It would be a very boring world if we had to be serious all the time and to be creative you don’t have to always work with deep and meaningful concepts. You can express yourself in any way you like and sometimes do things just for fun. I like to play around and create amusing visual displays. From retro toys, souvenirs and figures from other cultures to kitsch items and colourful ephemera, these are placed in the studio, as well as other rooms in the house and in the garden. They are a source of inspiration and make me smile.
Some of these displays have grown into collections and others contain only a few items. In the kitchen there is a large pine cabinet that mainly houses crockery and glass objects, but the top shelf is devoted to old and new toys, including a number bought on holiday in Japan. Every time I look at this shelf, as well as being visually pleasing, each item has a story to tell that brings back many memories.
The most playful objects are in the studio as this is where I need a lot of visual stimulation. One of the seven dwarfs and a vintage Popeye toy sit on the computer desk and I can see them every time I sit down to work. Across the room on a shelf, a child’s toy wardrobe holds a diorama with seaside souvenirs and related objects, while a trio of incongruous toy horses stand along side. On the top of the wardrobe sits a miniature closet and dressing table in the same pale blue. Greeting cards with interesting and associated designs are often used in my groupings and I have a large number to choose from. I move items around in different combinations when the mood takes me. For example, some resin figures that have at one time been in the old dollhouse (see 2nd post) or the wardrobe display, now sit on a pelmet in the studio. Others may view these articles as clutter and dust collectors, but to me they are part of a whimsical realm where my imagination can wander.
Out in the garden a gnome peeps out from under a shrub and an owl, a failed possum scarer, sits on a metal post to become a quirky feature. A cast iron gecko crawls along a rock. These things are purely for amusement and don’t pretend to be anything else. For me, keeping a sense of fun is a necessary part of the creative process.
Many creative people have collecting and hoarding tendencies and sometimes it can be difficult to control. I find that I have to be selective with what I keep and have given away countless objects because it was impossible to store them with the space available. But there are no rules to this and you can be sparing or lavish with your chosen material. If it is a house full of Star Wars figures that gives you a buzz or if you want a garden full of gnomes, go for it and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.
The following links are to examples of homes and gardens where the residents have embraced the fun side of their creativity in a flamboyant and unconventional manner.