100 Day Challenge: 100 Days of Creative Sparks Featuring Sealife

Since I was let go from my all-consuming nonprofit “day” job, I have been examining my decisions and my lifestyle. As one of the founders, I sacrificed quite a bit to ensure the success of this nonprofit—time with my family, my career as a designer, incredible design projects, a book project, friendships, my home (it was run out of my home until the day they “let me go”). Without warning or cause, I was told the board was moving on without me immediately* and did not need or want my guidance or input any longer.

*This was quite the shock, as the board and I had discussed my succession plan many times in the previous months. I had wanted to allow an easier transition for the nonprofit and also allow time to rebuild my design career, but the board decided to take a different direction.

I was devastated. Really devastated. This nonprofit had become my identity. Who would I be without it? Why didn’t I matter anymore? Would anyone care about me without my nonprofit connection? What would happen to the nonprofit?

As I sorted through the self-doubt, I realized that my life had been lacking inspiration. I had been battling a bit of burnout for a while (and attempting to recover from two concussions within just a few months of each other) and had sacrificed most of my typical creative exercises as I struggled to meet the nonprofit’s goals. While I had occasionally maintained my Saturday morning design inspiration hunts, I had stopped creating. Sure, I had some fun side-jobs once in a while, but I wasn’t doing enough to refuel my creativity.

I thought about bringing back my owl-a-day project, but that would be too easy…and the truth is, I don’t really like owls that much. I thought about joining a Creative Sprint, but I really wanted something illustration or drawing based. That’s when I learned about #The100DayProject and decided to join in. I wanted to do something with sea life and creativity—an odd combination, but that will make sense in June—and came up with my “Sea Different” project.

Follow along on Instagram!

Design A Pin

I recently bought a button maker (the real deal, not the cheap kid’s version). It’s a Tecre Button Making Machine as shown here.

Making designs to fit the 1.25″ buttons is a bit of challenge, but a fun one. I’ve created designs for Girls on the Run of Stark County and Jackson Cross Country, so far.

Download this sketch sheet and give it a try yourself. Pick a theme, set a time limit, and see what you can come up with!


Abstract Sputnik Creative Challenge

I’ve developed a bit of a fascination with Mid Century Modern bookcases, especially the ones with the asymmetrical shelves. I’ve started to notice these frameworks in vintage fabric designs. Two of my favorite fabric designers, Lucienne Day & Marian Mahler used asymmetric frameworks as the base for several patterns during the sputnik era (mid-1950s through the 1960s). Of course, Lucienne’s frameworks were much more organic, while Marian’s tended to be more rigid.

For this morning’s creative caffeine, I sketched out a few frameworks of my own and adorned them with random shapes. No real goals here, just taking 15 minutes to work out my retro design skills before jumping into what is most likely going to be another chaotic day!

In case you want to play along, download my worksheet below. (Or just grab a sketch book, and make your own.)