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.

Little Pretties

Lauralyn Brickhouse in Virginia is doing daily photography in her Little Pretties project...

Why did you decide to do this project? Little Pretties started out as a venue with which to share my analog photos (I still shoot fairly regularly with a Holga 120, a Minolta XG-1, 2 Canon AE-1's, an old Polaroid Sun camera, and a new Polaroid 300 Instant camera - I'm definitely a low-techie when it comes to my photography, haha!), along with the far more abundant Instagram pics. that I've become so addicted to taking with the iPhones that I've had over the years…and although I do still publish longer-winded entries from time to time, lately I've been focussing more on posting the spoils of my first, and second forays into my own 365 project. (My first attempt earlier this year, was abruptly cut short after barely getting off the ground, when I completely tore the ligament that connects my collar bone to my shoulder blade, while rough-housing with my 14 y/o son…my left arm was rendered practically useless for a couple of weeks following the injury - so I produced very few photos, during that time).

Anyway, since launching my most recent 365 Project, I am delighted to report that I've remained dedicated to the daily pursuit of capturing at least one image to share on Little Pretties (I don't always post my 365 pics on the days that they were taken, but I do still snap pictures every single day, and one or a few of them eventually do make it to the blog as documentation of that).

For nearly 3 1/2 years, "Cheap Camera, 10 Second Timer Self-Portraiture" was my biggest photographic push, but after being charged with, and ultimately convicted of two trespassing misdemeanors (I staged my [oftentimes nude] selfpics on private property most of the time - and so getting caught by perturbed property owners was inevitable, I reckon), and then spending a weekend in jail, plus 6 anxiety-riddled months on probation - I decided to take an indefinite break from self-portraiture after my last official shoot, this past November. (I'm planning on coming out of early retirement this upcoming Monday, however - as I have an opportunity to shoot at a drool-worthy location, with one of my all-time favorite photographers, Richmond's own - Jamie Betts!!! - I am SO flippin' excited, it's borderline ridiculous!)

Needless to say, with self-portraiture no longer dominating most of my shooting time, I was able to focus more singularly on taking the non-self-portraiture pictures that I do so love to take, and before too long, I posed myself the challenge of carving out time every day to shoot (be it a panicked 15 minutes, or a decadent 4 hours), in order to seriously pursue a 365 Project…

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? Although for years I've gone out with my cameras most every week, sometimes even several times a week - in search of interesting things, people, and places to shoot, there have been glaring lulls in my motivation, and productivity, from time to time (which always caused me to feel horribly disappointed in myself). Honestly though? It wasn't until I jumped into my 365 Project, that I actually made photography a real priority, a responsibility of sorts - to make a sincere effort to shoot on the reg., and to capture daily images not only for my own artistic fulfillment - but also for the enjoyment of those kind folks out there, who so graciously follow my "Little Pretties" blog.

I like that the 365 Project puts (a tolerable amount of) pressure on me, to not become complacent or lackadaisical about my photography. I also like that my eyes are open wider, and I've developed a more finely tuned radar, that allows me to hone in on subject matter to shoot, in places where I would've previously never even bothered to look (like say, in a grocery store parking lot, late in the evening, when I realize that I've forgotten to take that day's pics., and I still have yet to buy the groceries, pick my daughter up from dance, go home, make dinner, clean the kitchen, do laundry, etc…!!! Aw Crap!) I like that, even when all of the pictures that I've taken on a particular day - literally suck - I'm forced to put my inordinately large ego aside, and pick out something to post, anyway…even if I absolutely hate it (very humbling). I like getting to know intimately, nearby places that I've seen a million times before, but barely paid attention to - in my oftentimes desperate hunt for something local to shoot, in the short periods of time that my schedule (and my kids' schedules) allow(s). And I like it when people shoot me strange looks, mean looks even - when they see me taking pictures of stuff that I'm to presume they think is pretty stupid subject matter…like early morning sunlight illuminating a piece of trash hung up in the branches of a tree growing on the side of a busy highway…I actually LIKE it when they look at me as if I'm NUTS!

See all of Lauralyn's Little Pretties HERE.

365 Days of Shakespearean Word Art

Anna Thursby in Brisbane, Australia is creating 365 Days of Shakespearean Word Art! She explains, "It's calligraphy meets illustration. Every day I'll be posting a Shakespearean coinage (a word now obsolete or a phrase now commonplace) drawn in ornamental lettering. Ideally in such a way as to reflect the meaning ... or at least that's the intention."

Why did you decide to do this project? You mean aside from the cliché of seeing 30 barrelling toward me like a runaway express train, and becoming suddenly desperate to accomplish something, anything, and having serendipitously found the Make Something 365 book in the library, and figuring that was as good a place to start as any?

Last year I surrendered to the weight of opinion insisting that my drawings are good enough to share with the world, and a no-pressure project like this makes it easier to start doing that. It's 365 baby steps; practice at putting my work out there for all to see, and because it's just a bit of fun and experimentation it doesn't matter whether people like it or not. (Plus these glorified doodles will probably make my "real" work look good in comparison :)

I'm hoping, too, that it will help me to detach myself from perfectionism. There's no room for it here: whatever I draw, I post, even if I'm not happy with it or I think of a better idea as soon as I've finished.

As for why Shakespeare ... you can blame Stephen Fry for that one. At the beginning of January I was desperately casting around for ideas when I caught a repeat of a Bard-themed episode of Q.I., which featured some Shakespearianisms which never caught on. Boggler. Carlot. Kicky-wicky. It was love at first geeky glance. I rushed to the computer, found http://www.shakespeareswords.com/, and dived straight in.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? It's deepened my appreciation of Shakespeare. Everything of his which I haven't read had risen to the top of my mental list of Books I Simply Must Read, and half of those I have are now on my mental list of Books I Must Read Again Soon. A comprehensive list of his reputed inventions shows what a profound effect he had upon the English language, and is catnip to someone who loves words for their own sake. (I wonder if I could resurrect a few...?)

The need to set up a blog for all of this art-sharing has set me off on a self-directed crash course in HTML and CSS, which is something I would never have thought myself techy enough to manage; but I am managing. I'm teaching myself how to use GIMP, too - I've actually rather impressed myself. And art-sharing is actually much less nerve-wracking that I'd feared.

Most importantly, I'm creating every day, and learning how to take Jack London's advice and go after inspiration with a club. Or a pencil, as the case may be.

See all of Anna's words HERE.

Three Walls

I recently had a conversation about the Three Wall concept with budding designer Alisa Katz and after our talk she sent me this great image of her own discovery of a literal version of the idea.

One of the principles of creativity that I share in my book Unstuck is the idea that Freedom Comes From Limitations. I learned this in the course of doing my yearlong Skull-A-Day project. I discovered that rather than feeling constrained by having a pre-determined subject (a skull), a strict deadline (one day), and a specific materials to work with (everything from googly eyes to butterflies) I actually felt inspired and motivated to create!

I had always thought that I was being held back in my commercial creative work by the limits that my clients had been imposing on me, but it turned out that those were the exact things that generated my creative inspiration. But I had been expending my energy fighting those limits rather than embracing them and moving forward.

Now when I give talks on creativity I share this concept as Three Walls. If you've got no walls you're just floating in space, there's nothing to push against and you can't go anywhere. If you've got four walls, you're boxed in completely and can't go anywhere either. But if you've got just three walls you can use them for leverage as you rocket yourself out of the one opening you've got.

If this concept seems counterintunitive to you Here's a quick project adapted from my book Unstuck that you can use to experience it in just a few seconds:

Did you know that the words “laser” and “scuba” were originally acronyms? SCUBA stood for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus and LASER stood for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, but now they’ve become words in their own right. This exercise gets your creative wheels turning by playing with the potential within the words around you.

  1. Set a timer for 30 seconds.
  2. Choose one of these words: SKULL, BANJO, YOGURT, BOING
  3. Write it vertically (one letter stacked above the other) on a piece of paper with plenty of space to the right.
  4. Don’t spend too long thinking. Just pick a new word that starts with one of the letters within the word you've chosen and write it down in the space next to it.
  5. Work around that first word to quickly create the rest of the acronym. It doesn’t have to be good or even vaguely relate to the word’s meaning. The idea is to do this fast to build up your skill at thinking on the spot.
  6. If you finish before 30 seconds is up, create another acronym for the same word!

Need more creative inspirations? Pick up a copy of Unstuck at your local independently owned bookstore. or online at Powell's Books Amazon.com QBookshop Barnes & Noble or Chapters/Indigo

Scout and Scholar

Jag Nagra, in Vancouver, Canada, who previously created 365 Illustrations, has now started a new daily project called Scout and Scholar in which she heads out each day to ask one person “What did you learn today?”...

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? It’s incredible what kinds of personal things complete strangers are opening up to me, and has really helped bring me out of my shyness.  When I first started, I was horribly embarrassed every time someone would say “no” to the project, whereas now, it’s become so much easier to approach people.  I began to accomplish two things: 1) push myself so far out of my comfort zone, and challenge my shyness.  2) Since I work from home, I needed an excuse to get out of the house each day and talk to people outside of my computer screen.

Check out all of the responses to Jag's question HERE.

And watch a short into to the project here...