My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #26: Back to Making Some Saw Dust

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 06-29-2010 12:05 PM 4328 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 25: Rainy Days and Mondays, but I'm Not Down! Part 26 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 27: I Love When That Happens »

I finally got down to the business of drawing yesterday. It seems like so much has gotten in the way lately, I haven’t been able to spend any time at it. I did a lot of looking around on the computer and was in one of those phases where I have several things that I want to do and didn’t quite know where to start. Those are probably my most unproductive days it seems, although I tend to organize things in my mind eventually and then it flows and I get down to business.

I nearly finished two simple drawings by the day’s end and I only have a bit more on each before I can head to the saw. It is strange how little time I have actually at the saw with everything else that needs to be done. I really look forward to putting on some good music and getting lost in sawdust today. Hopefully I will have something to show for it tomorrow.

The two projects are not my most difficult projects, but then again, for the magazine they don’t have to be (and probably shouldn’t be). I find that most people don’t want to do 1000 inside cuts on a project. Some of my most successful patterns are those that are simpler, yet still attractive. It always seems funny though because I am the type that always wants to do the very best I can. Especially when things are being presented for the magazine. In the beginning when I started to regularly submit, that wasn’t an issue. But as my skills improved and my designing improved, I found that I had to tone it down a bit if I really wanted people to make it. It took a lot of inner resolution, but I did start to realize that sometimes simpler is better and it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The little dresser tray I put up here was a great example of that. I consider that a ‘simple’ straightforward design. Yet it gets pretty good reviews from those who see it. I like it because it is pretty, yet easily accomplished. One of my goals in designing is to bring new people into scroll sawing and let them see that making something that seems quite complicated is actually not that difficult. I love hearing from people who want to dust off their scroll saw and give it another try after seeing something I did.

But I am saving the ‘over the top’ projects for my own personal enjoyment. For those, I need to separate the business side of designing from the personal passion for it just a bit. (Easier said than done, sometimes). I have a couple of things in the works that will go under that category and eventually be finished. I have one project that has lived in my head for over two years now. In my mind, it is a work of art. I love to daydream about the logistics of I how will accomplish it and over the two plus years it has evolved into something incredible. It is closer to becoming reality, although not quite there yet. There are still some things that I need to figure out on it that I know will eventually fall into place, and then it will be easy to execute. Although I am anxious to see its outcome, I don’t want to rush it. I will know when then time is right to begin it.

I have a couple of other nice things too that are quite good and waiting in my mind to be implemented. I like having that reserve of quality designs that no one sees. It is like my own little secret insurance policy that the well isn’t running dry.

But for now, it is on to production and working on the holiday stuff. I think knowing it has to be done by a certain time does sometimes kill the buzz you get when doing something like this. I spent a few hours at least yesterday undecided and flopping around like a fish on a beach because I just didn’t know which direction to go. There were just too many choices I have right now and the list is too long. Sometimes several simpler choices is more difficult than one or two more difficult ones. Each in themselves seem easy, so you tend to look at them all at once and it is like looking at a bowl of spaghetti and trying to distinguish one noodle from the other. Eventually, you just have to just get to it. It sure beats looking at an empty bowl though.

So with that said, onward we go. I hope I didn’t lower your expectations too much. (maybe that was my plan!) With my slightly twisted sense of humor, I used to tell my children “Aim your goals low so you can achieve them”. Now before you start squaking at me – they knew it was a joke. It was even more comical because they knew my own expectations and goals for myself were quite high. My daughter and I were laughing about just that a couple of months ago. She is 19 and in the process of figuring out her life. I don’t envy that task at all. As far as I am concerned, in comparison I am on easy street. Sometimes when things are frustrating, a little comic relief is great medicine. My best friend Cari used to tell me that I was always funniest when the biggest crises came along. But now I am rambling.

I had better go finish that drawing now. I have a date with a saw and I don’t want to be late. :)

Have a great one!

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

6 comments so far

View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 3089 days

#1 posted 06-29-2010 02:08 PM

Sheila, I totally understand your point of view regarding your “own little secret insurance policy”. There are designs going on in my mind that sometimes intimidate me. From time to time, I live in my own little world. But, it’s okay because everyone knows me there. When I put pencil to paper, I try to visualize the piece and its symmetry as well as its overall look. Up to this point I have done very little serious pieces. I guess the intimidation and possible ridicule that I put on myself has hindered my forward progress. I have a methodical list that I (for the most part) adhere to in completing my projects. I “try” to be sure and complete one before moving on to another. As of this moment, I am adding to the list my aspiration of completing and cutting one of my mental conceptions. Wish me luck and sanity!

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3827 days

#2 posted 06-29-2010 02:45 PM

One of the most enjoyable parts of my job was the designing of the custom projects. I can relate to what you are saying. You have a nice day and looking forward to your next creation.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2973 days

#3 posted 06-29-2010 02:59 PM

Thanks so much you guys! Cosmo – the worst that can happen is, well . . . firewood. Go for it!! (nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that)

And now for something totally off topic . . . . (I can do that on my on post, right?)

I read this on one of my friend’s facebook status’s and it killed me! I hope it brings a smile to your face too. I just HAD to share -

“Next time you call in Sick to work, tell em you have Anal Blindness. If they ask what that is? Tell em, “I don’t see my ass coming to work.”

‘nuf said. Back to work!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 3089 days

#4 posted 06-29-2010 03:53 PM

LOL!!! THAT is F-U-N-N-Y!

I GOTTA try that!

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3089 days

#5 posted 06-29-2010 04:13 PM

Sheila, I too like to sit and daydream about how I’m going to acheive a difficult project. I take this to the extreme of mentally visualising every step sometimes. This can be useful as, when I go to the workshop, I’m usually prepared for exactly how it should go and therefore have the luxury of dealing with unexpected little niggles ‘on the fly’.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2973 days

#6 posted 06-30-2010 03:27 AM

I do that on almost every project, Martyn. I think it through and plan it out in my head over and over until I am sure that it will work. Sometimes I get lucky and I even dream of options, or ideas will hit me just as I am falling asleep or right when I wake up. It makes it fun and you are right, it really minimizes most of the biggest mistakes. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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