100 days of creativity

Local 100DayProject celebrating fifth anniversary

The 2017 100DayProject of Carolyn Patterson, of Marquette, involves experimenting with different printmaking techniques. (Photo courtesy of Ann Russ)

MARQUETTE — It’s not necessarily what you can put on a wall. It’s what makes you creative and explore.

That is the purpose of The 100DayProject, which is in its fifth year locally.

Spearheading the project again, along with Catherine Benda of Houghton, is Marquette ceramist Ann Russ.

Creativity is key, Russ said at a Saturday informational session at the city of Marquette Arts and Culture Center, located in the lower level of the Peter White Public Library.

“It stimulates our imagination,” Russ said. “Creativity helps us make better decisions.”

Marquette artist Cindy Deo's 2017 100DayProject involves recording images from her dreams and transferring them to hand- and machine-stitched quilted pieces called “Dreamscapes.” (Photo courtesy of Ann Russ)

The purpose of the project is to engage in something creative for 100 consecutive days, beginning Sunday and ending April 30.

“The 100DayProjects really give us that permission to play and explore and experiment for an extended period of time, and how often do we give ourself that gift?” Russ asked.

She talked about “the spine,” which is a project idea that serves as a participant’s compass point. That involves keeping it simple and not too restrictive, taking part in the activity the same time each day if possible, and designing and refining the idea with an eye toward what keeps a person motivated.

This year’s theme is “Mirrored Light,” which according to Russ can be interpreted literally, symbolically or metaphorically.

“The theme is strictly optional,” Russ said. “It’s up to you if you want to use it or not. It’s for those people who want a bit of a nudge.”

The 2017 100DayProject of Amy Lakenen, of Powers, involves exploring her quiet reflections about the state and themes of privilege, gender, reproduction, age, media influence and socioeconomic status. (Photo courtesy of Ann Russ)

This year’s project has several news aspects. To celebrate the project’s fifth anniversary, there will be an exhibit of 100DayProject work at the Peter White Public Library in October.

The Marquette Artist Collective was selected to be this year’s Creative Partner, with 100Day work from artists from this group featured in the October exhibit.

The Bonifas Art Center in Escanaba and Studio 23/The Arts Center in Bay City are the project’s new arts organization partners, joining the MACC, the Grand Marais Art Colony in Minnesota and the Gaylord Area Council for the Arts in offering the 100DayProject in their respective communities.

Three artists also will share their stories about their 100Day journey with weekly posts and images.

Participants in this year’s project, as in previous years, have various reasons for taking part.

Ann Russ, who is helping lead this year’s 100DayProject, talks about the topic during an informational session Saturday at the city of Marquette Arts and Culture Center. Participants take part in something creative for 100 consecutive days. (Photo by Christie Bleck)

Carol Henry, a weaver, wants to further explore that activity with a strong focus. She even has three rooms set up for her newfound focus.

“This time I just want to get up there and weave every day,” Henry said.

Kim Danielson has no formal art background, but she’s willing to give the 100DayProject a try.

“I have been so interested in this project for years,” Danielson said.

She acknowledged not previously having the time or energy to pursue it, but now that she’s newly retired, she wants that artistic side to emerge.

“I’m hoping to nurture that part of me and develop a routine where I can explore that on a daily basis,” Danielson said.

Russ called the 100DayProject a “creativity excavation” and a skill that can be developed.

“Anything we practice regularly, we get better at, right?” Russ said.

She stressed, though, that individual projects aren’t about creating perfect art.

“They’re about the process of creativity and developing new ways to see — and thinking,” Russ said.

Many past artists and poets, among other creative types, have expressed their creativity in The 100DayProject in unique ways.

One person used photography to explore light and dark along the Lake Superior shoreline, while a musician explored poetry, Russ said. Yet another participant with an “active dream life” would wake up in the morning, jot down the dreams’ images and transfer them to quilt pieces called “dreamscapes.”

Participants this year are strongly encouraged to post about their projects on the 100DayProject’s Facebook page, Russ said, with those details put into a newsfeed.

On a personal level, Russ said progress can be documented via photographs or journaling, for example, or hanging works on a string or displaying them on a shelf.

“It’s really motivating to see your progress,” Russ said.

Participants must register their projects at the10dayproject.com, which will provide them a support newsletter with tips about the creative process, among other inspirational aids. The deadline to register is before midnight Saturday. The project also is on Instagram at #the100dayproject2018.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.