Tuesday, 13 December 2011
daily project 2012 - a list
At the beginning of this year I began my tiny heads project. I worked on this for over three months, before deciding to end on day 121. It was a fun learning curve and I was delighted with the responses I received.
Many artists decide to set themselves new challenges for a new year. Projects begin and end all year round, of course. A year-long project is a particular challenge that may or may not appeal. It can be daunting and yet how would it feel to really make it happen 365?! There are projects that follow the course of a month, day to day. There are projects that add up to 100, or more days, or things.
This blog post is about choosing a daily project for 2012 - whether you stick to it for the whole year or just a month or three. I'm hoping here to share some brainstorming ideas. Also, if you have ideas to add then you are welcome to leave a comment. I'm writing this to help share ideas - and help myself decide what I want to do in 2012!
A daily project can be that little something special for you to achieve. Setting a goal, or deciding to simply 'do this each day', may give an artist that little push to explore new ideas, a new material. It can be the best thing to do - if you have been feeling stuck lately. A project can be that kick up the skirt that might just make you get to the art desk, or the sewing machine, or the kitchen table and - do it.
Giving just a small amount of time each day, a creative process can become a daily practice. It may take on a spiritual dimension, or not. It may become the main thing in your life, or not. It may bore you after a few weeks, or not.
Sharing it with the world, via a blog and/or Flickr, Facebook, can help you along the way. But sharing can also feel a little overwhelming at times, it may feel like an added complication when you are trying to achieve a little confidence with a 'new thing' or regain inspiration with something from the past. So sharing is not essential. There are projects I've made for myself that I have not shared publicly, things I've tried for a while. This is all part of learning what works for you, of course. That said, the positives of sharing a project are many: you get to showcase your work and how it develops, inspire others, and document the project for yourself. I think inspiring other people is one of the best, most fulfilling positives.
Deciding on a new project is not always easy. Some of my past projects have come around easily, I've simply found myself doing them. Others have been planned and thought-through. Some are started and abandoned (giving yourself permission to give up a project that is not working out for you is a whole other post - one day!).
So, you're thinking that maybe a new year could mean a new project for you. A daily project can be as complex or as simple as you like of course. Think about the amount of time you have for it and be realistic. Every day is every day, can you do this on a weekend too? Or how about a year-long project that does not include certain days? You set the rules and bend them as necessary.
I present here a brainstormed list of ideas for daily projects. The focus here is visual. Though I am including a few ideas for writers too. And so often artists are writers and writers are artists.
To give some kind of sense to it, I've divided into types: Journal based, textile based, photography based, mixed media and conceptual. There's a lot of cross-over, cross-pollination. And please note: these are not all my original ideas, of course, you may have tackled a few or more of these yourself already.
Journal Based Project Ideas
a collage a day - but with a particular focus eg: not using paper (using textiles, plastics, found objects). Or a collage a day using a current newspaper or magazines.
painted book - I did this for a month, November 2010 - you can see here. I painted sketchbook pages, using various paints and keeping it abstract. You might think of the pages as backgrounds or a wordless diary. I'm really seriously thinking about this as a year-long project.
Explore a word picked randomly from a dictionary - sketch, collage, paint.
Keep a journal as an alter ego. You might really want to explore a past artist's life and style. You could choose to be anyone you admire or want to know more about. Or create an alternate persona for yourself. For example, up until now you may have worked in a particular style but would like to explore something entirely different. Your Alter Ego Journal might give you an opportunity to work in a completely new or divergent way.
Drawing projects do not have to be journal based - but a journal or sketchbook is a good way of keeping it together. A few things to consider: a bird a day, an outdoor sketch, a line drawing without taking the pencil off the paper, monoprint (see my various monoprinting posts for technique ideas), self portrait, random object in your home.
Related idea: make a small blank book each day - with different binding techniques to explore.
Textile Based Project Ideas
I like the idea of keeping daily projects quite frugal and making use of things you have already. So many of my textile ideas are about 'using up', recycling, upcycling, or making small things that add up to a lovely collection.
making a small patchwork square
make a textile bead or ornament
stitch a row of embroidery on a sampler (teaching yourself a new stitch every so often)
make a small doll
make a simple wrist bracelet or cuff
sharing the items you make can add a further dimension: eg. you might want to put all the small things together and donate quilts to a charity, or you may want to 'donate and decorate' local trees, or sell items to fund the project.
But - textile projects need not always be about making and using materials and an end 'thing'. Design for textiles could be your focus. You could keep a textile journal with fantasy fashion designs and snippets of fabrics. Design a dress a day. Or a pair of shoes. Or draw an embroidery design for later use.
Photography Based Project Ideas
This feels limitless, perhaps. Choose something and photograph it each day. Watch a tree grow and change, for example. Photograph your day at a particular time of the day.
Photograph the early morning sky, your neighbourhood, your garden. Found objects. Shop windows. Doorways.
Self portraits - this could be particularly demanding and perhaps worth really thinking through carefully before deciding upon. I say this as someone who did a self portrait project many years ago and found it eventually taking too much of my time in perfectionism and making me feel quite vulnerable. So proceed with caution. Especially if you are going to share your photos publicly.
Conceptual and Other Ideas
I like the idea of giving something each day. Whether this is giving something away that you no longer need, giving time perhaps. This could be documented in a diary/blog.
Sending things: writing postcards and letters... But of course postage costs will add up. A year of stamps will be a large financial commitment. An alternative would be to write a letter or postcard each day and then send a week's worth or even a month's worth to a friend. Or write a letter or postcard to your child for them to read when older. Or write to someone fictional or historical and explain the world to them, as it is now.
Objects in places. I know of projects that have involved leaving small treasures in different public places. The classic balloon with a tag idea, but revised to become a haiku in a bottle, for example.
Just a few ideas then..... Please let me know your ideas and I will add them in here (with credit to you). It would be good to have your ideas here too and you are welcome to link to this post, of course.
And finally, if you decide to take on a project for 2012 - please let me know. If I can, depending on response, I'll put together another post at the beginning of the new year listing projects and giving links to blogs.