I've always wanted to take on a multi-day, creative challenge project like this but had yet to have the time or inspiration until recently when a friend posted about #THE100DAYPROJECT.
On this recent sabbatical, along with a lot of travel, introspection, and home project completion, I've spent some really fun and meditative time working in the garden, hands in soil, nurturing these dry weather-loving plants through a wet winter. When the project came up I was deeply craving a creative replenishment and I gave some thought to what I could reasonably do (or want to do!) for 100 days. I have many personal projects going at once (like getting this site up) so I wanted it to be something I was familiar with and that could be part of a daily meditation rather than something that would have a high learning curve. I used to live in an apartment and would plant teacups with succulents to make up for my lack of a garden and fell in love with the practice. I had just taken a box of beautiful teacups and demitasse off of a friend's hands and realized it was meant to be.
I'm currently nearing the midpoint and can share a few learnings. Or feel free to skip the learnings and see the work.
Before I started, a friend said, "What are you going to do with 100 teacups??" Great question! I planned to give away whatever I created in the project and we set to brainstorming different ways to do this. So far, I've given them away to friends, strangers, teachers, neighbors. I've had to tell people over and over that, I won't take money for these even though they keep offering. Talk to me on day 101 and maybe I'll charge! But, for now, the deep satisfaction of giving someone something beautiful for free is serving me quite well. I've come up with different ways to crowdsource teacups and plants by posting on Nextdoor and reaching out to friends. I've bought some of what you see below but many of them come from others who allow me to plant and photograph them and return them to them anew. What a lovely exchange that's become! The project has offered me a way to connect with people outside of my comfort zone and to appreciate the temporal relationship to my creations. It's also made me resourceful as to how to sustain a high volume project economically.
Initially, I thought that I'd photograph the cups in the same spot every day and post without much fanfare. But each day I felt challenged to find a new spot, a new angle, a new look to accentuate the composition of the teacup/plant combo. I rediscovered my photography skills and am realizing that the images captured have added an extra dimension to the project that I had not imagined at the start. I'm playing around with ideas of what I might do with them, possibly experimenting with different styles of prints to sell. The project reignited a creative outlet that's been mostly dormant for a long time and the images have become as important as the objects themselves. Creativity begets creativity.
For better or for worse, I can't post without writing a description or sharing some thoughts but I have no consistent message or format for what I say. This is mainly ok. This is mainly great! The downside is that sometimes I can spin on what to say and the whole effort ends up taking longer than I'd like, but, not having a specific formula to stick to here has led me to talk about whatever is happening for me around that day's piece but also to keep the writing process off the cuff and from the heart without being overly precious. Not stressing or over-polishing is good practice to combat my perfectionism. I've learned this is true of the compositions, too. The longer I take on them doesn't always make them better and the ones I made ever just so perfect don't always get as much love as ones I threw together and quietly disliked. Doing a project with multiple dimensions that, even with as much time freedom as I have had, needs to be time-efficient and sustainable for the long haul. Combatting perfectionism is both liberating and leads to unexpected creativity out of necessity.
I know there are more lessons to come but I'll stop here for now. I hope you enjoy these.
Want to participate and are local to the Bay Area? You could sign up to be a recipient of a cup, donate succulent clippings or donate a teacup you'd like planted and returned to you (or not). Feel free to get in touch.