Elin Waterston of Will.Love.Logic made this excellent wood block image as part of her own daily art project! Her 365 Interview follows...
S-A-D: Why did you decide to do a 365 project?
E: I was inspired by two artists who were working on daily projects. One, of course, was the Skull-a-day project. The other was Michael Lease's SameTime photography project, in which he and another photographer took a photo wherever they were and whatever they were doing at 7:15 each night.
S-A-D: On average how much time do you spend each day on your pieces?
E: The average time is about an hour a day, which includes drawing, carving and printing, but I spend a lot of time thinking of subjects and researching. The portrait of Barack Obama and some of the little teeny ones, like the mouse and the flying saucer only took me about 10 minutes. The Siren took the longest - that was about 4 hours. Sometimes it's just about being in the zone - when I'm in the zone I can draw and carve very quickly, when I'm not, it's more of a struggle.
S-A-D: Was this your first blog?
E: I'd already been blogging before my block printing project started, and sometimes I blogged every day, but for short periods of time, with breaks in between. I actually love the daily blogging, though I don't always write anything (or much anyway), sometimes it's just a picture.
S-A-D: What did you expect to get from this experience?
E: I really just did this project to see if I could carry it through and have the discipline to do it without missing a day. What I didn't expect was how much I enjoy the comments and reactions from readers. I guess I didn't think about anyone following it daily - I just thought people would stumble upon it once in a while. But I have regulars who check in daily and people write to me with subject requests. It's wicked cool. I've even inspired a few people to start carving.
S-A-D: What have you learned about yourself in the process of doing this?
E: I learned very quickly that I'm a perfectionist. Well, I guess I already knew that, so I guess I learned that sometimes you have to let go of perfectionism. At first, if a block didn't work or if I wasn't pleased with the outcome, I would re-carve it. I've gotten better about not doing that as the year has progressed. Not that I'm thrilled with every print I make, just that I can say "well, that's not my best work" and move on, without the need for a do over.
S-A-D: How has this process affected your creativity/skills/style?
E:An important element of this project has been that it's all mine, meaning that I'm not creating these block prints for a book or magazine, I'm not following anyone else's rules or regulations. As much as it's been a lot of work, it's also been somewhat freeing and empowering because of that aspect. The project has affected my style in that I've been incorporating block prints into other art (like my art quilts).
S-A-D: What is your favorite so far and why?
E: The aforementioned 4 hour block, the Siren is easily my favorite. I'm not sure I know why. I love the subject and feel that I really captured some ethereal quality with that image. I liked most of the blocks from that series, mythological beings, I think in part because the subject interests me so much and I liked reading up on all the myths. My son thinks the siren is a self portrait, so that might have something to do with it too - that I feel a connection.
S-A-D: What is the best thing that has come from doing this project?
E: The most exciting thing is all the connections I've made with readers.
S-A-D: At this point do you think you would commit to doing another 365 project?
E: I think I would commit to a once a week project for 2009. Maybe by 2010, I'd be ready for another 365 project. And can I just point out that 2008 is a leap year, so I'm actually doing a 366 project!
S-A-D: Any advice for people considering starting their own 365 project?
E: Try to develop a project that you feel you won't tire of, and that you can explore for that length of time. And just stay committed.
S-A-D: What's next for you?
E: I co-wrote The Art Quilt Workbook (with Jane Davila), which was released in 2007, and we've just released a DVD based on some of the lessons from that book (Jane Davila and Elin Waterston Teach You Art Quilting Basics) Our second book, Art Quilts at Play, will be released early next year.
Elin Waterston is an award winning textile and mixed-media artist. She has a BA and an MFA in design. She is the Visual Arts Director, as well as an art instructor, at the Katonah Art Center in Katonah, New York and an Art*o*mat participating artist. She is the co-author of The Art Quilt Workbook and a frequent contributor to Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors magazines. Her work is in many public and private collections and has been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums. Elin lives in South Salem, New York.
If you have done or are in the midst of a 365 project and would like to be interviewed drop me a line. Priority will be given to folks who have made a skull image as part of their project.