365 Spoons

Sonya Penn in Louisville, Kentucky is making 365 Spoons in 2015. She explains, "I recently started experimenting with making different spoons with clay. They are intriguing in that they are very personal items that have the ability to bring art into every day life. Spoons are probably the first utensil used by babies and will be used throughout their entire lives. My idea is this: Create one spoon a day for the entire year of 2015. 365 spoons is A LOT of spoons!"

Why did I decide to do this project? I wanted to come up with a daily practice in creativity that had the capacity to hold my interest for the entire year. I also was launching a new website and I wanted some daily content that I could feel good and confident about. I had been making clay spoons here and there and found them to be interesting and versatile. The possibilities are endless! I find myself actually having to hold back and not make a bunch of spoons all in one day. At night I go to sleep thinking about what the next day's spoon will be.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I have only just started the project and I am nine days in. I know there will be days that I really won't want to make a spoon. I have already had to force myself to make one at least one time. I let it get late and was tired, but I overcame the human tendency to procrastinate. I expect to find discipline and I expect to be able to explore many possibilities with styles and creativity.

See all of Sonya's spoons HERE

365 Buddhas

Julian and Vickie are creating Buddha inspired images and texts daily for a year in 365 Buddhas. They explain, "The writings and visuals may match, clash or coordinate...all up to chance!"

Why did you decide to do this project? Looking to break out of artistic boxes by exploring new methods. 

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life?  we are only 2 days in but I am loving how creation is becoming a daily habit rather than a break from habit.

Follow their progress HERE

One Good Thing Follow-Up

On  December 31, 2014 Erin Bunting completed her daily yearlong One Good Thing project...

What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project? Some days my "One Good Thing" 365 days project really asked me to dig deep on how best to illustrate each day's "good thing." I tried to always let the "good thing" lead, and tried to never concoct a "good thing" just so I could use a really great image that I already had. I made myself find a way to visually and creatively interpret the subject without always being literal. For example, one of my "good things" was about "a grown-up" Sushi lunch date with my son, Sam. Instead of photographing us or our food, I used Play Doh to create a whole sushi plate with caviar, wasabi and everything, and photographed that. My intention was to communicate not just the food, but also childhood that has been supplanted by adulthood, and my feelings about a boy who has grown into a fine young man – way too fast.

Doing this project I was surprised and tickled over and over again by how ingenious the imagination is when it has a reason to play, and the space to do it in. I also learned how much I really enjoy photographing miniature objects and toys in ways that make them seem alive and animated. Lego mini figures, Barbie dolls, action figures, finger puppets, bathtub toys, party favors ... I love it all had have accrued quite a collection of great stuff!

As in previous projects, the dailiness and discipline required for creating something every day for a year was rigorous and exciting, relentless and spontaneous, fresh and challenging. This project kept me creatively stimulated and moving, in a constant search for what else I could do, try, learn or practice.

In what ways did the project change your life? Obviously, as the name indicates, this project had a very positive focus overall. I've done projects in the past that have gotten a little dark, because my artistic animal was dwelling in the darker places at the time. But this time around, I was craving something on the brighter side. I didn't ignore the dark. I still delved into darker and more serious subject matter, but I tried to do so with an eye toward the light.  As I stated in my mission at the project's outset, some days it doesn't seem like there is anything good. Sometimes you have to reach way down into the suckiness and pull out some suck-covered something. And you might not even know it's anything good at first because it's so covered in suck. So you have to kind of rinse it off, scrape it down, "un-suck it," and find the good. That was a life-changing discipline to practice and to cultivate. It didn't preclude me from going to the dark places, it just didn't let me get stuck there.

It was a really great way to celebrate the myriad little daily blessings that I might otherwise take for granted – like the first cup of coffee in the morning, or riding a bicycle – as well as once-in-a-lifetime experiences like a hot air balloon ride or an extraordinary person. And it got me out of the house and into the world, constantly looking and searching for the good.

Now what? "One Good Thing" was my fourth consecutive 365 days project. I won't be doing one in 2015 for a couple of reasons. One, I didn't have any good project ideas that I felt compelled to pursue. I know that if I just picked something to pick something and forced it into a project, I'd quickly come to regret it. Projects like this can get a little tyrannical, and if you don't love it, you very likely won't complete it. Two, I'm also an actor and will be performing at the Cleveland Play House from January through March, so I need the time to focus on preparing for that work. It feels right. I needed a change of pace. I still feel a little empty pang in the morning when I realize I won't be sitting down to write my blog post. But I haven't sworn off 365 days projects for good. I'll be back. When the idea and the time are right, I'll definitely get back in the ring. And a year off will give me time to work on personal art projects that are less "daily."
See all of Erin's good things HERE.

The Nightly Owl Follow-Up

Tanya Green recently completed her yearlong The Nightly Owl project. Here's her follow-up interview...

When did your project start/end? I started my project on October 2, 2013. I remember that night as clear as can be. I was sitting at my computer checking FB, when I glanced over at my bookcase and spied my copy of your book "365 A Daily Creativity Journal." I obtained your book back in 2012 at an art teacher conference where I first heard your story about your year of skulls. I remember thinking back then, "I could totally do that, but what would my subject matter be?" After pondering it for the weekend and forgetting about it for a whole year, I finally decided that I didn't need to have a specific subject matter...I just needed to start creating.

It took more time for me to create my blog than for me to create my first artwork. I was sucked into figuring out the ins and outs of Wordpress and what my blog would be called. That's why my blog name doesn't match my journey at all! "The Gnomes Studio" is where you can find my Nightly Owl journey, however I didn't settle on owls as my theme until day 3. And no...I was not obsessed with owls before I began. Yes...they are now an obsession...I wouldn't be able to escape them even if I tried. My journey ended October 2, 2014.

What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project? I learned that our bodies and minds are amazing objects that can be altered and trained. Because I work full time and have two kids under the age of 6, the only time I had to focus and create was between the hours of 8 and Midnight. It took time for my body to acclimate to my new schedule. There were nights and days that I was exhausted and didn't know how I was going to keep on keeping on. Eventually, I hit my stride and everything became routine. Before I knew it, I was counting down the days to 365.

Another lesson I learned, is that I am the one in control of my life and choices. When I started the project, I was hell bent on sticking to the prompts in your book for every creation. I was probably about 2/3 through the journey when I realized that I was the one in control and that I could change the rules if I wanted. What started out as one creation a night ended up with some works taking more than one night to finish.

Along the way I created owls in lots of different ways. I started out creating with media that I was confident in. I wanted each owl to be amazing (which I quickly learned was an unobtainable goal). There were some nights the prompts gave me new media to try that I wouldn't have other wise considered. Oh, and I wasn't always successful either. There were times that my owls failed. I learned to be vulnerable, to be flexible, and to be committed to the process...not the "perfect" end result.

In what ways did the project change your life? One big way the project changed my life is that I started to create art again. I went through a 13 year hiatus from creating my own art. Life had taken over...job, kids, everyday routines...I forgot about me. It's easy to put others before you. It's hard to stop and change the routines, but it's doable. 

Over the past year I've also become a member in a local art gallery and have begun showing/selling my artwork. Nothing has sold yet, I blame the market! ;) My 365 journey gave me confidence in my creative abilities. I probably wouldn't have applied for the gallery if I hadn't started this journey. It also taught me to take risks. I started a new job in November which challenges me daily to learn new things. I am constantly applying the lesson I learned about allowing the process to take place before perfection. I think I've always been that way...ever since I was a kid. I wanted to be good and perfect at everything from the get go. I am constantly reminding myself that it will take time, but I can do it!

Now what? Hmmm.....I know that I need a new commitment...a new goal! I'm not sure what that will be yet. I still have some time to think on it, but I know it's a must! Since starting my new job and ending the journey, I spiraled back down in to my old routines of too much TV and job stress taking over. My days were filled, but I felt drained physically and mentally. Taking the time away from creating helped me realize that the act of creating art was good for my physical and mental soul. It brought peace to my world and allowed me to focus my time and energy on something that would recharge me and make me feel whole. I can't let the last two months happen again. I need to stay committed to creating. More owls? More birds? I'm still not sure....maybe a new Noah Scalin book!

See all of Tanya's owls HERE.

Read Tanya's original 365 interview HERE.