Work vs. Play

Did you ever notice how at times a word or a topic comes up repeatedly? Out of nowhere but it keeps popping up? Why that happens I don’t know but maybe it’s a sign that it needs addressing or at least looking into.

Over the course of time after visiting many sites,,reading many posts,,and showing up in many of my responses this topic of work and play keeps resurfacing. I’m not so much addressing a specific statement but more of a general feeling. Now most feel work is something you HAVE to do and play is something you WANT to do. Everyone seems to agree on that.

I don’t.

I may have an unfair advantage since I do something  I truly love and many of you may have found the same passion in your particular line of work. But to many work is a four letter word,,,,but so is play. And one of the issues is some feel that they would love to do this full time but it would become work. Or another thread is some love to carve but wouldn’t consider taking on a commission for the same fear. And at times because of past experiences of carving something for someone ( a commission or specific piece) it became like work and the fun and passion was taken out of it.   Why? Nothing essentially has changed. You’re still carving,,doing the thing you love to do. The only thing that has changed is your thoughts about it. Your approach. Your direction and focus.

Remember back when you were a kid? You had your toys that you picked and loved playing with them. Of course,, they’re yours. But did you ever visit a friend or playmate and discover they had a completly different set of toys to play with. Did you not play with those toys even though they were different than your own? Did you still have fun?  Yup!  I get paid to play with other peoples toys.  I just bring along my childish passion for play and keep playing. I find ways to have fun with new toys. How many toys come with instructions on how to play with them? Most kids just rip into the box armed only with their imaginations and start having fun. They are masters at playing. They have enough information to allow them the freedom of play.

We on the other hand believe we don’t know enough. The basic elements of carving are quickly mastered. But we still think we don’t have enough information on how to do something. We don’t have enough or the right kinds of tools. Kids will play with just the box and have a ball. We think we need more. We’ve made it into work because that’s what we’re taught to believe and think.

I’m very familiar with this.  In the beginning I too didn’t think I knew enough about all the facets of woodcarving to have a business in it and complete jobs I didn’t know were available. How will I do them? What will they be? I don’t  have enough tools to actually run a business let alone start one. I have a dozen chisels, a table and a band saw. I’ve carved a few birds but what do I know about any other type of carving. And this is going to be my work? Support my family? But I wanted to carve. Didn’t matter what. I wanted to work at playing with carving.

My thoughts alone changed everything.

Carving is just carving. Regardless what it is or who it’s for I’m still playing with it doing what I love. Another toy to discover. But recently on a new job for a new client I almost choked. I got myself all worked up. Maybe this too is what prompted me to write this. This hasn’t happened in years. Why now? And it wasn’t a big deal of a job. Simply because my thoughts about it weren’t in line. I was making it into a job. Sure,, there was (is) potentially a lot riding on it and I let it get the best of me. My thoughts ,, which I value,, became my nemisis. Betrayed by my own mind! The solution?  A line from the ending of a movie,,,”  you have no control over me” I set them aside,, all the notions , thoughts about, potential pitfalls, fears and what have you that can drive you nuts and went into the studio to play. Only then did it not matter who the client is,, what the job is,, what the possible problems could be. They have no place in my mind and only serve to clutter it with nonsense and thoughts that are no help. Yes they exist,, and there is some truth to them but they serve no purpose or help.   Too many things to consider. Focus and absorption into the task at hand ( as a child at play) clears the way for great things to happen. Work you have to think about. Play , you don’t.

A closing thought that might sum up the mind set between work and play. Or apprentice ( still learning) and a master ( child at play)

An apprentice tries to remember all the things his master told him. The master simply focuses on his craft.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. john
    Jun 19, 2009 @ 15:53:27

    Master or Apprentice the learning continues. While I’m a secind year apprentice carver I am also a (retired) Master Mariner. I was engaged in the marine industry for most of my working life. I started and finsihed still with a lot to learn. I believe an open mind is a great asset. However above all if you enjoy what your doing , your hurting no one, then keep doing it.


    • markyundt
      Jun 19, 2009 @ 17:32:14

      Hi John,,the only thing I’m a master at is trying to master new things! I’m a 20 yr apprentice myself. No matter how far we seem to have come,, there is still a long way to go. It’s like trying to reach the end of the internet. I might step on a few toes as I plod along my path,,I hope I don’t hurt anyone,,but I certainly do enjoy what comes up along the road as well as offering help where I can.! It’s a great journey.


  2. LnddMiles
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 15:24:30

    The best information i have found exactly here. Keep going Thank you


  3. markyundt
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 17:45:59

    Oh we plan to LnddMiles! Thank you so much.
    I don’t know if it’s the “best” ,, but it’s what we believe in and have found to give good results. I like to think our galleries show these results as well in a wide variety of carving styles and items. We tend to believe that information on carving isn’t so much specific as it is universal. Once understood it can be applied to any carving vs. offering recipe’s to carve a specific thing. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. It’s greatly appreciated. Thank you again.


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