My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #825: Differences

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 09-22-2012 11:02 AM 4180 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Many times when we hear of two people having ‘differences’ we think it is a bad thing. The mere term brings to mind visions of conflict and discontent.

But when looking at things from another perspective, perhaps as an artist or creative person, differences are not viewed as something negative, but rather sought after in order to provide value through uniqueness and individuality. The more unique they are, the higher the value.

I think that it is interesting that a word would have such diverse meanings. While I realize that there are many words such as this in our language, I find it rather ironic that a word with the root of ‘different’ can express two entirely ‘different’ pictures in our mind.

So what got me thinking about all these good and bad differences?

As those of you have been reading know, the past week or so of my life here has been filled with differences. I have had some issues present in my business that have not been pleasant. There have been some differences with one of my distributors in the negative sense, as we are unable to come to a meeting of the minds. Conflicts such as these are draining and detrimental to anyone, and I know few people who enjoy being in this state of mind.

But instead of focusing on the negative differences, we have chosen to move forward. There are other avenues in front of us that we are able and willing to explore in our work, and we are choosing to focus on that and our future rather than dwell on our past.

My partner Keith has been working with me for just over three years now. When I first met him back then, he had very little knowledge or experience working with the scroll saw. He was familiar with general woodworking, as he had built some nice stereo equipment such as speakers and such and other larger furniture items.

When I first introduced him to the scroll saw, there was naturally a learning curve. But it amazed me how quickly he not only learned the basics, but became very masterful at cutting. Soon he began creating his own patterns, and because he was already quite proficient with computers, quickly learned the software programs and process that I use to create them.

One thing that I did notice through this entire process was how differently we did many things. As Keith gained confidence in what he was doing, he began to divert from the methods that I had shown him. Not only did this apply to the process, but also to the types of scrolling that he was creating and the designs.

You would think that this may bother me, as in the very beginning I was the ‘teacher’ on some levels. But it did not. I had always had the philosophy that each one needs to learn their own way and by encouraging one to do so, they develop their own style and sense of security in what they are doing. I think our situation is a prime example of how well that can work.

While Keith and I basically do the same thing, there are undeniable differences in both our methods and our results. And that is very exciting.

This is an example of how wonderful being ‘different’ can be. Instead of being a clone of me and my design style, Keith has brought his own style to our company and has multiplied its diversity and appeal. Just as I have my own personal style and preferences of types of designs I like to do, Keith has his, and it has truly added a great deal to the company as a whole.

In our recent goals of trying to diversify and branch out to appeal to other areas of woodworking, this has helped tremendously. We each have ideas of where we would like to explore, and between the two of us we will hopefully find some new avenues that will help our business grow.

Last night, Keith did his first blog here on Lumberjocks. It is a blog about Carving Using a Scroll Saw Pattern and shows a great way to integrate what we do into the carving arena.

I would have never thought on these lines, and I am really happy with seeing the results of his idea.

The method he used is fun and relaxing and requires few tools other then a Dremel and a couple of bits and a saw to cut the perimeter. We think it may be a technique that could easily be applied to many types of projects and be enjoyed by many.

As for myself, I am still working on my own new directions. At this time, I am still not ready to talk much about it, but I am getting closer. It isn’t that I am doing something completely new – as a matter of fact I am working on some things that have been associated with woodworking for many years – but it is new for me and like anyone who is just starting to do something different, I need to feel a bit more confident about it and myself before I am ready to show it to the world. But I am getting closer every day.

Differences can really be something positive. If everything was the same and everyone thought the same and liked and disliked the same things, think of how boring our world would be. Differences bring variety and choices and interest to our lives. Why then would we feel it necessary to have everyone think like we do? By embracing the diversity of others, we are only enriching our own lives and allowing ourselves an endless world of experiences. And because of that, our lives are much fuller and happier.

Have a great day today. Do something different.

We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what the color. – Maya Angelou

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

5 comments so far

View ronbuhg's profile


121 posts in 2146 days

#1 posted 09-22-2012 11:21 AM

good morning Sheila and Keith !interesting thoughts today…hmmmm,very interesting to me …have you ever thought about writing a book or perhaps compiling your blogs into a book ??....I am always looking for something different to challenge myself with..Keith’s project has many factors going for it…its relatively cheap,anyone,regardless of their experience can do this,...and its something totally different….really neat I think,and will add this pattern to my “bucket list”...everybody have a great day !!

-- the dumbest question is the one you dont ask !!

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2918 days

#2 posted 09-22-2012 11:29 AM

Thanks, Ron! My friend Bernie always says I should write a book! With over 800 blogs, I think I already did just that! LOL It will probably wind up being longer than ‘War and Peace’. ;)

Yes, I think Keith’s project is really cool! The one shown was only his first attempt at the process. Cutting large things on the scroll saw is (for me) tedious and I don’t enjoy it. But once the perimeter is done, it is very relaxing to just remove the layer of material with the Dremel. He said it actually didn’t take him longer than if he were cutting the regular sized piece to begin with. Not to bad . . .

This process could be adapted to so many projects. We have a new distributor who has offered us many printing capabilities that we never had before, so teaming up with him helps us to think in new directions.

Yes! Changes CAN be good. We are really excited about the many new possibilities that are ahead. I am happy you want to give it a try!

Have a great day! Sheila

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

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2802 days

#3 posted 09-22-2012 11:35 AM

Super! Ya’ll are onto something good. Keep on keepin on.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3301 days

#4 posted 09-22-2012 02:05 PM

well i can see that i have had an influence on him, since he did a grizz bear…lol….just kidding, i enjoyed todays blog as i do all of them, but i really enjoyed this one because you talked on how well the two of you work together and how even though you taught him some scroll saw methods and such, he brought a different spin to it and that has enhanced your company and will bring more to the table in the way of design and method, ive enjoyed seeing how you two work together, and i see many wonderful things coming from what you do…i wish you both great success..and im really glad you dont have a clone, i could not see keith with a blonde wig on…naw…not at all…lol… guys have a nice weekend….....grizz p.s did you color your hair…you use to be more blonde for sure…or should i not ask that question…..

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3189 days

#5 posted 09-22-2012 04:14 PM

I think of carving and scroll sawing is a natural go together. especially when you are making larger pieces of scroll work. think of the 3-d element and of all the possibilities….oh you probably already have :) The concept is very exciting from a creative stand point.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

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