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My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #409: Diversification

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 07-23-2011 01:59 PM 1473 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 408: Mind over Matter Part 409 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 410: Finishing the Unfinished Stuff »

I am happy to say that I finally got to do something that I have been trying to work on for at least two weeks. I finished a painting project. I don’t know why this had become such an issue within myself, but it seemed that everything else just happened to get in the way of things. There were so may loose ends here and there that I had to tie up, as well as other things that I needed to get finished, and in looking back on previous blogs I could see that I have not been idle, but I just haven’t managed to fit it into my schedule.

As most of you know, I am a classic morning person. Most of the time I am out of bed just as the sun is coming up (in winter a few hours before) and I get a lot of productive work done at the beginning of the day. I have always been like that, and sleeping in for me means getting up just after seven.

But that being said, I tend to run out of steam sometime between 9 and 10pm and I am usually asleep by around 11. I don’t see anything wrong with that. I think it is natural and works well for me. The problem that I am running into is when I still have things that I want to do and I run out of energy and creativity. I am just not able to burn that candle at both ends.

In the winter, I try to dedicate my Sundays to painting or doing something that I want to do. It doesn’t have to be related to work at all, but it can be. I like the thought of not having to leave the house for the day and one of my favorite ways to spend a Sunday is by having a ‘jammie day’ where I wear comfortable, warm jammies, cook a nice meal, watch a couple of good movies and paint. It is my way of having a day off and I do it guilt free. I think it keeps me refreshed and helps me from feeling burned out.

But in the summer months, things don’t seem to go the same way. There is much more to do outside and dividing up the time between work and play can be challenging. It wouldn’t make sense to not go out and enjoy life sometimes. After all, what are we doing all this for anyway?

Also, the summer is typically the slowest time in my business. As many of you understand, lots of people’s shops are sweltering just about now and with everyone have families and other fun things to do, lots of people put their woodworking on the side so that they can spend time with family and friends and doing things around the house. I don’t worry much about this lull in sales, as I know that come late August and September when thoughts turn to the holidays and the weather cools down, people will be looking for fun and new projects to make for gifts and craft fairs and business will be better.

In the past couple of years, my business has been a work in progress. I have dedicated myself to making it viable, even with the economy the way it is. So far it has been good, with things showing signs of improvement. But in order to continue to grow, I need to explore other avenues and diversify a bit so that if one aspect of it is doing not so well, I will still be able to have decent sales from other places.

This, I feel is a good plan, but sometimes it takes its toll on me and I get a bit tired. I have a partner now who helps tremendously and with whom I wouldn’t even be able to explore many of these avenues, but even with the two of us here full time, we still have to pick and choose where we will invest our time. There just aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes to do everything.

So back to the painting project . . .

Those of you who read regularly know that I just completed my first project with a company who distributes decorative painting patterns and supplies. This was an exciting venture for me, as it opened the possibility of my work and designs reaching an entirely new demographic of customers. Although I don’t know how this project will do, I am hopeful that it will be well-received and that they will be looking for more from me.

The company is very good with allowing me to include my own personal information on the instructional material that I included with the project, unlike some of the other companies I have worked with in the past. They believe in cross-promotion and see that by doing this, they will only benefit both of our companies. I think that is really great.

The pattern that they are promoting of mine will be available sometime in August. When it is featured in their catalog and on their website, I want to be able to offer at least a couple of new things on my site that will appeal to that audience and hopefully gain some new long-term customers. This will be a good opportunity for me to present my designs to others who probably haven’t heard of me and add greatly to another division of my business.

It is hard though because I am still in the process of working on my current business and don’t want to lose the momentum that I have for that. (How come I can’t be twins, anyway?) I honestly believe that with things the way they are, following both of these paths is somewhat necessary to the survival of my business. Although I love scroll sawing, there are not as many followers as there used to be and with all the ‘free sites’ that give patterns away and all the people who share things back and forth, it is a very difficult way to make a living. There are very few designers such as myself left in the business, and I feel that one of the only reasons that I am still here is because my overhead is so low and I don’t mind working the hours I do to make it work. I can’t compete with free however, and I feel that if I don’t diversify into something else, I will have a very difficult road ahead of me.

Fortunately I like painting too. And with supplying these patterns, I am also supplying the companion wood pieces for customers to paint. So it is still ‘kind of’ woodworking too. Besides this company, I have some other painting artists I will be working with to supply wood for their projects. (I talked about that in an earlier post)

All in all, I think things will have a way of working out. I believe that by going slow and steady – even if it is in more than one direction – I will be OK in the end. That is my optimistic way of thinking which I fondly refer to as ‘living on the pink cloud.’ But it is nice up here and I want to believe that there is some hope for my future as a designer.

And the project that I just finished? It is a Halloween ornament set of witches hats. I think I am going to call it “Hats Off to Witches!” Here is a picture of the finished set:

I loved making them and I hope others will love them too!

I wish you all a wonderful Saturday!

“Good art is art that allows you to enter it from a variety of angles and to emerge with a variety of views.” – Mary Schmich

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



11 comments so far

View BritBoxmaker's profile

BritBoxmaker

4607 posts in 2497 days


#1 posted 07-23-2011 02:08 PM

I think its the way you look at it, Sheila. Either there’s not enough time in the day or there’s lots to do tomorrow, I won’t get bored!

Nice hats. I have a colleague at work who could do with a full size one of those.

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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9035 posts in 2380 days


#2 posted 07-23-2011 02:25 PM

Morning, Martyn!

I like having lots to do tomorrow. I used to not allow my kids to use the “b”-word. I told them if they were bored then I would find them something to do. (Usually clean their room or some other offensive task. I was a tyrant!)

I am glad you like the hats! I stopped at 12 but could have gone on. Another set for next year I suppose! :)

Busy keeps me out of trouble anyway (so I think!)

Have a fun day. Your new project is amazing!

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 BritBoxmaker's profile

BritBoxmaker

4607 posts in 2497 days


#3 posted 07-23-2011 02:46 PM

Thanks, Sheila. I’ve decided to err on the side of more subtle. Mainly because money is tight and Walnut and Sycamore don’t cost so much.

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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9035 posts in 2380 days


#4 posted 07-23-2011 02:56 PM

Walnut is still one of my favorites. And subtle is good. It is going to be extraordinary!

-- 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 MrsN's profile

MrsN

975 posts in 2986 days


#5 posted 07-23-2011 04:46 PM

I love the hats! they are so awesome!

-- ----- www.KNWoodworking.com ----- --

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9035 posts in 2380 days


#6 posted 07-23-2011 05:35 PM

I am glad you do, Katie! They were fun to do! They are bright and cheerful and I even used some sparkles on each one and they look awesome in person! (Keith teases me that I put sparkles on everything!) The little baby candy corn one took the longest – but it looks cool.

Thanks so much! :)

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 MrsN's profile

MrsN

975 posts in 2986 days


#7 posted 07-23-2011 09:48 PM

will they be on your website some day? I have been thinking of trying one of your painting projects.

-- ----- www.KNWoodworking.com ----- --

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9035 posts in 2380 days


#8 posted 07-23-2011 09:55 PM

Yes, they will. I am making up the packet right away and I will have them available on the next update. I will have color step by step photos for each hat so it is easy to follow along. :)

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 MrsN's profile

MrsN

975 posts in 2986 days


#9 posted 07-23-2011 10:26 PM

you have awesome directions for your scroll patterns so I figured that your painting ones would be great also.

-- ----- www.KNWoodworking.com ----- --

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 2576 days


#10 posted 07-24-2011 10:29 AM

nice hats :-) I like the first one in the upper left corner …..
just the way I feel my days are full of collours but also try to do
every possible thing to ceep my life from falling apart using chinese tread , gaffa tape , bublegum, etc.
and patches of all kinds of materials …

have a great sunday :-)

Dennis

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9035 posts in 2380 days


#11 posted 07-24-2011 01:50 PM

Hi, Dennis! The hats are a nice change. It is fun to paint such brightly colored stuff. I think most of us are like you – patching together our lives to make them work. It is a great analogy!

I hope you have a great Sunday too! :)

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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