In May 2020, I started work on the 100 Day Project Scotland, an initiative that began with my friend and colleague Isla Munro. The Scotland based project followed the success of the Global 100 Day Project established by Lindsay Jean Thomson. The premise of the project is simple; commit to a hundred days of creativity by posting a creative project to social media every day for the duration.
“The project gives anyone, regardless of age or ability, the framework and permission to get creative. It challenges you to pick your creative outlet and relies on your willingness to work to achieve a creative boost” (https://www.100daysscotland.co.uk/)
Participants select any medium, approach or outcome; From designing hats, carving hands from wood, creating origami forms in paper, participants select their own media, approach and theme. The eclectic responses range from spinning to print, photography to illustration, working in 2D and 3D. The choice of media and theme is personal yet we are united in a collective vision.
My first experience of 100 Day Project began in 2019 when I selected to capture 100 botanical samples in glass. Collecting and drying these sample, I then fused them between sheets of glass, adding a layer of coloured frit in the process. During the firing process, each sample burnt out leaving behind a delicate trace in the glass. The collection of fused botanical glass, alongside the work of sixty fellow practitioners, was exhibited at the 100 days Scotland at Edinburgh College of Art (https://www.100daysscotland.co.uk/2019-show-1).
For 2020, I wanted a new challenge! Given the conditions of lockdown this year, I was keen to set a task that would sustain me mentally and creatively. I was keen to draw on my former experience at Edinburgh Crystal using the knowledge to inform glass designs using a diamond cut pattern. Typically, my creative practice has involved sourcing glass and mould materials, both of which became classed as a non-essential delivery during lockdown. I was keen to face this problem and searched locally for glass that could be recycled. Luckily, this coincided with the cessation of the glass recycling service in Edinburgh. As an abundant supply of glass began piling up outside people’s homes, I decided to find new ways to re-use this glass for my 100 Day Project.
Beginning with hand drawn sketches created in pencil, I worked into the drawing using watercolour. Often, I would find myself picking a colour that was represented by the colour of the glass bottle or the branding. Most days, I would consider colour theory, noting colours that complemented and contrasted on the colour wheel.
“I used the same format each time and drew a line at the base of the object and constructed a coloured box around each one to frame it. This format gave a strong visual style to the project and I stuck to it. The very first drawings were quite tight and formal, but as the project progressed the watercolours eased up and the myriad colour combinations started to merge and mix.”
Documenting domestic glass containers through to extensive range of wine bottles, I captured colour, shape and diversity. Every ten days I amended my theme to keep things fresh and inspiring. Here, I enlisted help from friends and neighbours to collect the various themed collections, involving the community in the project too. The changing themes forced me to re-consider the ‘new’, rethink glass, creating an opportunity to review my drawings and create new designs that I posted daily.
“Even on the days when I felt less creative, increasingly fatigued, or just too busy, I realised that I needed to be resilient and carve out ‘creative time’ daily. As I found out, staying engaged and creative, and turning up each day, can prove tricky in lockdown!”
Participating in 100 Day Project, engaging in creative practice and being part of a community proved essential to my practice during the challenges of Lockdown. From friends who sourced and donated their bottles through to the online community, each provided support and encouragement. During Lockdown, it sometimes proved difficult to juggle responsibilities, childcare and home schooling with the need for personal creative nurture. Yet, Lockdown demonstrated how important it is for each of us to express ourselves through creativity. It also showed me that even during these uncertain times, much of my glass practice could be locally sourced and brought directly to my door for free.
If you would like to see more about the project visit: https://www.instagram.com/jessamykellyglass & https://jessamykellyglass.tumblr.com& www.jessamykellyglass.com