Giving yourself permission to play

This is a fairly common statement in the world of art and mixed media that I move in these days.

Reminding adults that they are not too old to get the glue out, get their hands messy and create.  Yet when we do get our hands dirty, and messy and when we do create, we are often critical of the end product.  We often look at the project sample and think ours has to be “exactly the same”.  We write notes on what we have to do to achieve that perfection and sometimes even with the notes, perfection (as we believe it) is elusive.

Yesterday I had the privilege of playing with a group of boys who think twice about touching something messy, sticky or new.  These boys work really hard every moment of their day to walk in this “perfect” world of ours.  They work hard to meet the perfect expectations that we set for ourselves. 

Yet yesterday they taught me that perfection is what you make it.

In true Sallianne style, the tables were set with work trays, instructions and bottles ready to make my friend Sue Pelletier’s gorgeous snowmen.  I had two of Sue’s snowmen on the table to give them an idea of what we were aiming for and with a little preamble about using our imagination…. they were off!


I had laid out what I thought should go in the snowmen bellies, what should go on their heads and what should be used as their noses.  But it was clear that they had a different vision.


I quickly let go of what my vision had been for the class and hopped on this snowman bus for a great ride through the afternoon. 

Hat toppers became belly contents.  Belly contents became hat toppers…or noses.  Noses became eyebrows.  Scarves became arms and everyone wanted a hug and a kiss in their snowman’s belly.  We learned how to pinch pot your head and while my snowman’s head was a “perfect” ball, I learned that it had no where near the character of his friends around him.  Using fingers I sprinkled glitter onto my snowman….using their whole hands the boys sprinkled glitter on their snowmen, me, themselves and the floor…


We could have all continued to play but all too soon it was time for the Snowman Parade.

What a thrill it was to see them all lined up on the mantle.  I wanted to take them all home with me to remind myself that a beautiful thing is never perfect. (Proverbs).

See you in the spring boys!




What sheer joy :)

Thanks for sharing what was indeed a wonderful time with the boys!!

Patty said...

The most profound life lessons come from the most unexpected places. Their snowmen are gorgeous!

pamelahuntington said...

Very cute, Sallianne! looks like you had a lot of fun!!

Laura said...

Oh, Sall- this is the best story- I just read it to my hubby. I only wish I could create with the same abandon that these boys did.