My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #114: Looking Ahead

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 09-25-2010 12:31 PM 4047 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 113: Random Thoughts on Groups and Stuff Part 114 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 115: The Plan »

It is just another one of those days when I can’t wait to get up. There are so many wonderful and exciting things to do that my head can’t fall back asleep! It is quiet here and still quite dark out. I opened the window just a bit more and threw a light blanket over my lap so I can feel the cool air of the morning. You can barely smell that someone in the distance has a fire going, but it mostly smells like autumn. By that I mean it smells like the woods on a cool day. The scent of the fire mixed with the damp leaves is somewhat comforting. It is quiet here too. More times than not when I am writing this blog in the morning, it is with the soft notes of Mozart or Beethovan in the background. I save the more lively stuff for later in the day. When I opened the window, I could hear the trees gently blowing and I could barely hear the water rushing in the river across the road. I still can as if I listen carefully now, and the only other sound is the soft hum of the computer and my typing. Sometimes it is these quiet, peaceful moments that I cherish most.

I am sitting here this morning and glanced around. It is a bit messy by my standards (small places do tend to look messy a bit quicker, you know). It doesn’t really matter though because if I take half an hour or so to put things back in their place, it will be fine. My cat Pancakes is sitting near me. Coco is sleeping on the other side of the room. Richard is looking out the now-opened window with great interest. I am sure he smells more than I do. (Richard is one of my cats in case I haven’t mentioned it!) Everyone is happy and peaceful and it is a great time to think.

I finished getting my materials ready and sent for the show yesterday. As expected, it took some time. I looked at the website that the organization had set up and it quite overwhelmed me. Here is a copy of the link in case you are interested in seeing it:

Northeastern Woodworkers Association Fine Woodworking Show

It really looks incredible! To me it is like a live Lumberjocks site, with every aspect of woodworking that you can imagine. There is a short video there and I watched it and I was torn between feeling so darn excited about being invited to present a class there and absolutely terrified. In watching the video, I saw both of the men that I have talked to so far. They weren’t three headed monsters or anything like that and looked quite personable and nice. As they spoke, they panned on the incredible projects which ranged from turning projects to furniture to carving and everything in between. They were positively incredible!

I don’t know if I mentioned to you all before, but they also asked me to be a judge for the showcase. I told them that I had never done turning before or made major furniture. Ken my contact told me that they have a training session and kind of teach us what to look for. They choose judges from all areas of woodworking so that the playing field is fair. I may know more about one aspect and someone else may know more about another. It sounds good and makes sense to me, but in looking at the level of work and projects I am simply overwhelmed. My friend Jean who is involved heavily with the organization and first recommended me to the committee had told me that some of the projects that were on display have sold for over $100,000 and more! It is just incredible.

I suppose that I am glad that I wasn’t aware of the scope or importance of this event before she asked me to participate. I may have shot myself in the foot and graciously declined out of sheer terror and missed what is looking like the opportunity of a lifetime. The numbers alone for this show are staggering, and they are predicting 4000 to 5000 people to attend. They have just moved the show to a new facility that is opening this fall. There was a link to it on the home page. It looked so beautiful and so cool and I just hope I fit in and do well. As I watched the video, they were interviewing the judges and getting their thoughts on things. I couldn’t help but think that on next year’s clip it may be ME that they are talking to! It is hard to believe that while I am sitting here in my little place with my little shop and my cats in a wooded quiet area of Nova Scotia. I am just trying to wrap my head around it all.

Now if I wanted to, I could probably work myself up to a pretty good panic by the end of March. But it is time for me to take advantage of the opportunities that have been laid at my feet. You may have remembered in my previous posts that I told you that I never prayed or hoped for actual ‘things’. I always said that all I wanted was ‘opportunity’. Then I can do with it what I would. I would be my own destiny. I was never one for hand outs, and always wanted to make my own way in this world. Well, if this isn’t an opportunity to do so, then nothing is. I just need to keep a cool head and have a plan. Knowledge is power and all of that. (Are you seeing why I keep that in my signature line?)

So the best way to fend off the panic of being unprepared for this show is to – well – be prepared. Simple, isn’t it? I have six months to do so and if I can’t do it by then, I don’t belong there anyway. I need to dig deep and show them just what I am made of. Right? In looking at the projects that they were judging and on display, there were some that I wouldn’t know exactly what to look for in construction and proper joints and such, but there were many others that were scroll sawn, or carved or finished and colored that I DO have some knowledge and background of. I think that I CAN contribute to the process and the show in general.

Scroll sawing was a small percentage of the work done there, as it is here at LJ’s, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t an interest. My friend Jean told me that so many turners want to learn scroll sawing and are very much looking forward to what I have to say and teach them. I find that questions come to me every day from what I consider ‘veteran woodworkers’ looking for basic information on using this tool. Many of them have a scroll saw already in their shops and fail to utilize it due to lack of knowledge of its capabilities. I have watched several videos and read several posts where others are trying different procedures with other tools and I sit and think to myself “why don’t they just use a scroll saw?”

So that will be my first and foremost job – to show them they CAN.

This post is really getting long (even for me) and I am going to continue it tomorrow and follow through with what my plans are going to be for my presentation. I will run it by all of you and as always, I will be open to your thoughts and ideas on things if you wish. I don’t for a second think that I know what everyone wants and what everyone is thinking and over the next several months as I am preparing for this event I will be the one asking questions of you all if you don’t mind. I could really use your support on this and hopefully it will help me make a better presentation and most of all encourage some fellow woodworkers to expand their abilities.

It is going to be a great ride and I hope you decide to come along!

Have a wonderful and FUN Saturday!

-- 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 Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3139 days

#1 posted 09-25-2010 03:35 PM

hello Sheila
Don´t be afraid of judging other peoples work just becourse the place is enormus compare to
your little one table in a corner workshop
you have already done it in a much bigger place many times now, if you havn´t gesst wich place
I talk about its right infront of your nose, thats right you looking at it now, the Lumber Jock site :-)
I think this is the best place you can watch to prepare yourself to be a judge in woodworking,
there is about 37000 projects to look at , at the moment and still growing
some of the thing you proppely havn´t thought of to look at is some of all those blogs about
how to make the different joints , just so you have and idea of how they are made and shuold look like

I tink the best thing you can do is simply just consentrate on what and how you will talk about in the class
and then simply relax infront of the screen looking at some of the many projects here on this site a few
hours a copple of time in the weeks from now and until 2 weeks before the show, just like any other
that train for a big event , then I´m sure you will bee sharp on the show.

fun saturday to you as well

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3042 days

#2 posted 09-25-2010 03:50 PM

Hi Sheila, I, for one, am not worried about your performance at the show and I have great confidence that you will do well. Knowing that you are worried and scared about not doing well and meeting/exceeding expectations means that you will work doubly hard so as not to disappoint your fans and potential new and present customers. I have great confidence in your abilities to meet and exceed your goals. How did I arrive at this conclusion? Simple, I have been following you and seeing your varied designs and writings and see them as superior to most of what is out there! In fear of inflating your ego too much I am offering you an imaginary needle to use as needed! :-)

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

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