I woke up this morning to the darkness of the crisp and cool air. Could it be that the heat of summer is already weaning? It seemed like just yesterday that I was preparing to travel to the show in New York and hoping that we wouldn’t encounter snow. I remember standing in the parking lot at the border check on my way into the United States and the sky was grey and large snowflakes were blowing through the air. I realize that I have experienced nearly two full seasons between when that happened and now. Time does pass quickly when we are busy.
The morning darkness lasts longer with each day that passes. Soon I will be able to witness the beautiful sun rises that I enjoy so much to start off my day. There is something comforting about these quiet, dark mornings and I welcome them. Burning a lightly scented candle. Adding a bit of cinnamon to my coffee. Listening to some quiet Mozart or Beethoven as I write. All these things gently fill up my senses and help me prepare for what the day will bring.
It has been a brutal summer season for most. Over the past several months I have heard so many complaints from my friends and acquaintances of the oppressive heat that they had to endure. I remember those days from when I lived back in Chicago. There were times when you stifled by the heat and it held you hostage every bit as much as the cold did in the winter. That is part of living in the Midwest that I don’t miss.
Here in Nova Scotia we have had our share of warm days, but it has been nothing like what I have heard from others around the world. Still, it was more than enough to fill my desire to experience the warm weather, and I welcome the cool days of fall. I feel so much more productive in the cooler weather. The heat just seems to suck the life out of me. I certainly look forward to the days ahead.
I spent the bulk of my day yesterday finishing up on the next lesson for the scroll saw blog. I had started it on Friday, but was unable to finish preparing the materials that I wanted to present. I find it to be a challenge to teach such a large scope of people with varied experience and resources and create a class that is interesting to all. But I think it is going OK.
It takes a lot of thought to keep things organized and orderly. I don’t want to get ahead of myself on some things, but sometime that is not as easy as one would think. I find myself talking about things that haven’t been presented yet and then I have to take a step back and re think the steps to include what I may have missed. I don’t want to lose anyone because of jumping ahead too quickly.
I find that when I first outline the lesson to myself, I tend to be much too broad in the subject matter. When I start to break things down in steps, I then see that my original thinking was over-ambitious and I result in pinpointing certain techniques and stopping far short of my original intentions. I don’t think that is a negative though, because by keeping the lessons short and focused, it keeps people interested and they are able to digest the amount of information that I offer and hopefully most of it will stick. I would rather give a greater number of focused lessons than a smaller number of classes that were bloated with information. This way, people are also able to pinpoint certain issues or areas that they need guidance in without having to sift though a lot of other material that they already know. Overall I think it is good.
I also find that I am more at ease with the making of the videos. That in itself is a big step for me. In filming the videos for lesson 7, it only took two tries – the first one was aborted when I knocked the camera with my arm – but other than that things were going along fairly well. I am learning to talk to the camera much as I talk to the cats or even myself as I am cutting and I am learning to relax my mind and concentrate on what I am presenting. I pretend that I am teaching a single student and talking to them over a cup of coffee instead of thinking of the many people that will ultimately watch.
Little by little I am getting the hang of this stuff and in reading the positive responses from those who are finding benefit in the lessons I am very encouraged to do more. I thoroughly enjoy teaching and helping others reach their potential and it makes me feel good to think that I may have something to offer others that will help.
When I am done with the class series, I am thinking about compiling all the information into one source of some sort, such as a book or a DVD. I think that it would be nice to have everything in one place and available for quick reference for beginners and others who want to further their knowledge. I had spoken last year about writing some sort of book and I haven’t given up on that idea completely. Teaching this class could be a good foundation for the information needed to compile a nice guide, and by the time the class is finished, I would have already done most of the leg work anyway. We’ll see . . .
I feel like I am on top of things today. As usual, there are several things that I want to accomplish. I have two commission projects that I think I will work on and get finished. One needs to be mailed out this upcoming week and the other is a matter of drawing. Realistically I can pretty much tie up both today if I try hard. That will allow a fresh start tomorrow and I can dive back into the designing mode. It seems like it has been a while since I designed some scroll saw things, and I have many ideas that I think will be good. I also have some painting ideas for patterns and would like to make them a reality too. There always seems like there is so much to do.
So that’s the plan. It’s light out now and the clear sky is beginning to cloud over. It seems like it may rain. That is a shame because my neighbor Lee is entering his car in a local show today and I was thinking we would stop by for support. Hopefully it will hold off until later this afternoon.
I hope you all enjoy your Sunday too. Have some fun and make some sawdust.
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"