100 days of exploring (in 2021)

100 days of exploring (in 2021)

It’s go-time. Earlier this week – for the third year in a row – I joined #the100dayproject, a global 100 day project initiative.

For those not familiar with the 100-day project: it’s basically doing/creating/making something specific (whatever you choose) for 100 consecutive days. This could be 100 days of sketches, block prints, being mindful, taking a photo each day, giving back to the community – there are no rules, you set your own rules.

The last two years my goal was 100 block printed patterns but basically all I wanted was to create regularly, challenge myself and grow with that (which I sure did, you read my recap of the first 100-day project here and here). Both times I did not finish within the 100 days-timeframe, something I am totally fine with as I am a big advocate of having a sustainable creative practice. And I was super happy with the outcome of the 2019 and 2020 100-day-projects (I produced some of my best and some of my worst work during that time). I also feel really good about last year’s edition, where I felt like I needed to stop shortly after 50 prints.

Looking back at 2020 I realized that I struggled with making time for more extensive creative projects – I regularly reverted to a quick carving session or print and more often than not I did not grant the time or room for more extensive projects… something I want to change in 2021.

That’s why I decided to turn the 100-day project around and prescribe myself “100 days of exploring” in 2021 (as in: until the end of the year). I am not trying to do 100 consecutive days because I know this is not going to work with my schedule – I would need to choose a very limiting time-boxed approach of 15 minutes a day which would not serve my envisioned projects well (don’t get me wrong, there will be days where I will be spending 15 minutes only on the 100 days project and that’s great).

I have a long list of things that I want to try, explore, play with, simply make time for (creatively) but so far it never seemed to be the right time for them (sounds familiar?) – so on 100 days in 2021, I will make time for them.  How this will look in detail – I don’t know. I might have weeks where I will be fully focussed on these “exploration” projects daily (followed by weeks of not working on them at all) or it could be showing up every week twice a week(to reach 100 days by the end of the year I have to work on it every 3 days or roughly twice a week every week- that’s still quite a commitment).

My rules

Not all days will be block printing in its purest form but all work should be related to block printing some way or the other. I am “allowed” to show work in progress (as long as I worked on them on separate days) – not only finished prints or work will count. Another important rule I set for myself: not every block print I will make in 2021 will necessarily be for the 100-day project. If it does not fit the definition of an exploration project it most likely will not be part of the 100-day project. But I don’t want to limit myself setting these rules and also the topics below – so plans might change over the course of the year and I plan to go with the flow of my creativity and the projects that excite me. 

So which topics do I plan to explore in 2021? 

I started to go bigger in 2020, I absolutely want to continue that journey (and I know this will be an interesting challenge – especially when it comes to misprints on a larger scale). One of my goals for 2020 was to continue building my surface pattern licensing catalog (aka digitize a large number of patterns) – Well, the progress in 2020 was limited so this goal moved to 2021 and into this 100-day project. It’s going to be fun. Last year was really low on anything maritime (one reason might be that I spent most of 2020 kind of locked into a land-locked country without much desire to travel, not even in my head). I think I designed and carved roughly 10 new fish blocks in 2020 – not enough for my taste. Maritime themes hopefully will be of more focus this year again and therefore deserve the “exploration” title. There is another topic that I want to explore which is not even thought through (but excites me), so for now, I will just call it “all blue”.

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