The 100 Day Project

#the100dayproject 74/100

#the100dayproject 74/100

How can something like The 100 Day Project help you be better? Whatever it is you do, whatever it is you want to be, a commitment like this can improve your work habits and the skills of your craft, as well as connecting with other creatives on the same journey and with your own creative practice.  

This is what I'm learning:

  • I like to dabble in a bit of this and that, but they fall into natural mini-projects if I just follow my whims
  • aiming for perfection is counter-productive
  • if you fall behind, pick yourself up where you are and carry on
  • don't wait until you have time to catch up,  you never will
  • if you carry on and do a bit extra you might just catch up
  • catching up isn't the point; doing your thing most days is the point
  • accountability is the key to success
  • accountability can be kind of annoying! 
  • it's easy to show practice pieces if everyone knows they're only practice
  • it's easy to show finished pieces
  • its really hard to show works in progress
  • sometimes I like to keep projects under wraps until a later stage

#the100dayproject 72/100 and 73/100

#the100dayproject 72/100 and 73/100

A make from Mollie Makes

Mollie Makes dreamcatcher*

Mollie Makes dreamcatcher*

One of the secrets to being more creative is simply to do creative things as often as possible. Just keep your hands moving! 

We all know that feeling: all set to spend that rare free afternoon up to your elbows in paint, or curled up in your favourite chair crafting. Then you find every crochet hook except the one you need. Or you need to spend some time researching and sketching red deer before you start your painting. The sewing machine is under a pile of laundry. So instead, the afternoon disappears into a flurry of Pinterest and Instagram, gem destroying and random household tasks.

Some projects are too big for small, golden pockets of time. They need planning, thinking, the whole living room floor, and time to try things out, rethink things and try again. These are worthwhile of course, and the main body of work for many most artists and designer makers.

For me, the answer is to always have something ready for stolen moments like these. I like sock knitting for this: one ball of yarn and a pattern you can read on your phone. A pocket sketchbook opens up opportunities for drawing whenever a quiet moment appears.

Magazine kits are great for this. You usually get everything you need and instructions are often kept to a page. They can normally be made in a single afternoon or evening session too.

I made a few changes from Erin Black's cute design, mainly how the feathers hang, and I'm really pleased with the result. It's the latest issue of Mollie Makes so you might still be able to get your hands on it if you're quick.

 *Something to consider: an excellent articule on cultural appropriation

A World of Artist Journal Pages

The big day approaches. This gorgeous book will be hitting the shelves, and nestled within its pages are some of my favourite pages from my journal last year. It's available on Amazon for pre-sale (UK/US)  at the moment. It was put together by Dawn Sokol, an art journaler herself. What I love about her books is how they celebrate the amazing breadth of page styles out there and even the variety of purposes in keeping a visual journal.


The importance of preparation


"Measure twice, cut once." 

It feels like a drag sometimes, but there are jobs for which you have to put the time in to prepare properly. I don't follow rules, for rules' sake, but if I understand why, then I enjoy putting care and attention into the finer details.

There is definitely time and space for process-based, intuitive work. It's important to just let your hands, the muse and your medium of choice frolic together. It's important to try and fail, to make a lot of art on the road to making the art of your dreams. 

For other work, you need to take the time and do the prep. When binding books, "measure twice, cut once" definitely applies. If you take the time, you end up with a book so neat and beautiful that you can hardly believe you made it. I know I feel like that sometimes. In woodworking, every teacher or maker I've ever spoken to, insists on the same. In dress-making, pre-washing, measuring for fit, tweaking the pattern, even making a toile (or muslin, for some of you) sometimes, and cutting with care results in a garment that looks handmade in all the best ways.

Knitting can go either way. For shawls and blankets, you can often dive straight in with yarn that makes your heart sing, knitting until it feels done. Some people can work awe-inspiring free-form knitting and crochet garments. 

I'm starting my first sweater ever. We all know horror stories of jumpers, knit by relatives, that fit noone and no body. Tight necks, short bodies and long arms; I have no desire to put my yarn money and knitting time into a disaster like that. 

The little piece you see above is a sample piece for my jumper. Knit, just like my sweater will be, in the round, on the same sized needles, with the yarn I want to use. It's even been washed the way I'll wash it when it's done. It allowed me to see if I like the fabric that will make up the finished piece and how it will wash. It also lets me see how many stitches I'm getting to the inch. Turns out, I'm getting an extra quarter stitch per inch compared to the designer. Pshaw! That's nothing, right? Around the hips though, that would give me a jumper two inches tighter than planned, a whole dress size! Plus, just like with shopping for clothes, very few of us are exactly the dimensions of one size and planning ahead allows for a custom fit. Wish me luck!

This piece is a test palette for a little illustrated book I'm working on. It's already bound and stitched, so I wanted to make my colour experiments ahead of time rather than on the page. Which reminds me, I must note down the names of the pencil colours before I forget. 

What about you? Do you like to leap right in or work it out as you go along? Does it depend on the project? Or your mood?