Similar to the way that adding a new element will force you to experiment – among other things – taking on a big project will do the same.
Inevitably, big projects have set backs and periods of readjustment.
“Big” is a relative term. If you normally work on 8×10 paper, let’s say, you could work on 18 x 20 paper – OR you could do a series of pieces of 8×10 paper – maybe a set of 15. Or an artist book type project. You get the idea. Big doesn’t have to be a size – it can be a longer term project or it could be multiple parts.
There are lots of ways to define “big”: multi-part, expanded, large scale, long term, involves an application process, etc…
When we work on big projects, we ultimately end up working through set backs and trying new things… we absolutely can’t complete a big project without tapping into our creativity even more.
In college, I did a project called “happy party” – I was majoring in fibers <a 3d fine art> and I was tired of the same old same old – weaving, printing, even embroidery! I decided I was going to host a party and make all the elements needed to have fun. We had a photo backdrop, goodie bags, cake, music <alright, i didn’t make the music, just the playlist> I also made the decorations and tablecloths. The idea was that I would start with raw, meaningless materials, make them into objects to be used and loved, and then when the party was over, those objects would hold meaning and memory. I liked it. It was fun. But it was a big project and in order for it to be completed, I needed to work outside my range of expertise. I had not made party decorations before, so I had to learn a few new skills to do that. I wasn’t much of a baker, so I had to learn a few new skills to make some sweets for the party.
You get the idea, right?
Working on a project that is larger scale than you are used to will naturally bring about obstacles – aka learning moments
Think of how you can expand a current interest – or take a single thing you enjoy and amplify it. This will be the basis for learning out of necessity and learning by doing. You might hate it, but you’ll bring in a few new skills that I bet you won’t regret learning. Plus when it is over, you’l feel great.
Big projects are also great for generating content for your social media accounts and blog over a long period of time. You can document as you go – in text and photos – and share these ‘behind the scenes’ snippets with your audience. It is my experience that people just love seeing behind the scenes images of messy desks, works in progress and raw materials. So make it work for you while you work!
Further thoughts: big projects force focus. Think about it!
Have you taken on any big projects that you’d like to share your experience with? Any “happy parties” in your recent past?