Friday, October 31, 2014

Lego-A-Day

12 year old Den Jackson in Baldwin City, Kansas is making a Lego-A-Day!




Why did you decide to do this project? I decided to do the project because my mom did it a few years ago with A-Robot-A-Day, and I really like Legos.



How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life?  It hasn’t really affected my life much so far, but I thought it would be a new challenge for me.  I am 12 years old, so I think it is more challenging to do than for adults.


See all of Den's Lego projects HERE!




Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Door A Day Follow-Up

On July 28, 2014 Natalie Farr in Bristol, England completed her yearlong A Door A Day project...




What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project? Don't destroy work before you have thoroughly documented it from all angles and in all lights! Do not get stressed if things don't turn out like you'd planned. Beautiful mistakes can happen.



In what ways did the project change your life? I know that I completed a huge project which I set out to do: I accomplished it. It made me look at mundane items differently, everything is a little bit more magical now -  there are more opportunities for creativity.


Now what? Half way through my project, I admitted to myself how much I loved taking photographs, either of doors that I was making or doors that I was finding in the world. So I treated myself to a very good camera. Whatever projects I do in the future, it will contain good quality pictures.

And in November 2014, my vocal ensemble "The Beautiful Machine" will be performing our new show in Bristol, England. Here is our Facebook page.



See Natalie's original 365 interview HERE.


See all of Natalie's doors HERE.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Year of Creative Habits

Crystal Moody in Springfield, Missouri is creating a Year of Creative Habits. She explains that it is, "a project inspired by artists that write about creativity like Twyla Tharp, Julia Cameron, and Austin Kleon. I have 4 rules for myself: 1) choose one creative habit to focus on 2) do it everyday for a month 3) share my progress/effort 4) reflect on the month and make changes going forward. My goal is to find and develop creative habits that work for me."


Why did you decide to do this project? I often found myself looking at cool stuff online wishing I was cool too. I spent way too much time admiring others' creativity. I rarely took time to create something myself. I looked at my four-year-old daughter's drawings and I was completely amazed. I wanted to be more like her. So I set up this project for myself. This is my year of creative habits.





How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? This project has completely taken over my thoughts. It has changed my daily routines and opened up many doors...such as being invited to show my work in an art show and asked to illustrate for specific events and causes. It's changed how I view myself and what I see as possible.

"You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine." John C. Maxwell


Follow Crystal's year HERE.

Monday, July 21, 2014

365 Unbroken Lines

Beatrice Dietel in Leipzig, Germany is creating 365 Unbroken Lines.  She explains the project as, "Sketches without taking the pen from the paper. The sketches depict anything that comes to my mind or catches my eye: people, objects, ideas for later drawings or paintings, exceptional moments of the day; all in all, absolutely anything, sort of like a visual diary. I don't intend to create masterpieces, I just want to practice on a daily basis."



Why did you decide to do this project? The first issue of the German magazine 'flow' contained an article about '365-day-projects', a concept which I found really interesting. Actually, one of my new years resolutions for 2014 was to do at least one sketch in my diary every day to get some regularity into my drawing, but as always I was too lazy and didn't feel any 'imperative' to implement my, perhaps hastily formed, resolution. I therefore hoped that this blog and project will give me the regularity I desire and offer me an opportunity to train my eye and creativity alike, as I would like to improve my drawing and my artistic output in general. Fortunately, 'flow' also offered a list of 116 ideas for 365-days-projects from which I picked one to carry out. I wanted to start a project that would help me stop being such a perfectionist, as I never finished anything I started.



How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I've become way more enthusiastic about doing art again and finishing something on a regular basis encourages me to become better and to produce more, even if it's not perfect. I'm also considering to apply for an art college. This is something I always wanted to do but thoughts like 'I'm not good enough/not talented enough/not creative enough' kept me away from it. Fortunately, this is slowly changing. Another thing I realized is that I already have some kind of style and that really surprised me!


Follow Beatrice's lines on her blog HERE and on Facebook HERE.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Make 365 Somethings Follow-up

Beth Nyland recently completed her yearlong Make 365 Somethings project. She explains, "I began making things on May 1, 2013, which was my 44th birthday. I finished on April 30, 2014, on the eve of my 45th. I chose 'words' as my theme, and for the most part stayed true to that focus. At the start, my daughters (ages 8 and 10 when the project began) intended to participate; but when daily discipline became more than they could manage, they opted in just occasionally, sometimes to help me and sometimes to make their own creations."



What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project? Whenever I tell people about Make Something 365, the first thing I say is, "I can't believe I never missed a day." I was prepared to give myself a day's grace here and there, but that just wasn't necessary. This was a lesson in self-discovery: that when I'm truly invested and interested in the work, I do have the stamina and discipline to take on something big. I surprised myself!

I also learned that although my comfort zone is writing, I enjoy playing with visual art. Word art, photographs, infographics, doodles, drawings, collages, and more. As much as I love to write a poem or define a character or describe a scene, giving tangible form to an idea brought tremendous satisfaction -- especially when the creative effort took place at the end of a full, stressful day. (Maybe this is because business writing is my day job, and a visual project served as relief from that routine.)

Finally, I learned that I have things to say about writing. Many times, to adapt the day's prompt to my theme of "words," I made something that communicates my feelings or knowledge about writing: a visual metaphor about writing and brushing your teeth; a pie chart about my writing process; a list of essential writing supplies; a description of a writer's uniform; a poem about the moment before writing begins. Now, when friends, colleagues, clients, or students say I should write a book about writing, I believe them. I do have things to say.





In what ways did the project change your life? Practically speaking, during the 365 days, the project changed my rhythm and routine. In order to get the "making" done, other activities went by the wayside. Some were good omissions, like watching TV (now I watch less and read more). Other things suffered a bit, for lack of attention. So, in the weeks since I finished the life-changing year, I've had to reclaim a few priorities ... like healthy meals, laundry, and evening conversation with spouse and kids.

As for lasting, life-changing effects:
  • Through daily practice, I strengthened my creative muscles. And those muscles have memory. Now I'm quicker to think of solutions to problems, new angles on writing projects, even suggestions for my children when they're bored. I'm seldom "stuck" or at a loss for ideas.
  • Because I shared every single day's creative work on my blog, Facebook, and Twitter, I gained the support of an encouraging community. Friends and strangers were curious about the project, and their interest inspired me to keep going, stretch my skills, try new things. I engaged in conversations I never would have had if not for the project, and I gained friends who will be in my life for years to come.
  • I know now that my creativity is a unique asset. Not everyone can or would make something every day for a year. I did it, and I loved the process. So now I confidently tell clients and prospects that creativity is a distinct value I bring to my writing, consulting, and teaching. Not a single person has argued or questioned this assertion. In fact, they agree. As a result of my year of "making," my creative communications business, Spencer Grace, has grown.
  • Without question, I gained confidence as an artist. Not long ago, I shied away from introducing myself as a writer. Now I own that title, and I claim it proudly.



Now what? Now I'm applying all these learnings in my daily life, in my work and in our home and as a parent.

I also plan to return to a regular schedule of posting on my blog ... but not daily. During the 365 days, I shared my creations every single day. Even the flops and fails. When I return to regular blogging, I expect to post once or twice a week, giving myself time to develop ideas, make adjustments, and EDIT.

Finally, I will be sharing Noah Scalin's book with all the creative spirits I know. I'll talk about it. I'll recommend it. I'll give it as a gift. But not my copy. That one holds a special, permanent place in my library. It's mine.



Read Beth's original 365 interview HERE.


See all of Beth's projects HERE.

Monday, July 14, 2014

[365] Prints & Patterns

Esther Jongste in Boazum, the Netherlands created the [365] Prints & Patterns project...




Why did you decide to do this project? The reason why I decide to start my 365 project was to discover if there was enough inspiration available to make a career shift and to become a professional surface pattern designer. And at the same time to improve my skills and express myself.



How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? From the start I felt pretty much at home with the process in creating something every day. Even on days where I hadn't a clue where to find inspiration for the challenge of the day, I came up with something reasonable.

For example: to create a pattern about a dream [day 27], seems to me quite difficult. While thinking about the process and the experience of dreaming, slowly the creation revealed for my eyes. You can read and watch the rest of the story HERE.

After, round and about, forty editions, my mission was accomplished and I knew there would be enough inspiration every single day.  And that moment was the turning point where I decided to exchange my 365 project into a new project: becoming a professional in surface design.

A series of e-courses at Pattern Observer followed and with that, the courage grew to make it all happen.

Since the beginning of 2014 my EM | Surface Design Studio is a fact. I developed a portfolio and a website tuned to the textile design industry as relevant tools to get into business and be successful.

To support my business activities I am planning to start a new blog. The main goal is to show what my inspiration sources are. By joining the 'make something 365 & get unstuck' project I now know that inspiration can be found always and anywhere.

That your project will bring you, where you want yourself to be.



See all of Esther's prints and patterns HERE.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

365 Days, 365 Skulls, 1 Book!

This site is a direct result of my original yearlong daily project Skull-A-Day that I started way back in 2007 and I'm very excited to announce that at long last there is going to be a book of the all 365 of my original skulls from that year! But it'll only happen with your help...


You can read more details and reserve your copy of the book HERE. And please spread the word, the more people that know about this the more likely we will be to succeed in reaching our goal. Thank you!


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Food Faces

One of the 52 techniques for getting your creative juices flowing that I feature in my book Unstuck is called Meal Emotions. This project encourages you to play with the leftovers from one of your meals to make a face. I recently had a chance to put this technique into a project for one of my clients at  Another Limited Rebellion.

The Broad Appétit food and art festival in Richmond, Virginia had me eat meals at eight of the featured restaurants and create faces from the foods I was served. It was an extremely fun way to create art for a client and a great excuse to eat out at some wonderful restaurants. In addition we made a ninth face at FeedMore, a local food bank, which gave me a chance to visit and learn about something new in my own community.









Why not try making a food face from your next meal? It's not hard to do, pretty much anything can be used on your plate. Just experiment and have fun. Be sure to take a photo when you're done so you can share it with me. And hey, if you're in the Richmond, Virginia area add the tags #FoodFaceRVA and #BroadAppetit to your image when you share it on your favorite social network and you could actually win some free food at the forthcoming event!


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Feild of Ponies Follow-up

Julie Berube completed her daily Field of Ponies project on March 28th...



What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project? Well I knew that creativity comes with discipline and that's why I was interested in the project. I knew I was going to launch my clothing label over the year and I needed a project like a 365 to get me into gear.

What became really clear is that creativity happens more easily within a set of restrictions. For example: make a pony with things that surround me. I have applied that concept to the clothing line and it has been super beneficial. One garment, a sweatshirt, one fabric in different colours and a bunch of trims. I didn't need much more to play around and produce my first collection.  The message is really clear, memorable and on a production level my costs are kept to a minimum.

I would say the skill that I have learned most has been how to handle the social media platforms. Skills that are so useful now that I have to promote my clothing label online.

The project has also taught me humility and indulgence towards myself. Sometimes the ponies came out really lame but I had to publish it anyway. It was part of the experience, to share with people that sometimes things aren't going so well and you just have to live with it.



In what ways did the project change your life? The project has given me confidence in myself and strength nothing less. To have people accompanying me during the journey has been the best thing for me. Now I make sure that I have people surrounding me during the creative process of any work I do. I use to work in a very solitary way before the project, now that has changed completely.

But the best part of it has been the joy and the laughter, and that feeling of being free and alive all through the year only because I allowed myself to play.





Now what? Now I'm working full steam on my clothing label, Field of Ponies, already preparing new pieces for next Spring/ Summer. I have some great collaborations coming up soon and I feel very excited about the future.

I am considering starting another 365 project but for the time being I will enjoy not having to deal with the stress of coming up with a new pony everyday!


Read Julie's original 365 interview HERE.


And see all of Julie's ponies HERE.


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 http://www.shakespeareswords.com/, 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:

ACRONYM
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.

HOW TO DO IT:
  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 Amazon.com 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

Birds365

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.