Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The First 100

Before I posted any photos or updates on my progress on my 1000 Cards Project I wanted to see if I was going to be able to handle it, and I set a goal of finishing 100 cards by the end of January. About a half hour ago I put the last stitch in card #100, so here's a look at the first 100 finished cards:

Here they are spread out a bit more on my dining room table:

So far the project has required a lot more work than I expected -- up to an hour a day -- but it has been a endless fountain of inspiration, self-expression and satisfaction for me. One thing I love is that each time I finish a card and log it into my card catalog, I get that excellent "finished that" feeling. Normally I have to wait weeks or months for that when I work on much bigger projects.

Since I'm a series writer it's probably no surprise that I'm doing series of cards. One of my favorites was rescuing the last seven pieces of a painting I cut up, turning them into cards and making an interesting holder for them:

I made eight ATC-size mini quilts, which were a lot of fun, especially when I broke out the beads and embellished some of them (also something that takes forever with larger projects):

I didn't try to innovate too much, as I felt like I should get into a work rhythm first before I started experimenting, but I had fun with a couple of new ideas. I took some old souvenirs from Metro Zoo and made a bagged card out of them; I put together my first piece of mixed-media collage art, played with clip art, and also sewed beads to handmade paper:

My favorite cards out of this bunch are the ten I made for my favorite poem, featuring old pages from last year's calendar, hand sewn to some antique yakuta cloth. I was so delighted with how they came out that I took another day to design and make a special quilted pouch for them:

There were only two cards I didn't care for in how they turned out, but I didn't throw them out or remake them. I think it's just as important to include the mistakes, mishaps and misfires in this project as it is to show off the successes (I also learned things from them, like never try to sew heavy glass beads directly on flimsy card stock.)

I thought I'd make a lot more photo cards than I did -- I figured about half the cards would be photos -- but I ended up making only 26 for the month. I did those on days when I just didn't have the time to do something more elaborate, but as photography has become so important to me over the last couple of years I do feel they are just as much an art form for me as my quilting or painting (so I'm not cheating.)

I recycled so many things in making the cards -- leftovers from other projects, cardboard, tissue paper, calendars, odds and ends that really had no purpose otherwise. This is one of the great things about working in mixed media, as it's such a green-friendly way to create art.

I also found some moments when I got very personal in the creation process. I wrote one new poem, three notes to people I needed to say things to for various reasons, and celebrated with photo card sets a couple of moments from last year that were very important to me. I told one card a secret about myself that no one knows, and wrote a mini-manifesto on another. I never really planned anything in advance with any of the cards except my favorite poem; I simply went along with my mood at the time and the materials at hand.

When I set out to take a new photo every day back in 2009, I started looking at the world differently. I was constantly searching for interesting things to shoot. Now that I'm making the cards, I'm looking at almost everything around me as to how I can make a card about it.

I'm only a tenth of the way toward my 1000 card goal for the project, but I'm working ahead of schedule and I'm not tired of it (I was worried I'd get bored, but that hasn't happened.) I think about the types of card series I'd like to make at times, and occasionally wonder if I can handle less traditional materials (metal, wood, glass, that sort of thing) in making them. In February I'd like to start trying some new techniques from all the mixed media art magazines I've saved over the years, and see if I can discover some new types of art I like.

I was keeping the cards in a gift box at first, but they quickly outgrew it, so I'm using an old chest now. Storage is going to be a challenge, especially with the dimensional art cards, but I'll figure it out.

Every time that I work on this project I feel rejuvenated, and that's the most important effect of all. Doing this like being able to recharge your batteries whenever you feel like it without having to stay plugged in (or unplugged) for hours. Sometimes a card only takes a couple of minutes to make, but even the easy ones give me that terrific sense of satisfaction that boost my spirits and helps me go to back to work in a better mood.

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