Elephant A Day Follow-Up

Sheila Singhal completed her 366 day long Elephant A Day project on October 2, 2012...

What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project? I learned that you can power through just about anything if you're determined enough. There were days when I really, REALLY didn't want to make anything, photograph anything, and especially write/research anything, and days when real life definitely got in the way, but somehow I managed. It helped to have a few mini-projects lined up for those days.

I also learned to draw elephants in virtually any pose, any style, and any medium, which was something I didn't really know how to do before. It was also interesting to learn what elephants are really like—not only physically, but emotionally. They're a lot more like humans than I ever would have guessed.

There were also some "helpful hints/lessons learned" in the final post of the blog.

In what ways did the project change your life? It was a real confidence-booster. I had no idea that I could actually draw that well. I had a drawing professor in university who told me I should probably switch to abstracts or art history, so I think I'd more or less decided that I wasn't a very good artist—although that never stopped me from trying.

The project also made me less shy and introverted. By nature, I don't like to be the centre of attention, but a project like this forces you to promote yourself, talk about yourself, and laugh at your own foibles. Some of my projects were spectacularly unsuccessful and/or spectacularly annoying to me, but it was actually fun to describe, to the entire world, just how horrid those projects were.

Most importantly, perhaps, in learning more about elephants, I became a bit of an elephant-booster. I've always supported animal welfare charities, but this project took that interest to a whole new level.

Now what? Hmm...good question. Many people have told me I should do another year of elephants. Let me think...no. However, I don't think I can abandon elephants entirely. Many people have also suggested a book, or an exhibition, or both, but I haven't really pursued anything like that, as I'm still enjoying the luxury of Making Nothing a Day.

I'm probably leaning towards a website devoted to information about elephants, but with a sort of crowd-source vibe. I've seen several outside projects based on my Elephant a Day posts, and I bet there are more out there. I'd like to set up an environment in which others can share their elephant-related art and craft, whether it was made in a day, or over a much longer period. I'd also like to create a forum in which people can talk about elephants and share their own elephant-related stories. And perhaps include some sort of web store with a carefully selected range of elephant-themed products that also have a charitable component.

I also have a couple of ideas for different daily blogs—perhaps not over an entire year, and perhaps not involving so much construction—but we'll see.

In the short term, mostly I'm just enjoying NOT blogging/making/researching every day. But I'm sure that will get boring very soon.

Read Sheila's original 365 interview HERE.

See all of Sheila's elephants HERE.

A Silhouette A Day

Helmi Coenders in The Netherlands is making A Silhouette A Day...

Why did you decide to do this project? Relaxation, meditation or a small moment of happiness. I try every day as something "ice cream" to which I happy. It is also a big stick to regularly draw. Not many colors, rather it is black/white. Form is important and also a contour. This creates a silhouette every day. This is a small addition to my existing blog.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? After a graphics program, the A.B.K. Maastricht (fashion) and a pedagogical/didactic training work today in art education. The silhouette is important in the fashion world. In this project I try every day to draw a silhouette. It can be anything and not necessarily on mode. I do this mainly for FUN!

The 365 days project I necessarily need to be fruitless. With a few comments, contacts and happy I am satisfied.

See all of Helmi's silhouettes HERE.


Kizz Robinson in NYC & Chris Deitner in LA are doing a collaborative 30 day food photo project called Bicoastal...

Why did you decide to do this project? I had done a 365 project and, while I enjoyed it and found it helped me learn a lot about my camera and my creative brain I didn't have it in me to do another one so long. My archiving skills aren't that good.

I decided that I wanted to learn more about my smartphone's photographic capabilities and I kept coming across projects where people on opposite coasts or in different countries were taking photos at the same time and putting them together. I love those projects! I started to think about people I knew who would think this kind of project was fun and I immediately thought of Chris.

We batted around some ideas about how long we should work, what our theme should be, and how we'd archive it and finally decided on 30 Days of Food on Flickr so here we are.

How has doing this daily project affected your life? I happened to start this project at the same time that I partnered with a different friend to try to lose a little weight (I'm far too cheap to buy new pants). Now much of my day is spent focusing, literally, on food. For a day or so I was afraid that having the photo project would make the healthy eating harder, make me more resentful of some of the harder choices. Happily that hasn't been the case. Taking photos and concentrating as much on how I want to look at the food as on what I want to eat has been really fun. A couple of days I've even said, "Wait, I have to eat something so I can take a picture!"

Also, I took a lot of pictures of my hands in relation to food for my 365 Days Project and would sometimes feel like I was getting in a rut. The project was pictures of my hands but wasn't limited in any other way. It's counterintuitively freeing to have a narrower focus. I'm getting a lot of joy out of that.

See all of Kizz & Chris's photos HERE.

Eliza's 365 Illustration Project

Eliza Mária S in Jászberény, Hungary is doing a 365 Illustration Project 

Why did you decide to do this project? Being a student of an art school, I wanted to find a way to practice. I also wanted to train my brain for being creative all the time.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? Besides gaining the original goals, I also learned a few other things. Being an extraordinarily messy person, 365 Illustration Project taught me to be more organized. And since I am also very lazy and I procrastinate a lot... I could say I learned that everything has its consequences. Skip one day, and you'll be obligated to do double the next day. Skip one more and you'll be doing three drawings a day.

But what really surprised me is how my project affected the people around me. Many times when someone said something witty or something extraordinary happened, they said: “I bet that's gonna become a daily drawing too, right?” In fact they sort of started to compete to be featured in those drawings, which I think is kinda cool :)

See Eliza's Illustrations HERE.

365 in Chinese

I'm very excited to finally get a copy of the Chinese edition of my book 365: A Daily Creativity Journal!

It's fun to see how my words were translated...

And most intriguingly there are several new interviews of Chinese artists included!...

If you're interested in your own copy, you can find it on the Chinese version of Amazon.

365 Days of Star Gazing Follow-up

Lena Josfeld in Germany recently completed her 365 Days of Star-Gazing project...

When did your project start/end? My year of stars began on September 6th 2011 and ran through September 5th 2012. The date for beginning my project had no significance at all, it simply felt right to start NOW. The end, however, turned out to be perfectly timed without me realising it until it was merely a week away: It sent me off into one of the best holidays of my life, closing the project with one of the best concerts I’ve ever had the privilege to attend.

What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project? Never ever would I have thought I could commit to a project like this and actually finish it. So there’s one big lesson for me. I also learned (rather by force) to compromise and lower some standards I had for my own work which were way too high to be comfortable. Lesson number two: I cannot rush creativity and I cannot force it to pay me a visit whenever I want to. It simply is not possible to suit perfectionism every day for an entire year – so I had better forget about it right from the start! ;-)
Lesson number three: It can be so incredibly easy to get people to participate in the weirdest things... Often they would become really enthusiastic to help me with my stars. This came as quite a surprise to me and made me feel incredibly glad and grateful.
I can’t say I acquired any particular new skill. But I did some things I had never done before like carving a pumpkin, making a bead figure, Chinese calligraphy, encaustic, marbling candles, rolling sushi rolls, modeling with papier machée... Basically, this project gave me a very good reason to try whatever I wanted to try – really cool!

In what ways did the project change your life? There were times when it didn’t really matter at all and I almost forgot about the next star. At other times, my days seemed to revolve around those stars and I felt a crazy rush of energy that let me accomplish things I would never have thought possible before. I don’t see any profound changes having happened to my life, but this project did make me a little more bold and daring (out of necessity for some of the ideas I had). It also enforced a kind of playfulness, thinking-outside-the box, and ignorig-the-usual-rules, which I have always liked but tended to lose rather easily during the grey, everyday life. I hope I can keep some of this attitude even without daily stars.

Now what? Now, I definitely need a break. Towards the end of this year of stars, I couldn’t help but consider all kinds of ideas for a potential next project. However, right now is not the time for anything like this on a daily basis. But I have now tasted blood, so who knows...? If I’m going to start anything else soon, it may quite possibly contain a lot of food... my latest obsession. :-)
As for the stars: I really need to give them a little more substance than only the virtual images and writings that might disappear with any server crash or hacker attack or whatnot... I’ve grown way too fond of them to not have them somewhere close to my bedside table. ;-) Still thinking about the best possible way to make that happen...

Read Lena's original 365 interview HERE.

See all of Lena's stars HERE.

It's Time To Go: Letting Go of Stuff

Bobbi Fisher in Sudbury, Massachusetts is spending a year on her project It’s time to go: Letting go of stuff. She explains, "The project is about simplifying our life by getting rid of all the stuff we have accumulated over almost 50 years of marriage. It’s about getting rid of small things, and big things. It’s about reminiscing and letting go. It’s about passing on things to kids, relatives, friends, charities, and sometimes even, the dump."

Why did you decide to do this project? 
The idea of doing something within a single theme every day for an entire year intrigued me the moment I perused Noah's book at the book store last winter. The commitment and the discipline was what drew me in. But, I’m not an artist, so the idea of creating some kind of skeleton, or bird, or flower every day—well, I just wasn’t going to do it. I had been blogging faithfully for over a year, so I knew the satisfaction of blogging, but I wanted something concrete to blog about for a year.
My husband came up with letting go of something every day. Perfect. Motivation is high. We’ve lived in our present home for over thirty-five years. Need I say more? This is a natural.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life?
 Oh my goodness, yes, letting go of stuff has affected our lives. The relief that we feel on a daily basis as we let go of stuff is amazing/ Whew!! Out, out, out!! After all, we have lived here for thirty five years and have accumulated plenty of stuff. Two kids alone is enough to do it. But I was a teacher for twenty-five years, and , elementary teachers are the accumulation queens of the world. Next I went to divinity school where I collected books, books, books. Then there was my sewing days, and you just can’t have enough fabric or equipment.

My husband went through several hobbies, collecting typewriters, clocks, cash registers, golf memorabilia, bottles. You name it. Then there was his woodworking and gardening.

When we get ready to move out of this home of ours, hopefully we will be able to pack up with ease. Letting go of a little each day, without a deadline, gives us time to reminisce over some of the treasures, memorabilia, scrapbooks and photo albums that we have accumulated, and to make careful decisions about where it all should go. And we can even change our minds before any of it ends up with our kids or at the dump, or somewhere in between. 

The project is going along quite well. The only glitch is that even while letting go of stuff, we occasionally accumulate new stuff. Sometimes it feels like one step forward, two steps back. For the most part, the culprit is my husband who loves to bring things home from the put-and-take at our local dump. But how can I complain. He finds great stuff and we haven’t bought a present for anyone in years.

See everything Bobbi has gotten rid of HERE.

Rocks and Relics

Christine Chang in Fullerton, California is making a year of Rocks and Relics...

Why did you decide to do this project? I found your book in a local craft store and thought "This is exactly what I need to stay motivated!"  I wasn't getting very much accomplished by just designing jewelry "whenever I felt like it".  So far, your book is working great to keep me designing every day!

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? It has opened up my mind to working in new ways, with different materials, and it forces me to go beyond just what I already know how to do.  It's just the creative kick-in-the-butt I needed!

See all of Christine's rocks and relics HERE.

Art on My iPhone Follow-Up

Keltie Borden completed her 366 day Art on My iPhone project on September 29th...

What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project? Time management.  I had to work out the best way to fit this project into my day.  At first I wrote up entries ahead of time and had them scheduled to upload automatically.  I switched from this when I found that often I'd come up with something and want to post it on the same day only to have to wait a week or so to have it upload.  I wanted the flexibility of changing my mind without having to shift around a bunch of entries so I kept a lot of finished pieces on hand and wrote up the entry in the evening after my daughter went to bed.

I learned that I do have the discipline to stick to a 365 project which meant a lot to me.  My previous unfinished 365 project weighed on me so this one was important.

In what ways did the project change your life? Photography!  I intended to make this more of a drawing/sketching project but found after a bit that I was enjoying the iPhone camera more than anything.  I had never attempted photography before this and within a couple of months it was all I wanted to do!  I've had a blast trying out various photography and post-processing apps and have been very pleased with what I've come up with within the limitations of the iPhone 4 camera.

Since it seems that I have a fondness and maybe even a little skill for taking photographs I plan to get a 'real' grownup camera and see what I can do.  I've always wanted to take up birdwatching so that I can take my own bird photos.  I really, really like birds.

Now what?  Now I'm planning my next 365 project (which I won't be announcing just yet.)  However, Art On My iPhone is going to undergo a transformation into Life On My iPhone.  We are moving to another city and I want to keep a photoblog to keep family and friends at home up to date on our lives and happenings.  I enjoy iPhone photography so much that I want to keep it up and this seems like a perfect fusion. It won't be a 365 project or update on a daily schedule but it should be a pretty regular thing.  I'm also in the midst of writing a serial online novel so juggling those plus my new 365 project will be exciting!

See Keltie's original 365 interview HERE.

See all of Keltie's iPhone art HERE.

Make Something

Elizabeth Baker in Berlin New Jersey has committed to make something daily...

Why did you decide to do this project? I tripped across your blog during an internet search and was quickly fascinated by the idea! I make things all the time...bread, my garden, meals, crafts, dances...I love to attempt creative things. I was interested to see if I could live up to the challenge of making something every day...

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? Today is my first day, and I had to wait until now to be able to make it (the life of a busy woman). [Day 1 pictured above] is the journal I will use to document my attempts at making things. The cover was made out of an empty paint box I found under my bed, and paper I saved from packages, sewn together with some thrift store yarn....

365 Things in 365 Days

Laura Mendes & John Loerchner in Toronto, Canada are doing 365 Things in 365 Days...

Why did you decide to do this project? This year we’ve decided to throw the annoying “new year’s resolutions” to the wind. Instead, we’ve committed ourselves to fill each day with a little wonder, excitement and inspiration, simply by doing more of the things that make us happy (and thus, more connected to the world around us).

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? This project continues to affect our daily lives,  bringing us closer together a couple, and to our family, friends and readers who have been following us and supporting us through the process. These are 365 things we’ve always wanted to do but have never done before – like bake a pie from scratch, bungee jump, build a robot, fly a box-kite, churn butter, learn to knit, canoe down river rapids, climb a mountain in Tibet, and kiss upside down like Spiderman – to name a few). We've had quite the year so far!

See all of the things Laura & John are doing HERE.

Kathy’s Daily Art

Kathleen Loomis in Kentucky has been making Kathy’s Daily Art since 2001!... 

Why did you decide to do this project?
I’ve done some kind of daily art every year but one since 2001.  I like the structure and discipline of daily art, but since each installment is relatively small it gives me plenty of freedom to experiment and be frivolous within the larger, more serious framework of a year-long commitment.  Each year I choose a new set of rules.

How has doing a daily project affected your life? During the last three years, when my major daily art has been photography, I have taken to carrying  my camera everywhere and shooting many, many pictures.  Being always on the lookout for interesting photos has changed the way I look at my surroundings – I see pictures in the most commonplace situations.  And taking all these pictures has immeasurably improved my eye and my photo skills.

See all of Kathleen's art HERE.

365 Days of Pugs

Isabelle in New York City is creating 365 Days of Pugs...

Why did you decide to do this project? My friend Toby did this last year.  While he is inifinitely more artistic and creative than I, I kept thinking about what I would have done instead.  My ideas inevitably involved my pug, Eloise, who is quite a character. I work in a corporate job but studied art history in college and have always been passionate about photography.  My hope was that I would be able to utilize/develop my creative side a bit - and have some fun along the way.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? It has made me more spontaneous and less critical/detail-oriented.  In my career, being meticulious is a necessity.  This project has given me an opportunity to accept that not every effort is going to be successful.  It's also made me look at EVERYTHING with pugs in mind, like Day 177, the Pug Robot.  Finally, and the most surprising, it's exposed me to - literally - a whole world of pug lovers, most of whom are as crazy about their pugs as I am.

See all of Isabelle's pugs HERE.