What I learnt from play-doh

Sculpting outside the square

As a creative designer, I often find myself in work situations that can be stifling and regimented. There is always a need for that in any given role of course, but when the opportunity comes to take on a little outside-the-square creative adventure, I try my best to indulge.

Recently I came across a Sydney radio competition to create a play-doh sculpture of a “dream prize”. Not taking that too literally I stole my 5 year old’s doh, went shopping for more and got to work on creating a little scene. The rationale was as follows:

I don’t usually go in for radio competitions but this one I couldn’t resist. The competition is to sculpt your “dream prize”entirely from play-doh. After some thought, it was clear I had no “dream prize” in my tiny mind. Cars, boats and holidays are not big on my wish list. So I went with my gut reaction, thinking of the greatest prize already in my life: my 5 year old daughter. My dream prize is that she live a life filled with discovery, creation, colour, passion, love and happiness and that she live on a planet teaming with natural beauty. That she never lose her awe of the abundant beauty in the natural world. So, here is her favourite friend “car bunny” playing in what I hope is an abundantly beautiful setting. 

The journey to this creation was a lot of fun, and using my hands instead of the trusty old mouse, was both refreshing and invigorating.

I’ve discovered in my time that the pursuit of creative ideas requires movement and practice outside of usual routines or comfort zones. Ideas, inspiration and fresh thought is always helped along by exposure to new things and exciting challenges. This after-hours liaison with multi-coloured dough certainly inspired new visions and fresh approaches to brand and design projects I was working on. Not only that but I won the whole competition (!!!), a nice cash prize to buy a lot more play-doh with.

New mediums can also spark inspiration in your marketplace. Sometimes thinking outside the square for a fresh approach can reap bigger interest and attention in your audience who always expect the same old thing. Surprise and inspire! You will most likely benefit, as will your intended audience.

car bunny's dance - sculpture design and outside the square
Car bunny’s dance – sculpture design and outside the square
car bunny's dance - sculpture design and outside the square
A closer look – blue pond created with rolled and layered colours.
car bunny's dance - sculpture design and outside the square
Roses up close.


Here’s a video of the work in progress: