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My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #351: Sometimes Things Take More Than A Day

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 05-26-2011 12:51 PM 2770 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 350: Mid-week "Weekend" Part 351 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 352: Rambling and Some Pictures for Dennis »

I am beginning to see that finishing stuff in one day isn’t always possible.

That may sound like a simple and obvious statement, but somehow for me it is somewhat of a new revelation. I spoke the other day about setting goals and accomplishing and whether or not they are set high enough or on the other side of the scale, too high. There were several good thoughts that you posted in the comments that made me think about the process a bit more and come to some perhaps revised thoughts on the subject.

There are many things that we can use to judge our own successes and failures. What one person would view as a disappointment, another may look upon as a triumph. The amazing thing about people is that each one of us is a complex mixture of elements which consist of different strengths and weaknesses. While we may excel in several areas and be sub-par in others, our neighbor may shine in totally different skills, yet needs help in those that we find simple. I think it is good that that things are like that. It is what makes each of us unique and special in our own way.

We all have something to bring to the table. I see it every day here on the Lumberjocks site. I have built up a fairly good buddy list here and I love when I receive notifications of new posts by my friends. For some reason, yesterday it stood out to me the great diversity of skills that my friends possess. Some are experts in turning. Others are wonderful carvers. Some make incredible boxes. And still others are masters at scrolling. The list goes on and on as to the astounding amount of talent we see displayed here from everyone. I am sure this is no news to you. Anyone who stops by this site can see within the first few minutes the vast array of creativity and also the friendship among our members.

I feel that as a designer being involved with the others here and the incredible feedback has helped me tremendously in doing a better job. In looking back, I feel there is a great deal of difference in the way I design now and the way I had done so before being so involved in a group such as this. Prior to joining the site here, I was in somewhat of a vacuum. I did try to design with my customer in mind, but the feedback I would receive was limited and far less that what I experience here. After all, it was only the occasional customer that would contact me with a suggestion or on the chance that there was an error in a pattern. Other than that, there was very little communication.

Since I have been a member here, writing almost daily and showing most of my projects, I have received so many valuable suggestions and comments regarding my designs that I couldn’t even begin to count them. You all have helped me see things from several other points of view, which previously was something that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t accomplish by myself. It helps me consider things from a different scope of perspectives and I find myself going through a whole different thought process when I design. I believe it is a very positive thing and has helped me grow and become better at my job.

I began making up a new project yesterday. I would have thought it would be done in a day, as it is simple and similar to some of the other things I have recently done. But there were a few differences that I needed to consider and I wound up doing some of the steps over and over to make it work properly. It dawned on me as I revised and reworked the pattern that I would have never considered the design with such attention if I had not come to know you all and correspond with you on a regular basis. I don’t believe that it was as if I was being sloppy before, but perhaps I was unaware of how others looked at the same thing that I was looking at that made me realize that I needed to do things in a different way. Although this may seem like a small thing, I think it is very important to me and ultimately my business.

I always say that I learn so much from teaching others. I think the key to teaching well is to listen to your students, as it allows you to better understand what they need to learn. I view every pattern I design as a mini-lesson. In essence, I am teaching someone how to build or make something. As I progress in my own career as a designer, I am continually refining the process in order to better explain the technique.

My partner Keith said to me the other day how he wished he could go back and change all the older patterns and revise them into how he writes them now. I also feel that way many times. It isn’t that they are really wrong, it is just that we have evolved and have learned to better explain or illustrate the technique. I believe we all do that no matter which aspect of woodworking and projects we make. It seems that most of us look back on their earlier creations and have a laundry list of how they would do this or that better. It is a natural part of the learning process I believe and it indicates that we are evolving in our craft.

So with that said, I will spend today creating and hopefully finishing up the project that I am working on. I think it is coming along nicely and I am very anxious to see how it will look when it is finished. As always, I appreciate your comments, feedback and suggestions. It is because of you that I feel I am able to grow and progress as a designer.

I thank you again for your thoughts, comments, questions and most of all your friendship.

Have a great and productive day.

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



6 comments so far

View William's profile

William

9906 posts in 2307 days


#1 posted 05-26-2011 03:32 PM

They do say that hindsight is 20/20. I, like you, have a desire to redo some of the past things I’ve done. Luckily for me, I can. My current project is a perfect example. The only reason I’m doing it is because I finally have the means to do it the way I originally intended to build it.
I don’t fret over it though. Even in my situation, I can redo a project, but I can never go back and undo what is alreasy done. This may be an idea for you. Is it possible to redo some of the past packets? At which time you could discontinue the old packet for the same item? I understand that you are running a business though and this may not be economically feasible. It’s an idea though.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View BritBoxmaker's profile

BritBoxmaker

4607 posts in 2501 days


#2 posted 05-26-2011 08:35 PM

Like your partner I sometimes want to re-write things and I have considered re-writing the EZ mitre blog. After a bit though I found it easier to just write updates. As long as the core of the instruction/text is still sound, even though it may not be how you currently approach it, its still as good as ever. I suppose what I’m trying to say is if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging. http://www.theartofboxes.com

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 2580 days


#3 posted 05-26-2011 10:14 PM

word-words-words no picture but this time I don´t care since its a good possitive blog
from the blue sky not from the pink sky or the darkgrey for that matter :-)
you have always had the wordtyping gene in your power but that has changed too
not to the bad side … lol but just a little different … or is it me you have learned to
read and understand things better on another language I don´t know :-)
but I do know it always have been a pleassure to read your blogs and if your instructions
in your patterns are resemblance to you blogs quality you have nothing to fear from the past :-)

take care
Dennis

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9040 posts in 2385 days


#4 posted 05-27-2011 01:33 AM

You have all made good points.

William – I have considered going back and rewriting some of the older packets, but it would probably take a year for me to do so. I have over 500 patterns and it would be a tremendous amount of time for me to rework everything. Then I think that most of the early patterns have already been successful for many years and there aren’t really errors in them, and I think that my time is best invested in working ahead instead of going back. Most of the older designs have run their course for the most part and even though perhaps the pictures weren’t as good or things weren’t spelled out as clearly, it just wouldn’t be prudent for me to spend my time doing that.

Martyn – I like your idea of ‘updating’. I agree that since the core instructions are correct, and I would rather spend my time making new things than reworking the old things. I simply didn’t have the resources or knowledge that I have now when I first started creating patterns. (I even had to use actual “film” and go to the store to develop the pictures. Now I take sometimes over 50 per project and weed them out to what I will actually use.) I also like the philosophy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. I would rather move on from here and keep doing the best that I can.

Dennis – you are always kind to me. I have a couple of people on my Facebook that comment in other languages too. Thank goodness for Google Translate! It really helps us all communicate with each other no matter which language we speak. I often forget that you go to the trouble to translate everything here on LJ’s. I think I am also better at understanding you, too! I am glad we have become friends.

You all have a good evening. :)

Sheila

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

View William's profile

William

9906 posts in 2307 days


#5 posted 05-27-2011 04:33 AM

I understand. Redoing things can be time consuming. I didn’t realize how many you were talking about. Now that I know, it would be VERY time consuming.
In my case though, I constantly redo things because I’m never happy with what I do.
Yes I am crazy.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9040 posts in 2385 days


#6 posted 05-27-2011 11:45 AM

Yes, William. I am quite surprised myself when I realize how many things I do have. I suppose I am a bit crazy too for even considering it. :)

Sheila

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

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