Fort Williams 365 Project

Stephanie Bowe of Cape Elizabeth, Maine took a photo a day in her Fort Williams 365 Project...

Why did you decide to do this project?  I have started this page as a way to journal my 365 Project for 2014. Living so close to Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, I have always appreciated its beauty. Even though I live in the same town, I never seem to go there as much as I should. I have decided to visit the park every day during 2014. It is famous for being the home of the historic Portland Headlight lighthouse, but I want to commit to exploring and getting to know all the nooks and crannies of the park. I hope to really observe how people use this wonderful gem in my town and grow ever more grateful that I get to live near it.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I am on the verge of completing my 365 project for the year 2014. What began as a daily challenge for myself has now become part of my daily habit. The park that I photographed every day this year has not only become very well-known to me but feels as though it is part of me now. The exercise of going to the park every day and photographing a moment from my time there has opened my eyes to a new way of experiencing the park and my time there. Although I was able to capture some spectacular images ( others not so much), the intention was to journal my project. Through this journaling, I became more observant, mindful and grateful and I truly believe it has made a positive difference in my life and how I view the world around me. I am eager to start another 365 project for 2015 and see where it will guide me.

 See all of Stephanie's photos HERE.

365 Days of Luck

Gina Hampen of Santa Fe, Texas is back with another daily project, this time it's about fate, fortune, and luck!

Why did you decide to do this project? In 2011 I did a blog and tried for 366 days of fans but didn't quite make a whole year. It was a very interesting and rewarding project and I enjoy going back to review all the entries from time to time. When I look at them I am amazed by some of the things I had to come up with to make the daily deadline. I have begun printing the photos into book form using Snapfish and I must say I get a warm glow from seeing my little books all lined up on the bookshelf. Only 4 volumes are done so far.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I'm really rusty, both creatively and with the blogging. I expect to stretch my mental muscles and learn some new skills. I've done almost two weeks and already feel more alert to possibilities for creativity everywhere. I love the anticipation of a piece waiting to be made every day. Very happy to be back!

See all of Gina's lucky posts HERE.

And see her original 365 interview HERE.

Creative Quests

Karen Richards in Eugene, Oregon is spending a year doing Creative Quests. She explains, "I am tackling a different creative challenge each month. I started in September with comics and cartoons, did photography in October, and creatively lettered inspirational quotes (along with Nanowrimo) in November. I am playing with paper art and crafts in December. And from there to January and beyond."

Why did you decide to do this project? In the past few years, I’ve devoted myself to several projects that required creating something every day. I’ve seen many benefits from the practice and I believe sharing my prompts and process will help me keep a record of my progress and may help others. Over time, I hope to try several new art forms and learn about social media. My ultimate goal is to determine how all my artsy interests fit together, and might be conglomerated, juxtaposed, or blended into a new, better-formed, and professional, direction.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I love the excitement and the “eyes open” feeling I’ve had every day. So far, I have continued to be enthusiastic and immersed in thinking up and executing each challenge. As a bonus, I’ve had a couple of ideas about how to focus my creativity in the longer term. In the meantime, it feels like such a beneficial practice to search for new materials, new ways of seeing and interpreting, each day. For example, I used different methods for making letters every day in November. Just when I thought I might be out of ideas, I spied the Sriracha sauce in the refrigerator or the twist ties in the junk drawer, and I found myself experimenting until I was satisfied with the result.
See all of Karen's quests HERE.

10 Thoughts and Lessons Learned from Snake A Day

Brandy Copley recently completed her yearlong Snake-A-Day project and she shared 10 great things she took away from her experience...

1. Discipline – This might seem obvious, but wow did I get to work on my discipline skills.  Guys there were days when I was working an 18 hour day, or my kid went to the ER that day, or I was sick, or etc etc.  I made a snake, even on those days.  I didn’t let any of those excuses stop me.  365 days of anything is a marathon of epic proportions, and for someone who had not done anything visually creative since 3rd grade, this was a huge commitment.  I made it, and it’s given me a certain confidence, of the “well if I managed THAT, I can do lots of  hard things” variety.

2. Creativity – Again this one is obvious, but making something for 365 days will force you to get creative.  Particularly on days, or in locations, when your materials are limited.  Travel and hotel days were the bane of my project- I mean how many ways can you make a snake out of the things found in a bare bones business hotel? I think I found them all.  I think my ice snake is one of my favorites, for exactly that reason.
3. Respect for my family – Oceans of love to my family for their intense support and patience with this project over the last year.  My son cheered me on (“Mom, great job!) and on many occasions provided his toys for snake making materials (“Hey mom, think you can snake this?”).  My sweet husband bought me paper and sketch pads and oil pastels and water colors, which I never got the hang of, and clay and charcoals, which I grew to love.  Neither of them complained when I’d stop in the middle of some family hike or vacation and say “Wait, give me 10 minutes I need to snake that!”  And they never said “oh that one’s terrible” or “Are you really gonna post that?”  As my 8 year old reminded me, Mom there is no right or wrong in art.

4. Appreciation of art – I think I have been to more museums, art galleries, art festivals, and such in the last year than I have in the rest of my life combined.   While I always enjoyed the visual arts, I was more of a performance art type person; the ballet, dance, live music, theater, and such.  This year reminded me that I LOVE looking at art, and I will continue to do more of it.

5. Giving myself credit – Wow I am hard on myself.  It’s in my DNA.  (I’m still ticked about the one B I made in college because that left me with a 3.98 gpa instead of a perfect 4.0.  Really- all these many years later and I can’t get over that?) Well this project was good for learning to get ok with a pass/fail grade.  I set out in my opening post that the goal of this project was not perfection.  If it was longer than it was tall, and had no legs, and any vaguely snakey attributes, it passed.  Which was good, because some of the snakes made under duress- while traveling with very few materials handy for example- were pretty lame.  But they were snakes, and I made them.  Bingo, passing grade. That was a tough lesson for me.

6. Culture – My favorite month of snake a day by far was April, where I explored the potrayal of snakes in different locations, cultures, and religions.  Snakes have so much cultural importance, in so many different ways and places across the globe, and I got to explore, learn, and enjoy those stories.  The art isn’t always impressive in April, but the stories I turned up are amazing.  Including this one- did you know that the oldest consistently worshiped deity on the planet is a snake god in Australia? I love that.

7. Being present, and noticing line and color – Spending every day keeping my eyes open for likely snake making materials really improved by ability to be present in the moment, and notice my surroundings.  I am now so much more open to noticing line, shape and color, and picking up on how those things influence the viewer.  I’ve focused more on what my home looks like, so I’ve added some art from the local art festival.  Even my wardrobe has gotten a second look, as I’ve thought about what message a crisply tailored black suit sends versus a softer, colorful dress, and what outfit works better for which work meeting.

8. I enjoy drawing (even though I am not skilled) – This one stunned me.  I went into this planning to mostly use found items to shape the snakes.  I did not plan to sketch or draw or paint, because I have no training or skill.  But when I slowly started playing with my art supplies- the very forgiving chalks in particular- I loved it.  It’s almost a meditative thing, as you start layering and smudging the colors.  It takes all my focus, and calms my busy mind. I think I will keep my chalks, and draw from time to time simply for the peace.

9. Meeting new people – here’s a great way to meet new people.  Start making a giant 15 foot snake out of seaweed on a busy surf beach at dawn in southern Cali.  The curious surfers come over, asking what’s that?  And suddenly you’ve met 15 new people.  (I went surfing with them the next day.)  This story played out many times over the year, from chatting with the bowling alley owner (What are you doing with the bowling balls?, he asked) to the river rafting guide in Oregon (Hey can I borrow your paddles and life jackets for a few minutes? I asked him), to a glass artist (Hey can I take your art glass class? But I want to make snakes, that ok?) to a fly fisher in Jackson Hole (Why did you turn those leaves into a snake?, he wondered).  I think I terrified a seat mate on an airplane once when I started snaking my food and then snapped a pic of it!  

10. I chose a great subject – The one question that I got asked so many times was, why snakes? Well, they are pretty simple, geometry wise. I have minimal art skills, and could never do something as complex as Noah’s skulls. Also, snakes, like skulls, come pre-loaded with meaning. They are gods in some countries, and pests in others.  Entire libraries have been written about their religious symbolism. They lack a fixed shape, and come in a stunning variety of colors, which gave me SO much optionality in terms of how to create my snakes.  They are instantly recognizable.  When I would leave a snake behind to be found and enjoyed (for example, a snow snake near the ski lifts) I never had to lurk more than 2 minutes before some passer by noticed my work, and the reaction, every time, was a surprised “Cool!” or some similar shocked but pleased expression.
I am already missing my snakes a bit (I admit I made one yesterday just for my entertainment.)  I’ve kept a few of my favorites around.  Syd the giant stuffed animal snake sleeps in my bed.   Because of this project, every day, for a year, I used my creative brain.  That felt like success to me. I loved my 365 day project. 
Read Brandy's original 365 interview HERE.

See all of Brandy's snakes HERE.

365 Daily Creative Duel

Deb Trevan & Manny Sena in Montrose, Colorado are having a  365 Daily Creative Duel!  

They explain, "We tweaked the 365 book by putting all the prompts into a bucket. We take turns drawing from the bucket and Doing the prompt. We each picked an image for the year and daily we send each other pictures first. Then I post them to my Facebook page or once a week to my blog."

Why did you decide to do this project? I ordered the book for the daily creative prompt vs all the journaling ones that I participate in. One day he was looking at it and I tossed the idea to him about doing it with me and he was interested but we have different schedules and jobs etc. I put all the prompts from the book onto cards into the bucket with one exception.  I did trade the dream one for a trade images for the day. He balked at the thought of some "weird" dreaming thing....which made me laugh but gave me a chance to get a trade in. He hates reading I have read it so I think I have an advantage with some pondering of prompts before they come up. But, he is a very clever art mind and will make it a challenge no doubt.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? We have this creative competition going and creative union as well as different interpretations to the prompt. Its been fun. Of course we are only on day two as of October 2nd but its been good. We are both looking forward to the year of stuff we come up with. It has added a level of creativity and fun to our relationship.

I plan on the Unstuck book as well and if there are prompts in there I will probably get cards and toss them on and into the bucket. I bet he doesn't catch the more than a year part.

Follow the duel HERE.


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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

[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.

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!

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 App├ętit 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!

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.