I spent all of 2016 focused on an endeavour called One-a-Day Ephemeral Art Project*.
Every day for a year I went outside and had a short conversation with nature. I made a piece of art with foraged objects and left it for someone to find (or not) celebrating whatever the environment offered me each day. I documented the entire year on Instagram by posting two photos each day; a close-up and an in situ shot (Leonie Barton gave me that idea.)
The project was a discipline and became like a daily meditation for me, visual prayer. It was a combination of contemplative photography, long hikes, strategically placed garbage and pushing the limits of imagination. I promised that I wouldn’t use any tools (somedays that would haunt me!)
And believe me, it was hard. Some days I had to force myself to go outside. Some days I couldn’t get past my own yard. Some days I hit it out of the park. Some days was a struggle to forage in 20 degrees below with frozen fingers. Somedays it was like finding mana (like the afternoon I came across a whole box of jelly-filled donuts in a parking lot). Somedays I felt like a pirate, somedays a weaverbird.
Somedays I felt on the edge of vandalism and trespassing. Most days I was just a small town sleuth and magpie.
I tried not to censor my work but just take the first idea which came along and try to work with it. I found myself becoming repetitive and doing mandalas and lines of things a lot.
Then I would try to push myself out of that normalcy into something I didn’t really think was beautiful. And especially on really cold days….just make a mark, dang it and get your hands into your mittens again!
I jumped right in on January 1st, thinking what a neat project this was. Being in a northern clime I really never thought about what I would do the deep winter, even though it WAS deep winter when I began. But there are various ‘types’ of snow (as the Inuit know) and only some days are good for snowmen. So I would use snow when it was just right.
Somedays I longed something other than snow to work with. I longed for colour.
The really cool thing was going back days later to a spot and seeing that someone else had added to my art or modified it. This didn’t happen very often but it was fun when it did.
The enemy of the ephemeral artist is wind! Yet I tried to use it to my advantage some days and take a video of the movement of the leaves or something I made hanging from a tree. Click on the photo to see the video.
The truly memorable days were the ones I would be accompanied by my grandson. “I gotta do my artwork” he would mimic.
I also got to teach at a couple of schools.
I had a follower on Instagram who almost every day would give a title to my photo. She was brilliant and I looked forward to seeing how she would interpret my work with her eyes.
I was very timid about being seen doing my art. If you are a geocacher than you will know the term ‘muggles’. I was much happier if no muggles were about. Sometimes I would even hide. I guess I just didn’t want to have to explain myself.
I got very tired of pavement, yet I do love seeing things in sidewalk cracks. So the days when I could get on a real nature hike were very welcome.
I did this the morning of April 26th and little did I know that my mom would die 8 hours later. Maybe she needed this map to find her way home.
Somedays I took little videos as the in situ shot. Click the photo and see the video…
The project really slowed me down and made me an observer.
You can view it all here, https:// http://www.instagram.com/ wavesongart/
*I am indebted to Shona Wilson for starting all of this and to Leonie Barton for the inspiration. If there is any one else I didn’t give credit to, please forgive me.
Evelyn, you are some sort of amazing. Your ability to couple imagination and creativity with commitment and discipline is off my charts. Thanks for the inspiration, but the downside is an overwhelming frustration with my own lack of discipline. It is balanced by a small voice saying “stop your whimpering and get to the shop and complete those gravel barrel tops”. So, bye for now .
One day at a time Tom.
While I was having a year of slower creativity, I enjoyed following your posts on Instagram. It was very inspiring, and teaching us to be more mindful of the beauty in our immediate surroundings. Creativity is everywhere. Thank you Evelyn!
From one prairie girl to another, thank you so much Laura (Prairie Peasant) for following me.