Some days it seems that when I am getting the most accomplished, I have little to talk about. Calm is good though and I am working on some things that could be ultimately very important to my business and career.
Besides spending about half the day doing the usual mundane chores around the house, for the remainder of it I was working on the pieces from the pond set that I need to send to be photographed for the catalog. Even though I have painted the set several times before, I find that I am a bit nervous about it this time, and wondering if it will be up to their expectations.
I have horrible thoughts of them receiving the pieces and patterns and thinking “No. Perhaps we made a mistake” and returning them to me with a letter of apology.
Do those insecurities ever go away? What does it take to finally quell them? Or should I be grateful for them, as they push me to work at my highest standard and not become complacent in what I do?
It seems that the more we know and learn about what we do, the more we are able to find things wrong with our own attempts. As we add to our knowledge of our craft or a process within our crafting, we also advance our awareness of what is done properly and what is not. We find ourselves not only looking at others’ work with a slightly more critical eye, but also our own.
The saying “we are our own worst enemy” comes to mind. Personally, I not only see it in myself, but I also see it in others as they point out miniscule features of their own projects that don’t quite meet up with their own standards. I sometimes wonder what other deep, dark secrets haunt the artist regarding his latest creation? Certainly not something that the average person would notice. By I know within my self, I sometimes cringe when I see someone looking at a piece or a painting I created, wondering if they notice the things that I did on it that were “just not that perfect.”
Fortunately, as we gain confidence as artists and craftsmen, we learn to let go of these fears to some extent. We learn to distinguish what really matters and what is inconsequential and not labor our thoughts to the minor flaws that we may perceive to be present. We teach ourselves to look at even our own creations for their beauty rather than their mistakes. And we learn to actually like our own work.
But for many, there is always the unspoken longing to do better. To push harder. To create more. This is what drives us to continue to reach for the next plateau. I believe it is part of a growing process that (hopefully) never ends. For when we are thoroughly and completely satisfied with ourselves, perhaps it is time to move on to something else.
So I will continue on today in my re-creation of my (now little) pond set. I hope to finish the painting today. Then I will begin the task of rewriting the manuscript of instructions. The original set of instructions for the full set is 25 pages with 50 photographs and had over 25 characters including the instructions how to build the foot bridge. This set will have only five characters, but the instructions for these pieces will be a bit more detailed. I definitely will enjoy refining this process and making the pattern what I consider better.
I like the challenges that my job brings me. It seems that there is always something ahead of me to conquer. It keeps me on my toes and doesn’t allow me to be too comfortable in what I am doing. I believe that these challenges keep me fresh and motivated. And that is a good thing.
Happy Sunday everyone! I wish you all a good 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"