Yesterday I left you with me standing up in front of hoards of people and them looking to me to teach them about scroll sawing. The classes are to be about 45 minutes long (they are scheduled every hour) and each class can have about 40 students present. From what I understand, I will have a scroll saw there with me for quick demonstrations and I believe there will be some sort of screen so that everyone there will be able to see what I am doing. That will help a lot. Although I much prefer to teach by allowing the students to try things themselves, I do realize that in this atmosphere it isn’t really possible. I will have to do with what the situation presents me.
I think my biggest fear is running out of things to talk about. Now I know all of you who are regular readers are all chuckling to yourselves thinking about the unlikeliness of that, but it will be a different atmosphere entirely and writing is so much different than talking in front of a room of people.
When I get nervous, I tend to talk fast. I have noticed that lately when I meet new people or see people that I haven’t seen in a while. I notice it, but usually not until afterwords as I am walking away or driving home. I am sure that part of it is nerves, but one of my biggest fears is that I will spit everything that I know out in the first five minutes and then we would all have nothing to say.
I have never attended a class on scroll sawing. Or any type of woodworking for that matter. Everything I learned I pretty much learned from books or trial and error, or reading in forums like this. The only real class type setting I have been in later in life were the decorative painting classes that I went to when I belonged to the clubs. I even taught many of them, and some have up to 40 students. However, those were all classes where the students went along with the teacher and painted also. It wasn’t a lecture type of setting. This will be very new to me.
So I figure the best way to do things is to have good, solid notes that are well thought out and organized. I am pretty good at that. After all, I write step-by-step project instructions all the time. This will be like one big overview of a project in some ways. I can also give different ways to do several different things such as stack cut and attach the pattern and so forth. As with anything, there is no one right way to do things. There are often several effective methods and people can choose what works best for them. I can give them choices and let them decide which way to do things.
Several weeks ago I mentioned that I was thinking of writing a book on introducing people to the scroll saw. In talking with people – both on the forums that I am a part of and also through my customers, I can see a need for a modern and updated book of this type.
When I began scroll sawing in 1996, Pat Speilman was the go to man in the scroll saw world. He was what I would call a pioneer in scroll sawing and was one of the main reasons that scroll sawing popularity was so high during that time. Mr. Speilman was passionate about scroll sawing and wrote many how to books and pattern books and promoted scroll sawing. I had the pleasure of meeting him at several shows, and even took a trip up to Fish Creek, Wisconsin where he lived (in Door County) where I visited him at his store and also his shop and home. He had a great passion for scroll sawing and woodworking in general and was a retired teacher and had written many school text books as well. Mr. Spielman passed away several years ago, but you can still find the pattern books and others that he had written. He was a great inspiration to me.
Times have changed a bit since then. People are different. The economy is different. Our reasons for woodworking are different too. Even the styles of the types of patterns and scroll saws are much different then when Mr. Spielman wrote his books. I think that I would like to write my own book which would introduce others to the methods of scroll sawing, as well as some of the other aspects of the different types of work that can be done with it. I want the book to be something that will both excite a new comer and encourage people to begin using the scroll saw, and also inspire others that have had some woodworking experience to expand their comfort zones and incorporate scroll sawing into some of their own work.
My friend Jean, who got me involved in the show in the first place is also a wonderful turner. She has both taught and participated in many clubs and classes and loves every aspect of woodworking you could think of. She has recently spoken to me about collaborating on some designs that would be geared to wood turners, but would also be embellished by incorporating scroll sawing into parts of the designs. She and I both are very excited about this, and although I have little experience on the lathe, I am sure by the time I get back in March I will have learned a lot. I can’t wait to brainstorm with her in person and I am sure the trip will be a great learning experience for me also.
But Jean thinks a new book would be a goodidea. She thinks that if there were something for people out there that will get started on the scroll saw, they will jump at the chance.
So since I need to make an outline and lay everything out for the class anyway, I feel it is a good time to get going on this book and give it a go. I have already discussed it with my editor, and he seems to be quite on board with it. Although we are working out the particulars of things, he even mentioned the possibility of them giving it out when people subscribe or reinstate their subscriptions to the magazine. That would be really great if it comes to be.
In any case, I think that I will shoot in that direction. By writing well organized guide to working with the scroll saw, I will also be able to lay out a well organized and pleasing class for someone who is just getting started. Of course, I will have more information in the book than I will be able to cover in the time frame of the class, but it will give people an overview of things and hopefully light the fire inside so that they will want to continue to learn more.
Idealistically I will have things done by March. It doesn’t give me a lot of time and I am prepared for that. But as I said, I will be preparing for the class anyway so it makes sense for me to do this now. We will just have to see how things work out.
I feel better because I at least have a plan now. I realize that plans change all the time, but at least it is a basis to start on and get moving in a good direction. Just by coming up with it, it alleviates much of the anxiety that I was feeling regarding things. I do believe I have some good information to offer and this is a great opportunity to present it. So that is the plan.
As for today, I am finishing the drawings on a new candle tray. It has been too long since I made one and people have been asking for more (and the ones I have available already have been selling!) I don’t want to miss that opportunity and I want to get as many designs out there as possible before someone else starts making their own designs. Hopefully, I will be cutting some beautiful Padauk tomorrow and bringing this one to reality.
I also plan to spend the rest of the day painting on the Skating Pond. Even though all the needed materials are at the magazine for publication, I want to have my own set ready and also the pattern ready as soon as it is released. As I repaint each piece, I get more excited about that series and being able to offer it myself.
I hope you all have a great day today and get some shop time or time to be creative. Enjoy your day everyone!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"