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Ten Thousand Flowers

The Ten Thousand Flowers Project

What is this about anyway?

I’m drawing ten thousand flowers on index cards and giving them away to people.


Because I derive enjoyment from senseless acts of beauty.

When did you start doing this?

June 12, 2011.

Why ten thousand?

When I got it in my head that I was going to draw flowers on index cards and give them away, I decided I needed a specific number to shoot for so it would be a quantifiable goal instead of a vague aspiration. It’s also extremely likely I was hypomanic at the time, since I was cranking out ten flowers a day when I was starting out, and figured I’d be done inside of three years. (I’m down to two flowers a day, so we’re looking at a decade or so now.) I can’t rely on hypomania to enhance my productivity, especially now that I’m on mood stabilizers, but I’m determined to see it through.

The Google tells me that there’s a 13th-century poem that refers to ‘ten thousand flowers’ by a Buddhist monk known as Wumen Huikai but I wasn’t aware of it until after I’d embarked on the project.

Why are they free?

When I began the project, I was unemployed in the midst of the Great Recession, and I didn’t have very many ways to be generous with people. I briefly considered selling the flowers for a dollar apiece, but I decided I’d rather give them away so I could have at least something coming out of me into the world that fit with my introverted way of being.

I want a flower! How can I get one?

It is now easier than ever to get a flower. Simply send a mailing address (doesn’t have to be yours) to free@10kflowers.com. No SASE necessary. Be advised that this is not a permanent arrangement, but I’ve recently received a generous donation from a nonprofit and I decided to spend it on stamps and envelopes so it’s easier to spread these flowers throughout the world. I do not know how long I will be making this offer–there are too many variables involved. But for now, an email gets you a flower. Use this power responsibly.

Do you ever hand them out in person?

I’ll sometimes pop up at art events and such (mostly in the Atlanta area) and offer them to anyone interested. Keep an eye on my Twitter feed (@wonderbink) and on the hashtag #10KFlowers if you want to know where and when.

Flowers Made: 5,049

Flowers Remaining: 4,951

Flowers Given: 1,200

Flowers Lost: 9

Flowers Destroyed: 1