Coffee Cups and Grocery Bags

Sophie Therrell of Eugene, OR is creating daily in Blog with Daily Watercolor: Coffee Cups and Grocery Bags. She explains, "Everyday I make a 3x5 water color painting and write a short essay about whatever I'm thinking about. And I report how many people emailed me that day to say they used a reusable coffee cup to buy coffee.  For every reusable cup used, I donate $1 to our local recylcing company.  So far, we're up to $12, I think."

Why did you decide to do this project:  I bought your book! And after about a three months it hit me that a daily watercolor would be doable and fun.  I am NOT a trained painter by any means, but felt that exploring painting would be a challenge and probably fun.  Also, I'm sad about how many coffee cups get thrown away every day, so I thought this might be a fun way to get people to switch to reusable cups.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? Its been 19 days so far, so I'm not sure any major changes have taken place.  But I am for sure LOVING every minute of time I spend on this, and it has given me a feeling of energy and accomplishment. Also, having to write something every day is helping me somehow to feel more balanced during the day.  I am hoping to get more readers and more people to quit the disposable cups!!!

See all of Sophie's daily posts HERE.

ZOELAB 365 Follow-Up

Zoë Edmonds completed her yearlong ZOELAB 365 project on August 31, 2013...

What did I learn? I learned that even though I am a mother, and live off the grid in the desert, and can be disorganized, I really am able to discipline myself, and that creativity is a constant flow always available that just needs to be tapped into. I have learned how to let go of perfectionism (for the sake of getting that post out there according to my committment) but at the same time... I learned that regular creative work on something that I care deeply about leads to a happier life. (The original impetus of the project was that it was a Happiness Project, inspired by Gretchen Rubin's book of the same name.) Having a daily discipline reconnected me to the old fashioned value of hard work, which when applied with compassion (instead of judgment and punishment) is very satisfying. I developed some great techniques that allow for optimum creative flow. And, rather than making myself focus all my energies in one particular art form, I am learning how to focus, instead, on how to connect my ideas, while using a variety of art forms to develop them--essays, free writing, songwriting, guitar, photography, video, poetry, acting, drawing. I also developed a system of organization to allow for greater creative productivity. I will be teaching this system, as well as the creative techniques I have been developing in my creativity classes and with my creativity coaching clients with Art For Life here in Baja.

How did my life change? Having grown up in Brooklyn, and being a city person my whole life, my life already had changed quite a bit when I moved to the desert, in Baja, Mexico. Doing this project allowed me express and explore exactly what this life means to me that I am creating here, and why I made this choice in the first place. I must say the changes in my life were not all positive--it was hard on some of my relationships and on my sleep-level--to be that dedicated to my blog every night after a full day of house work/parenting/work and commitments. But it also increased my sense of satisfaction and was well-worth the effort. My life feels more full--I am reading more, thinking more, feeling more inspired, more engaged, and am living my goal--which is to live life as art. A bonus: I cured (through substitution) my addiction to watching videos after my kid goes to bed.

What's next?
I have decided that I don't want to continue doing a daily blog as the pressure to publish daily and the time commitment was quite intense, and I want to explore creativity away from my computer. For my next project, I have committed to playing music and writing every day (and doing blog posts every once in a while), but I will be posting a video every week, hence my new project, which starts in October 2013, will be called ZOELAB 52: Videos & Assignments. My goals for this project are to have more involvement from friends or other creators through collaborations, and to return to my love of performance. One of my goals for ZOELAB 365 was that it would lead to a book idea (or a few) and/or publication. I did come up with a book that I have started writing about creative motherhood, which is very exciting.

Read Zoë's original 365 interview HERE.

See all of Zoë's projects HERE.

Explorations of Life and Death

Christine Davidson in Lawrenceville, Georgia is spending a year on Explorations of Life and Death. She explains that she will, "Explore life/death/life to death/death to life with no constrictions except the challenge of sticking with each day’s suggestion in the 365 Journal"...

Why did you decide to do this project? Life and Death are mysterious, interesting, miraculous, global, internal, external… The journey will surely be fulfilling, exciting, transforming, fun…

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? 
Day 3… far, I have begun a spiritual revival within myself (great start!), discovered a new & incredible pocket in the park right down the street, a sense of beginning to come out of depression, and finally doing art again!!!

 See all of Christine's explorations HERE.

Starlight 365

Aliza Bignami in Sacramento, CA is creating a star themed daily project called Starlight 365...

Why did you decide to do this project? As a gift for my 30th birthday my amazing godmother gave me the 365: A Daily Creative Journal.  I had looked at similar journals over the years and always thought “maybe next year.”

Well it’s 2013 and I’m not getting any younger

So why stars? “Reach for the stars,” they say.  Throughout the history of man we have looked to the stars.  Whether searching for the answer of where we came from or how to get where we’re going, stars inspire us to expand our horizons creatively.  I’m hoping this “Year of Stars” will do just that.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? While I'm only two weeks in, this project has already started to bring me out of the funk of my quarter-life crisis.  I feel like I'm more creative than I've been in years, not just in my "Year of Stars" but in my life as a whole. 

And by sharing it with others, it inspires me to keep going.  Friends, family and now even strangers  look forward to seeing what I'm going to come up with next, giving me a sense of purpose again.

So here it goes.  Fingers crossed.  Wish upon a star for me.

See all of Aliza's stars HERE.

365 Guitars

Barbara Parker in Maryland is creating 365 Guitars. She explains, "Each day I form a guitar - out of, well, anything at hand - as a creative warm-up for the ensuing job of painting.  In the past I had painted six or so sketches of a guitar, but the process of reaching to create one from things  has proven to be a wonderful and transformative challenge."

Why did you decide to do this project? I read about 365 projects, and your book in a blog posted from France.  I bought the book and loved the concept of challenging myself to create something different and the same 365 times. 234 guitars later, I am beginning to worry about finishing...

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? As a creative, the discipline of repetition has proven to be an amazing kind of training, but more than this, it has opened my eyes to a great many ancillary activities.  Forcing myself into the blog format every day (which is sometimes more difficult than creating the guitar) has improved my writing skills and has brought me enough notoriety that as of May I am teaching a workshop on journaling for artists, at least a part of which is going to include the concept of the 365 project.   Almost above all is the conversation I am having with other creatives about the process.  I have met many, many wonderful people through this project and cannot say enough about how it makes me think creatively every day - no slacking.  It is also a kind of daily success that keeps me going - kind of the B12 supplement of art :)  I have gained a lot of self confidence through watching myself stick with this every day.

See all of Barbara's guitars (and give her encouragement to finish) HERE.

Batter Up

Ryn Bruce in Richmond, Virginia is spending a year delivering cakes weekly and calls it Batter Up...

Ryn explains, "Batter Up is a blog, a social experiment, and a movement to encourage people to slow down, make homemade food, and share it with family, friends, colleagues, and yes, even strangers. Starting on July 1, 2013, I am committing to baking a cake every week for a year. Then, I will deliver those cakes to unsuspecting people who are doing something cake-worthy. The identities of the deserving cake recipients are a secret until the moment of delivery and I encourage readers to nominate cake recipients who are doing something that has some sort of social impact. In doing so, we all get to learn a little more about our neighbors and who’s doing what in our community."

Why did you decide to do this project? I've been looking for a cool independent "something" to do for a while. I was working all the time and the typical "hobbies" weren't filling the void I felt. Completely unrelated, there is a designer who's work I've been wanting to purchase for a while, but couldn't afford it. Late one night, I got a harebrained idea to contact the designer and offer up alternatives to payment—one being going around giving random people cake. Weeks went by and, while I didn't hear back from her, I couldn't shake the cake idea. There was a message there—not to mention it would be so much fun! After a few weeks I decided it was something that I would do anyway and I started to build out the idea and collateral needed to launch. Not long before launching before launching the designer contacted me, not knowing that I had moved forward with the idea. I told her what I was up to and and she loved it. She sent me the collection anyway. (Thanks Jessica Hische!)

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? Some weeks are busier than others and some cake deliveries are logistically more complicated than others, so the time/physical impact varies. Some weeks are more of a challenge to get the test cake baked, photos shot, delivery details coordinated, delivery made, and blog post written. Other weeks it's smooth sailing. The emotional side of this project has been much more impactful, though. I'm getting to know the city and community by meeting some really incredible people and I'm humbled by all of the thoughtful notes, emails and press attention it has gotten so far. Every week I gain a little more momentum. In the first two months, I've been interviewed on the radio a couple of times, I've been invited to the local CBS morning show, Virginia This Morning, I've been mentioned by Richmond Magazine in their food blog, and RVA News did an awesome article which can be found here. Maybe I peaked early, or maybe there is more excitement to come. Either way, I'm having more fun than I can ever remember having.

Find out more about Batter Up HERE and on Facebook.

And the Bead Goes On...

Sandy Snowden from Bracknell, UK is creating daily in a project she calls And the Bead Goes On

She explains, "I am doing a daily project using beads. Every other month I stitch beads onto fabric beads which I make (by wrapping a fabric strip with fusible web round a knitting needle, then sticking the layers together with heat).  On alternate months I stitch beads onto something different. I have stitched onto star washers, ribbons and fabric-covered small playing cards. This month I am adding beads to springs.

Rules: Anything with a hole in it can be a bead. If you can put a hole in something, it can be a bead. Every day is a different combination of colours or beads, even if there are one or more constants these are built around."

Why did you decide to do this project? I had been following a couple blogs with daily projects and then saw Jeanne Crockett’s 365 Dresses project. I really liked the idea of using something like this as creativity prompt to get me in my studio. I chose beads because I enjoy stitching beads onto something – quite meditative.  If I could succeed for the year, I would have unique embellishments I could use in my wearable art garments. I tried it out for a week in the previous year to see how I got on. One blog commenter gave me the idea for a project title which I think fits just right. ‘And the Bead Goes On…’

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I am nearly 2/3rds of the way through the year. I thought I would get bored  just doing fabric beads, so added the option of having a different ‘item’ to bead onto for alternate months. However, I think I could possibly do another year of just fabric beads.

I am the sort of person who puts my all into a project. However, I was increasingly getting discouraged about some health issues that made it difficult to proceed like I wanted. With this daily bead project, I have the benefit of knowing that even when I have been too unwell for other projects, I have produced something.

I have experimented by using unusual items and unusual methods I would never have attempted otherwise. Most of those methods work well enough to choose to do again. Also, I have been discovering things about colour combinations that I may go on to use in larger projects. And new things about using tools and materials that I can use in my other work.

Even if you have a large drawer and a large size plastic container full of a variety of containers of beads, you never have enough of the colours you have chosen to work with!

I am already considering continuing this project for 2014 because I have more ideas than I have months left in 2013! I have had some interest from others in teaching workshops based on my bead project. I am looking at the idea of presentations or exhibitions and possibly submitting to publications.

See all of Sandy's beads HERE.