To me, one of the best things I find with designing is that the only rules that I have to follow are my own. I think that is one of the main reasons that I became a designer in the first place. I never really followed along with rules.
It isn’t that I am not able to do so. Usually I am pretty good at reading instructions and following them to the letter. . My friend Cari and I were “experts” at doing things like putting together projects, toys and furniture (you know – the type like IKEA sells) with ease. We used to joke however how they would always miss listing the most important tool of all to make things work right – a rubber hammer! Give the two of us a flat box of any type of assorted furniture (shelves, desk, etc) and in a couple of hours we would have the thing made – with little or no parts left over. We were a pretty good team. Oh – and we usually had some good laughs along the way!
We also were ‘self-taught’ when it comes to decorative painting and scroll sawing. I remember my first project that I made on the scroll saw. I modified a pattern from a book by Pat Speilman. It was a fretwork top to a jewelry box and I changed the size from 8” wide to about 22” wide and put a monogrammed letter in the center. This was to be a gift for Cari, as at the time she was remodeling her kitchen and I wanted her to use it as an accent over the sink soffit.
Even though I had never cut anything on the scroll saw before, I thought “how hard could it be?” as I went to the printers to enlarge the patterns (I wasn’t good at computers back then either, and I don’t know if I even owned one then!) I cut and pasted the monogram in the center of the design and proceeded to purchase a beautiful piece of ash that was about 1/2 – 3/4” thick. I thought it would be a breeze.
I used a #7 scroll saw blade and I can’t tell you how much burning occurred on that piece. I also glued the pattern on improperly and when I was finally finished with the LONG process of cutting – struggling all the way – I spent probably a longer amount of time scraping off the pattern and sanding off the burn marks. It was certainly a labor of love and looking back, I rather surprise myself that I ever wanted to scroll saw again.
But even though I struggled with that ambitious project, I got one of my first tastes at “designing” and I was please at the outcome. From that moment on, instructions became mere “suggestions” and I never looked back. The rest – as they say – is history.
In thinking about it, I suppose that I do pretty much the same with everything I do. While in the beginning of my painting career I paid a bit more attention to instructions, soon I found myself changing things and doing my own thing on most of the designs that I was painting. The more proficient that I became in these basic skills, the more I pushed the envelope and branched out using my own ideas. Soon designing entire projects became the norm and even though I have quite a large “collection” of both painting and woodworking patterns (that is STILL GROWING mind you!) I still almost always do my own thing. It is just my nature.
This latest pattern of intricate Damask ornaments is something that I really am enjoying. Like many of my designs, I see several different options possible for them, and I will develop at least a couple for the pattern packet.
Yesterday I finished “phase 1” as I will call it. I had cut a set of flat ornaments out of ash, and I think on their own they are really beautiful. I love making wood look graceful and flowing, and cutting those lines is probably my favorite type of scrolling. I think the results is pretty nice:
(I purposely left a ‘stem’ on the top so that a beautiful ribbon of choice could be used to accent the pretty ash. I think the effect is nice. )
While I was very happy with the ornaments done this way, I wanted to do something else to really make them outstanding and different. Naturally, I went to my favorite box of “pretty” from Rhinestone Canada and added some wonderfully beautiful crystal rhinestones. I think they brought them from pretty to ‘stunning.’
I chose to do these ornaments in traditional red (the stone color is called Light Siam)
And a beautiful, soft green (Olivine)
I had matching dotted ribbon to accent these two colors, and it gave them a nice, contemporary look. I wish you could see how they shine!
Together as a set, they look simply stunning.
But I am not done yet . . .
I did cut another version of these ornaments, and I will be working on completing them today. I am going to include both versions in the pattern, which should be ready by the update for the site early next week. I can’t wait to see them finished!
I don’t know if I have mentioned lately how much I love my job! It is difficult for me to consider it ‘work’ when I am having so much fun.
Yesterday I finished packing up and shipping out one of the packages for an ornament exchange that I participated in. I am now waiting excitedly for my own ornament to arrive, as I am sure it will be awesome!
I am very pleased with how my work is coming out. As always, there are at least a million more ideas that I have to develop, so I will be busy for a long time to come. I thank you all for your support and friendship and encouragement that I receive every day from you. I know I wouldn’t be as happy or enthusiastic without your cheering me on.
So it is time for me to get busy. There is lots that I have to accomplish today, and I can’t wait to start.
I suppose the moral of today’s post is “Don’t be afraid to implement some of your own ideas when making projects – they may be the beginning of something great for you.”
I wish you all a wonderful Tuesday and I hope that you have a fun day.
Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"