100 Days Project 2017: Colleen Pugh
100 Days Project is a simple creativity project that requires one thing, every day for 100 days.
This year’s 100 Days Project is now drawing to a close. It’s featured all its usual exciting, and unexpectedly wide range of creative endeavours. Close to 700 participants have signed up in New Zealand for 2017. We grabbed a few moments with illustrator/designer and all-round creative talent Colleen Pugh to find out how her 100 Days Project was shaping up:
Hello Colleen, you’re one of the nearly 700 people who have signed up for this year’s 100 Days Project. Is this the first time you’ve been involved?
This is my fourth year doing 100 days and my third go at an illustrated food diary. I’ve started to joke that the 100 days project is cursed because every time I’ve tried in the past I’ve gotten hopelessly thwarted by a difficult event that has hopelessly derailed me and stopped me shy of the 100 day mark. This year is going to be different!
What inspired you to sign up for 2017?
I signed up to 100 partly because it felt like unfinished business after failing to reach 100 days a few times in the past. Having done the project before also means that I know how valuable it is to make time to do something creative every day. Sometimes it’s hard, but it’s always worthwhile, and seeing your own 100 days pages fill up with drawings is highly rewarding.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you’re doing each day?
Basically, it’s an illustrated food journal, so each day I’m drawing food. I keep a scribbled record (usually on a post it note) of everything I eat or drink throughout the day, then in the evening, I draw up the sketches on an iPad using a stylus and an app called Sketchbook.
How did you come up with the idea for this project, and what are you hoping to get out of it?
I’m utterly obsessed with food! When I’m not eating it, I’m planning the next thing I’m going to cook, so it was a pretty natural idea for me to come up with. I wanted the project to be autobiographical but in a different way. I very much see the food dairies as an ongoing self-portrait. I think it’s arguable that the fuel we consume to make us function says as much about us as a picture of our face. Once you take into account the effect different kinds of food have on your energy and emotions, not to mention what it says about our ethical choices, it becomes a pretty rounded portrait of an individual or me, in this case.
I personally find the food dairies hugely valuable. A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with ‘non-alcoholic fatty liver disease’ and these diaries have become a tool I use to meditate on my eating and nutrition. I think it’s important for people to understand that my eating does look a little unusual, but this is for specific health reasons. My liver is no longer able to handle much in the way of sugar and, because it’s quite broken, it doesn’t handle carbohydrates well either. Part of me isn’t a fan of weight loss pictures but I have included one below because it helps highlight my recovery. I’ve never felt ashamed or unattractive as a larger woman, but I also understand it’s relevant to these dairies to show the changes my body has been making due to the way I now eat.
Do you have a favourite collection of images/day so far?
I feel like the project works best as an overwhelming whole, but I remember 8 July was a good day. I had friends visiting and we found a magic cheese shop in Milford called The Cheese Room, and we got to sample the most amazing Mercer cheeses. I also like the drawing for 1 July because I got to draw a tiny tea pot.
Do you see this project benefitting your professional role, and can you explain how?
I don’t think this particular 100 day project is directly benefiting my day job, but in a round about way it helps. The food illustrations are one of the tools I use to improve my health and being in good health definitely has a positive effect on my work.
We’re now well over halfway. What have been some of the challenges and also some of the highlights for you?
The biggest challenge is time. I illustrate them in the evening while lazying in front of the telly, but if we’re out for a night or I have other freelance work demanding to be prioritised it gets a bit tricky. As for the highlight without a doubt, it’s the support I get from the lovely people of Instagram; people taking the time to send a message of encouragement really keeps me motivated, and I love watching other people’s projects there as well.
Do you plan to take part in the exhibition at the end?
I really would like to do the exhibition this year. I went as a visitor to the last one, and it was such a fantastic show and a brilliant encouraging atmosphere, plus so much great cheese to eat!
Where can our DA readers see more from you?
Thanks for your time, Colleen, and good luck with the rest of the project.
Visit the 100 Days Project at: 100daysproject.co.nz to check on Colleen’s progress, along with all the other 2017 participants!