My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #361: Sometimes the Best Challenges are From Within Yourself

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 06-05-2011 12:46 PM 4211 reads 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 360: Wacom Tablet Review for Drawing Patterns Part 361 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 362: The Weekend of a Thousand Excuses »

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 ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

6 comments so far

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3087 days

#1 posted 06-05-2011 03:43 PM

Simply put, Sheila.

1. The insecurities never go away.
2. Most of them are wrongly founded.
3. What you produce is better than you think.

No. I can’t deal with these things either. It is easy to be objective about other people’s work but its impossible to be totally objective about something you have made or done, yourself.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View huntter2022's profile


275 posts in 2666 days

#2 posted 06-05-2011 05:03 PM

Sheila I have to agree BritBoxmaker . Congratulation on the new deal , wishing you the best .
You don’t give yourself enough credit

-- David ; "BE SAFE BE HAPPY" Brockport , NY

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3241 days

#3 posted 06-05-2011 05:33 PM

I like to live in a perfect world where everything goes together
just as I imagined it. Challenges are mean dastardly things that
make me think things like,”No perhaps we made a mistake,” or
“this is just not perfect.” Of course Challenges don’t care about
me living in a perfect world so I guess Paradise & the perfect
world evade me… :(

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2970 days

#4 posted 06-05-2011 06:11 PM

Martyn: It is good to know that I am in good company. Sometimes I look at the level you do your work and think how if I could ever be that good, I wouldn’t feel like this. But then I see you work even harder and move up to yet another level on the next project and I realize that you must also go through this too. I am beginning to see that it is part of the process of evolving as a designer, and in the short year that I have come to know you and see your work, I see it there too. Perhaps it isn’t so bad after all.

Dave: In many ways I am really proud of what I have accomplished. I look at where I was a couple of years ago and where I am now and most days I am pleased. Yet I look ahead and know all the projects in my head that are waiting to be built and if I allow it, it can be a daunting task. Forums like this with support from people like you and all the others who have many of the same aspirations is a great encouragement for me. It is great to have a group of friends to cheer you on and wish you well. Thank you!

And Bob: I think if any one of us made it to that “perfect world”, we would be very lonely! :) Think how boring it would be if everything came out just how we planned it?? How many mistakes in our lives were really “happy accidents” in disguise? Some of my biggest disasters have turned into some of the best things that happened to me. For instance, this pond scene. Had it gone into the magazine as first intended, it would have had its run and probably been done with by now. Things didn’t work out that way for me and after one “misfortune” after another with it, I finally got MAD enough to go out and look for a distributor. Now it has a chance for the exposure it deserves. That would have never happened if everything would have gone like I originally planned. Things like that have taught me to look at those mistakes as learning and letting go of them. :)


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

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3354 days

#5 posted 06-05-2011 10:09 PM

just my 2 cents here sheila, i dont think your talent and ability really would ever be the question, at least i dont think so..but in this world , when your submitting your work into someone Else’s hands…i guess there would always be someone out there, who just might say hey..i didnt like this or i didnt like that…but personally if i had your talent sheila , i could feel pretty good about my ability, but knowing me..i always want to do my best..and i try to push myself to get to that point..were always going to be capable of becoming better..and we should push ourselves to get better..i think we know within ourselves if were slacking or if something we did was lacking..and if you really feel that, then examine what you did and see if there was room for improvement…but i know i can say with full confidence, that your ability in what your putting out really isnt in question..cus your good..!!!

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2970 days

#6 posted 06-06-2011 12:15 PM

Thank you, Mr. Grizzman! :) You are very kind!

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

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