to walk away at that point or I would have been there all night. I learned that when I jump into creative play, the critic in me is silenced until the end process... so learning to walk away, and actually hand it over to him was a new experience for me... I would usually take it home unfinished, and then never finish it because I can't turn that critic off... It was a very healing process for me to just let it all go and create. I LOVED it, and will be sure to schedule more time like this for myself, and together with my children as well.
Unfortunately, we were so busy having fun. we forgot to take a photo with Walter. He is the only one we forgot to photograph... I guess that just means we need to take another trip there to visit with him. I encourage anyone who is a teacher or works with children to take his play coaching workshop. You will be amazed at what you learn.
I urge you all to go out into your studio, randomly pull things from the shelves and put them in a pile, and then PLAY with it... let your imagination run wild as you glue and twist and stamp and paint... I would love to see some of you post your creations here.