I am happy to say that I did accomplish just about all I wanted to over the weekend. It still seems however that sometimes things just move ahead at a snails pace.
I honestly don’t know how some other designers come up with such a quantity of patterns over such short periods of time. It seems that some of them have dozens of new designs with every new issue of the catalogs. I know I go through times when I seem to produce more than at other times, but usually I am working the same amount of time on things no matter what and some designs just seem to come easier than others. Perhaps that is part of what is happening.
We had another catalog deadline come up and it made me realize that I don’t really have many new patterns to offer. Keith had a few, but he was saying that he felt the same way. It seemed that between the two of us we just had a handful of new submissions and it appeared (from the outside at least) that we weren’t pushing too hard.
The previous submission period was only about five to six weeks earlier, which is not really that long when you think about it, but it just seemed to me like I should have had more stuff to offer and it caused me to look back and evaluate what I have been doing between then and now.
During that time frame, I worked on two projects for the magazine – one being the final part of the calendar project and the other being the kitty chalkboard. Both of the projects were a bit involved. The calendar installment involved a great number of pieces and the chalkboard involved figuring out some things to make it go together properly. I think that both of them were a bit more time consuming than I had realized.
I also wrote an article for publication for a newsletter. While it wasn’t a long article, it did involve some research and at least a day or so of writing. I would have thought it would be easier because I write off the top of my head every day when I am here, but it had to make sense and there was a point to it so it was a bit more formal than what I write here each morning. Perhaps it was the mental attitude that made it take more time and seem a bit more of a challenge. I don’t know.
I also spent a great deal of time working on the painting patterns for the Artist’s Club. I believe that is where the majority of my efforts were focused. And while it was a bit slower going, it did seem to pay off with them liking what I submitted and accepting three of the designs. It is one of those times when the rewards come much farther down the road and I need to draw on my own patience and remind myself that these things do not create themselves. Sometimes that is easy to do and other times it is not.
When a list of what I accomplished over “x” time is short, I find that I need to look at things deeper. In creating each one of those projects, I do see that the patterns are all over 10 pages in length (the painting patterns being over 15 pages each) and I see that there is a reason that they took so long for me to do. It takes time to create quality patterns and it isn’t something that I am able to mass produce. It involves a lot of thought and steps to create a product that people will be happy with.
In a way I feel as if I am justifying myself, to myself. It is an odd feeling of accomplishing much and still feeling as if I accomplished only a little. I need to stop looking at the number of patterns that I am making and really consider the quality of the patterns themselves and see that I have done something good. After all, what good is having a thousand patterns if people can’t follow them or accomplish them easily? Perhaps I am asking too much of myself.
One of my greatest downfalls (and one that I see in others) is to keep looking at those around me and trying to compete with them on their level. We all do it from time to time, and while it is necessary sometimes to do so in some ways, overall we need to be unique and work at our own pace and our own level. That will be what sets us apart from the masses. The phrase ‘mind your own ‘p’s’ and ‘q’s’ comes to mind.
It isn’t just a race to see how much I can produce. I am a firm believer that quality will win over quantity. Especially in something such as we do. I have a large base of patterns for a great quantity of projects already and while having new items is necessary, I still believe that having a couple of new things that are top notch is far better than flooding the market with a large number of mediocre projects. My partner Keith’s new clock is a fine example of that. It has taken him a great deal of time to work out all the issues with building it, but when the pattern is finally available, we will both know that it is a good lesson and people will be able to create the piece without much trouble. That, to me is what designing a good pattern is. It helps me to hear that he feels (as I do about myself) that his output should be higher, too. At least I am not the only one.
So we move ahead from here and continue on our path. Yesterday I finished painting the hats to send for the photographs for the catalog and I also cut out 6 dozen ornaments to include in the sample kits I need to send out. I plan on spending today doing a final proof of all the instructions and packaging the kits up to head out tomorrow. I had hoped to have them done today, but they simply were not ready to my satisfaction. If I would have pushed harder, perhaps they would be but I chose to take another day and make sure they are complete and correct. If it cost me another day, so be it.
It feels odd writing today for some reason. Part of me feels as if I am explaining myself (to myself) and another part feels as if I am trying to convince myself that “it’s OK.” I know though in my heart that the bottom line is that I am doing the best I can, and the final products are something that I can be proud of. That is what matters most.
On one other thought, I did want to let you know that Lee Valley Tools is offering free shipping from now until March 26th. If you were thinking that you have anything to order, now would be the time to do so. I believe in order to receive the free shipping, you need to order $40 or more, which is never really a problem for me. It is a good thing and I just wanted to pass it on to you all.
As the days get lighter earlier, it is evident that summer is right around the corner. I hope you enjoy the day today and have some fun.
Enjoy your Monday!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"