Are you back yet? How was it? What was your project? What were the other people like? How was Belfast? Was it what you expected it to be? To answer everyone’s questions:
1. Yes, I’m back!
2. It’s definitely up there on my list of “best experiences of my life”.
3. To sum it up: We did a “blitz” project focused on using hair booms to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which culminated in an outlandish booth at a local event called, The Good Life Festival. We wore red jumpsuits with “STUFF IT” spray painted down the leg, stuffed human hair into panty hose, gave over 25 haircuts to willing participants, crafted snazzy buttons made out of hair (they’re not nearly as disgusting as they sound), made Evan sit in a kiddie pool filled with fake oil dressed up as a BP executive, and had a letter writing station so people could write to their congressmen. Here’s the video that Ben Barry was kind enough to make of the event.
We were all fairly convinced that we’d continue with the oil spill theme for our final project but when we learned of the sudden death of David McLaughlin, an artist, craftsman and collector whom we had met days prior to the festival, we unanimously decided to switch gears and create a project in his honor and memory. Inspired by David’s incredible home, a converted cannery in Liberty, Maine, and his philosophy of reusing what others discarded to give new life to otherwise unwanted materials, we developed “100 Hammers”, a collaborative project in which participants are shipped a hammer from our collection of 100 and then use it to create an art piece, in whatever form that may take. The artwork is then shared on our website and auctioned off to benefit a local charity. I will post as soon as our site goes live.
4. My fellow M’ers were incredible. Half expecting a group of pretentious designers with their own agendas, I was relieved to meet a bunch of talented, down to earth, dedicated, hilarious, hardworking, and passionate people. Our group dynamic was exceptional and we proved to be a prolific and dedicated team. We laughed and cried (sometimes laughing until we cried), ate and drank, worked and played, and just did absolutely everything together for the 2 weeks that we were there. I was, and continue to be, inspired and motivated by each and every one of them and am thankful to have so many awesome, new friends.
5. I’m pretty sure that Belfast is the best town in America. Delicious, local, organic food abounds, there’s a pretty hip art scene (considering it’s northern Maine), bars have outdoor bonfires to sit around (go to Three Tides if you ever make it up that way), the scenery is beautiful, the community is incredible (with one of the guys in my group remarking “I’ve never felt like I was a part of a community until I came here”), just an A+ all around. If I can’t handle the long winters I’m at least having a summer house there.
6. In one word, yes. It met my expectations and then surpassed them. I couldn’t have anticipated what M taught me about design, about myself, and about life. In my application essay I ended it by saying “So, when it comes down to it, why am I applying for Project M? Because there isn’t enough time in life to spend your day doing something that doesn’t quicken your heart.” I remember thinking to myself a few times that even as mentally and physically exhausted as I was, there wasn’t one thing in the world that I’d rather be doing. To me, when you’re in the moment, and truly living from your heart, that’s the whole point of everything. Thank you Project M for reminding me that this is possible.
I’ll be posting more as soon as I sort through the 3,000 photos and 10GB of video that I have (seriously) and I will let everyone know when 100 Hammers launches. Check out this article that was written about us in the Village Soup if you didn’t see it already on my Facebook page.
One last thank you to everyone who donated to my M fund. It was such a hugely positive experience in my life and I literally couldn’t have done it without your help. Thank you, thank you, thank you!