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I've always promised myself that I'd sign on for one of these 100 day creative projects, but until such time as I get may act in order, have a look at British ceramicist Anna Whitehouse's take on the popular concept.

Starting on January 1, 2018, Whitehouse created a decorative clay bottle every day for 100 days. Each press-moulded bottle in the #100bottles100days series is uniformly shaped and sized and formed the perfect blank canvas for her to experiment on. From perforations to floral motifs, the now completed collection of 100 clay vessels showcases the artist’s fascinating array of experimental techniques.

For her, developing the patterns was fairly easy. To come up with her designs, Whitehouse referenced her sketchbooks filled with the many unexplored pattern and texture ideas she had accumulated over many years, and used anything she could to make the patterns and impressions including non-standard clay tools, pen lids, tweezers, scissors, and even a string of beads. In some instances, she would use the same tool each day but in different ways: pressing it at different angles, scraping in through the surface, or layering it with a different texture. This experimentation enabled her to create particular marks and she either referenced her sketch book to decide on what she wanted to make each day, or continued with an idea from a previous bottle. The project was a great way for Whitehouse to experiment without the fear of making a mistake as there would always be another bottle to play with the following day. 

She chose to record the 100 creations on Instagram, creating a visual digital record and a way to review her progress, but making her pieces public in this manner also meant she had to be accountable as people were following her progress. Whitehouse feels this sort of creative challenge can be constructive as it pushes development of skills and ideas and moves the artist away from the compulsion to produce something perfect. Having a more experimental mindset and the freedom to create mistakes can lead to new and exciting ideas that would never have come about any other way. 

The 100 bottles in 100 days project is being exhibited at The Craft Centre and Design Gallery, Leeds, UK from January 8 through to April 20, 2019.

Anna Whitehouse


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