Final Day of AEDM and the Sketchbook Project: Lessons Learned

The Sketchbook Project Day 30 Spread
©2010 Leah Virsik, The Sketchbook Project Nov 30 2010 found paper and thread 8 1/4 x 10 1/2 inches

The Sketchbook Project and Art Every Day Month Challenge

For thirty days, thanks to Leah Piken Kolidas’ inspiration of creativeeveryday.com I’ve put about 30 hours into my sketchbook project and consistently kept up a daily practice. Things that have made an impression on me:

  1. My best time to work is first thing in the morning. If I wait until after work there are too many other things to do. Plus, it feels great to accomplish something significant in the early morning.
  2. It’s nice to have encouragement. Tom asked me if I had “arted” and read and looked at all my posts. I really appreciate the comments that people have made as well.
  3. It doesn’t matter what I create, but just the fact that I’m creating is important. I’ve not particularly liked a lot of the work I’ve done this month but posted it anyway. As I look through the pages now, I have way less attachment to the pieces. Some I like better than others.
  4. Posting my work was a bit painful, especially the work that I didn’t feel proud of. It’s made me decide that I’d like to redesign my site so that my process is not the first work that one sees when they go to my website. I’ll still post it but not in such an obvious manner.
  5. Last year I had a more exciting experience because I was working on postcards and techniques that ultimately turned into some books and a 60 piece installation. My work in this book has been very page to page and I might appreciate it more if it were single sheets rather than in a book format.
  6. Even after 30 days it’s not easy to have a daily practice. I thought it would be a habit I wouldn’t have to worry about. I’d continue indefinitely. My biggest challenge is getting to bed early enough. If I get enough sleep, it makes a world of difference in my life and in my art making.
  7. I know I want to continue a daily practice. I’m not clear on how it will look quite yet. I want to finish this sketchbook first.
  8. I’m inspired by Claudine Hellmuth’s story of creating 80 works in 3 weeks while at Corcoran College of Art + Design. That’s something I’d like to do and see what patterns emerge and to see the pieces together and as individuals.
  9. As a whole piece, this project doesn’t feel as cohesive as I would like it. It does feel experimental and the process feels like it was valuable.
  10. I like the idea of taking one page from this book and using that for a theme for a smaller book. It would need to be a book that didn’t have a ton of pages though. I like variety and experimentation. I appreciate the unplanned things that occur.
  11. A broad theme that runs through the book is cut or torn paper collage and thread.
  12. I began the book by covering the pages completely and moved into doing much less on a page.
  13. I got the most comments about the date stamp that I was using to date my work.
  14. Some of my initial inspiration for this project was Keri Smith’s morning collages, Michelle Moode’s Sketchbook Project: Everyone We Know and Gennine Zlatkis’ Sketchbook Project.

3 thoughts on “Final Day of AEDM and the Sketchbook Project: Lessons Learned

  1. Congrats on making it through the month, Leah! I’m so glad joined in and I enjoyed witnessing your journey, even though it wasn’t the same kind of journey you were on last year. I appreciated your openness with your process and your willingness to share despite your mixed feelings. And I loved reading your reflections on what you’ve learned!!

  2. I’ve been following your pages and I think it’s great how much you’ve learned from the process… fantastic! It’s definitely about the process and only by doing doing… even if a bit scary… can we learn and grow. It’s wonderful to see your work and I agree community support is lovely 🙂 yay for blogging and definitely yay for AEDM!

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