Letting Your Inner Picasso Play Out
by Lynn Rees Lambert
Ever look at someone’s creative effort, be it a painting or piece of pottery, and think, wow. Beautiful. Wish I could do that … but forget it. There isn’t a creative bone in my body.
These are words Joanne Lauzon loves to hear. She’s determined to change up that self talk and prove you wrong. Prove that everyone, truly, has a wellspring of imaginative ideas within. It’s all a matter of letting them loose. And she’s got just the ticket to opening that door.
It’s called play.
The designer and artist is the mother of a blended family of four children ranging in age from nine to 14. Couple this with a 20-year background in designing corporate brands in her business called inDesign and the Kanata resident is well aware of the benefits of creative play for both personal and business reasons. She comes by it naturally.
“Growing up,” she says, “I always had a sketch pad with me, or a colouring book. I would make floor plans for my dream house.”
Joanne has parlayed her artistic streak into a career that just last year has sidelined into a new venture called inDetail, a series of workshops that offer introductory sessions in calligraphy, watercolours and vision boards. There are also weekend retreats that focus on exploring personal values and goals and then translating them into heart-centred works of art.
All this for beginners. Especially for beginners. Because it’s fun. And because women enjoy getting together to talk, to share ideas and to let their guards down for a few moments and just … play.
Play often gets a bad rap, says Joanne. As children, it was all fun and games but as adults, it’s considered daydreaming, fooling around, a non-productive waste of time. Still, attitudes are changing.
“Now, more and more, we recognize the beneficial aspects of play.”
First, a definition. Joanne describes play as having three components: it’s voluntary, flexible and enjoyable. If you’re not having fun, it’s not play, she says. And the benefits? Joanne lists them: it relieves stress, increases creativity, boosts brain function, enhances relationships, bonds us together and makes us more vulnerable.
Being vulnerable is a good thing, says Joanne. “It allows us to develop more personal relationships. It builds trust.” When she lets her hair down with her boys “they think I’m a goofball, but they secretly love it.”
inDetail workshops are popular
The sessions started a year ago when Joanne presented a Valentine’s Day workshop on modern calligraphy and hand lettering at the Carleton University Art Gallery. The response was so encouraging she decided to offer workshops at her home.
She’s been booked ever since.
“It’s a great opportunity for women to socialize, learn a new skill and walk out with something they’ve created,” says the teacher. Beginners need not fear, she says, when it comes to art workshops; no experience is necessary. “We are creative beings by nature. These workshops allow the freedom to release that talent.” Because creativity gets pushed down by obligations, by busy lives and jam-packed schedules.
For Lara Wellman, an Ottawa digital marketing consultant who simplifies social media for small business, exploring her creative side has become a priority. “It’s a way for me to unwind and relax and have fun. Taking Joanne’s workshop gave me new skills that I use when I’m being creative on my own time.” She has signed up for several more workshops and a retreat this year. The benefits, she says, are evident. “Spending time with her positive energy and learning skills from her makes me a calmer and happier person.”
Take time to play
Joanne advocates regular timeouts for play, be it at the workplace or at home. Stepping away from your desk, taking an intentional pause can trigger innovation and minimize burnout. “These are powerful reasons to find time to play,” she says. She suggests simple ways to integrate play into your day: start with a 10-minute interlude in a no-phone zone. Her “goodie bag” includes 15 to 20 pieces of Lego, an adult colouring book, a small pack of Play-Doh, sketch books, pipe cleaners, and juggling balls or bean bags. Practice juggling for five or ten minutes, she says, and come back to your task refreshed.
On the horizon are more workshops on modern calligraphy, illustrative hand lettering, and watercolour art, plus a weekend at Gracefield Camp and Retreat Centre. Another vision board workshop is also a possibility; this is a session that helps participants pull together a personal wish list using magazines, catalogues, canvases, tape, glue, glitter, markers, stickers and embellishments to beautifully represent goals and dreams. It helps you to focus on a goal – like seeing a magnet on a fridge that reminds you about your diet. It aligns you with your priorities, she explains, and increases your chances of success.
She’s also considering some mother-daughter workshops. These sessions are held in her home as well as in office settings. Whether it’s a team-building exercise or a bridal or baby shower with a new twist, there are plenty of ways and good reasons to take a time-out and find your creative play within.
For a full list of upcoming workshops, dates and cost, see Joanne’s website at indetail.ca/events.