Wednesday, February 3, 2016

365 Feathers

Lisa Marie Tsering in Twin Cities, Minnesota is creating 365 Feathers...

Why did you decide to do this project?  I decided to do this project to get back to my creative calling as an artist. I had spent nearly a decade pushing my personal creative desires to the side while I focused my energy on being a mom, wife and graphic designer. I dabbled in art projects on occasion and was happy enough, but the desire to step more fully into my art was something that had been lingering for a number of years and it was just getting harder and harder to ignore. I knew I needed to make a bold move and bring my art to the forefront. Once I made that commitment the idea for this yearlong project unfolded.

Feathers have been scattering my path for a few years now and I am always intrigued, inspired and grateful when I find one. When I made the commitment to pursue my art again I felt this knowing that I was to “follow the feathers” and that is what I have been doing with this project - creating art inspired by my connection to feathers. My big, lofty goal was to create a piece of art every day over the course of a year. I hit the one year mark a few weeks ago and completed 300 pieces of art. I didn’t hit my goal for the year, but considering I hadn’t had a consistent creative practice since college and being a mother of two young, rambunctious boys I think I put in a strong effort and am going to continue on and complete my 365.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? The project has forced me to move through the fear that was preventing me from going forward with my art. I had a lot of fear about whether I was good enough, fear of what people would think, fear of failure, fear of not having anything to say as an artist. The fear and lack of confidence were paralyzing. But, over the course of this project I've noticed my confidence growing. I have more confidence when approaching the blank canvas, more confidence with my mark-making on the page (as well as making mistakes with confidence), more confidence in my ability to create, more confidence in showing my art, and this confidence is spilling over into other areas of my life. Also, I notice that I am a happier person when I am engaged in a consistent creative practice. Every day that I sit down to create my feather inspired art I feel content and in my element. After a creative session, my hands smudged with charcoal, I feel so damn grateful and inspired to pick it back up the next day.

See all of Lisa's feathers on Facebook or by searching for #365Feathers on Instagram.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Art-Food-Wine-365 Follow-up

Katerina AKA Plateresca in Madrid, Spain spend every day of 2015 creating her Art-Food-Wine-365 project...

What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project? 2015 was a difficult year for me. I finally had to accept the changes I had been trying to ignore for a long time, and that was painful. In those difficult circumstances, I managed to do two things on a daily basis: draw and write. This made me realize these two activities were not just something I did for fun, but rather something that I needed to do constantly. This has influenced my life and work decisions a lot, so, in a way, my own blog became my compass.

The other lesson I’ve learnt from creating this blog is that minor things matter. When I had seemingly absolutely nothing to write about, I could find something beautiful and art-food-wine-related in my own apartment or in my neighbourhood in less than an hour. It made me think a lot about how beautiful my life is, and enjoy it more, even when my worries made it difficult.

In what ways did the project change your life? As much as I tried not to write about myself, my personality was present in every post, and at some point I couldn’t hide it from myself anymore that I was a) making art, b) gaining my main income with it, i. e., that I finally became what I had dreaded so much becoming: an artist. I had spent years shying away from this idea, but when the results of what I did lined up in a series of daily posts, it was impossible to keep ignoring them. The impact of this is huge; and, well, I do hope that the following years will prove that this was a good thing.

Now what?  I hope to be able to keep my drawing daily, but I’d like to be quieter about what I do, showing only the best images, recipes and texts once in a while. And I definitely will do my best to keep enjoying Madrid, and sharing its special atmosphere with my readers. 

Read Katerina's original 365 interview HERE.
See all of Katerina's project HERE


Friday, January 8, 2016

Vickie's 365 Buddhas Follow-up

Vickie Willis recently completed her 365 Buddhas project, creating a poem every day in 2015! 

What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project? I learned to relax. To let go. To make "mistakes" and get over it. My project even morphed quite a bit while I was doing it. I started with a lot of random poems and free verse, then I started experimenting with different poetic forms, and then I ended up writing lots of short forms, specifically haikus and tankas, and then enhancing them with color and abstract textures. Posting each day and putting each poem out into the world was a tremendous thing. People saw it, and even if the poem sucked, the world didn't end, and no one threw tomatoes at me. And I had the next day to write another one. I learned consistency and patterns, not just in writing haikus, but in writing in general. Doing something every day changes the stakes somehow. The more full pages you have, the less power the blank page has to paralyze you. To paraphrase Rainbow Rowell, the more words you stack up, the cheaper they become. Shockingly, people would come up and talk to me about my poems, people at my gym, people at my 20th high school reunion, and I had no idea that so many people were actually reading them. People even have asked to use my poems for other projects of their own! That kind of encouragement and support has been invaluable!!

In what ways did the project change your life? I ran a half marathon last November and that same month I finished my first NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Now, these things may not seem terribly related at first. But, as it turns out, running, and running longer distances, is exactly like a 365 project. You have to do a little bit each week, and eventually, you just start to increase your distance. Before I knew it, boom! I ran 13 miles. As I was finishing up my half marathon training, and the year, NaNoWriMo approached. November is National Novel Writing Month, and the challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. I've tried for the past two years to do it, and I couldn't get it all done. This year, I did. I think that the habit of writing a poem every day made running every week and writing a NaNo novel so much easier. After having written nearly 300 poems by that point, a novel didn't seem insurmountable anymore. Thirteen miles seemed totally reasonable. I have a PhD in English, so I get setting and achieving goals--that's never been a problem for me. But having a DAILY practice is different. And having a partner, the king of kickassery, Julian Cook, was crucial for me in keeping that daily practice going, in being accountable every single day for creating something and creating the habit of creating. The habit of creating, and of sharing that creativity, is a daily discipline that, much like running, permeates the rest of my life now.

Now what? Now I've started another 365–technically 366–project. It's the Leap Year Photo Challenge. My friend (and the wife of my father's cousin), Debbi McNeer, is the brainchild behind this one. She was looking for a good photo challenge for 2016, and ended up asking me if I wanted to write the prompts for one. So I did. After studying many photo challenges, I came up with a list that's more evocative and impressionistic than many of the challenges out there. Our challenge has quotes, foreign words, abstract ideas, photo techniques, parts of speech, you know name it. And October is almost entirely an homage to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If you've never watched, you could still participate (but you should remedy that very sad fact immediately). Since I'm going to be revising my NaNoWriMo this year into something that I could possibly publish, I wanted to do a different medium, and I'm a little photo-happy anyway.

Read Vickie's original 365 interview HERE.

See all of Vickie's poems HERE.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Julian's 365 Buddhas Follow-up

Julian Cook recently completed his 365 Buddhas project, creating one piece of Buddha themed piece of art for every day in 2015!

What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project? I learned a great deal about adding discipline to my artistic life - being on the hook to come up with something every day pushed me to be more organized, more open to new techniques, and to better prioritize my days to make creative work a more important part of my life. Trying to use a different media or style daily exposed me to hundreds of new techniques that I would likely not have ever tried, like needlework and some painting and drawing methods. As my project was centered around depictions of the Buddha, I also ended up studying Buddhist art dating back to the time of the historic Buddha to learn about the diverse symbolism and aesthetic traditions. I learned a great deal about photographing my work for public consumption. And possibly most important, I learned the importance of having connections to other working artists, particularly my partner in crime throughout the year, Vickie Willis, who did daily writing and maintained the website with me.

In what ways did the project change your life? Sharing a piece of art daily pushed me to be less "precious" about my work and to let people in to my creative process in a way I never have before. Surviving sharing a few "duds", and realizing that the pieces I didn't much care for other people often liked a lot, increased my confidence tremendously – and of course coming across the finish line did wonders for my confidence! I can feel that confidence improving my work and pushing me to come up with better ideas with less concern about whether every item will be a "hit" or not.

I also embraced the social media aspect of sharing my work this year, a venue i had previously considered only suitable for birth and wedding announcements, identifying friends on the political fringe and food pictures. Through Facebook and Instagram I was able to connect with not only people i know, but also other artists and art admirers, especially during the month long CreativeSprints sponsored by Noah Scalin. Throughout the year I was pleased to hear about how people reacted to the work, often surprisingly.

Ultimately, 2015 was a difficult year for me personally and professionally at my "day job," and the daily creative work involved in this project was often the high point of the day. I learned that my creative work needs to be a non-negotiable part of my day, and that it pays off, every time.

Now what? I have a few requests to finish, and a few pieces that will likely take longer than a day to make, so the Buddhas certainly aren't done! I plan to switch focus to some longer term pieces, I am working on a "religious weaponry" series that I have high hopes for, along with rededicating myself to music making. And I'm finding myself awaiting the next CreativeSprint already

Read Julian's original 365 interview HERE

And see all of Julian's Buddhas HERE.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

At Home with the Super Neumanns

Danny Neumann in Phoenix, Arizona is in the midst of the yearlong photography project: At Home with the Super Neumanns...

Why did you decide to do this project?  I'm an adult who refuses to quit playing with toys. My action figure collecting hobby eventually spawned a sub-hobby: photographing my figures doing everyday things. Its a creative outlet I find very rewarding and I was looking for a way to keep more consistent.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? As I write this I am three months in. One one hand, this is an accomplishment in itself. On the other, it really only represents a good start! I have had to let go the concerns about how much the project is costing. It turns out miniature dollhouse type accessories are not cheap! Although the project is quite time consuming, it has been a fun experience for my whole family. We often talk and laugh about ideas for future shots. And I love hearing my six year old stepson crack up when I show him a new photo.

I often find when setting up my shots that I get close to recapturing the very unique-to-childhood creative mindspace. That elusive experience where you are transported out of reality and into the world being occupied by the toys themselves. I didn't think adults could re-achieve that imaginative world but I have been drifting in and out of it the more time I spend in the Super Neumann's environment.

See all of Danny's photos HERE.

Monday, January 4, 2016

A Year in the Trees: Follow-up

Alycia Helbling spent 2015 creating a A Year in the Trees ... 

What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project? My patterns of motivation and creativity became more clear to me this year as I continued through this project. I proved to myself that I could not only finish this project, but prioritize creativity in my life even though I have many other life events, obligations, responsibilities and joys. I also learned that I had some shame around any type of behavior that spoke to a "look at me! look at me" approach. Somewhere along the way I learned that it wasn't okay to look for or enjoy external validation. Through this project I have slid outside my comfort zone and requested more attention on my creativity, and have been rewarded for doing so. In so doing, I am trying to nurture my desire for recognition while balancing my artistic intuition when creating.

In what ways did the project change your life? It has, in a sense, rooted me more deeply in my own experiences of the world. I have struggled with keeping my own sense of reality and integrity in the past. As I grow as a professional and personally, I am seeing a stronger and stronger need for grounding and trusting my own wisdom while balancing the integration of new information. Art reminds me that my perspective is valid, real and beautiful. Art reminds me to look around and continually learn and grow. Art reminds me that there is value in beauty and reflection. I am grateful for my investment in art this year.

Now what? Having proved to myself that I can commit and follow through on creative goals, I plan to craft a goal around making and selling some of my work this year. I am upping my adult-ing level and trying to make some big financial changes, so I am thinking of ways that my art can support that - through using more recycled materials, bartering, selling art, and increasing my feelings of well-being to supplement my health! Also, I would like to send more hand-made things to friends and family throughout the year this year. I want to remind them that I celebrate them and am grateful for the relationships in my life.

Read her original 365 interview HERE.

And see all of her trees HERE

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Leap Year Photo Challenge


Vickie Willis, who is 1/2 of the 365 Buddha's project, has created The Leap Year Photo Challenge for 2016 with her friend Debbi and they want you to participate!

She's explains, "I've written prompts for the entire year, and they're a little weird. Lots of photo challenge prompts seem to read like scavenger hunts, so I tried to make this one a little more evocative by including quotes or Japanese words that people can Google. There are no "wrong" photos, of course. Each prompt is just meant as a jumping off point to take/make a photo."

The first 4 month's of prompts are already available so you can print them out and carry them with you!

Follow along on their blog or on Facebook. And if you take the challenge be sure to share the results

365 Jours en Mind Maps

Magalie in Versailles, France is creating 365 jours en mind maps. She explains, "I decided to create 365 mind maps to talk about the 'little things' which happened to me every day and to highlight the positivity of my life. It helps me to be grateful of what I have."...

Why did I decide to do this project? The idea of a project 365 was given to me by the magazine Flow and I’ve never heard about this before. It was at the beginning of 2015 and, at this time, I knew I couldn’t keep up a project like this. But I was really tempted… I spent a lot of time the last two years for work and, beyond becoming a very stressed person, I was frustrated to put aside my creativity.

I started this project in September, one week after beginning a new job. New start, new goals. Why mind maps? I’m an academic librarian in Paris and I discover mind mapping last year when I was preparing a training about active learning for PhD students. This way of thinking is amazing and I found it perfect for a daily project!

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected my life? I wrote two assessments (the first after one month, the second after one hundred days) to show how this project leaves a mark on my life. I find myself at the same time more rigorous and less stressed.

But the biggest change is that I’m a lot more positive, mind mapping acting on me as a way of meditation every day. It allows me to put things into perspective and, at the end, I always prefer to write something positive down. Even when the times are frightening as there were in November in Paris. And I love mind mapping so much that I asked for a training about “visual mapping techniques” for Christmas!

See all of Magalie's mind maps HERE

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Six of One, Half-dozen of the Other...

Foust in Richmond, Virginia is three years into drawing daily cartoons on Facebook in Six of One, Half-dozen of the Other...

Why did you decide to do this project? At first, I was challenged by my husband to see how long I could keep coming up with ideas for cartoons. Once I got started, it was fun to continue challenging myself.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life?  For one thing, a publisher who was familiar with my Six of One Facebook page gave me a book deal.

I also think the act of coming up with a cartoon every day is a great form of mental and creative exercise—good for the mind, the same way physical exercise is good for the body. It’s also helped me in my other creative work ( I am also a writer and printmaker). I used to go with whatever I thought of first, but now I tend to look for multiple ways to approach my ideas.

See all of Foust's cartoons HERE.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Regenerative Design A Day

Khalana Gocken in Longmont, Colorado is creating a Regenerative Design A Day...

She explains, "Regenerative landscapes heal nature. They build soil, habitat and human engagement. I am using a map of my property to draft a conceptual regenerative landscape design every day. There are some guidelines laid out on the blog page for the project.
  1. Irrigation can be discontinued after the first few years of establishment, except for supplemental irrigation during periods of drought.
  2. Hardscape materials must be sourced within 150 miles of the site.
  3. Maintenance must be minimal after the first few years of establishment.
  4. Space must provide habitat for native pollinators.

Why did you decide to do this project?
I wanted to take this on for a few reasons. 1. I wanted to reignite my passion for regenerative landscapes. 2. There is a misconception that regenerative landscapes are wild and unkempt. I wanted to show that they can be anything you make them. 3. I am transitioning to design-only work, so this seemed like a great way to make people aware and interested.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? Even this early into it I have learned a ton from this project. As a business owner I was having a hard time jumping into my "design brain" because I was so bogged down by other more executive tasks all the time. I really feel like this has changed my brain. I can jump in and out of "design brain" quite seamlessly now. It's been great.

 See all of Khalana's designs HERE.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

My Creative Year

Angie Safford in Toledo, Ohio is creating My Creative Year.

Why did you decide to do this project? I wanted to do this project for a couple of reasons, I have a tendency to start things and not finish them, I'm hoping this gives me a chance to start something and finish it. I'm a huge procrastinator I'm hoping this helps that too and I wanted to find my creativity again in my life.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I look forward to the projects everyday and the discipline it gives me. I get a lot of people at work asking me about it. It takes me out of my comfort zone and helps me with my shyness.

See all of Angie's projects HERE.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

365 Days of Art

Martin AKA Jig5aw in London, UK created 365 Days of Art

Why did you decide to do this project? Art and photography have always been two of my main interests, but with a growing family and ever challenging work commitments I found myself spending less and less time on these activities which I love. The decision to start a 365 days or art project with a new piece of art produced each day was potentially a drunken one, but now that I am 316 days into the project it was one of my better decisions whilst under the influence of alcohol. 


How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? The regularity of producing a new idea each day has forced me into testing really how much I love art and the processes that come with it and I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Some family holidays, serious hangovers, technology issues two young children and unplanned work scenarios have all tested me to the limit, but somewhat surprisingly I have managed to stick to it. I wouldn’t say the project has affected my life other than through the generation of 316 days worth of materials and clutter in our home, but it feels like it has enhanced it. I have built up a pretty impressive ability to survive on a limited amount of sleep, but as the days have passed I have learnt to be more focused and efficient in my art creation so the hours I spend in bed are increasing when the kids allow it!

See all of Martin's days HERE

Monday, September 28, 2015

Afros 365

Unicia R. Buster in Richmond, Virginia is making Afros365!

She explains, "I am creating an Afro (one of my favorite natural hairstyles worn mostly by African-American people) everyday for a year. I started the day after my birthday (July 26). I came across Skull-A-Day by Noah Scalin by chance while out for my birthday. I was immediately inspired. My goal is to create 365 Afros using different materials or discovering different ways of using familiar materials for each day."

Why did you decide to do this project?  My creativity comes in spurts and usually show up in various art forms. For a month, all I want to do is dance. Then the next month, nothing. And then the following month, I want to sew. It's never anything consistent within a year and my inspiration or motivation comes strong for the first few days and then falls off for weeks. After buying Skull-A-Day, I was inspired not only to create but to stick with it. Having the blog motivates me because I know people are watching - even though they are small in number - and I don't want to disappoint. It holds me accountable. Creating each day takes a bit of pressure off, ironically, because I'm forced to just focus on the moment - not some tedious, way-down-the-road-from-finishing project that easily deters me from completion. I'm also forced to post whatever I come up with, some things being wonderful and some not so wonderful. That has definitely boosted my confidence in my work, especially when people give feedback.

How has doing a daily project affected your life? It has forced me to think outside the box. I work as an art specialist at VCU Health and doing arts and crafts is a part of my job. I visit with patients and their visitors twice a week to do a project. The project has to be something that takes less than 30 minutes to complete, utilizes a minimum amount of materials and results in a pleasant experience (whether they trash it or not). Patients often feel out of control of their situation and this gives them something to have some self-empowerment. Patients, unfortunately, also often are a bit groggy or even grumpy due to their medication and/or situation - understandably so. So, my projects have to be easy to complete but still pleasing to the eye. After being here for 4 years, it's easy to get into a rut and run out of new and fresh ideas. This project has given me that boost. Since starting this project, I've been able to apply some of the creativity to projects with patients. Even projects that seem only appropriate for childhood, turn out to be fun and exciting for patients of all ages (like working with construction paper or painting rocks).

It also has increased quality time with my son. He and I are almost opposites in terms of interests. He loves playing outdoors, soccer, bike riding, playing video games - your typical boy stuff. I on the other hand only enjoy art - dance, drawing, sewing, etc. However with this project, he, on some days, gets more excited about what kind of Afro I'm going to do today than I do. It has surprised me. And some of the techniques I've tried, he's wanted to try as well (like melting crayons).

I can say that this project has brought us a little closer together.

And lastly, this project has taught me that with the proper motivation, I can stick with something for longer than 30 days. I've surprised myself. I thought after a month, I would be unmotivated and kind of forget about it (as I've done with my four other blogs). There have been days, I wasn't able to post (I don't have the internet at home), but I am determined to catch up on the posts even if I have to borrow someone else's computer to do so. One of my other blogs is about doing the Konmari Method (named after Marie Kondo who wrote "The Japanese Art of Tidying Up"). During this process, I have discovered all kinds of materials that I would've never thought of had it not been for this project. Everything I touch, literally, I think "how can I make this into an Afro."

After this project is done, I plan to create a beautiful portfolio of long-term works that I actually complete applying the same motivation and principles.

See all of Unica's afros HERE.