I never said I had all the answers. Part of this journey through life is figuring out things and learning from others and our own experiences – a pretty significant part at that.
In feeling the pressure from ‘both’ aspects of my work calling to me (the painting aspect as well as the scroll saw aspect) I came up with a plan earlier in the week. I was going to work on the scroll saw part of my job during the day until supper and then spend the evening working on my painting in the evenings. On paper it looked great. It would allow me to have the best of both worlds and be able to twice as much output and everyone would be happy.
What I didn’t count on was one small issue that I happened to overlook. I am only human.
While I am sure that there are times when I would be able to follow through with this time frame, I quickly discovered that for the most part it didn’t quite work that way. After all, I wasn’t just sitting here crunching numbers or packing boxes. I was attempting to be creative and dream up some wonderfully exciting new designs for people to enjoy. And that, my friends requires one small ingredient that I foolishly forgot to consider into the equation – emotion.
It didn’t take long for me to see that it was impossible to flip my emotions from one project to another as if I were changing the channel of the radio. People just don’t work that way. It seems that I would just be gearing up and becoming emotionally tied to the pieces I was working on and the clock would tell me that it was time to stop and switch gears and do something completely different. And I didn’t like that.
For me, designing is a passion. If I have learned anything from this fifteen plus years of doing what I am doing, I have learned that the best work that I do is from my heart. It isn’t about financial gain or or prestige or recognition. Those things are the residual results of doing something that I feel very strong and passionate about. I suppose to some extent that I am able to pop out designs on command, but I don’t always feel that those are my best work. The projects that really shine are those that come from deep inside. They come from a need that I can’t define that beckons from deep within my soul and that I just have to make a reality. Those are what I have found to be my most successful pieces. And while it is possible to have that passion towards more than one design at a time, it is very difficult for me to turn it off and on as I would a light switch.
So it is easy to see how my original plan was flawed. And while I do have passion for both the painting project and the scroll sawing project that I am working on, at the end of the day when I am charging full ahead with one of the projects, it is nearly impossible for me to shelve it for the night and turn my attention to the other. I just can’t do it that way.
And why should I have to? After all, I am the one in charge of things here. I make the rules. There is nothing to say that I can’t revise my original thinking and alter the plan into something that works better for me. Admitting that I was wrong is a simple thing, and is actually quite freeing. For if I were to forge on and ignore the fact that this wasn’t really working in the way that I originally intended, I would be a fool. Sometimes it is smarter to admit you are wrong than to keep pretending that you were right at the cost of the task at hand. Pride is silly that way. But there is no harm that I see in admitting that I made a mistake. In fact it allows me to move on from here and come up with a better solution that will work. And that is a good thing.
So here is what I am going to do . . .
I spent the day working yesterday drawing on my new designs. I am very excited about them and I think they are going to be really fun to make. By dinner time, I had the eight pieces that I wanted done to the point of the basic drawings, but before they could be cut, I needed to do several things on them with the computer to make sure the lines worked out well and were ‘cut-able.’ This is perhaps one of the most important parts of the designing process, as it turns ideas into real patterns. So many designs are on the market that are not tested and people try to make them only to fail for one reason or another. We pride ourselves that our designs are not that way, and while some have a greater difficulty level than others, they are all tested and can be cut.
After supper, I was going to work on my painting projects, as the deadline for those is looming ahead. I am excited about those too, but I had trouble shifting gears in my head from cutting and line work to coloring and painting. I think it uses a different part of my brain. Besides that, I was getting tired. And while I wasn’t minding picking around on the computer with lines, I just wasn’t feeling good about choosing colors and fresh designing. That is when reality hit.
So what I decided to do (for now at least) was to continue to work on the line work for the evening, and then take a day off today from that project and dedicate the entire day to the painting project. After all, the painting project deserved my full and fresh attention, and it was equally important if I am going to be represented in the holiday catalog. The scrolling project is for myself and my own site, and there isn’t any deadline attached besides my excitement. So it was a ‘no-brainer.’
As I look at my drawings for the scroll saw project, I can’t wait to get at the saw to cut them. They are truly unique (at least I haven’t seen anything on that subject for scroll sawing) and I think they are going to be well-received. Since I posted the little teaser yesterday, I will show you the finished drawing of one of the pieces. It is a Victorian Bird Cage ornament that could be used in many applications.
Not only can this be used as an ornament or sun catcher, but I am going to have some other cool ways where it will be part of a larger project that I am going to offer. There are going to be eight different cages in the set and one is even cooler than the next. The cutting is going to be intermediate to a little more advanced, but hopefully with my instructions, they will be able to be accomplished by most scrollers.
After what seems like months since I have created any traditional scrolling patterns, it feels incredible to come up with something like this. I am happy about them and I am excited about them and I hope that others will like them too.
But for today, I am going to spend the day working on the painting project. As I said, I am just as excited about that, and I am optimistic that the results will be equally exciting for me.
I am in a really good place right now. I am filled with passion and excitement for what I am doing, and every day I wake up I can’t wait to begin. I wonder what the world would be like if everyone felt that way about their jobs? I know that isn’t always the case, and I feel very fortunate to be able to say that.
I also feel fortunate that I am able to step back when things aren’t working and admit to myself that I made a mistake. It is an important thing that doesn’t always come easy, but it allows me to try other things that perhaps will work better. And that is something that is monumental.
I wish you all a wonderful Saturday. For those of you in the States – it’s the beginning of the long Memorial Day weekend. Be safe and have fun!
“I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed: and the number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I fail and keep trying.” – Tom Hopkins
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"