LumberJocks Woodworking Forum banner

30 projects in 30 days

76498 Views 110 Replies 35 Participants Last post by  oldnovice

Off and on, over the past few years I had the idea to try to do a series of projects over the course of a week or so…. like 12 Christmas ornaments in 12 days, or a bunch of pens leading up to graduation time…. I've been pretty good about getting set up to make a bunch of pens, and then not having enough free time or energy to do anything about it… or conversely, having the idea a wee bit too late, and then totally forgetting about it until it was too late again the next year. Sound familiar?

This year we're taking the homemade approach seriously, past years were good intention, but with my wife out of work since last spring, there's no flexibility. Luckily my daughter has a great imagination and my wife and I have some creative ideas… but I digress.

During the process of getting my shop in order for a bunch of homemade Christmas presents I found that I had lots of pen kits just waiting to be made into something beautiful and useful…

Then I remembered the challenge idea, and checked online for ideas, and found a website where artists, writers anyone really can sign up, link their blog, and take on a 30 projects in 30 days challenge. The main goal wasn't to fill your shelves with tons of projects, but rather to force yourself to be creative everyday. Whether or not you think you have the time, you'll force yourself to be creative everyday, and in the process, you might find yourself taking your work in a new direction, or at least develop your abilities beyond where they'd be in a year or two from now if you just casually plodded along whenever time, energy (and the pull of the accursed TV) allow.

So, I have all these pen kits in the basement, I'll make 30 pens in 30 days!... But alas I only have 26 kits, and now I'm kinda into the 30 day idea. So I'll make pens and bottle stoppers! Yeah, that's the ticket. I'll have really nice gifts for everyone, and (thanks to the pen trading swap) I can do this all for free (or rather by only using money I'd already spent.)

Ok, now I know the spirit of the idea is just to practice your craft, and build up your skills and creativity… and I'm adding in the additional challenge of coming up with 30 "gift quality" items… well, pens still are quick, and if I have to make two a day to get one good one, time-wise that should still be OK. Besides which I'll be done on Dec 1st, and will still have 3 weeks to make or repair anything else that gets put on the list. No Problem.

no. Problem. Over the past year, between Christmas, birthdays, and a slew of cousins, nieces and nephews graduating, I've already gifted quite a few pens. Sure I can give more… but I can't really give the same thing two years in a row.

If only there was a way I could sell or trade these with friends, without coming out and having to "sell them", or put them on eBay and cross my fingers. Even though I've had a couple of fine art shows about ten years back (and had moderate success with them) friends and family (except for Mom) never seem to remember that I'm available for hire for interesting and unique gifts - often (cause I'm a sap) for pretty cheap.

Then I remembered reading about a "painting a day" auction that several painters came up with a few years ago. The idea was that they would spend about an hour painting a small canvas and market it to everyone on their mailing lists 24 hours in advance of a very short eBay auction. Most paintings sold for a bit over $100 in a matter of minutes. Most sold out, being collectible one of a kind pieces, that in turn allowed these artists to earn a fairly good living, and still have time to work on larger commissions that might take months if not years to sell.

Ok, how to adapt this idea… A Ha! take advantage of the viral marketing of social networking sites like Facebook, and give my friends (real and online acquaintances) the opportunity of taking part in a semi-private auction, where they can support a friend, and up-and-coming artist, and get something nice for themselves or to gift, that they might not otherwise be able to afford at a higher end art/artisan boutique.

What a win-win. I have the opportunity to get plenty of practice at my craft (without breaking the bank or flooding myself with pens) and my friends (the real ones at least) get to keep their money local. (and I won't have to give my six-year old a pair or matching ball point pens for Christmas. But look honey, it's bubinga!)

I'll be posting the projects here, after I get the ball rolling on my Facebook page. This is a "business page" so anyone on Facebook ("friend" or not)can view it (it might even be viewable by the general public).

if you're one of the jocks already on Facebook, check out the page, and come along for the ride… or set up a site of your own, and join me with your own 30 day challenge! I'm starting November 1st. Who's with me?
See less See more
1 - 1 of 111 Posts
Make art everyday

or at least try to.

In the past I've taken a couple of stabs at turning out 30 projects in 30 days. My first attempt was the most ambitious, trying to churn out, not only a project a day for 30 days, but to make them also be a sellable one every day. In the end I created more than 30, and spent about as much time on the photographing and blogging as I did the actual work. Quite the busy month - perfect cover for my wife to catch me off guard with a surprise birthday party - one in which I sold several of said projects as Christmas presents.

Anyhow, I followed the success of that attempt, with another the following June. This time, not out to make something sellable every day for 30 days, just to make 30 projects within 30 days time. Again, the photographing and the blogging were the real time killers. This time, I had the company of 2 fellow Lumberjocks, joining me with their own 30 projects in 30 days challenge.

I know I learned loads, despite the pressure on myself. I got really good at sharpening my chisels (as most of my projects came off the lathe) as well as the photography aspect. It had been sooo many years since I'd lived in the highschool and college darkrooms.

There was to be a third attempt at 30 projects, but with moving the following November, that was not to be. Coupled with setting up a new shop, and a really cold garage shop at that, the April and June stabs were put on hold for want of getting things situated and running. Still need myself a new tablesaw. One that turns on 100% of the time, and turns off any amount of the times I throw the switch… but I digress.

This month (Yes not a 30 day month, but whatever) I'm getting back to the original spirit of the 30 projects in 30 days challenge - in where fellow artists of every stripe, painters, writers and so on - were merely challenging themselves to get out and PRACTICE their craft everyday for a month. (if you want to take a good picture, you have to burn through a roll of film.)

What with spending half a year without a working shop, I'm really itching to just get out there and do anything. I've got a notebook full of some creative ideas, but really should get back into the swing of things before attempting new and different things. I really should just get out there and make some sawdust with no agenda or end product in site, before another over the top attempt at 30 sellable projects in 30 days come Fall. Or even before attempting anything remotely planned out. Get into the groove, get a feel for things - or at least get the chisels all nice and sharp (and pick up some new toys while I'm at it) ;)


with little or no plan or agenda, here are the first 3 stabs at turning out something, or nothing this month.

July 3rd - 5th

Attempt at making a 7.5 inch plate or small platter:

Salvaged Cherry board, before.

Bottom of plate, with sister board. Cleans up really nice, don't you think?

Side/top view, mounted on lathe. Need to mount this on a glue block, buy or rig up some cole jaws to trim off that middle portion… OR… I could use this as the bottom level of a 2 or 3 tier candy/dessert rack. Yeah! Oh the fun of being able to run with design/project changes!

Attempt at a small maple bowl with a walnut stripe.

Profile of small bowl. approx 1.5 cup capacity.

Got a little tooo close to the bottom when trying to clean up the inside corners. well… it's surely neither a bowl or colander now. I imagine I can sand the bottom smooth, glue up another layer and still make something out of this… A notch in the original glued up blank forced me to make this bowl a bit smaller than I would have liked anyhow.

Apple vessel:

And finally, I had this chunk of applewood. A baseball sized, somewhat triangularish piece, cut from the intersection of three branches. Not good for much, with some cracks in it, but surely home to some fascinating grain.

Approx 2 3/4 inches across, 2 1/2 tall. Hole bored out with a 1 3/8 forstner bit and cleaned up with a scraper - that is some tough, hard wood inside. Outside sanded to 220 and finished - wood and bark - with Howards Orange oil and beeswax.
This is fun to see done in woodworking :) You are right - practising your craft every day is a very good thing. I am doing a self portrait every day for 2010 - a project I do every other year. It can be draining, to get out and DO IT every day and actually try to make something WORTH DOING.. but it's very rewarding when you're done.
1 - 1 of 111 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.