My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #75: Back to the Drawing Board!

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 08-17-2010 02:48 PM 4074 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 74: The Reality of a Crippled Economy Hits Home Part 75 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 76: Fretwork Cross Candle Tray and Charms »

It turned out to be quite a productive day after all. It feels good to be back in the swing of things. There is something that I find quite comforting in following a routine and it was great to feel ‘normal’ and productive again. The welts are all but gone from the bites on me and I no longer feel need for the medicine (although after finding the proper one, it wasn’t as much of an issue) My it was cool yesterday. It remained slightly overcast all day and it felt so much like autumn the entire day I would have thought it was a month from now. There is no evidence of the trees beginning to change yet though, but you could definitely feel it in the air.

It rained throughout the night, but it was a gentle rain and not at all disturbing. It is still kind of raining now, but I can’t really tell. It is just a gentle mist falling and you can barely see it. I have to do about five minutes of routing today out on the porch and I hope it lets up a bit by the time I am ready to do so. I guess that is the only real problem I have working in my little shop here. I have to route on the deck and when the weather is not cooperating, it can be an issue. Fortunately (or maybe on purpose) I don’t do much routing in my designing. I do like it as accents on some projects though and for others it is quite necessary. I do try to have everything set up where even if I do have to go out when it is raining, it is a quick and easy process. The animals must think I am crazy.

Yesterday I was able to finish up drawing the next candle tray. I had a customer request one which had crosses on it. I thought that was a splendid idea, as religion and candles go hand in hand. However the logistics of making it work and look nice was another story.

Drawing the cross pattern was not a problem. It didn’t take very long before I came up with a cross that I felt was very pretty and elegant. However, making it into a candle tray was a bit challenging. I have less than two inches of working area from top to bottom of whatever design I choose to put in. As we know, crosses are traditionally to be taller than they are wide (portrait style, if you will) and a cross which can at maximum be only two inches tall and detailed can be difficult to accomplish. I didn’t want to lose the pretty details that I drew into it (I did ultimately have to compromise on some of them) but I again wanted this project to be able to be accomplished by most scroll sawyers. I had to be careful.

I had the option of possibly making the tray a rounded square, such as I did with the pumpkin one, but then I would have to fill in the sides with something and I really didn’t want to take away from the crosses, as I wanted them to be the main focus. I decided a round tray would be best for what I had in mind.

At first when I laid them out, I had the sides of the crosses touching each other. This meant that I needed to repeat the cross 16 times. The resulting design looked to me more like a snowflake than a cross and it lost all of its austerity and dignity, I felt. This would not do.

In some cases, and certainly this case, I felt simple was better. I reduced the number of repeating crosses to 8 and left simple, open space between them. I plan on using a piece of mahogany that I have here for the tray, so I feel that the rich brown wood would look nice with the eight intricate crosses and little else going on. As I said, I really liked the crosses on their own. One of the dangers one encounters with fretwork is that there is too much business going on and the design gets totally lost. Besides, if I want something that will be more ornate, I always have the rounded square design that I can draw up later and perhaps fill the sides in with thorny vines or something like that. That may be a very nice Easter cross pattern for later. I certainly wrote it in my book of ideas anyway.

So on paper, it is done. Simple. Elegant. I think it is pretty. I am very anxious to cut it today and hopefully “barring all disasters” I will have pictures up here tomorrow. It is going to be a wonderful day for me seeing this design come to life!

With that in my back pocket before the dinner hour, it freed up the rest of my day. Since it was nice and cool out, I decided to make a home-made pizza – something I hadn’t done in several weeks and was craving! After dinner I settled in and painted the next figure from the skating pond set.

Meet “Mr. Snowman”

From SLDP103 Skating Pond Figures

I found him to be a great deal of fun to paint. I especially loved doing his plaid scarf. I love painting plaids. They really can be fun and they can look really cool.

(As a side note – I have to laugh at myself because soon after I typed “barring all disasters”, I lost power for over an hour here. That means no water (pump) no phone, no computer, no stove, no communication of any sort. I was just thinking that I would spend the day painting – one of the few things I can do without electricity – when it popped back on. I am really glad that this site saves everything almost as you type, or my blog here would have been lost too – Thanks Martin!!)

I am going to paint one of the skaters next. I think it is fun to show them as they are done. For now I am just scanning them in on my scanner, but when everything is done and on their stands I will set up the entire scene and take some pictures then. It should be fun that way!

Well, now I am really behind schedule and had better get to it. It is gloomy out but not raining so I had better get to routing while the window of opportunity is open.

Enjoy your Tuesday!

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

2 comments so far

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2981 days

#1 posted 08-17-2010 03:09 PM

I look forward to seeing the cross tray! My most popular theme when selling is religious items. I don’t mind. I’m usually looking for new and interesting ways to design the cross, I like to keep it elegant. :)

Love that little snowman!

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2915 days

#2 posted 08-17-2010 03:23 PM

Hi, Lis!

I find that religious stuff sells very well for me also. I have so many of ideas for crosses. I was thinking of doing a companion piece of a free standing cross to set next to the candle trays because I liked the original cross so much. I already have a couple of sets of cross ornaments that I do but I do like to vary them and make different ones. This one I kept focused on the actual crosses and I hope it will be enough.


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

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