My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #101: Seeing Others Blossom

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 09-12-2010 01:28 PM 4086 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 100: Passing Another Milestone Part 101 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 102: New Projects for the Week »

Again, I want to thank you all for the nice comments and private messages regarding my 100th blog post yesterday. I do enjoy talking to you every morning and although every day isn’t filled with making woodworking projects, sometimes it is really nice to share a good story or talk about something totally unrelated. I am happy you all like to read about the other things too.

Today I have a good story to tell. I think it is a good story anyway, and it made me feel very happy.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a call from a man here in Nova Scotia. He lives up in a town near Sydney, which is clear at the northern end of the province. He was a retired shop teacher who was preparing to go back to teaching high school woodworking this semester. He had seen my little See Creature Eyeglass Holders in the issue of Creative Woodworks and had some questions regarding them and how they were made. He asked me if I thought they would be suitable for students to make them and I told him I thought they would be great. They did not require much scroll saw skill (there was no fretwork involved) and just had some light routing and basic painting on them. I thought they would be nice for a starter project for kids.

We talked about some of the other particulars regarding the project and that was that. I was happy that he was considering some of my projects for teaching his students.

Yesterday, he called me back to give me an update. He told me that although the kids had only been back in school a week, they absolutely loved the See Creature projects he had chosen. He said that they were enthusiastic and excited and it looked like it would really be a winner. He said several times how things had changed over the years with kids and how difficult it was to get them involved in things and he was really happy at their response to this project. I could tell from his tone that he was also excited about the upcoming year of teaching.

We talked about a few other patterns that I have on my site and discussed which ones would be suitable to teach in the class and he said he was going to bring the kids to my site so they could help pick out projects themselves and see the other things that they could do with the scroll saw. Our conversation lasted about half an hour.

When I hung up the phone, I really felt great. I think I am as excited as he was that something that I designed got such a positive response. On one of the other forums that I read (Steve Good’s) a man posted pictures of his young daughter sitting at the scroll saw and working on her first piece. She was about 12 years old and seemed to be doing a beautiful job. This was also a great thing to see.

With all the electronic games and other things around, it is not so common to see teens and young adults taking time to learn scroll sawing or woodworking in general. I think it is wonderful to see and hear about others who expose these young people to these new skills and share their time and knowledge with them. One of the best feelings I have is when I feel as if I inspire someone to try something new and creative.

I also woke up to a notice that Bearpie had posted some of his wife Edith’s paintings on LJ’s here for us to see. He said she used to paint and kind of lost interest, but started painting again after doing some of my candle trays. I was so touched and thrilled when I saw the absolutely beautiful painting that she does. She is truly an artist in so many ways and it is just wonderful to see the two of them compliment each other as they do.

That, my friends, is what designing is all about for me. It is not only making things. It is teaching others to make them too and guiding them so they can create things that otherwise they may not feel they could. I look at each pattern that I make as a mini-lesson. Nothing makes me feel better then putting someone’s feet on the path and watching them run on their own. If in a small way I have helped someone discover their own creativity and bring some bit of joy and sense of accomplishment into their lives, then I have done my job well. These stories mean more to me than any paycheck ever could.

I truly believe that we all have a great deal of untapped creativity inside ourselves, waiting to be released. Sometimes it starts slowly and just trickles out, but before long the flood gates open and we find ourselves longing to create more and more. The sense of satisfaction we get when we complete our projects does much for our own self-esteem. We all have experienced that wonderful sense of pride we get from creating. It is no wonder that the more we do the greater our desire to continue.

Today I will spend the day painting my skating pond figures. I had a wonderful time at my friends yesterday and had wonderful food (rappie pie – an Acadian classic) and great company. It is beautiful and sunny and crisp out and I think a fine day to take a nice hike in the woods. I will try to remember my camera, as I always seem to forget.

Thank you again so very much for all of your stories and encouragement. The stories just make me want to do more and do better. I am very fortunate to be a part of this community.

Have a wonderful Sunday.

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

3 comments so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3171 days

#1 posted 09-12-2010 04:15 PM

tank´s for the story about the children Sheila , it always bring smiles to hear a teacher have
succes with children not only in the teaching/learning mode but allso in the connection with them
just a shame that they often don´t get what they needed to learn children the best skills.
even here in Denmark where the state says that our childrens brain is the only resurce we have,
we don´t have anything in the underground, they just ceep on cutting down on schools.

and yes you better have to remember the camera :-)

have a great day

View William's profile


9950 posts in 2898 days

#2 posted 09-13-2010 12:30 AM

The children in the world are the future of woodworking. It doesn’t matter how many books and videos are out there on the subject. Without those children seeing someone in there lives actually doing it, very few are ever going to have a desire to try it. My kids take interest in the craft from time to time. Then they lose interest. I truly belive though that later in life, after I’m dead and gone, at least a few of my boys will eventually turn back to it. With my health, I’m sure I’ll go a lot sooner than my wife, barring some unfortunate accident or something. She knows that my kids get my tools. None are to be sold or given away. They’ll need them when they decide to build something.
My eleven year old already says he’s going to be an artist with wood like daddy (his words, not mine).
I also have an idea you might pass on to the teacher friend there. If I remember the pattern you’re referring to, another option may be for him to have the kids try and cut that on the bandsaw and the scrollsaw. Those could be cut on either saw, but I think it would be great for them to learn the difference in the saw by cutting the same thing on both of them. I guarantee there will be some that like the bandsaw because of the speed. Then there will be some that like the scroll saw because of the greater control you have over the wood at a slower speed. I often cut designs that were meant for a band saw on a scroll saw. For example, all my rocking toys, the only thing cut on the band saw are the rockers, and if my back would hold up to the stretch to hold them up while seeing my cut line, I’d do them on the scroll saw too. I think it’s a good idea though for kids to learn that the most powerful tool isn’t always the best tool for the job. Sometimes control over the piece being cut is more important.
Also, I do hope that he does evenyually introduce those kids to fretwork. Although, I know most of them won’t have the patience for it at their age, if they at least have an introduction to it on a rather simple piece, some of them will come back to it later. A while back I seen a Dome Clock (Wildwood Designs, very detailed) done by an eleventh grade high school student. It was great to see that a boy that young took the time to create something that detailed. I highly doubt I could have done it when I was his age. I got much older before I gained anything resembling patience.


View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 3181 days

#3 posted 09-13-2010 04:07 AM

I’ll bet you didn’t know that I’m also a dancing teacher – and I do know what joy it is to see the kids come back to class after having practiced all week instead of watching TV. I love it when mothers tell me that their daughters do their reels down the super market aisles while shopping. The students keep me young and in tune with the things that pass me by as I while the hours alone in my shop.
You sound like you have a wonderful lifestyle where you live and are so up about life itself. Good on ya!


Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics