As an artist, I often ask myself, “What is whimsy?” How can I capture the essence of whimsy in my handmade pieces? And the answer always comes back, “Whimsy isn’t EXACTLY anything. That’s what makes it, well, whimsical." Dictionaries use phrases like ‘playfully quaint’, ’odd’, ’fanciful notion’s, ‘fantastic devices or creations’, or ‘capricious behavior’. But these attempts to contain my experience of whimsy, come up short.
Sometimes whimsy nods to a person who’s a dreamer or even someone who’s out of step with the real world. People who are full of whimsy MIGHT be odd, but are also lovely and fanciful like some Harry Potter characters.
We’ve all experienced a time when we did something just because we wanted to, an idea of the moment. Like if you found a postcard of Australia and took that as a reason to travel or even move there.
Whimsy can be irrational if viewed within the framework we’ve created for ourselves. But it can also be playful and discovering new beauties, new talents, new joy outside of our old self. You might decide to decorate a wall in your home with watered paints in rich drips or swaths of color. Or purchase an outlandish sofa just because it makes you giggle. You might have visited a candy store and found yourself in a whimsical world made of chocolate. Your favorite clothing and home goods store might appeal to the creative, and adventurous you who has a love for delight and the unexpected.
Some stores might call it a ‘lifestyle brand’…I think it’s a choice…like a choice to join your children in a game of make-believe or even to create the make believe moment for your children. A particularly whimsical piece of music might get you dancing or feeling like a kid again. You might enjoy your daughter’s whimsical movements as she glides across the floor as an imaginary butterfly. Perhaps you will choose an unexpected whimsical birthday gift to share with a friend. You might visit a gallery opening and take note of the painter’s most whimsical pieces.
What these moments have in common, is being grateful and appreciating the unexpected little moments in life…like the petal pink, frosty clouds of a winter sunset, or a complete double rainbow you saw after a huge rainstorm. Maybe you pulled off the perfect party for friends…perfect because you realized that you felt as joyful, free, and fun loving as your guests.
For me, it’s appreciating the joyful moments in life, searching for elusive beauty, living openly and freely while releasing or not taking on negativity. It’s reaching out in kindness and recognizing kindness when it comes to me.
As an artist, it's about creating from my heart, making the ‘outlandish’ even if my ‘better self’ advises against it. It’s allowing myself to become expansive and explorative, reaching out to the boundaries, finding the ‘not shy’ part of myself. It’s breathing, pausing, reflecting, appreciating…not living IN the past but synthesizing and connecting with the wisdom it brings…not living IN the future but embracing the new, the potential, the open fields for magic yet to come.
As an artist, it is about unearthing, discovering special talents, gifts, perspectives to share. It is about creating joy and beauty from a heart center and bringing whimsy to the lives of others.