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"