My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1182: (One of) My Happy Place(s)

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 12-04-2013 12:51 PM 1467 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1181: FINALLY I am Back to Drawing! Part 1182 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1183: "Snowman Collector" »

I often hear from people how much they wish they could be like me every day and just scroll saw or paint all day, every day. While I know that I feel very fortunate to be doing what I am doing, that isn’t always the case. Those of you who have been following me for any length of time realize that the actual scroll sawing or painting is only a small part of the process of owning your own business, and that those times are sometimes few and far between.

I am not complaining though, as the other things that I do on a daily basis are for the most part fun and interesting. Through my work I come into contact with countless creative people. Many have questions or need help in understanding something, and many others are an inspiration to me with their ideas, talent and creativity. All of them make me love what I do even more, and it is because of them that I continue to try to climb to a higher level.

As our little business continues to grow, the daily tasks of keeping things running smoothly also increase accordingly. I like to still send out each order personally. (Either myself or Keith) This gives us direct contact with our customers and we write a short message with each order so that they know we are available if they have any questions or issues with their patterns. In these days of automation, that is very important to us. Just yesterday I had more than one customer tell me that they truly appreciated our fast and personal service, and that it was a rare thing in these times. That is not only what will help us continue to grow, but it will also help educate us to our customers’ needs and helps us to be a better company and make better patterns. It is part of the business that I want to continue as long as possible.

These administration tasks, along with the logistics of running a business do take time though. In addition to what I mentioned above, there are things like drawing and writing articles for the magazine as well as instructions that don’t always allow us as much time as we like to do the actual cutting or painting of our projects. So every time I have the opportunity to do so, I feel that it is even more of a special day.

Yesterday I finally got to do some painting. I say “finally” because I had been trying to get to that point for the past several days (or was it weeks?) and there was always something that was more pressing that came up and I had to switch gears. I had been thinking about a new design that I am working on in collaboration with Terrye French for the Painting With Friends painting group that I have been designing with and I couldn’t wait to get started on it.

For those of you who aren’t aware of it – “Painting With Friends” is a group of painters who are ‘inspired’ by Terrye French – an amazingly talented woman who seems to have endless ideas. How it works is Terrye sketches her idea and sends it to one of the several painters in the group. The painter then ‘develops’ it into a design and pattern in any way she likes. This is a marvelous opportunity not only to work with a fabulous designer, but to stretch our possibilities and creativity. Terrye comes up with the CUTEST ideas (mostly in the Primitive style) and we are encouraged to do just about ANYTHING we want with them.

When the project and pattern are complete, we market the pattern under the “Painting With Friends” label and split the proceeds. It is a win/win for everyone! I feel it is especially good for me, as I am more of a realistic type of painter and not a great ‘cartoonist’. Terrye’s wonderful and whimsical designs are so much fun to paint and it gives me a chance to develop that side of my creativity. I feel very privileged to be a member of this wonderful organization. The support and friendship and inspiration are just amazing! And Terrye’s ideas are a wonderful springboard for us to develop our ideas. It is so much fun to see the different styles from the other artists in the group and how they interpret her drawings.

I had received the sketches for this project before I headed to Chicago. Between then and now, so much has had to be done and it kept being put on the back burner. I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but it was as if there was a fog and I couldn’t quite envision the project finished. All the while when I was doing other things, this was in the back of my mind and I was thinking about which direction to take. I think that all happened for a reason. Little by little, as it came into focus I felt better and more secure about how I wanted to present it. By the time I first picked up the paint brush, I felt pretty sure where I was heading and things are so far going rather smoothly.

I took some sample photos as I painted yesterday. They aren’t color corrected, but you will get the jest of things.

I decided that I wanted to make a sign board. In thinking how I could also offer the surface, I chose to make it in three pieces. With the high cost of postage, having it in sections would not only make it more palatable to mail, but it would also make the painting process easier as well.

I spent a good part of the day mapping out and preparing the surface. I wanted to make sure that everything would work right and good planning was a must. Finally in the late afternoon I got to actually sit down and paint!

I crackled the header and footer, and painted the background in a deep blue, with pearlized swirls of paint to resemble drifting ‘snow’:

As you may have guessed from yesterday’s post – it is a snowman themed project. This one is called “Snowman Collector.”

What makes Terrye’s designs fun is the cute and whimsical details. The little snowman faces add a lot to the lettering, and make it fun and inviting:

I added some more details (for now!) of starts and (of course) the snowmen themselves are coated with glittery sparkles that don’t show in the photograph. But it looks pretty good as a start:

Now today the REAL fun begins – doing the main part of the drawing! As I sat at my table last night, I couldn’t help but be happy. I took my time and experimented with several different color combinations on scraps of wood to make sure that when I painted on the actual piece it would come out as I envisioned it. Most people wouldn’t think that I would have to TEST things, but even though I have been doing this a long time, I am never above testing things out to make sure. That pertains to both painting AND scroll sawing. It is only from experience that I learned that testing is a MUST. After several ‘mishaps’ and wasting time, it is the easiest way to make certain that you will have the result you want.

That is as far as I got before I called it a night. I wanted to be fresh when I continued on. So far though, so good. I am happy with how it is looking and encouraged at the prospect of what I will accomplish today.

I know I say it a lot, but I truly love what I do. It seems that every day is filled with fun and new adventures, and I don’t take that for granted for even a minute.

I hope you all have a wonderful day today. Do something fun that will inspire not only yourself, but others around you as well. You will be amazed at how good it will make you feel.

Happy Wednesday! :D

-- 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 jerrells's profile


918 posts in 2913 days

#1 posted 12-04-2013 01:13 PM

I understand part of your business and I know it is FULL time. You put a lot into it and it shows. This is why I, and others, keep coming back to you. Thanks

-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.

View Handtooler's profile


1580 posts in 2161 days

#2 posted 12-04-2013 04:04 PM

Yes, you both are true professionals, and I deeply appreciate your revealing in today’s journal that y’all send individual notes to your clients. Attention to such matters is why your business is growing so nicely besides your high quality products. God Bless the both of you in all your endevours. Just a pure curiosity question; knowing very dlittle of Novi Scotia, are your art and woodworking supplies handy from local retailers or are you dependent upon Canada and the USA for your logistics? Must you purchase in volume lots to ensure that when resupply is needed it is at your disposal? Just paints, brushes, thinners, blades of many sizes etc. that you must have ready to draw from when the time arrives. Then shelf life might play a factor along with storage space for the game of inventory.

I simply can’t imagine the difficulties that might arrise form an industry of you nature.

Thanks for your time each day enlightning your readers in the life of an artist.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3114 days

#3 posted 12-04-2013 04:31 PM

Great little summary of your activity, but I just had to compliment you on your version of a blizzard on that
sign board, I have seen and been in more than one and that is a very wonderful rendition of natures
winter weather. Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Celticscroller's profile


1269 posts in 2102 days

#4 posted 12-04-2013 05:36 PM

Working on a project like the snowman collector would make anyone smile. Very simple but very expressive! They look very mischievous! I like the snow swirls on the centre piece. Looking forward to seeing the finished project.
I’m looking forward to getting more time painting time in the next few weeks.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2949 days

#5 posted 12-05-2013 11:49 AM

Thank you all for your nice comments! Some days I don’t get back here to check on them and I apologies for that.

I believe that excellent customer service goes a long, long way to the success of any business. The most important rule that I follow in this aspect (as I try to do in my everyday life) is to treat people fairly and treat them how you would want to be treated. Being kind and understanding costs nothing. I am not saying that I don’t occasionally get exasperated with things or people, but I try to take a breath and step back and be courteous and helpful. Usually the effort is returned.


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

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2833 days

#6 posted 12-09-2013 01:28 PM

My 1st thought after seeing the “Snowman Collector”, was, the movie, “Bone Collector” That’s how my mind works….. Always like seeing your creations. The crackle paint really brings things into another dimension.

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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2949 days

#7 posted 12-09-2013 01:44 PM

Well, Roger – Maybe I will have to do a “Bone Collector” sign for Halloween! :) Minds are good things!


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

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