My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #578: Mindset Really Matters

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 01-09-2012 02:27 PM 2924 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 577: Back to Drawing Part 578 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 579: Inspiration »

I really had a good time drawing yesterday. I spent the majority of my day working on drawing another set of ornaments for Valentine’s day. My goal was to make something that was a bit easier to cut than the ornament set that I had just completed, but also make them attractive and something that scrollers of all levels would enjoy doing. It took a little bit to get going, but once I got on a roll I really started to have fun with it. I love when that happens.

These are the best type of projects. By that I mean the ones that get under your skin and come from your soul. While I must admit that this one didn’t start out that way, for some unknown reason, it transformed into just that thing.

Attitude is so important when designing. At least for me it is. The way I view the job ahead when beginning to draw always seems to greatly affect the outcome. I suppose that carries true with many things we do in our daily tasks in our lives. It always seems that those things we look upon grudgingly are the ones that seem to take the longest and be the most difficult to accomplish. Not that I am saying that this was exactly like that. But by my own admission, I wasn’t as enthusiastic as I usually was in the beginning because I was making something that would be the type of design that someone who was perhaps new to scroll sawing can accomplish. I had it stuck in my head that because it needed to be a bit simpler, it wouldn’t be as attractive or as fun.

I look now and I think I was wrong.

I find it interesting how things seem to evolve and change from the time I begin a project until I am finished with it. I usually begin with some sort of vision in my head as to what I want the final piece(s) to look like and through a series of developments and changes it comes to be. In taking time to think about it, it is much like the life cycle of a butterfly. It begins as one thing and goes through a metamorphosis until it reaches its final state of being. In some projects this is more apparent than others.

I am enjoying the luxury of being able to take my time with these designs and have this awareness. I feel that my product line is extensive enough that I have a good base of items so there is no real urgency for me to mass produce designs. Having a partner helps in this too. In our recent update, Keith had more new things available to present than I did. It wasn’t that I was slacking, but I was working on some Christmas gifts and some projects for the magazine and other things that kept me quite busy. In the past when I was working along, there would have been a void during this time and I would have been concerned about keeping up and keeping people interested. We like to showcase new things every month or so, so that people keep wanting to return to see what we have that is new. It is just good business.

So back to the ornaments . . .

This new set that I am working on is also a set of heart ornaments. One of the obstacles that I encountered while getting started was the restrictive nature of making twelve hearts. A heart is – well – heart shaped. It would be different if I were painting and able to vary them by colour. But I wanted this set to be something that a new scroll sawyer would enjoy so I don’t really want to do any painting or staining on them. And as we know, wood for the most part is brown (excluding any exotics) and I also wanted these to be something that would be interesting, but not send a newcomer on a hunt to find obscure materials to make them. We all know how expensive beginning any hobby can be and I wanted them to be able to use scraps or what they may have on hand for these.

As I drew the first piece, I was pleased with it. I fashioned an interesting variation on a heart shape and I really liked the look of it. As I got to the second piece, I decided to do something completely different. It then came to me that even though these are a set, there is nothing that says that they have to be ‘cookie cutter’ ornaments or look anything like each other. That is when the floodgates opened and my attitude toward them changed.

As I drew on and created each piece, I had fun varying one from the next. I decided that I would add optional small stones or beads embedded into the pieces, much like I did on the snowflake and Christmas tree ornaments that were so popular. People really seemed to like that technique and if they chose not to add the stones, they were free to add decorative holes in their place and the ornaments would look equally handsome. Perfect!

So I took my time and really played around with these designs. I am almost finished, and hopefully I will be cutting today. Here is a little peek at part of one of them for you:

I still have some ‘tweaking’ to do, but I am very excited to see how they look when they are cut out and finished. It will be a fun and interesting process for me.

There are times when I almost feel guilty because I love what I do so much. I know that sounds crazy, but I find myself thinking that no one should be able to enjoy what they do to the point that I do. Lord knows I am not getting rich from it financially, but I am getting by OK and I feel that the happiness it brings me to be able to do what I do and interact with the people I do on a daily basis is worth so much more. I truly am fortunate and I appreciate it every day.

I wish you all a great Monday. If I learned anything from these past few days, it is that we need to approach the tasks I need to do (even the ones we feel may be mundane) with a good attitude. We may surprise ourselves as to how much we will learn from them and we may actually enjoy them.

”To different minds, the same world is a hell, and a heaven.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

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