My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #256: Thinking - An Important Step In Designing

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 02-14-2011 02:54 PM 4070 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 255: I Need Some Lathe Advice Part 256 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 257: Thoughts on the Business »

I want to start off by thanking you all for the responses to yesterday’s blog – both here and in personal messages. I have a lot of good information to start with and it is good to have at least an idea of what to look for when looking for a lathe and equipment.

I don’t know if I will even be able to get started with wood turning for a while for several reasons, but I at least want to know what to look for and what questions to ask when I am at the show and during the trip, as I am sure it will be a wonderful opportunity for me to see some good deals. Who knows? I may even be able to find something used while i am there. Since I am planning on spending a couple of weeks, it may give me the time to find something suitable. I need to watch my finances, as I am just beginning to get on my feet. I don’t want to put the pressure of being in debt into the equation and the added pressure that will bring. It is tempting, but over the years I have found that I enjoy things much more knowing that I bought them free and clear. The business is still improving and growing every day and I will know when it is right to take the plunge. But doing my homework now I feel is essential, so when the time comes I will be ready.

That is one thing I do like about scroll sawing. Realistically, you need only a saw and a drill press to make most anything. Once you invest in the saw, there are no other large expenses that come along and you are pretty much good to go. I also feel you probably need a drill press, although I do know some who use a regular drill and even a dremel to dill the entry holes. I got my Sears drill press over 20 years ago for under $100 and it is still going strong.

I remember when I first saw a drill press and I was rather shocked and amazed that I had to pay $100 for something that only drilled holes. I felt at the time that for the money it should do something else. What? I don’t know. I was at the store with my friend Cari and I couldn’t believe that I was putting down almost a hundred bucks on something that was so specific and simple. (Obviously, I didn’t grow up in a family of crafty people! I was nearly 30 years old at the time and had never really seen a drill press in my life!) I suppose I am a late bloomer. :)

In any case, I will continue to do my homework and take some instruction before I decide what to invest in. There are also several videos available that I can watch so when I do arrive at the show, I am not totally ignorant of the process. That will help too.

I spent the day yesterday very low key. I did catch up on much of my mail on Saturday, although there is a bit of it that accumulated again that needs to be tended to this morning. I needed to take a step away though and for the most part didn’t deal spend much time on it.

I am in the process of developing my next project and it is taking a bit of time to materialize. What I am working on is a design to go into the giant snowflake that I did for the other painting artist. I heard from her last week that the painting magazine accepted her submission and it will be published in a couple of months. Since I am going to be listed as the supplier of the giant snowflakes, I wanted to get a good grasp on the time frame that it would take me to cut them and decide on a proper price for them. I re-cut my own just to see and timed it and it went a bit faster than it did when I did it the first time. I suppose I had an ‘off day’ before, because it was not a problem at all. I figured though, that since I am going to be supplying these surfaces for the painters anyway, it would be a good idea for me to have my own patterns that can be used with the surface.

I have some ideas, but they are still foggy in my mind. The painting will be more of a cartoon nature – something which is not my strong point. After the skating pond though, I am encouraged with doing this type of painting and want to stretch and do something that will be able to be appealing and can be easily be translated into step-by-step instructions. If I can get into this frame of mind, it will be yet another avenue of design work for me. But this type of design doesn’t come easy to me. I much prefer realism. Give me a photo any day and I can probably do an at leas OK job of painting it. But instructing someone else how to be successful in painting it – well that is a different story. There are so many variables when painting for instructional purposes that it is very difficult to properly portray the process. There in lies the challenge.

So I spent the day looking at things and thinking. It doesn’t sound like much, but it filled up my day. So much of my job is research. Outwardly, it appears that I have the ability to just come up with things at a moments notice. That they just flow from my pen without a thought. Again I will use an iceberg analogy in saying that only the very tip is what is seen and the majority of the work is lurking beneath the surface. Ask any designer and he/she will probably say the same thing. However, I never mind this part of the process, as in my research, it never fails that I see things that inspire me in other directions, which I promptly document and file away for future projects. As a result, it seems I never reach the end of my “to do” list. That is a wonderful place for a designer to be.

For today, I will continue to work in that direction. I also have an idea for another candle tray which I may go to the drawing board with in between. I have thought that one through pretty well and it should come rather easily. It will give me something to show fairly quickly when I need to look at a tangible result of all this thinking that I am doing.

I have learned over the years not to judge myself on what pieces I physically produce per day/week/month. Some pieces take much more thought than others, and that is just the way it is. By respecting this process and way of thinking, each piece comes to be in its own time. I have learned to regard the hours or days it takes to research them as an important part of the necessary process of creating them. Removing this self-judgment (and ignoring the judgment of others in this matter) have made me a better designer, I feel. Each piece takes exactly as long as it needs to come to be. No more and no less.

I enjoy days such as this. It seems that after a period of research and thinking, the flood gates seem to open and they are followed by a spurt of new projects and ideas. It reminds me of the waves I watch at the beach, gently and quietly receding before they come crashing forth again. It is part of a cycle that I hope never ends.

So we start another week. They certainly seem to go by quickly. Before we know it, we will be done with snow and cold and Spring will be upon us. The days are already starting noticeably sooner. I am sure many of you are ready.

Happy Monday to you!

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

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