The Nightly Owl

Tanya Green in Fredericksburg, Virginia is creating The Nightly Owl...

Why did you decide to do this project? I decided to do this project because I was tired of everything else in my life taking precedence over the things I've always wanted to do, but never gave myself the time to do. I am an art teacher by day and a mom of two highly energetic boys (2 and 4) whenever I'm not working. For the past seven years I've worked with children because I'm passionate about getting them to think creatively and solve problems their way. It's time that I practice what I preach. So much of my energy has gone into my students and my family, that not much creative energy has been left for my own artwork. That has changed now and I'm truly glad that I jumped off the cliff into this crazy creative initiative.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I am only two weeks into doing my yearlong/daily project and I think my body has become acclimated to getting much less sleep than I used to get! To be honest, over the last 15 nights a lot has changed. My family, my students, and people at work have gotten somewhat invested in my journey as well. I'm getting random things donated to me for future owl creations. One co-worker went home during lunch to get me a variety of tea bags to use for Day 13. She was so excited that her tea became art! My students have been checking out the owls too. They love to ask me how I created certain owls. When I tell them that I used my brain and my imagination, some are dumbfounded. After I showed a class my LEGO owl, a student said "Oh there's a kit for that!" My reaction was, "No there is not. I made that up myself!" Hmph...children trying to steal my thunder. Ha ha!

Overall, I am a much happier person. As I go through my work day, I have this sense of accomplishment and anticipation for the next accomplishment that keeps me uplifted and energetic. I'm realizing that "Yes, I can do Art!" After teaching for so long and not necessarily challenging my own creativity and skills, I forgot that I can create. I am amazing myself nightly. Sharing my creations with my students and people I don't even know has been pretty amazing too. My sons even ask to create art when I'm working on a owl. I am one happy "artist" and I feel like I can finally call myself one. Weird, I know!

See all of Tanya's owls HERE.

365 Diamonds

Abigail in the United Kingdom is creating 365 Diamonds...

Why did you decide to do this project? Because I needed a focus for my creativity but didn't know where I was headed. Since leaving University I had struggled with how to make creativity part of my daily life. The format of the project gave me freedom, within a structure, to try things.

I found your 365: A Daily Creativity Journal in a bookshop, bought two copies for my mum and I and then badgered her until she agreed to start it with me! Soon she she was the one badgering me to keep up!

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? It has forced me to relearn the discipline that I had for my creative skills at University (making Woven textiles). This is very important as all great creativity comes from discipline, hard work and lots of horrible mistakes/versions before something great happens! It has been a wonderful project to share with my mum who is a very talented artist, and without doing it together I think there are many times we both would've given up. Doing this project has helped me address how important my creativity is to me, I don't want it to be a tiny part of my life anymore, I want it to be everything! Currently I'm designing a range of cards and working on my artwork, the next step is to find the shops and galleries that will work with me.

See all of Abigail's Diamonds HERE.

365 Project - Birds

Julie Grimes in the United Kingdom is creating daily in 365 Project - Birds...

Why did you decide to do this project? To support my very talented daughter to get back into a more creative life which is so very important to her. I have such belief in her talents and felt she was stumbling and had lost direction after university. It seemed a small thing to do to show my total support......though it took a bit of badgering on her part to get me going.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? Well in the beginning it was no small feat! Every day to produce a bird of some description,......some days it seemed just too much to try and think let alone actually create something which could be put onto my pin board .... As time has gone on I have really got into it and love being creative again, I have accepted that the finished daily bird does not need to be perfect as this is a journey back to creativity not about a polished finished daily piece. The project has stumbled periodically but through it all it was the thought of not letting my daughter down that kept me going, now we neither of us cannot believe we have reached day 200.

We have both grown from the discipline, we have leant on each other, learnt from each other and  through mutual support and encouragement we have both reignited our love of art and the creative process. My daughter, it turns out is more than a very talented artist! She has succeeded in helping me once again find my creative heart. Although Pintrest may not have been the best place to put the daily piece,  the first time one of my birds was re pinned was the most wonderful feeling ever! It was also wonderfully simple to pin birds whilst on holiday!

See all of Julie's birds HERE.

Claire's 365

Claire in San Francisco, CA is creating a daily project inspired by the prompts in my book...

Day 7 -- a stencil. I made it at a concert out of a baseball card and took a picture of the sky.
Why did you decide to do this project? I decided to do this project because I was feeling uninspired and directionless. I knew I wanted to use my brain every day and rebuild the creative muscle I know exists in there somewhere.  When I saw this book, I grabbed it and bought it hoping it would bring me back!

day 5.  this one was hard. i went and borrowed some hockey cards from 1986 from a friend. then i walked around putting them places and asking people to hold them and took pictures. at one point i found a busted newspaper dispenser and went crazy. then i put the rest of the cards on all the cars parked downtown (that was sort of a weird day).

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I have been doing it for 8 days. It is changing me every day. Doing this and being excited about it when I wake up reminded me that I do have focus and energy to work on things that I'm inspired by and interested in. And I am proud of my work, even though it's not expert... It makes me happy.  

day 4.  i went to the grocery store and made this when i got there.  it's a heart made out of peppers.

A Collage A Day with Louise Hay

Laura E.C. Stukel in Denton, Texas made  A Collage A Day with Louise Hay... 

She explains...
My goal was to create a collage every day starting October 1, 2012 using mixed media on 11x15
  • watercolor paper as a background, including:
  • scrapbook paper,
  • magazine photos (mostly Interior Design, National Geographic, and Real Simple),
  • watercolor and acrylic paint,
  • Sharpie pens and stencils,
  • and other found objects.
I used positive affirmations quoted from the work of Louise Hay in You Can Heal Your Life, and her website.  Louise is/was one of the first modern luminaries to key in on the connection between mind and body wellness in a way that is accessible to the masses.  She writes about how our thoughts can impact our physical wellness or our experience of dis-ease. 
I also used the book 365: A Daily Creativity Journal by Noah Scalin to help guide my themes and techniques each day, and to give me the extra push on days when creative inspiration was needed. 

Why did you decide to do this project? I spend most of my days as a facilities designer and project manager in a Fortune 50 corporate headquarters in the US.  Moving people and furniture around an office complex can, at times, be challenging and thankless work.  I was looking for a way to help focus on the positive, to find a new way to unwind from my day besides turning on the TV, and to encourage more creative expression in my typical day.  This project was a way for me to better balance aspects of my life, so that my mind and time were not all focused on work.  

The only other time I've taken on the challenge of a daily project was in 2011 when I wrote a thank you note a day for a full year.  I’d heard an NPR interview with John Kralik about his book, 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life, and thought I would like to try it.  I had to be creative toward the end of the year in order to complete the full 365, but I count the experience a good one and an exercise in gratitude and discipline that I'd recommend to anyone.  Each note required a moment to pause and reflect on something I could feel grateful for, and an action to reach out and thank someone for that moment.   

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? This project has been a self-exploration and endurance race that I've found immensely rewarding.   It has had ups and downs.  Some day's the collages turned out better than others, but it has gotten me back in touch with a creative aspect to my personality that I had set aside in service of a steady paycheck. 

Each day as I sat down in my work area, I knew I'd have at least an hour to ponder a positive and affirming thought.  As I started the project, I wrote a full year's worth of Louise Hay’s affirmations into Noah's Creativity Journal without thought to what they said or how they might work with the Journal exercise.  As the days progressed, I marveled at how the affirmation and the technique of the day (or the affirmation and some experience that had happened earlier in my day) matched up, as if by design…  Divine guidance?  Perhaps.

This project turned out to be a scratch for some unexplained itch that I felt as December 21, 2012 approached and I felt my anxiety rising.  Of course, that date has now come and gone without visible incident, and I look back now at my collages as helpful Art therapy in working through my feelings at the time.

This project also helped me through the tense days that followed my first and only trip to the Boston Marathon, during the one year in its history where the Marathon was targeted for homemade bombs and chaos.   Made it home safe and sound... and got back to work.   

Noah's book was invaluable at keeping me on track and out of a creative rut.  I appreciated the encouragement/directive in 365: A Daily Creativity Journal to post my project to an online blog and share as I went.  (Would probably have never done it otherwise.)  Hope others have enjoyed seeing the progression throughout the year at   Had to work through my self-consciousness about whether my Art was any good or not.    Ironically, I found that staying true to the 365 day project regardless of whether anyone was paying attention online was also key. 

On days when inspiration was flagging, I found that working with dogs as subject matter always pulled me forward.  Before this year, I used to think that ‘dog art’ wasn’t really serious ‘fine art’.  However, I also learned through the course of the year that if dog art makes me feel good to make, then as subject matter it’s as good as anything else.  (The two basset hounds that slobbered and snored at my feet as I worked through this year were patient muses.)

I spent a lot of my collage time listening to a range of audio topics that helped me learn and open my mind as I worked.  Thanks are due to the Paranormal Podcast, Darkness Radio, Mysterious Universe, The Honoring Hour, and Essential Oils Experience, and others on Blog Talk Radio.

I see this past year as an extension and expansion of my original 365 thank you note project in 2011.  I still write an occasional thank you note, but I feel that this year has been a catalyst to continue on in visual and expressive Arts.  I’m excited to try new artistic themes and techniques as I move forward, and to keep up a daily creativity habit.  Make Something Every Day and Change Your Life!

See all of Laura's collages HERE.

Heart A Day

Lori Mulligan in Fairport, New York a Heart A Day...

Why did you decide to do this project? I was out of a creative routine , was fresh out of inspiration and needed a kick in the pants - thought this project would solve all three.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I love knowing I have to get my brain working and create each day! ...maybe not on those' out of town late nights', I may panic slightly but I feel a sense of accomplishment once I complete the days project. I really try to make the heart each day but there have been times that even in the middle of the woods - a heart will appear - feel like I've been given a gift (this happened twice, the latest being day 35). Maybe you can always find the things you want if you're committed to them.

See all of Lori's hearts HERE.