Thursday, April 24, 2014

Little Pretties

Lauralyn Brickhouse in Virginia is doing daily photography in her Little Pretties project...

Why did you decide to do this project? Little Pretties started out as a venue with which to share my analog photos (I still shoot fairly regularly with a Holga 120, a Minolta XG-1, 2 Canon AE-1's, an old Polaroid Sun camera, and a new Polaroid 300 Instant camera - I'm definitely a low-techie when it comes to my photography, haha!), along with the far more abundant Instagram pics. that I've become so addicted to taking with the iPhones that I've had over the years…and although I do still publish longer-winded entries from time to time, lately I've been focussing more on posting the spoils of my first, and second forays into my own 365 project. (My first attempt earlier this year, was abruptly cut short after barely getting off the ground, when I completely tore the ligament that connects my collar bone to my shoulder blade, while rough-housing with my 14 y/o son…my left arm was rendered practically useless for a couple of weeks following the injury - so I produced very few photos, during that time).

Anyway, since launching my most recent 365 Project, I am delighted to report that I've remained dedicated to the daily pursuit of capturing at least one image to share on Little Pretties (I don't always post my 365 pics on the days that they were taken, but I do still snap pictures every single day, and one or a few of them eventually do make it to the blog as documentation of that).

For nearly 3 1/2 years, "Cheap Camera, 10 Second Timer Self-Portraiture" was my biggest photographic push, but after being charged with, and ultimately convicted of two trespassing misdemeanors (I staged my [oftentimes nude] selfpics on private property most of the time - and so getting caught by perturbed property owners was inevitable, I reckon), and then spending a weekend in jail, plus 6 anxiety-riddled months on probation - I decided to take an indefinite break from self-portraiture after my last official shoot, this past November. (I'm planning on coming out of early retirement this upcoming Monday, however - as I have an opportunity to shoot at a drool-worthy location, with one of my all-time favorite photographers, Richmond's own - Jamie Betts!!! - I am SO flippin' excited, it's borderline ridiculous!)

Needless to say, with self-portraiture no longer dominating most of my shooting time, I was able to focus more singularly on taking the non-self-portraiture pictures that I do so love to take, and before too long, I posed myself the challenge of carving out time every day to shoot (be it a panicked 15 minutes, or a decadent 4 hours), in order to seriously pursue a 365 Project…

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? Although for years I've gone out with my cameras most every week, sometimes even several times a week - in search of interesting things, people, and places to shoot, there have been glaring lulls in my motivation, and productivity, from time to time (which always caused me to feel horribly disappointed in myself). Honestly though? It wasn't until I jumped into my 365 Project, that I actually made photography a real priority, a responsibility of sorts - to make a sincere effort to shoot on the reg., and to capture daily images not only for my own artistic fulfillment - but also for the enjoyment of those kind folks out there, who so graciously follow my "Little Pretties" blog.

I like that the 365 Project puts (a tolerable amount of) pressure on me, to not become complacent or lackadaisical about my photography. I also like that my eyes are open wider, and I've developed a more finely tuned radar, that allows me to hone in on subject matter to shoot, in places where I would've previously never even bothered to look (like say, in a grocery store parking lot, late in the evening, when I realize that I've forgotten to take that day's pics., and I still have yet to buy the groceries, pick my daughter up from dance, go home, make dinner, clean the kitchen, do laundry, etc…!!! Aw Crap!) I like that, even when all of the pictures that I've taken on a particular day - literally suck - I'm forced to put my inordinately large ego aside, and pick out something to post, anyway…even if I absolutely hate it (very humbling). I like getting to know intimately, nearby places that I've seen a million times before, but barely paid attention to - in my oftentimes desperate hunt for something local to shoot, in the short periods of time that my schedule (and my kids' schedules) allow(s). And I like it when people shoot me strange looks, mean looks even - when they see me taking pictures of stuff that I'm to presume they think is pretty stupid subject matter…like early morning sunlight illuminating a piece of trash hung up in the branches of a tree growing on the side of a busy highway…I actually LIKE it when they look at me as if I'm NUTS!

See all of Lauralyn's Little Pretties HERE.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

365 Days of Shakespearean Word Art

Anna Thursby in Brisbane, Australia is creating 365 Days of Shakespearean Word Art! She explains, "It's calligraphy meets illustration. Every day I'll be posting a Shakespearean coinage (a word now obsolete or a phrase now commonplace) drawn in ornamental lettering. Ideally in such a way as to reflect the meaning ... or at least that's the intention."

Why did you decide to do this project? You mean aside from the cliché of seeing 30 barrelling toward me like a runaway express train, and becoming suddenly desperate to accomplish something, anything, and having serendipitously found the Make Something 365 book in the library, and figuring that was as good a place to start as any?

Last year I surrendered to the weight of opinion insisting that my drawings are good enough to share with the world, and a no-pressure project like this makes it easier to start doing that. It's 365 baby steps; practice at putting my work out there for all to see, and because it's just a bit of fun and experimentation it doesn't matter whether people like it or not. (Plus these glorified doodles will probably make my "real" work look good in comparison :)

I'm hoping, too, that it will help me to detach myself from perfectionism. There's no room for it here: whatever I draw, I post, even if I'm not happy with it or I think of a better idea as soon as I've finished.

As for why Shakespeare ... you can blame Stephen Fry for that one. At the beginning of January I was desperately casting around for ideas when I caught a repeat of a Bard-themed episode of Q.I., which featured some Shakespearianisms which never caught on. Boggler. Carlot. Kicky-wicky. It was love at first geeky glance. I rushed to the computer, found, and dived straight in.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? It's deepened my appreciation of Shakespeare. Everything of his which I haven't read had risen to the top of my mental list of Books I Simply Must Read, and half of those I have are now on my mental list of Books I Must Read Again Soon. A comprehensive list of his reputed inventions shows what a profound effect he had upon the English language, and is catnip to someone who loves words for their own sake. (I wonder if I could resurrect a few...?)

The need to set up a blog for all of this art-sharing has set me off on a self-directed crash course in HTML and CSS, which is something I would never have thought myself techy enough to manage; but I am managing. I'm teaching myself how to use GIMP, too - I've actually rather impressed myself. And art-sharing is actually much less nerve-wracking that I'd feared.

Most importantly, I'm creating every day, and learning how to take Jack London's advice and go after inspiration with a club. Or a pencil, as the case may be.

See all of Anna's words HERE.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Three Walls

I recently had a conversation about the Three Wall concept with budding designer Alisa Katz and after our talk she sent me this great image of her own discovery of a literal version of the idea.

One of the principles of creativity that I share in my book Unstuck is the idea that Freedom Comes From Limitations. I learned this in the course of doing my yearlong Skull-A-Day project. I discovered that rather than feeling constrained by having a pre-determined subject (a skull), a strict deadline (one day), and a specific materials to work with (everything from googly eyes to butterflies) I actually felt inspired and motivated to create!

I had always thought that I was being held back in my commercial creative work by the limits that my clients had been imposing on me, but it turned out that those were the exact things that generated my creative inspiration. But I had been expending my energy fighting those limits rather than embracing them and moving forward.

Now when I give talks on creativity I share this concept as Three Walls. If you've got no walls you're just floating in space, there's nothing to push against and you can't go anywhere. If you've got four walls, you're boxed in completely and can't go anywhere either. But if you've got just three walls you can use them for leverage as you rocket yourself out of the one opening you've got.

If this concept seems counterintunitive to you Here's a quick project adapted from my book Unstuck that you can use to experience it in just a few seconds:

Did you know that the words “laser” and “scuba” were originally acronyms? SCUBA stood for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus and LASER stood for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, but now they’ve become words in their own right. This exercise gets your creative wheels turning by playing with the potential within the words around you.

  1. Set a timer for 30 seconds.
  2. Choose one of these words: SKULL, BANJO, YOGURT, BOING
  3. Write it vertically (one letter stacked above the other) on a piece of paper with plenty of space to the right.
  4. Don’t spend too long thinking. Just pick a new word that starts with one of the letters within the word you've chosen and write it down in the space next to it.
  5. Work around that first word to quickly create the rest of the acronym. It doesn’t have to be good or even vaguely relate to the word’s meaning. The idea is to do this fast to build up your skill at thinking on the spot.
  6. If you finish before 30 seconds is up, create another acronym for the same word!

Need more creative inspirations? Pick up a copy of Unstuck at your local independently owned bookstore. or online at Powell's Books QBookshop Barnes & Noble or Chapters/Indigo

Friday, April 18, 2014

Scout and Scholar

Jag Nagra, in Vancouver, Canada, who previously created 365 Illustrations, has now started a new daily project called Scout and Scholar in which she heads out each day to ask one person “What did you learn today?”...

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? It’s incredible what kinds of personal things complete strangers are opening up to me, and has really helped bring me out of my shyness.  When I first started, I was horribly embarrassed every time someone would say “no” to the project, whereas now, it’s become so much easier to approach people.  I began to accomplish two things: 1) push myself so far out of my comfort zone, and challenge my shyness.  2) Since I work from home, I needed an excuse to get out of the house each day and talk to people outside of my computer screen.

Check out all of the responses to Jag's question HERE.

And watch a short into to the project here...

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Kathleen Neylan-Moore in Richmond, VA is creating Birds365...

Why did you decide to do this project? I love owls.  I also need to do something that gives my brain a rest and a workout at the same time--get my mind off of school, work, and chores; my 24/7/365 life.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I had been doing a start-stop-start-stop 365 project thing since I bought your book. I've started a couple of blogs, a business, and a non-profit (Gregg Neylan Memorial Education Trust) in the nonce, and gained three more children.  My head hurts from thinking too much in the box; I need to start to think out of the box and give my brain a much needed rest from the everyday.

See all of Kathleen's birds HERE.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Kathy's Poem-A-Day Follow-Up

Kathy completed her year long Poem-A-Day project on February 20, 2014...

•DAY 17 - Make something inspired by and/or that goes over an eye. 3/6

Cy’s Limerick
There once was a pirate named Cy
A patch he wore over his eye
He appeared very scary
His face was all  hairy
But he was really a pretty nice guy

What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project?
I can write poetry at the drop of a hat, although I must say sites like RhymeZone are invaluable when doing 365 poems!  I also did many of the projects as well so that was fun and I did things I hadn’t done before like making a paper scale with photos of Twinkies for Day 145 - “Make something incongruous lacking harmony or compatibility or appropriateness.”  I took many photos, a favorite for Day 245 - Defy gravity, a photo of my husband lying on a recliner wrapped up in a blanket superimposed on an outside photo by a fence that looks like he’s floating.  So with the projects I learned to create with things I had never thought of doing before.

•DAY 22 - Create a bridge.  Connect two things in a creative way.  It could be small enough for an amoeba or big enough for an elephant to cross it. 3/11/13

Golden Gate Bridge shines
Glowing entrance to the Bay
Towers kissing clouds

In what ways did the project change your life? It sparked my creativity in so many ways and had a positive influence on my day-to-day life.  I had gone through some physical challenges and it really helped me see life in a more positive way.  All better now.  :-)

•DAY 59 - Mix and match.  Work with two materials that generally don’t go together, like markers and bananas or leaves and binder clips. 4/16/13

Republicans and democrats
Go together like dogs and cats
There’s seldom a subject on which they agree
No matter how logical might be the plea

If one votes yes then the other votes no
Regardless of whether it’s apropos
The voters’ will is seldom addressed
Rather they pass the party line test

Now what? I am doing an act of kindness, pay it forward, human connection - not sure what to call it, but a few examples so far:  Sending home made cards to friends for no reason; leaving positive notes in books at the library or bookstore or on community bulletin boards for strangers to find; complimenting those who go above and beyond in stores or restaurants and taking it a step forward by telling their bosses.

But I’m taking a photography class beginning Friday and am thinking I may intersperse with photos on some days as long as I do something daily.

•DAY 60 - Make something that casts a shadow.  4/18/13

A shadow emerges from the dark
Foreboding in the night
A scary silhouette emerges
It’s size heightens fright

The figure casts a shadow
Across the alleyway
Made larger by the streetlight
It’s just the neighborhood stray

Read Kathy's original 365 interview HERE.

•DAY 119 - Create an animal that has never existed before.  6/16/13

I created the perfect animal pet
A combination dog and cat
It barks only when guarding the house
And never around is there a mouse

Can be alone when we’re not home
But doesn’t very far roam
Is fun to leash and take a walk
For rides in the car doesn’t balk

As a baby doesn’t everything eat
Or scratch the couch with clawing feet
Not a flea nor a hair ball
But unconditional love most of all

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Year of The Written Word Follow-Up

Beth finished her 365 project ...the year of the written word... in December of 2011...

What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project? I don't think the lesson came until a couple weeks after completing the 365. I was trying to figure out why I did it & what I would do next... It was amazing to have completed a project like that- to survive the hiccups as well as the unavoidable frustrations of that year. It didn't seem like the best work & I wasn't sure what project to throw myself into. I started a few other 365 projects but they all sort of fizzled. Things then started shifting. I found some words of wisdom in a paper, "Don't worry about making things perfect. Every project is a prototype for the next project." The next projects came.

In what ways did the project change your life? My 365 journey was life changing. It jump-started my creativity and made my art a priority again. I realized that if it was important to me, I needed to make room in my schedule to just DO something whether I was sharing it with the world, a few close friends, or keeping it to myself on a regular basis. The creative community that developed in 2011 was Absolutely Amazing. I can't stress how brilliant our group was... I miss my 365 family some days & would love to see where they are all now & what projects they are up to as well after being a few more years down the road!

Now what? Since completing my 365, I have had a photography exhibit in Williamsburg, Va at the Linda Matney Gallery. Currently, Amy Whitehurst (of "Snow Globe 365") and I have a selection of photographs being shown through the VCUHS Arts in Healthcare program in Richmond, Va. This collaboration of snapshots were taken in August 2013 on the VCU Institute for Women’s Health service-exchange program with the Highland Support Project in Richmond /the Association of Highland Women to Guatemala. With photography from the “Marrying Mayan & Western Medicine” service trip which is taking applications for this year's trip!!! We really hope to support the holistic health work being done within these indigenous circles of women by "exposing" (please excuse the photo pun) the haunting beauty of Guatemala. As a Third Culture Kid and global nomad, I believe images (even those with words in them) can transcend language and spark dialogues for sustainable change. We feel so blessed that we want to give back. A percentage of art sales in from this series will go to the Arts in Healthcare program as well as donated to help the Highland Support Project/ AMA’s inspiring mission.

I'm not sure if these shows would have happened if I had not done my 365 project two years ago. I'm excited to see where two more years will take me.

Read Beth's original 365 interview HERE.
See all of Beth's Words HERE.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Today's Artist

Estelle Ballot in Paris, France is writing every weekday on her site Today's Artist, an artist to (re)discover each day. She explains, "Today's Artist aims at presenting a contemporary artist each day with a short post and artworks pictures. The idea is to get to know a bit more about art, while providing a bit of inspiration for my readers to happily start their day."

Why did you decide to do this project? I'm the happy and proud Mum of a 4 months old beautiful angel. I took a year off work to spend as much time as I can with her. But as much as I love playing with her and seeing her growing up, I needed some more adult minded project to get me going. And then I realized that, like a lot of people, I love art but I don't know much about it. Writing a blog about art seemed to be a great way to get to know more and to share it with whoever would be interested.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? It's quite funny how such a project can take an important part of your life. Of course, my baby girl is my very top priority, but anytime she has a nap, I rush to my computer to get some infos about the next artist to be featured. I usually write and edit posts at night, when she is asleep. This means that each going out night needs to be planned, so that I can prepare a post it in advance. Basically, Today's Artist is getting me very organized...
A surprising thing that I didn't foresee, is that writing about artists is actually giving me the opportunity to meet and/or exchange with gallerists and artists, like Noah. This is very rewarding and it definitely gives me the motivation to keep writing on those nights when I'm tired and really want to go to bed.

See all of Estelle's artists HERE.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Trekessa Austin in Queensland Australia is creating a Page-a-day. She explains, "I have a 365 page book to write something in every day of the year. I am basically doing whatever comes to my head at the time. Mostly I write thoughts I came up with during the day or were relevant to my situation. I also draw, paint, and use other mediums."

Why did you decide to do this project? I think it was a spur of the moment idea I got when I found a 365 page book in a store.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I've become way more creative so far and also more aware about my feelings. Unexpectedly, I have learnt to recognize when I'm about to take an emotional fall and what things trigger it, all through expressing my emotions at the end of every day. It's been a heap of fun as well :)

See all of Trekessa's pages HERE.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Sharon Wall of North East Scotland, UK is doing a yearlong project inspired by my book called Create365...

Why did you decide to do this project? I thought long and hard about themes and maybe next year I will repeat the book using a single idea but for now I really wanted to just be randomly creative. As an adult as I spend so much time encouraging my children to use their imagination and create and I really wanted to document all the different things I tried and saw and experienced in a day. However it was easier to limit this to a single mini project otherwise I might just break the internet with hundreds of post's!

How has it affected your life? I am only a week or so in to the project but I really hope to try new things and develop some technical art skills over the next year. After reading the book I realised that my ideas and creativity could be shared with others I just needed the confidence to get started. I love quirky crafts and art, storytelling and encourging others to use their imagination and play. Friends liking my photos has given me the boost I needed!

Follow Sharon's progress HERE.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

365 Guitars - Follow Up

Barbara Parker completed her 365 Guitars project on January 14, 2014 (which was actually 367 days after starting it on January 13, 2013)...

What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project?  The first thing I learned is that I can focus at least 365 times on one thing.  I learned also that the internet is a powerful agent for connecting with the rest of the world - even as I believe it isolates us in some ways.  Through this project I have met the most interesting people - people who are working through their own 365 projects, or whose observations of life fascinate, repel or delight me...but always enlighten me beyond the bounds of my own life.  I have learned much from these interactions that would have never come to my attention without 365 Guitars.

In what ways did the project change your life?  It has made me a more dedicated artist in many ways.  I am able to set goals with some sense that I will actually be able to see them through - if I can make it 365 days, it seems pretty clear that I will be able to get through a morning.  As a result, I am painting more, I am writing more music, and I am just writing more.  It is all to the good.  What I know most certainly as a result of this project is that the world is full of art and beauty.  Absolutely everywhere.

Now what?  I'm not sure.  I'm in this sort of hiatus period where I am almost determined not to think about the next thing - even as I know there is something brewing.  There are indicators, and suppressing them is getting more and more difficult.  I keep an iPad next to the bed so that I am able to capture the random phrases that are escaping from the growing fissures, but all of it has not yet coalesced into something with a name.  I'll let you know when it does.

See all of Barbara's guitars HERE.

Read Barbara's original 365 interview HERE.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Daily Make

Reanna Alder in Joshua Tree, California is documenting what she devotes her hands to each day in The Daily Make...

Why did you decide to do this project? 
Photographing and sharing my daily projects is a way of acknowledging the making that I do and encouraging myself to do more. I'd been taking a photo a day privately, as a kind of journal, for a year and a half already so I knew I could do it. Then listened to a podcast in which Austin Kleon talked about how he uses social media, and I got a new camera and wanted to learn to take beautiful photos. It was early January, a perfect time to start new things.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? It has foregrounded "making" in my day, which has brought me much more focus and productivity, along with a little anxiety. I find myself keeping a list of ideas and planning ahead: What will I make tomorrow? Do I have the supplies for that? What can I squeeze in on a work day?

Knitting has been a really good backup project for busy days, so I'm planning to start a sweater, which I've never done before and probably wouldn't have without the project.

Some of my most popular posts have been about things that felt kinda goofy to me, like the day that I posted about digging holes.

It's also made me realize how repetitive a lot of (my) creative projects are. A quilt takes days and days of doing basically the same thing. That's been interesting to acknowledge (maybe I'm more dedicated than I knew!) and also a photographic challenge, to keep showing the project in fresh ways.

I have a few trips planned for this summer, and keeping the project going while travelling should be very interesting.

Follow Reanna's making HERE.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

365 actions to succeed as an author

Amy Morse, author of The Bronze Box (as Amy C Fitzjohn), in Bristol, UK recently completed her Book365 project and is now spending a year on: Operation Author: 365 actions to succeed as an author...


Why did you decide to do this project AND How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life?   When I finished Project Book365 at the end of last year, far from being relieved, I was already thinking about the next project from about day 350.

I mind mapped a few ideas and played around with the pro's and con's and eventually settled on:  'Operation Author: 365 actions to succeed as an author'.

On Day 180 of my first 365 project, I achieved a personal goal and ticked something off my Bucket List - I published my first novel.

As any author will tell you, whether you self publish or traditionally publish your book, that's just the beginning.  Writers are expected to handle their own marketing and promotion for their work (unless they're amazingly lucky, can afford to hire a publicist or they are a celebrity).

It's not something that comes easily to many of us.

The key is to make it a habit, part of your daily routine - like brushing your teeth or feeding the cat - take one action every day, even a small one, and eventually you'll be 365% closer to your dream of establishing yourself as a writer - Percentages never were my strong suit, but you get the picture!

I update my Idea-ism blogsite weekly with my seven actions.

Part of taking on a project like this is that you need to share it with others, if you don’t, there is no accountability, except to yourself, and that’s not enough to stay motivated.

By the end of the year, I would like to have raised my profile as a writer and start making some money from writing.  I also hope that my tips, successes and failures can help other writers to overcome their fear of marketing with some simple, practical things to try for themselves.  We're in it together, writers of the world, so let's help each other out.

Follow Amy's new project HERE.
Read her preview 365 interview HERE.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

365 selfies

Iza von Eyben in Gothenburg, Sweden is creating 365 selfies...

Why did you decide to do this project? To break my own boundaries. Its a cliche but Sweden is a very narrow-minded country and I'm working every day to not be a part of that mindset.

A way to make every day a dress up day, to say fuck you to all of those who criticize the selfie-phenomenom, to not take the whole "identity-thing" too serious and a chance to be someone new every day.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I've just started but I feel like the love and the response I get gives me energy. Its simply just fun.

See all of Iza's selfies on Tumblr or Instagram.