Rainbow geometric wall hanging

Don't let the picture fool you. This is not a cat toy. I used my geometric ornament template to make a mobile as a baby gift. I combined the gift making with my current 100 Day Project by using my tangle pattern Onion Drops. For the colorful paper gems I used a watercolor wash.

California Calligraphy — practice list

Written with a watercolor palette as ink source.

Written with a watercolor palette as ink source.

I've got a new practice list to share! I've actually been using it for awhile now and it's become my default warm-up list that I've memorized.

Unlike the list I've used to compare my progress learning calligraphy it's easier to practice all the minuscule letters by just writing the list as Title Case. There is of course a word starting with each letter of the alphabet but also nearly every letter is accounted for within the body of the words. The two exceptions are the letters X and J. It's tough enough to find words that begin with X. As for the J, that was tough to find while fitting with the California theme I was going for. Luckily a minuscule 'y' holds the same properties as a 'j'.

Testing out a few different nibs.

Testing out a few different nibs.

Testing a new ink and practicing with an oblique nib holder.

Testing a new ink and practicing with an oblique nib holder.

One little note about the green practice sheet above. I wrote it with an oblique nib holder! That exclamation point is needed because for over two years I've only used a straight nib holder. Straight is the tool I learned to write calligraphy with and I assumed it would feel weird to use the oblique. Then a couple weeks ago I took a flourishing class which must be done with the oblique. I was surprised to find it feels pretty easy to go back and forth between the different nib holders.

Now for the full California inspired list for easy copying and google searching. This is also the moment when I realize how much I've been spelling wrong on my practice sheets.

Avocado, Bobcat, California, Desert, Eagle, Flower, Grapes, Harvest, Iris, Jasmine, Kelp, Lemon, Manzanita, Nuts, Ocean, Poppy, Quail, Raisons, Squash, Trees, Uncork, Volcano, Water, Xylonite (yes, this one is a stretch), Yosemite, Zest. 

Remember I share these practice lists so you can get to practicing all the letters without having to think of something new to write. They're not meant for imitating the letterforms themselves as I am also still learning and these are just evidence of my own practice.

The 100 Day Project: Finish

A fraction of what I created during the 100 days

A fraction of what I created during the 100 days

Tuesday (July 14, 2015) was the culmination of my 100 Days Of Day Break Play project. The quick project explanation is that for 100 days I played with craft within the beginnings of my day. I averaged about 35 minutes creating each morning spending over 55 hours total in time. Because making is something that fundamentally grounds me the goal of the project was to carve out time and routine in my day that would give me this space for making, EVERYDAY. I wrote a blog post at the project's start with some of my initial thoughts. You can also learn about the whole larger 100 Days Project here.

Having my project be tied to a specific time of the day was really helpful for getting it done. I could not procrastinate the activity because I knew that if I was not creating by a certain point in my morning there would be no going back in time. I could not let the morning slip away. There were only a couple instances where I fudged a bit. Like waking up on the forth day of camping after staying up almost 'til dawn singing and drawing by a campfire. I needed to hit the road home first thing so I decided that the spirit of my project had already been fulfilled.

I thought the beginning of the project would be the toughest part but at about day 52 I was surprised to find I'd hit a bit of a wall. This was after returning from the forest and I think I was feeling exhausted and grumpy with the constraint I'd put on myself. But I powered through and at a few days later it felt easier again.

The only other challenge was planning around travel and making sure I packed art supplies that would allow me to make wherever I was in the morning even if that was at the airport. (A bonus was it made waiting in the airport more enjoyable.)

Knowing I'd have my project to work on in the morning almost always brought a positive start to the day and flushed away any awkward feelings from the day before. Overall I felt rejuvenated each morning.

The circular Zendala pictured the largest was my mornings creation on the hundredth day. I combined imagery from the tiles and palms I was inspired by on my trip to Mexico.

The circular Zendala pictured the largest was my mornings creation on the hundredth day. I combined imagery from the tiles and palms I was inspired by on my trip to Mexico.

Two weeks ago I went to Sayulita, Mexico which brought lots of creative inspiration for the sprint to the 100 days finish line. I stayed in a hacienda with an abundance of patterns that I could draw from (pun intended).

I am so thankful for the 100 days project and the routine it helped me to create for myself. I'll be keeping it up even if I don't share everyday on Instagram. Being able to see what others on Instagram were creating was also motivating combined with having my friend Ann along for the ride to reflect on the project milestones with. Do take a look at her paper experiments.

I've enjoyed the Instagram community aspect of the project but I'm also excited to see what I'll make without feeling the obligation of sharing everyday. Obligation might be a heavier word than I intend but not sharing everyday I think will bring a different type of freedom to my morning routine. But I do plan on sharing those morning creative stretches here and there because the sharing has become routine as well.

In the future I'd like to do the 100 days project with more focus. My project was focused on a new habit with very broad creative freedom... next time I'd like to try something with more parameters. Here are a few of the projects with specific parameters I enjoyed watching unfold over the last 100 days. 

100 days of paper experiments
Grid the grid
100 days of Cafcaf
100 days of tiny things
100 Snuffys
100 days of people parts n flowers
100 days of costumes

And here are a few blog posts highlighting bigger projects within my project:

Explain the Sun
Gelatin printing — American flags and exploring the Playing with Surface Design book
Strike Away Show submission

Q. Explain the sun? A. Contrast

A few weeks ago I caught an installment of Science Friday on NPR. They announced a Science Club challenge to Explain the Sun. It was an open ended question that could be answered in anyway, about anything relating to the sun. The project sparked my interest and I instantly thought of explaining the contrast the sun provides. So the last couple weeks I've been creating images around that idea and the importance of the suns contrast to me personally. You may have seen them on my Instagram as part of my 100 Day Project.

I love the sun. For me the word contrast is a thread that explains much of the sun. There is of course contrast from day to night. There is the contrast when the sun is shining and shadows are cast. And there is contrast in mood as the sun is capable of bringing a shift, good or bad, to emotion. When it shines or is behind clouds my mood is magnified. I embrace contrast because without it there would be no measurement for contentment. 

I feel energized by the sun and often find myself having a very productive day indoors even when my internal logic would be inclined to go outdoors. 


Ironically San Francisco has been doused in fog most of the time I've been creating these little images.

The micro climates in San Francisco often mean fog blocks the sun. Sometimes I embrace the fog but if it's been hanging around for days (or even a whole day) I long for sunshine and the contrasting shadows it casts. Sometimes the sun/fog contrast is even more extreme and you can see a clear dividing line of fog layering one half of the city while the other is in full sunshine.

Lastly if we follow the thread of contrast to it's end, we get to, THE END. The sun is our star that we see shining (mostly) everyday. Many stars we see at night have long ago blinked out and someday our beloved sun will meet this same end.

Strike Anywhere, Inspiration Everywhere

Writing Strike Anywhere, Inspiration Everywhere on the my Strike Away Show submission was the last decision I made when making this art piece. And this piece is the end result of 2 weeks of play.

The Strike Away Show is a soon to be mounted exhibit of over 300 artists who have all used matches, matchbooks or matchboxes as their medium, inspiration, or canvas.

A couple weeks ago I wrote about my participation in The 100 Day Project and that my 100 days would be spent creating a routine for play (with craft and art) at the beginning of my day. Once I decided to make work for The Strike Away Show, I only had 2 weeks to complete my piece. It was the perfect opportunity to use my morning make sessions as the time to do the bulk of that work. 

A sampling of some of the photos I shared on Instagram.

A sampling of some of the photos I shared on Instagram.

Everyday I would post a photo of progress on Instagram. My progress was my play and experiments. I was using those moments of play to find inspiration for what to create with my matchboxes. I had bought 20 little matchboxes fully intending to use them as my micro canvases. But what to put on them? It wasn't until the second week of play that I decided I'd use my experiments to recreate a matchbox of my own. 

My piece is both a matchbox and a matchbook.

My piece is both a matchbox and a matchbook.

As I was finalizing my piece I realized, Strike Anywhere, Inspiration Everywhere, was a fitting statement for the process of creating my matchbox. 

Strike Away Show
on exhibit May 22nd-June 30th
Paxton Gate's Curiosities for Kids
766 Valencia St, San Francisco

Show opening is May 22nd.
Come see all the match box curiosities! Maybe over 300?! Unfortunately I won't be able to attend the opening but happy my work will be.