Though I haven’t publicly documented my daily makes since the end of that year, I’ve continued to practice the habit I formed. Every day, even for just a couple of minutes, I make something. Some days it’s a few stitches on a knitting project, others it’s several rows on a crocheted blanket. Over the years, in part motivated by my decision to prioritize creating on a daily basis, I’ve learned how to bake bread, how to make soap and lotion from scratch, how to carve stamps. I’ve sewn blankets and curtains and pouches and bags. I’ve made some clothes, some gifts and lots of (admittedly mediocre) food.
But more important than any project finished or skill honed, through Year of Making I’ve put creative adventuring at the centre of my daily life. By chronicling my efforts in 2014, and using that public accountability to help me stick to my commitment, I went from having to work hard to find time and space for creative projects to having that time and space simply be a part of how I approach my every day.
As I tried to find space to wind down 2017 by looking back and peeking ahead, I realized that I’ve started taking my creative habit for granted. It’s become such a normal part of my life that I’m no longer using it as a way to seek out adventure, but rather as a way to continue with a status quo. I could use some more adventuring, though.
So in 2018, I’m going to again try to document my making every day.
The big difference this time around is that I already have the habit, but I’m also now working a day job. So though creating daily has become as routine as showering and eating, my ability to create adventure is affected by my being outside of my house for nearly nine hours every day. Which means the nature of my making may change, and the kind of adventures I find exciting may be affected, too.
In any case, I think sharing my daily efforts will help me keep this priority front and centre in my life. And, obviously, this will be way more fun if we do it together.
Join Me in a Year of Making in 2018!
If you’ve done a daily making project at some point – or ongoing – over the years, please join me again!
If you’ve never done something like this, then consider this your friendly invitation to create a stress-free daily creative habit.
The stress-free part comes because there are no rules other than to spend at least a minute or two every day making something. You don’t need to finish anything (though of course you’re welcome to), you don’t need to declare major goals to reach. In other words, there’s very little room for failure here. If you find yourself bed-ridden with a terrible flu, skip that day. It’s okay! There’s no judgment here, and there’s especially no pressure to declare a year-long project a failure because of one or two missed days. What a shame that would be!
To sum up, here’s what a Year of Making entails:
Commit to making something – anything – even just for a few minutes, every single day for a year. (You get to decide what “making” is. Does mac and cheese from a box count? Up to you!) (If you aren’t reading this on January 1st, who cares? A year is a year no matter when you begin – so just begin!)
That’s it 👆.
Use the hashtag #yearofmaking2018 when you post about your progress. Especially if you’re just starting out, I encourage you to post every single day – even if your photo is blurry or poorly lit or your cat photobombs it. This is key to participating with everyone else – this is where you’ll find your cheering section, your gentle nudging, your partners in creative adventuring.
If you share on Instagram – which, in my opinion, is a fabulous place to share a daily photo – you can now follow hashtags in addition to people. When you open this link in the app on your phone, you’ll see an option to follow the hashtag (this doesn’t seem to appear as an option yet if you open the link in a browser). (I’m on there, too, obviously!)
Join the Group
Though I’m a huge fan of publicly chronicling creative experiments, I also know that it can be incredibly liberating to share only in small places where I know I can feel safe and confident that people will be above-and-beyond supportive.
A grand gathering of fellow adventurers has formed over in myFacebook group, and I hope you’ll join us there for sharing, for asking, for musing aloud, for celebrating and, when needed, for commiserating.
Just click the button to join and I’ll approve your request ASAP.
If you think a more directed approach will help you get going, the Daily Making Jumpstart will nudge you through a couple of weeks of daily activities to get your creative juices flowing. (The Jumpstart includes the Year of Making ebook, too, so you’ll get both the nudging and the worksheets.) Sign up here!
The Point Is Zero Stress
Daily projects are a huge commitment, and it’s really easy for them to feel like an exercise in failure rather than an adventure of growth and exploration.
The thing that makes a Year of Making so amazing is that even though it’s a pretty daunting commitment – to do something every day for a year – the bar is set really low, and you (not me! not anyone else!) are in charge of what counts.
I can tell you for certain, after completing four Years of Making, that if you’re kind to yourself, if you set yourself up to succeed and let yourself off the hook when you need to, the reward will be the deep and lasting satisfaction of looking back at the end of the year and seeing how much you can accomplish in teeny tiny steps. Better yet if you’ve made friends in the process.
I don’t know why I waited so long to do collage in my art journal, since I’ve wanted to experiment more with collage for a very long time. (Probably that’s the reason right there, eh?)
And then it was finally the weekend, and the kid and I spent an absolutely blissful hour making a total mess on the dining-room table. He made a collage for his teacher (I can’t believe he’s finishing kindergarten this week!), and I messed around painting over the collage, and making another one on the facing page, and painting over the paint wash, and generally just playing and playing and forgetting my own brain and happy happy happy.
It was especially fun doing this alongside the kid, because he loves – loves – glitter glue. So there was glitter glue everywhere, and he kept wanting me to use it, so I totally did. I definitely love using materials and media that are just hanging around. This is probably why I’ve never been even remotely interested in scrapbooking, at least in the super-merchandised way. I’m not at all turned on by using packaged stuff to create new things on paper, but I’m absolutely blissed out using scraps I’d otherwise recycle, or grabbing tissue paper that’s been lying around for ages, or sticking my finger in the blob of glitter glue my kid accidentally squeezed all over the place.
I’ve mentioned before that my relationship with art-making has been complicated since I was a kid. Well. I think abstract art is the way to my heart, my friends. I really do. I can’t wait to finish up my work today so I can rip and glue and paint some more stuff.
For the first time, over three weeks into starting this daily art journaling challenge, I think I’m starting to really get it. And I think that once my month is up, I’m going to want to stick with it. Maybe in a book that doesn’t have a spiral binding, so I can make a proper spread. In fact, I may pull an old book from the shelf and repurpose it. Because why not.
If you, too, want to see what this art journaling thing is all about, you should join us!
I’m still finding my way around Periscope, and one of the things I love most about it is that people can comment as you record, so you can respond to what they say or ask. I just love it. Anyway, as I’ve been experimenting with the platform, I find I’ve been chatting with people more and more about daily making and Year of Making, so I did a scope highlighting five reasons to do a Year of Making. The video of my five reasons is below, as is the link to get the free worksheet I promised in the scope!
My online not-really-a-class: Daily Making Jumpstart. (That’s what you’ll find at the website I mention in the scope: camp.kimwerker.com. In a few weeks, I’ll launch my next class on there; sign up for my weekly email to be the first to find out about it!)
Yup, these nine Instagrams sum up my year pretty well. Here’s why:
Top Row (left to right)
I made a lot of stuff on paper this year, including this doodle (which is also one of my favourites). I dabbled with watercolours, pens, stamps and collage. I intend to spend more time with most of those in the coming year (it’ll be my third #yearofmaking, you guys!).
Halloween, Star Wars, family. Yup.
My kid “graduated” from daycare and started kindergarten. This is a photo his daycare gave us. When asked what he wanted to be when he grows up, he answered, “I want to write books like Mommy. Books for kids.” *sniff*
I started baking challah this past fall. Instagrammers seem to be into it for much the same reasons I am: bread baking is fascinating, and challah has the added benefit of being braided. It’s like my yarn-loving hands were made to make it.
I saw my grandmother over the summer on a hot day when I was wearing a sundress and she called me a sexy bitch.
See #1 above.
Our little vintage trailer. I think this photo was from before our Superlong Camping Trip, when we were still in the throes of getting it ready. I sewed new curtains for it, a blanket for the kid, and a quilt for us. The trip was, hands down, the highlight of our year.
I started weaving, and I think I love it. I haven’t actually managed to take this first go off my Cricket loom yet, but I will. I also picked up a wee tapestry loom, which I have high hopes for in 2016.
Aaaand, the wee trailer parked in front of our house after we returned home from our trip. We’re already planning to spend a couple weeks camping in it in July, and I hope we manage to take some weekend trips this spring, too.
This was a year I spent a load of time making things out of yarn again after a somewhat lengthy hiatus (helped in no small part by my first Year of Making, during which I took on a load more crafts). It’s also the year I got solidly back into my reading groove. I spent a fair bit of time messing around with collage, and with carving stamps. I developed a great beginner collage class (which I’ll be teaching locally again this coming spring, and which I intend to adapt to an online class), and I recently also agreed to teach a beginner stamp-carving class (I’ll also adapt that one into an online format, for I have this new online-class site going, and I intend to fill it up so it becomes the kind of summer camp for grown-ups I’ve been dreaming about making).
I’m not entirely sure yet what I want to focus on most in 2016. I’m sure I’ll figure it out over the next week or two. I’m excited about getting the Camp! site set up fully and populated with great classes/adventures, and I’m also excited about a writing contract I recently signed on for, which is entirely outside the art and craft industries and will hopefully be a fabulous opportunity to sharpen my writing skills and do a bit of editing, too. Yes, I think 2016 will hold a lot of writing and a fair bit of teaching, which is a nice combination to look forward to, for sure. What are you looking ahead to in the coming year? Any big goals? Small ones?
And hey, happy New Year!
Wanna Jumpstart Your Creative Practice?
Starting a daily art or craft project is a great way to prioritize your creativity, especially if you can make it fun and keep it from stressing you out. Get 14 days of daily prompts, tips, tasks and projects. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
You know I’ve been fixated on having fun making stuff, yeah? I’m totally fixated on it. On not feeling stressed about making stuff, on not feeling defeated if a project goes south, on getting back in touch to how we felt when we were kids and we knew in our hearts that we could make anything and it would be awesome.
So I’m fully embracing my goal to be a camp counsellor for the rest of my life, and I’m launching the first in what I intend to be a wide assortment of online classes that are all about trying new kinds of things and having fun making stuff.
Introducing the Daily Making Jumpstart
First up: A 14-day guided adventure in forming an art- or craft-making habit.
There are so many great reasons to establish a daily creative practice.
Maybe you want to give yourself permission to experiment. To try new things or stick with the things you love most.
Maybe you want to connect with other people who want to explore and experiment and, above all, just make stuff.
Maybe you want to finish the projects you’ve got piled up in the corner.
Maybe you want to take that class you’ve been eyeing.
Maybe you don’t make anything at all yet, but you want to start.
Whether you want to take on a full year of daily making, commit yourself to 100 days, or even just use this guided adventure as a two-week trial to see how it goes, this course will help get you started. Instead of staring at a blank calendar begging to be filled with nothing short of brilliant creative acts, you’ll start with daily prompts, tips, tasks, options and directions. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
The Jumpstart is for any kind of making – it’s designed so you can apply the lessons to whatever you want to make, regardless of the medium, from painting to photography to crocheting to cooking.
I’ll ask you questions I wish I’d asked myself when I first committed to make something every day (two years ago, and I’ve been at it ever since!). It took me months to see the potential in what I was doing, and I don’t want you to wait that long. I’ll help you get in touch with why you make stuff, why you want to make stuff, and I’ll help you explore your whole creative experience in a way that helps you have more fun with it.
What You Get
Starting on January 1st, 2016 (or the day after you register if it’s after that date) you’ll receive one lesson every day for two weeks. Some will involve thinking hard about your creative experience, some will involve making particular things, all will help you establish a daily creative practice that makes you feel good, not stressed out or doomed to fail.
Access to the lessons and course material forever, so you can work at your own pace.
An invitation to the private Daily Making Jumpstart Facebook group, where you can get to know and support other people who are also starting (or continuing) a daily creative practice.
If you choose the + Ebook option only: A copy of the Year of Making ebook (a $12 value), for further exploration of a long-term daily project, with worksheets, links and ideas. If you don’t already have a copy of the ebook, this option will provide you with more worksheets, ideas, and food for thought.
Who Is This For?
The Daily Making Jumpstart is for you if:
you’re a crafter or artist and want to reinvigorate your practice by regularly dedicating time to creating.
you don’t consider yourself a capital-C Crafter or capital-A Artist, but you want to feel creative as a part of who you are. (It doesn’t matter if you feel like you have talent or not. It doesn’t matter if you feel like you’re totally not creative. All that matters is that you want to be and feel creative.)
you want to make creativity a priority in your life – even if you’re pretty sure you’ll make utterly awful stuff, but you want to have fun trying anyway.
you want to discover – or rediscover – the fun you can have when you make stuff.
you want to prioritize your creativity in a way that doesn’t stress you out or otherwise overwhelm you.
The Jumpstart is probably not for you if you have no interest in challenging yourself creativity, if you have no interest in making stuff, if you’re uninterested in having fun with art or craft, or if you’ve never wondered what it would be like to truly and properly see yourself as a creative person.
You’ll know which aspects of your creativity you want to explore further, which skills you want to learn, which kinds of making make you feel good and which kinds make you miserable.
You’ll have some great strategies to rely on during times when you feel stuck or blocked or hear the siren song of procrastination or, even worse, defeat.
You’ll know what it feels like to meet your own personal creative challenges.
You’ll have a taste of the potential a long-term daily making project holds for you.
Follow the lessons every day, or spread them out over weeks or even months – it’s totally up to you. You’ll have access to the course material forever.
Right when you register, you’ll gain access to the main course page and the introduction. If you choose the Year of Making ebook option (which you should if you don’t already have a copy!), your introduction will include a link to download the book, which delves deeper into why establishing a yearlong daily making practice is a good idea, and walks you through how to do it. Read through it before January 1st, or save it till the course begins – your choice!
I hope to start 2016 adventuring with you, and having loads of fun making stuff!