Welcome to Improv Mondays, a weekly series exploring improvisation in quilt making. Great comments last week on the Myth of Randomness in Improv, so let's look at another common, and perhaps misunderstood, approach to improv.
Just play! This is the advise often given to beginners embarking on their first improv quilt. See Pat Sloan's interview of Victoria of Bumble Beans.
This isn't bad advise, play is great. I'm all for fun and play, but to what end? How many improv quilts have you seen that remind you of nothing more than a messy toy chest? What is the role of play in your improv process? Is it just about having fun? Or do you take it to the next level?
Learning Space has this to say on the role of play in children's leaning:
play is important to a child's development and learning... It is the main way most children express their impulse to explore, experiment and understand. Children of all ages play.
A while back a friend was teaching me how to drum. I was randomly beating the drum, exploring the feel of it and the sounds that it could make. I was playing with the drum and having fun, but I wasn't playing, if you know what I mean. Then my friend told me to explore the drum with the goal of finding a beat. Ahh!
When you improvise, play with a goal to discover. It will make all the difference.
Discover what happens when you choose simplicity over complexity, or vise versa... for example. Discover what happens when you work with small shapes, and what happens when you increase the scale... for example. Play to discover whatever is important to you to understand. Play to discover your beat... Play to discover your rhythm of attention.