The Diary Project is a year long art project by Bristol artist, Kirsty Hall. Each day in 2007, I am doing a drawing on the back of an envelope, placing a secret object inside and then posting the letter to myself. The scanned drawings are being documented on the Diary Project blog at

When the envelopes return they will be kept unopened until they can be exhibited: the public will then be free to open the letters and investigate the contents.


I finished a mammoth Diary project update earlier. Scanning, editing and uploading the images is easy and doesn't take me long. However, writing the small bits of blurb about each envelope takes me forever because I see the Diary Project as an art piece in its own right so each entry needs to be just right (or at least passable!) Also, after 235 envelopes finding something unique and interesting about every drawing is starting to get a bit tough!

I went through a small slump with the project last week. I still did my daily envelope on time but there were a couple of days where I felt both the drawings and the contents were just a bit lacking. Fortunately it picked up again: I suppose with such a long project it's inevitable that there will be lulls but I still always hate them.


Oh dear, it's been far too long since I updated this blog. It's been falling off the bottom of my list because for the last couple of months I've been busy launching my art website.

Putting together a proper website was a lot of work, even though I didn't have to do any of the design or coding because I'd employed a friend who's a professional web designer. However, I still had to write all the art blurb, update my CV and go through all my old images to pull out the best and most representative work.

I kept struggling against my inherent desire to include absolutely everything I've ever done, despite knowing that the site would work much better as a limited portfolio highlighting the best stuff. In the end, I managed to rein myself in by starting a proper archive just to get it out of my system.

I had a bit of an archive before but it was very ramshackle and random, with information kept all over the place. It's much improved now, although it's nowhere near complete yet. I bought a little index card box and lined cards and I've been listing the various art works with all the relevant information. I'll transfer it all onto the computer at some point but I liked the idea of having a hard copy too. I wish to hell I'd done this while I was still at college, as finding the neccesary information is often a bit of a treasure hunt now. Still, at least my slides are reasonably well labelled and kept in chronological order, which makes looking things up a bit easier.

Talking of slides, I'd strongly encourage everyone to get decent images of their work, preferably professional ones if you can afford it. I thought my slides were completely fine until I had to scan and edit loads of them for the website. In the process, I discovered that most of the slides I took in college were underexposed and often totally useless. Since much of that work no longer exists, I really wish now that my documentation had been better. I should have listened harder to my tutor when he nagged us about it! The sad thing is that I honestly thought I was doing a fine job: I was wrong!

Getting some professional images of my existing work is now on my list of 'things I need to do but can't really afford' – hmmm, I bet every artist has one of those lists!

Anyway, over on the website I've got a new blog called Up All Night Again. I'm currently in the midst of writing a big series of articles about why artists need to be online and how to go about it. Neglecting your existing blogs will NOT be one of my handy tips!

Despite all this, I haven't been neglecting The Diary Project itself: I'm proud to say that I still haven't missed a single day and the Diary Project blog is currently completely up to date. I'm starting to get the project 'out there' and I've been linked on various blogs but I still need to do masses more promotion – ain't that always the way!

Other people often seem to think that 'making the art' is the hard bit. Well, I don't know about anyone else but I find that making the art is actually the easy bit. Although it certainly takes energy, effort and lots of thought, it's the bit that I really enjoy doing – it's everything that surrounds the artmaking that's hard!


Well, The Diary Project is ticking along quite nicely now – in fact, it's hard to believe that I'm into the sixth month already. Doing the envelope became a satisfying daily habit very quickly and I haven’t missed a single one yet.

Unfortunately I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which can often be quite disabling and some days getting my envelope done is a major achievement. But being committed to producing that one small piece of art a day, even when I don’t feel like it, has been very good for both my practice and my moral.

Doing the envelopes themselves is usually fine, although I have the occasional day when it’s really challenging, usually when I’m ill. However, getting into a regular rhythm with updating the project blog took longer. Thankfully I’m now firmly in the habit of scanning, uploading and posting the scanned drawings weekly.

As is invariably the case with any art project, doing the documentation seems to take twice as long as making the actual art! But I’ve overcome my usual slowness with documentation by regarding the blog as an artwork in its own right.


The Diary Project Rules

1. I commit to posting a self-addressed envelope every single day during 2007.
2. All envelopes must contain something and feature a drawing on the outside.
3. There are no restrictions on what can be placed inside the envelope.
4. Envelopes cannot be drawn or filled in advance, each must be completed within a single day. However, previously collected or made objects can be used to fill the envelope.
5. The daily envelope must be completed and posted before midnight.
6. If I miss a day I cannot draw and fill the envelope later.
7. Any missed days must be documented.
8. I must make every effort to post the envelope myself and other people are only allowed to post the envelope if I am ill or there is an emergency. If this occurs it must be documented.
9. Identical white DL envelopes must be used.
10. Envelopes can be posted from anywhere.
11. Drawings must be on the back of the envelope but can continue onto the front.
12. Drawings must be dated and signed on the day of making.
13. Drawings can be in any medium.
14. Drawings can be any size.
15. Drawings can be of any subject.
16. Drawings can be in any style.
17. Drawing themes can repeat but each drawing must be unique.
18. The project will be recorded in a notebook.
19. The date the envelopes return home will be documented in the notebook.
20. Any deviations from the rules must be recorded.
21. Envelopes will be recorded and documented on a project blog.
22. Envelopes will be scanned and blogged on their return but this doesn’t have to be done on the day they return.
23. The project blog can contain thoughts and reflections on the project as well as images of the envelopes.
24. I am not allowed to open any of the envelopes when they return. Envelopes will be kept sealed until the finished project is exhibited as a whole. At this point, members of the public will be free to open the envelopes and investigate the contents.
25. The contents of individual envelopes will be documented on the blog once a member of the public has opened the envelope.