Play-dates for adults? You bet | Ann Oxrieder

We didn't have play dates when I was a kid, so it wasn’t until retirement that I enjoyed my first. Recently I signed up for a play-date marathon that more than compensated for the absence of these events in my childhood.

I joined five other women at an artist friend's house to play with something called polymer clay which isn't clay at all, but has its origins in a plastic modeling compound. Whatever its composition, consider it Play-Doh for adults.

A mutual friend, jewelry artist, teacher and author of polymer clay how-to guides hosted us in her home and spent the first day showing us how she makes bookmarks, journals, small bowls, rings, buttons, beaded necklaces and bracelets. Then she set us loose with many colors of clay, sparkly powders, wire, shoe polish, pasta makers, and sharp tools. The only rule was that we were not to draw blood.

The 10-hour event passed quickly. It didn't hurt that two other players were fabric artists, who, because of their design and color experience, could inspire the rest of us.

Despite starting out behind, in our own ways we beginners caught up. I learned that nothing else in life matters at the moment you’re rolling sheets of polymer through the lasagna setting of a pasta maker, mixing red and black clay and holding your breath for fear it will turn brown, or trying to roll a perfectly round bead. The class provided a whole a series of Zen moments in which staying focused was the only option.

None of us left on time and we all asked if we could do it again.  Are play dates, like youth, wasted on the young?  Probably not, but it seems to me that adults need them as much or more than kids.


Ann Oxrieder has lived in Bellevue for 35 years.  She retired after 25 years as an administrator in the Bellevue School District and now blogs about retirement at http://stillalife.wordpress.com/.











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