Creative Sprint April 2016

I'm a true believer that mult-tasking (at least in the way most people think they're achieving it) is a myth. The brain simply cannot focus on more than one thing at a time. 
However! When you do one project that can be used for two projects, that is true multi-tasking!

These are part of my 365-day Bug-a-Day challenge, but I wanted to give the Creative Sprint projects their own page since they are otherwise embedded in the larger project.

Day 1

"Make something that fits in the palm of your hand using only materials from your immediate environment"

It is Creative Sprint (CS) time again! That's the same 30-day creative challenge I did last year. They (Another Limited Rebellion) send daily prompts via email guiding the creative process.

In my morning fog I ignored the "fits in the palm of your hand" part. But this is my smaller sketchbook. :P The materials at hand (on my messy desk): a seed catalog, sharpie markers, a micron pen, a pencil and eraser, scissors, glue sticks (yes, plural).

Another note, I was a good ways into my Bug-a-Day challenge when I had to stop due to new job exhaustion and the nursing care I've had to give my 17 year old cat (he can't walk or doing anything for himself right now). I'm still tired as hell, but I wanted to see if I could pick up the thread of my 365-day Bug-A-Day challenge using the CS prompts to help. To keep track of the CS days, I am labeling these as both Bug-A-Day and CS (multi-tasking!).  
This is Bug-A-Day #78 and CS day #1.

Oh, and I'm doing the CS a day behind so I get a full day to think about what I'm going to do.
We'll see how this goes!

And now I think it is time for more coffee...

[April 2, 2016]

Day 2

"Author Hans Christian Anderson was born on this day in 1805. Make something inspired by a children's fable or fairy tale."

Bess beetles (Passalidae) actually form family colonies and care for their young. I was inspired by the prompt to depict storytime in one such driftwood family:

"Gather 'round little grubs and I will tell you the tale of Bess and the Beanstalk"

This is India ink on tan paper.

[April 3, 2016]

Day 3

"Make something inspired by your own name."

Can you see it?

I think the small version is more obvious:

So far, 3/4 of the prompts (I just saw #4) are the same as the last go around with CS. It is interesting to have to figure out a different solution to the same problems.

[April 4, 2016]

Day 4

"Take a 5 minute walk with no set destination. Make something with whatever materials you can find where you've ended up. Leave it for someone else to find but don't forget to document it first!"

Moth made of Palmetto

I timed myself as I walked through my LL's backyard (which is many acres).
At five minutes I came upon an area strewn with dead saw palmetto and fern leaves, probably casualties of the blustery Saturday we had.
The fern leaves looked like moth antennae, and the palmetto leaves like wings, so I went from there.
Those are my feet at the bottom of the photo.

[April 5, 2016]

Day 5

"What do you collect? Work with a collection of your own or borrow one."

It's funny, I only recently acknowledged to myself that yes, I do collect something: literature and art books from Heian-era Japan (794-1185), and here is a prompt for that. I just acquired the Choju Giga art book seen in the background (hooray!) which inspired me to recycle two projects from October 2015's CreativeSprint and use them in a different context. 

The mantispid was made on CS 2015 Day 1 and the painting is a miniature print-out of a mock Choju Giga drawing I did on CS 2015 Day 8. The easel and paintbrush are made of kraft cardstock.

[April 6, 2016]

Day 6

"Look in your kitchen or a grocery store for inspiration. 
Work with the first fruit or vegetable to catch your eye (canned or frozen counts!)"

I have been making sandwiches for my lunch with zucchini, red onion, and spinach all week 
(also with hummus and cheese, but that gets messy).
The shape of the zuke inspired the mantis.
I have mantids on the brain.

[April 7, 2016]

Day 7

"Observe a pet or watch a video of your favorite animal. Make something inspired by it"

Maceo is the best cat in the world but his 17 year old cat body is now failing him.
This is in memory of his fondness for playing with moths in his younger years, which always made me smile. He always let the moth get away.

Good Cat. Best Friend.

[April 8, 2016]

Day 8

"Make something while you are in the bathroom 
or with the materials found in the bathroom today"

Not the most inspiring place...

So I did both. This is a bee made from hair thingies whilst in the bathroom. 
And, um, the antennae might be made of twisted toilet paper. 

[April 9, 2016]

Day 9

"Make up your own new holiday and show us how to celebrate it."

Celebrants perform the Dance of Obeisance 'round the bonfire for the Mighty Soothsayer, 
who views them from the Tall Shrine as tasty little dancing critters

Sacred Mantis Fortune Day

To be celebrated Always on the second Saturday of May.

Upon waking, the celebrant(s) will tip-toe into the garden or wherever a mantid might be, and gently capture the first mantis they find, no matter how long it takes to find one. This Mantis represents the almighty Soothsayer. The Mantis is then to be pampered in the celebrant's home. Offerings of freshly caught insects will be made throughout the day; the variety of which shall be tailored to the mantid's preferences. Compliments are written down on ornately decorated cards and presented to the Mantis. Praise of the mantid's fecundity and ferocity are the most popular sentiments for these beautiful cards.

At dusk, a bonfire should be lit. The Mantis will be placed in a specially made Tall Shrine so as to have a good view of the celebrants, who perform the two-hour long Dance of Obeisance. This dance must be performed in its entirety, and to perfection, in order to appease the almighty Soothsayer. Once dancing is complete, refreshments are served first to the Mantis, and then to the celebrants. The traditional Beetle Bundt Cake and Mulled Hemolymph Mead are a deliciously welcome sight after so much dancing.

The celebrants are then allowed to approach the Mantis with their wishes and request to see into the future, after which the Mantis is returned to the very spot it was originally found. If the almighty Soothsayer was pleased with the day's celebratory efforts, the celebrants will dream of their future fortunes, and upon waking, know exactly how to obtain them.

Praise be to the mighty Soothsayer! 

[April 10, 2016]

After Another Long Diapause (June 12, 2016)

I'm trying to pick back up where I left off on the 30-day Creative Sprint challenge. Maceo's illness and then death, coupled with new job fatigue, really knocked me off the wagon.

A few of these that I'll be posting today were completed in April (out of order it seems) but never posted. I had skipped a couple at the time which I have now completed in June, and will go forward one a day from where I left off on Day 16 (Day 15 was the last one I did in April on the 16th as I needed a distraction. Day 16's prompt just killed me at the time and then I stopped). I suppose today I need a distraction, too.

Day 10

"Use water as your medium or inspiration today"

Not very inspiring, but the fogged mirror wouldn't cooperate.
On left is the actual, on right is my "enhanced" version so you can actually see it.

[April 11, 2016]

Day 11

"Make something inspired by the last song or piece of music you listened to"

That happened to be the Phil Collins song In the Air Tonight
You know the one..."I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh lord!"
very ominous sounding, and sort of just lingers in your ear with its catchy drumming. 
Makes you look over your shoulder a bit.

This is rendered in green acrylic pigment ink on black paper.

I did some googling and apparently Phil doesn't really know what his song means either.

Day 12

"Work with only what you find in your pockets or bag today"

I've had what I presume was a flu bug of some sort for close to two weeks now, 
finally better, so this is what was lingering in my bag:
Sucrets, Ricola, and Advil. The wings are made from Ricola wrappers.

Bonus: I cut the wings using the Swiss army knife keychain which was also in my bag.

(June 12, 2016)

Day 13

"Transform something you thought was trash into something you want to keep"

Foiled Again!

Actually, I don't want to keep it, but it is made of trash.
Foil, a bit of rafia, and some old paperclips. All pulled out of the trash can.

...yep, going back in the trash can now...

(June 12, 2016)

Day 14

"Create something inspired by an email, text, or other
message you received today"

My friend and I were texting about tacos for lunch.
I drew this on a post-it note.

(April 14, 2016)

Day 15

"Work with your non-dominant hand. If you are usually right-handed use your left, if you are left-handed, use your right. If you are ambidextrous, use your nose"

This is a re-do *using my left hand* of the same mantis drawing (floral mantid)
I did for the CS first day's prompt.

It's better than I expected.

(April 16, 2016)

Day 16

"Create something that makes you laugh out loud"

"Starbucks ruined my coffee"

Recent events being what they are, on top of a more personal issue, did not put me in a mood to complete this day's prompt. This is the same prompt that finally derailed me from the entire Bug-A-Day project because it came the day after Maceo died and I couldn't handle it anymore.

I was texting a friend while distracted at work, who was being supportive in the wake of bad news.
This was towards the end of the exchange:

(And yes, that is the screen and keypad of a non-smart phone device
 which I lovingly call my "stupid phone")

I used the unexpected LOL as inspiration for the drawing, a fiery searcher (a type of predatory ground beetle) dumping out the coffee which ruined its day. Thanks for the cheering up, L.

(June 13, 2016)

Day 17

"It's National Poetry Month! Write a poem or make something inspired by a poem you like"

I decided to create tanka, a classical Japanese poetry style similar to haiku in that you have a set number of syllables per line. Tanka are 5-7-5-7-7 and often depend on puns and double entendres for meaning (I have no such skill). They were frequently introduced with a bit of prose describing the feeling, thoughts, mood, scenery, or any other bit of information about why or when it was composed, that gave further depth and context to the short poems.

When a friend asked me to name a favorite insect I replied:

The tiger beetle
Mantispids are another
Mantids, can't deny
My favorite's hard to pin
Can't even choose an Order!

On discovering my beloved mantids belonged with vile roaches on the cladogram:

Preying mantids may
be predatory
elongated cockroaches,
I pray not show revulsion

More on classical Japan here.

(June 14, 2016)

 Day 18

"Break something and make something new with the parts"

Leaf Mimic Walking Stick made of leaves

I was low on breakables (=none) but I had some oak leaves in my car (don't ask). So I smashed those up and what better insect to make than a leaf-mimic walking stick from actual leaves?
(The real insect is a much better mimic.)




(June 15, 2016)

Day 19

"Scan a newspaper or news site and make something inspired by today's headlines"

Irish Bog Butter and Stoneflies

So, this NPR article, published June 16th, informed me that in a bog in Ireland, 
a huge lump of 2,000 year-old intact butter was found.

It's described as smelling like old cheese and weighs nearly 22 lbs (10 kg as BBC points out).

My ink drawing features the butter, freshly pulled from the bog with stoneflies buzzing past. Stoneflies, not because they're attracted to butter, but because I needed an insect and they're a likely candidate for being found in a bog. AND they exist in Ireland!

(June 16, 2016)

Day 20

"Find a creative way to give someone a compliment"

Certain to become the gold standard of compliments.

This was made from cut out black paper and kraft paper with acrylic paint. 
The lettering was done with stamps.

(June 17, 2016)

Day 21

"Do something intentionally Wrong today"

When I first read this prompt, it made me think "Wrong...something against the Natural Order"

This sketchy comic is wrong on multiple levels.

[June 19, 2016]

Day 22

"Do whatever you want today but do it in a public place - a park, library, coffee shop - get someone to take a photo of you doing it"

Wheelbug on sweetgum

I went to Lake Mills park for this one and decided I would draw the first bug I saw.

Lucky for me it was this glorious assassin bug, a wheelbug, named for the roundish projection on its back. I traded out the air potato for sweetgum in my drawing.

The wheelbug was actually in the middle of a face-off with a brown anole that was only a little larger than it was. Considering the digestive fluids the assassin bugs inject into their victims with each bite, I wonder who would have won that one?

[June 25, 2016]

Confession: I have to admit that my heart is just not in this right now and it's been difficult to get back into the swing of doing these, so the dates are all out of whack and I did not do one per day.

Day 23

"Make a disguise and take a picture of yourself wearing it. Bonus: Get someone to take a picture of you wearing it in public"

So here is a mantis mask made from a cereal box, hemp twine, glue, and acrylic paint.
(The perfect disguise...there's a Modest Mouse song floating around in my head now.)

Wearing this in public outside of Halloween would likely get me shot 
or arrested for suspicious behavior.

"Yup, this is Creepy."

[June 22, 2016]

Day 24

"Take something that you made with you wherever you go today. Take pictures of it in different places or with different people throughout the day"

Arriving at Work

This is actually something I've done before - taking an object, photographing it in different places, and putting it together into a little book for someone. Usually, there is a loose narrative behind it.

No deeper meaning here though. I brought the paper mantispid (my very first Creative Sprint project) with me to work on Friday. It is unfortunate that my camera battery died early, as I was in the field and could have got pics around Lake Hart.

The Breakroom

My Cube

The Zen Corner in my cube

In the work truck

And the battery died!

[June 24, 2016]

So I took a few pics at Lake Mills since I missed out on Lake Hart:

[June 25, 2016]

Day 25

"Teach us how to do something"

"I Can't Hide...My Larva for You!"

This is how to make a pretty simple pop-up greeting card.
Mine features a green lacewing larva and super cheesy pun,
but your design can be whatever you want.

card stock
glue stick
pens/markers/colored pencils (optional)
colored paper/origami paper (optional)
Cheesy pun or sentiment (optional)

This post is LONG. To see the rest click here: Larva Pop-up Card

Day 26

"Take your inspiration from something that happened today in history"

Miris striatus running off with a flag it is not supposed to have.

On June 22, 1906 Sweden adopted its current rectangular blue flag design with the yellow cross as the Official Flag and made personal use of the three-tailed Royal version (and other designs) illegal.

This is why the Miris, a true bug (hemiptera) native to Sweden, runs so quickly :)

[June 22, 2016]

Day 27

"Create something in collaboration with another CreativeSprinter today"

One of the Spa's clients

For the 27th project, I consulted with my friend and fellow artist AS in New England.

She works in a greenhouse and when asked via email what insect first came to mind, she wrote:

"I think of BEES because I have been working in beeswax and I love what bees do and produce.
Also, my coworker and I made a "Bee Spa" for all the fuzzy bumble bees that pass out on the ground
(I think the colder temps make them sluggish?)...and we also have a "Bee Necropolis" where we lovingly put all the bees that have died."

I was intrigued by both ideas - the spa and the necropolis, but decided I might have a better chance at depicting the spa. I asked AS what the Bee Spa looked like:

"...[it] is a selection of lovely cut flowers with pollen offerings plus potted plants in a protected area where the bumbles will not be disturbed as they come 'round (and where we can peek at them and sing/coo to them). It can take over 24 hours until they fly away again."

My paper bee spa is made up of origami flowers and a bumble bee constructed with paper, glue, and paint. I included two old projects completed some time ago: origami sakura on "branches" in an ikebana pot, and nodding blue flowers, cut from colored paper, in a glass bud vase. 

"Bumbles Comes Around"

The Bees thank you, AS, and so do I for the great idea!

[July 2, 2016]

Day 28

"Call someone you haven't spoken to in a long time.Tell them what you are doing and ask them to give you an assignment for what to make today."

I haven't spoken to my friend Moth in ages (beyond a quick "how are you, are you still alive?") 

She lives across the pond and our schedules are difficult to coordinate.

When asked to give me a bug-related assignment for today, Moth commanded:


So here is a periodical cicada made of colored paper,
specifically chosen so I could use Moth's favorite wine red color.

Also wik origami paper and gold ink on a 3" x 3" card,
ready to mail and greet distant shores.

Bumbles says hello.

[July 3, 2016]

Day 29

"Ask someone you respect to look through your past month's work and select their favorite one. Revise or refine the work they selected for today's task"

I asked my friend L to choose one, and being as indecisive as I am, she gave me a choice of two.
So I did both of them, since they were relatively reasonable demands.

"I think you should either color Day 16 (because I love it) or add a background to Day 26 (to give more of an idea of what's going on)"

This one was also inspired by L's text.
Fiery searchers are metallic-colored. Hopefully I pulled that off.

"They can take away our flag, but they can never take away our freedom!"

"Run Miris!"
I imagined a screaming horde, outraged at the new flag decree, 
demanding the freedom to choose their own flag, 
and cheering on the rebel Miris as it runs off with an illegal flag.
(yep, that horde is clip art. I'm tired!).

I actually have no idea how the Swedish people really reacted in 1906.
Maybe they were fine with it and the law passed quietly?

Speaking of freedom, Happy Independence Day

[July 3, 2016]

Day 30

"Make a trophy or another Award for yourself"

(Yes, more clip art...I'm tired!)

Finally! The final project! It's done!

I was unable to complete the CS projects once a day after the first two weeks, 
then I took a hiatus, 
and then I took my time finishing the rest of them; 
so I feel a Certificate of Completion is a fitting award this time around.
(As opposed to my triumphant Mantispid trophy last time)

There were a lot of things that made it difficult to stay on track.

Maybe during the next CS Challenge I can keep up :)

[July 3, 2016]

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