Saturday, 9 November 2013

bags of playful loveliness

Plato is understood to have said that 'The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things.' These words make a deep kind of sense to me. Plato framed education not in today's narrow cultural definition but more fundamentally in the becoming of our human potential. Here then, the meaning of 'effective' encompasses far more than academic achievement and the appropriateness of the word lovely in the translation from ancient Greek seems therefore to reflect within itself the sense of that whole sentence.
adj. love·li·er, love·li·est
1. Full of love; loving.
2. Inspiring love or affection.
3. Having beauty that appeals to the emotions as well as to the eye. 
4. Enjoyable; delightful.
n. pl. love·lies
1. A beautiful person, especially a woman.
2. A lovely object.

It is instinctively true to me that in order to become our potential, our playful relationship to what exists should be through lovely things. How else are we to have an affinity to loveliness, how else will we notice, create and cherish the lovely.

The other evening I was talking with the young philosopher who is my daughter. In that time when many wonderings seem to come, she had, of her own accord, started to differentiate whether or not things were 'useful', she was looking around her and began to question the usefulness of lace. She didn't want to dismiss it as not useful, and so we talked about the experience of lace, the making and the seeing and the touching of it, and we talked about all the care that it holds in its beauty and all that a love of lace might help us notice and love in nature; spider's webs of course, skeletal leaves, the edges of petals such as pinks.

In my creating towards children's play and their relationship with their world love slips from my finger tips into permeable authentic beautiful materials, small beings take up residence creating their lovely form with deep respect for the vital role of play.

And so it is that I offer the story of a small spritely girl who is full of smiles and the warmth of summertime, she is a living playful lovely.

Experiencing her arrival....
Now and again someone invites themselves in, you find yourself offering tea in your best blue teapot and they settle themselves amongst your spools of colour, they smile sweetly explaining that their hat is simply too pretty to take off today, and ask for the tailor to start stitching a coat, and then in between sips and nibbles, they murmur little things like, 'oh i do wish I had a tiny doll to sing to' and 'I once saw a fairy's soft silk purse' and 'I wonder if it would be possible to make me a small resting place' and soon enough you're wondering too

A sunshiny smily day....
The one sunny afternoon I was easily coaxed into the garden to sew, for as she whispered smiling 'you never know... this might be the last days of hot summer sun.' She had her heart on some red brown branches and was very pleased to walk her tiny purse fairy round about the beginnings of her dwelling place.

We turned the fairy purse inside out so that she could fly with her stary flowers and found that the kind intuitive branch had provided a small notch of just right reachable height, this made us smile a lot!

My younger daughter loves to bake, this playful joy seems to call the fairy folk and house gnomes from their little places to dance around the table tasting and adding their own secret ingredients, helping her cakes taste like magic. This spritelet was so excited to join in the fun of puff pastry tartlets and her little hat and apron were such sweet indulgence for me to make. 
soft dancing surely helped the pastry puff 

Bringing about the lovely surrounding house.....

The wind had been doing wonderful blustery things for some days and so we had been hurrying along with the little house and the warm coat. One morning I came across her trying out the pockets of her moss green walls, finding one for her baking apron and hat and hanging up her little dolly bag again, happy that she could still reach the hook. She borrowed a silk snowflake, a gift from my daughter, and used my wooden spool for a table. After she had made herself at home she decided to go find some tea time edibles in case anyone came to visit, so taking her wee basket she asked the bunny to hop through his borrow doorway closing her house safe and off she went.
of course her wishes were fulfilled when her dancing friend sailed in for a visit
and they had a lovely play with their fairy dolls
Then she strung her hammock between the house branches and when to sleep in the glow of her butterfly lamp.

Awaking to all the new possibilities of play....
In the morning the sunlight shone through the hand painted silk rainbow flower window to wake her for another day of adventure
we took everything out of all the little pockets 
as we unfolded the house
when everything was laid out on the mat we felt rather pleased 
and gathering everything together

With a little magicalizing a house buttons into a bag full of loveliness 
safely in for a little meander 
would that tangerine be more fun to eat or to role down a hill?
Here we go a wandering 

and peering from on high

to spy a little treasure growing nearby 

And now... where will she take all this loveliness to play? How does the story continue?


  1. so very lovely all of it, inspiring me towards little things!

    1. Thank you!!! It is so gratifying to inspire others, I would love to see what you made

  2. After having your beautiful, beautiful post - so much thought and love went into it - I am quite certain that, were we to live nearby we would get on like a house on fire!

    "Beauty is truth, truth beauty" as Keats rightly said. I agree with you both wholeheartedly.


    1. Ohhh Stephanie thank you, and yes I think so too, how wonderful it would be to visit your little world of beautiful stitches, lavender, bees, ballerinas, bunnies and little mice

  3. Oh dear! I meant to write, of course,"After having READ your..." Sorry!