Week in Review 2021 – 05/07

Reference image for Sunrise Over the Atlantic

Child’s Play

Thursday afternoons my husband and I drive one hour to meet our granddaughters when their buses drop them off. Even though they are only two years apart, ages 7 and 9, attending the same school system, Ariana arrives on one bus just before 3 pm and her sister, Mikayla, comes home about 20 minutes later. Once collected, we meet up with their father, our son, for a walk. This gives a brief window into the world of child’s play.

Both girls are extremely active, like hummingbirds darting from flower to flower. They chat, tumbling over each others words in a chaos of enthusiastic stories, jokes and plans. All the while they play, scribbling their name in the dirt with a stick, climbing whatever they find to climb and letting their imaginations run wild.

Sunrise Over the Atlantic a little past the half-way point of being pieced.

Purpose of Play

Section of the ocean I am currently working on

Is child’s play so different from adult’s? At first glance it appears so. I long ago gave up playing in dirt. I have no desire to climb a rock wall, hang from my legs from a jungle gym or even skip along a path. Take a step back from what is played at to observe the purpose of play and that is where we overlap. Life is one big experiment and adventure. Isn’t that what making art is all about?

I started by building a striated fabric from alternating strips of sunlight and dark ocean blues.

Artist’s Play

Time for a new game. Sunrise Over the Atlantic took a turn this week. Creating the sky and sunrise was relatively straightforward. Now it is time to work on the ocean below the horizon. The overall plan is to create an abstract image, only playing homage to the original photo. Still, I thought I would capture the striations in the water and sense of dappled light. No idea whether my plan will work. Only one way to find out. Start playing.

Then I cut the fabric into strips and made a block. I need to make a few more blocks before I know if it will be too jarring or work its way to a cohesive piece.

I am linking up with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Fridays.

By Gwyned Trefethen

I am an artist who uses fabric, thread and miscellany to create designs gifted to me by my imagination.


  1. I love your analogy. I have a dearly departed friend who always said she was playing in her studio while I always said I was working. It seems like we were both correct.
    Have fun playing/working on your new piece.

    1. When children play, adults see the merit, even think of it as the work of childhood. Yet if an adult confesses to playing, it is assumed they are wasting their time. Perhaps work and play are different sides of the same coin.

      Thanks for you comment. I love the conclusion, “seems like we were both correct”.

  2. I’m glad you’re able to enjoy that time with your granddaughters! I need to think more about that Work vs. Play idea. All play is not equal — there’s Pure Play like you describe, that is self-directed and creative and is common to the young of all species. And then there is the coopted, commercialized play that so often crowds out the other kind of play in our culture: the toys and costumes and games that come with rules to follow, a “right” way to play with them and a script to follow. With two sons in their late teens, wanting them to launch successfully into the world as independent adults within the next few years, I anxiously watch for signs that they can set play aside and begin working, but I don’t want them to lose the ability to play completely. Perhaps the challenge of growing up is not learning to work instead of play, but in finding opportunities to channel and cultivate creative play so that part of you doesn’t just fade away. Happy Mother’s Day, Gwyned!

    1. Such a thoughtful and thought provoking comment, Rebecca. You have me thinking about childhood play and rules. Watching my own children and recalling my childhood, there was a significant amount of time spent defining the game we planned on playing. There is safety in rules. Children and artists are masters at stretching, exploring and generously interpreting the rules.

      I am currently reading The Destiny Thief by Richard Russo. I’ve been a loyal Russo fan ever since he wrote Nobody’s Fool, long before that book was turned into a movie. This current book is a series of essays about what it takes to be a writer. I wish I could mine some pithy quotes to share with you. Suffice it to say, play, discovering connections, observation and more are examined.

      Does being self-sufficient necessarily mean setting play aside? Is what you are truly looking for are signs your sons have a passion they want to pursue as you pursue your quilting?

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