My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #877: The Beauty of Art Comes in Many Forms

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 11-16-2012 11:43 AM 2150 reads 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 876: Ideas, Ideas, Ideas . . . Part 877 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 878: On the Road Again! »

Today’s post isn’t about woodworking. It is about creativity and appreciating talent and beauty. To me it all ties together, as I don’t feel that one can be a designer without having appreciation for things around us. I don’t think it matters which of those things we notice. It may be a beautiful but simple piece of furniture. It may be a finishing technique that displays expertise and excellence. It may be an incredible box that we would think would be impossible to build. It may even be a certain style or texture used in a painting. Appreciation is something that is very personal and I look at it as an awareness of what it took to make something that we consider extraordinary. And I want to share something extraordinary with you.

About a year or so ago, while I was on Facebook, I noticed a post from one of my friends had made on the page of a sculptor named Ryan Macleod. With the post, was a picture of a beautifully detailed, whimsical dragon. I usually don’t follow others’ posts, but this dragon caught my eye because of its incredible detail and charm. I needed to look further.

I went to Ryan’s Facebook Page, and began to look through all the pictures of his creations. I was dumbfounded by the incredible amount of detail that he put into his pieces and I had trouble believing that he actually hand sculpted these pieces from clay. I had never before “known” anyone with such patience and talent, and when I saw how young he was, it just made it more amazing to me.

I then clicked the link to his Macleod Dragons website and I read all about him and marveled at his work. Such patience and craftsmanship! His creations are just beautiful.

In the months that followed, I got to ‘know’ Ryan through his Facebook page. He was very open to showing step-by-step pictures of his latest creation and I loved seeing the pieces evolve though the pictures he posted. I also learned from reading his posts that in August he was moving to India to get married and begin a new life.

In the late spring, I contacted him to see if he would be able to make a dragon for me. He had stated that he did commissions, and when further inquiring, I discovered that his prices were more than reasonable. I was very fortunate to catch him at a time when he was looking for some work to fill his time prior to his departure to India. After several discussions, we came to terms and he agreed to make a piece for me. I was thrilled!

I am quite a fan of the ‘Steampunk’ genre. I love the way that the mechanical meets the detail of the Victorian era. It is one of the rare times too that Keith and I agree on a style, as it seems we are so opposite in many different ways. While we have minimal decorations in our place, what we do have reflects that theme as with our huge clock we got last spring and the storage boxes which look like old books. Little by little we are adding (just a few) quality pieces to our theme here and watching it evolve.

I asked Ryan if there were any way he could make a ‘Steampunk Dragon’ and he thought he would be up to the task. I listed some of the things I liked which may be included, and I let his own imagination and creativity take over. What resulted was far more spectacular than I could have ever imagined. And while it turned out to be the last commission he would take on prior to his departure, it was in every way a piece that far exceeded my expectations.

Yesterday, after many months, my piece finally arrived. With all that was happening in Ryan’s life, things were understandably delayed a bit, but I understood, as I had moved here to Canada from Chicago a few years ago and I remember how chaotic that time was for me. My patience certainly paid off, as when I finally saw the piece up close it took my breath away. It is amazing!

I took some pictures to show you.

Ryan created an awesome ‘mechanical dragon’ for me:

The dragon measures about 11” tall. It is somewhat of a robot, and it is holding a young kitty in its arms and playfully dangling a mouse toy above it:

It is sitting on a stool on a ‘stone’ base, and every inch of it and every detail is made of clay. The only part that is not clay are the light bulb details at the back of the head:

It is hard to believe that all the cords, rivets, stitching on the cat and mouse, and even the key on the back are made from clay:

I just had to share it with you! I have uploaded several other pictures into my Picasa Album. I just wanted to share them with you.

I hope you get a chance to stop by Ryan’s website too and see his other extraordinary creations. He is an amazing artist and his talent is something that you don’t see every day.

I feel so fortunate and privileged to own one of his original pieces. It is something that I saved for a long time to afford, and I will cherish it for the rest of my life.

This was a huge extravagance for me. It is rare that I purchase something that is so purely for my own pleasure. I suppose that is what “art” really is though. Something that fills both the heart and your senses. I want to thank Ryan for taking the time to make this beautiful piece for me. I feel very fortunate to have it.

Besides the beautiful piece, I also feel that I have made a friend not only in Ryan, but also with his mom who shipped the piece to me after Ryan’s departure. We have become ‘friends’ on Facebook, and it has been wonderful to see Ryan find happiness and get married to a beautiful woman. I can only imagine what his happiness will inspire in his work. I can’t wait to see.

I hope you enjoyed seeing this and reading this story. While it isn’t about woodworking or painting, it is about how wonderfully universal art can be. Expressing ourselves through our art is something that we all have in common. Whether we are designers or making other’s designs, we all put our hearts and our souls into what we love to do, and the results is wonderful.

My own creativity is returning, and I spent the day yesterday drawing as I will today. It seems that the ideas are again flowing and soon there will be new designs to share with you all. It feels good.

I wish you all a wonderfully creative day. I hope you find joy in whatever you choose to do.

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

7 comments so far

View JoeyG's profile


1275 posts in 2766 days

#1 posted 11-16-2012 12:17 PM

Sheila, it is great that you got this piece. I have been a fan of Ryan’s for a while now and have watched as he worked on this one. Such talent! I hope to be able to own one of his great sculptures one day. The steampunk look works great with his style.

Thanks for sharing this. I have been envious of whoever was getting this one. Now I can rest easy that it’s in good hands.

-- JoeyG ~~~

View JimH's profile


11 posts in 4305 days

#2 posted 11-16-2012 12:53 PM

I just want to say thanks for sharing this wonderful creation. I enjoy your blog very much. I found it, and you, searching for information on scroll saw art and then reading your blog and your information saw that you are in an area that my wife and I fell in love with during a month long visit to NS a couple of years ago. Thanks for inspiring an upcoming journey into a new area of woodworking.

-- Jim no longer in far west TX

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9237 posts in 3061 days

#3 posted 11-16-2012 01:03 PM

Thanks Joey! I have been so excited about it for a long time! I know that Ryan was going through so many huge life changes and I truly appreciate the time and effort he put into making this piece. I am very lucky that I got the last piece he made before his move! He is not only very talented, but also a kind and thoughtful person. You can see by his work that he just loves what he does and makes his pieces from his heart. I have never had a piece so special!

And Jim – thanks too for your nice comments. I sometimes worry if I am “off subject” here on LJ’s, but I do try to tie it in with creativity which is at the heart of everything we make anyway. Yes, Nova Scotia is a beautiful place. As you know by reading, there isn’t a day that goes by when I am not grateful for all I have and for being here. There is no way to measure inner peace, but I truly feel that I have found it here.

I wish you both a wonderful day! :) Sheila

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

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3177 days

#4 posted 11-16-2012 02:49 PM

An inspired piece of art. Thank you for sharing it, Sheila.

Of the things we notice, it might be particularly inspired piece of scroll work that brings back memories or evokes strong feelings.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Celticscroller's profile


1270 posts in 2214 days

#5 posted 11-16-2012 05:59 PM

All I can say is “WOW!” This is a beautiful piece. It sets one’s imagination going. I can visualize a whole story written about this character that Ryan has created. Thank you for sharing.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3256 days

#6 posted 11-16-2012 07:35 PM

Congratulation with the score Sheila :-)
yes its a score if one gets a unique piece of art
I like steampunk but wuold never have thought
something with a life (though imaginaire )wuold
be a part of it but I have to bow for the Artist
he has catch the theme very well
take care of it as long as you have borrowed it
there is other generations in the future that shuold
generoused with what is possiple

enjoy :-)

View Roger's profile


20948 posts in 2945 days

#7 posted 11-17-2012 01:09 PM

Very awesome. Thnx for sharing. Life is good

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

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