My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #44: Not Really Woodworking (Kinda/sorta, but not really)

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 07-17-2010 01:27 PM 4337 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 43: Sometimes the Lazy Way is More Work Then Anticipated (But We Learn Something) Part 44 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 45: A New Way of Thinking Can Open Many Doors »

As I woke up this morning and looked at the clock the first thought in my head was “oh, my!” It was already past 7. I don’t know why I have myself conditioned to get up so early, even if I am not pressed. Maybe it is because I have the most control of things early in the morning before everyone else gets up and things happen that disrupt the day. Those of you who read often know how much I love the quiet of the morning. Today, I am sharing it with Mozart and some Glen Gould piano sonatas.

I love piano music. I love all music, but the piano is so calming and beautiful on its own. Many people – even those who know me, don’t know that I play the piano. It has been a passion of mine since I can remember. When I was just starting high school, my parents finally got an old Vose and Son piano and I took to it like a duck to water. Prior to that, I only had a small organ with the little buttons for the left hand. I think there were only 22 keys on the organ which really limited what you could play.

I spent my allowance money on lessons from a lady who lived two doors down. Her name was Angie and her and her husband both graduated from the Conservatory in Chicago. They had two grand pianos in their small living room that were set up much like Firrante and Teicher used to set their up – back to back and there were many summer nights I spent sitting outside in the quiet and could hear them playing Mozart and Debussy and Chopin. As a 13 year old, it really impressed me so much. I figured if the music has been around for 300 years, it MUST be good.

I went on to study in every spare moment. I didn’t date much in high school and I called the piano my ‘high school sweet heart’. When it came time for university, I was accepted at DePaul music school in Chicago after auditioning against several others. Most had music from when they were five or six years old, so at 13 I was a late-comer, but I made it by a whisker and studied there for a bit. I then attended Southern University in Carbondale, Illinois for a couple of years and the music director himself took me on as a student. I learned so much there, but it was then I realized that in order to pursue music as a career, I would have no life. I spent literally 8-10 hours a day in a 8×5 practice room with me and a stool and a piano. At 19 or so I didn’t really want that for a life, so I abandoned the thought of doing it and went on to other artistic things.

It didn’t dampen my love of classical music though. As an adult, I was able to purchase a Yamaha baby grand piano. It took me six years to pay for it and I did so myself doing sewing and selling my crafts. I had small children then so I really didn’t get time to study but I did enjoy playing for myself every now and then and looked at it as in insurance policy that when I had time I would get back to it. It was (and is) beautiful polished rosewood and the tone is incredible. I had to leave it in Chicago when I came here to Canada until my paperwork was done because of taxes and stuff. Now that I have my papers, I can’t really afford to get it here and it is for sale at a music store and online. With the economy as it is, it is a hard sell. I don’t really care though. I know it is safe and if it sells, it will help clear some financial things up for me here. If it doesn’t and I finally have enough to go get it, I will be happy not having to part with it. I get emotional when I hear some of the classical melodies that I used to play. There are lots of classical pieces in the backgrounds of movies and such and part of me longs for the time when I could escape through playing. Life is full of compromises though,and when the time is right, it will come. I know that.

Wow! Sorry for getting on that tangent! I guess what reminded me of it was that a buddy of mine on this list just posted some beautiful hair sticks he turned out of rosewood. They are so pretty and reminded me of my wonderful piano. Funny how things can trigger memories.

Today’s agenda includes drawing again. I am working on some Halloween candle tray sets and hope to have one or two drawn before sundown. I have some wonderful ebony and some holly and Padauk which I can use for the charms (ghost, bats and pumpkins) I won’t be making the trays in the exotics because I don’t have enough. We almost took off to Halifax yesterday because my partner got out of work early, but it was already after 1pm and it is a three hour ride there and the wood place closes at five. It would have been cutting it too close. It is a shame that it isn’t open on Saturdays. It makes it even more difficult to get there and you really have to plan a trip. (Poopie!)

The tray and charm project got so many nice reviews and comments from both here and the facebook crowd that I am amazed. What also surprised me was that so many liked the coloring I did on it. Traditionally I found that woodworkers in general don’t take kindly to coloring wood. That is why I always try to offer two versions of things. So people can visualize both options. But they loved the autumn colors and staining technique and it made me excited to do more like it. I have a sizable list of variations on that theme and I want to strike while the iron is hot as they say. I want to have about 20-30 designs and offer them all in a large package to so people can have them all. I like choices and I believe others do too.

On a last note, I also want to say how pleased I am that I am starting to see the little candy dishes (the tree and sleigh) pop up on a couple other forums. Nothing makes me feel better than to see my designs being made by others. After all, that is why I do them. It is wonderful to think that someone actually thought it was nice enough to take the time and expense to make it. It is very satisfying.

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend day. I have seen some wonderful projects presented here of late and it is really a pleasure to enjoy them from here on the computer. Take care and have a great day!

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

4 comments so far

View christopheralan's profile


1126 posts in 3775 days

#1 posted 07-17-2010 03:12 PM

Thank you for your story. I truly enjoyed reading it and it reminds me that we are all much more than wwers. We are artists, designers, music lovers, mothers and fathers. Well written and well done.

-- christopheralan

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3358 days

#2 posted 07-17-2010 08:29 PM

yes sheila this as your other blogs are very glad to know of your piano talent..that is sure having to try and part with your piano is hard..maybe it wont sell and you will get it back sometime soon…for something that brings so much joy as music does….that is a talent you should stay up on…and share when the opportunity comes…...i would love to sit and listen with a glass of cold lemon aid…all day..yes…that would be a wonderful way to spend a hot summer day…....i would like to say i love your blogs….even though i don’t comment every day…i read them all…..and feel like i just had a great visit with a good friend… makes my day go better….....thanks so much..grizzman

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3072 days

#3 posted 07-18-2010 01:31 AM

Same here Sheila, I read your posts and I look forward to them as well. I know how you feel when you had to leave your piano behind, the same or almost the same as when I came home and found that my house had been broken into and lots of stuff missing then a few days later I noticed my violin was gone as well. I cried needless to say. Would I buy another one? No, my hearing has deteriorated so much since then, that I can’t hear the higher pitches but I still enjoy music although my wife, who is deaf, says I have the volume too loud as she can feel the vibrations!

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2974 days

#4 posted 07-18-2010 02:39 PM

Thanks to all of you for your kind thoughts. I don’t always get back to reply right away, but I do appreciate the kind things you have said. I like ‘talking’ every morning to you. I also feel as if many of you are good friends. We all share a love of creating and I believe that is a good solid common bond for friendships. Don’t you?

I know my stories drift from time to time, as when I write in the morning I rarely think of what I am going to say before hand. You would be surprised how many mornings I think I don’t have anything to write about and then I get to talking and have a long post. It is good to be reflective though and for me it helps me appreciate and remember and relive times in my life I would have otherwise forgotten. I find that I do enjoy it.

As for the piano, I don’t really feel I am talented, but I do love it. It seems everything I do artistically is “on the block” to sell and “out there” for everyone to see and critique. For me, my piano music was quite personal and I did it for no one other than myself. My favorite audience was my beloved Siamese cat Jasmine (who has since departed our world) She used to sit and listen to me play all the time. I remember one time I made it through Chopin’s Military Polonaise without error which was a great accomplishment for me and only Jasmine was there to witness it. I could see her look of approval and it was better than if Chopin himself was there!

I am sorry for your loss of your violin, Erwin. I couldn’t imagine it. At least it was my decision to let go of the piano if I have to. No one forced me and violated me into it. I am sure that it is very painful and will always be. I love violin music and would have loved to hear you play. I once had the privileged of attending the symphony in Chicago (my brother got us the tickets – he was only 18) and we sat in the second row at Orchestra Hall for Rachmoninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto. (Most of you have probably heard it without knowing it) During the second movement there is a section which highlights the violin section which was right in front of me. It actually was so beautiful it brought me to tears.

Wood, music, art – they are all so emotional. They are food for our souls.

It is wonderful to be included with such a talented and incredible group of people which we have here at LJ’s. I am really happy I was told about it.


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

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