My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1256: So Many Forms of Art!

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 02-27-2014 12:29 PM 1919 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1255: BUNNIES!!! Part 1256 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1257: Organizing and Drawing »

Just when I thought that my hundreds of little summertime bunnies would bring with them the warmer weather, I awoke this morning to another four inch or so blanket of snow. Perhaps they are ‘snow bunnies’!

It is pretty, though. And the sun is shining brightly and it looks quite clean and beautiful again, so I don’t think I really mind. After all, if I DID mind it, would it even matter?

Living in Nova Scotia during the latter part of February usually means that it will be cold and snowy. Wishing for anything else would be rather ridiculous. I have a friend who lives in Hawaii and he was speaking of the “chilly” night he experienced as he was turning in last evening (70 degrees!) I know he just likes to kid everyone and kind of rub it in, but it just goes to show that things are usually relative.

As I said before, “it is what it is” and I think complaining about the weather is wasting your energy. I enjoy living in areas that have four seasons and I can see good in all of them – even spring, which is my least favorite of all. If I don’t like how it is outside, I find that there is plenty of fun things to do inside. I am never without inspiration, it seems.

I accomplished all that I set out to do yesterday, and then some! Keith drilled the hang holes in all the little bunnies for our wholesale order, while I cleaned up those that needed sanding with the sander. I also sanded a large order of wood that was a personal order and packaged it up and sent it on its way. When I returned from the post office, I packed and boxed the wood kits and they are ready for pickup and sent on their way to the warehouse today.

All this was done before dinner.

In the mean time, I was doing some thinking and came up with not one but TWO really fun and cool ideas for new projects. One is for Halloween and the other is for Christmas. I am so excited about them both because I haven’t really seen anything like them before and in my mind at least they are pretty cool.

You may wonder how I can be thinking about Christmas already, but time is ticking and I would like to offer at least part of these projects to Artist’s Club for kits and that means they have to come to be very soon. Besides, I have one more issue of Creative Woodworks and Crafts magazine that I need to design for (the August issue is due up next) and then as soon as we get back from New York, the following issue is their big Holiday issue. So perhaps having some snow on the ground isn’t a bad thing after all.

Both projects are going to be exciting for me to work on, but I have to put them on hold for just a short time, as I have to develop my ideas for the August issue within the next few weeks as well as prepare for my classes that I am teaching in New York. In between that, I have some ideas for projects for my own site to sell. There is always a lot happening it seems.

Since I finished what I set out to do before dinner yesterday, I thought I would reward myself with some embroidery time. I am on panel three of my A Perfect World sampler and last night I was able to nearly finish with it. I only have some stumpwork leaves to do, which I will try to finish tonight. I thought that I would show you the pictures of it now though because I didn’t do anything else that warranted pictures throughout the day.

The panel consists of a darling little Sunbird sitting on a Leucospermum ‘pincushion’ as they call it. There are also framed by some pretty Fynbos. I am noticing that many of the plants depicted in the sampler are native to South Africa, as the author and artist is from that region. The exotic plants really make a beautiful sampler and I am learning a great deal as I continue on.

Here is a close up of the Fynbos. They are created using beautiful green silk ribbon. The centers are glass beads wrapped in silk thread and the stems are delicately embroidered also using silk thread.

The Leucospermum is as I stated, referred to as a ‘pincushion’. While I don’t think I will be using it as such, it is in all probability referred to in that manner because it is raised and the green base of the plant itself is embroidered over layers of felt, making it very dimensional.

While I thought this may come out looking sloppy and misdirected, I was very pleased with the results. After the green stem and bulb of the plant was completed, I used beautiful light orange silk ribbon to embroider loose petals. This was really scary for me to do because it needed to look ‘random’ (a concept that I have trouble grasping) but I am very happy with how it looks.

After most of the petals were completed, I had to add the cute little stumpwork Sunbird on top. The term “stumpwork” refers to pieces that are embroidered separately and then cut out and applied to the main work. (I did this on the previous panel with the petals of the Penstemon flowers.) In essence, I hand sewed a tiny little applique of the bird, using a single strand of silk thread throughout. This is why the blended colors look so wonderful. The technique has also been referred to as “Needle Painting” and it is another aspect of embroidery that I will be exploring further on. In fact, it was what got me interested and set me on the path to this work originally.

The Sunbird is lightly stuffed as it is added to the piece, again adding dimension and realism. When it was completed, I needed to go back and add additional light orange petals that reached over the bird, giving the impression of it ‘nesting’ in the flower.

I am nearly done with the panel, but it was midnight when I reached this point. I wanted to start the little stumpwork leaves, but I was getting tired and thought best to wait. Perhaps tonight I will have a go at it. We will see what my day brings.

I only get the opportunity to work on this piece a couple of times per week. While ideally in my mind I would like to work on it every evening after dinner, more so than not things seem to come up to fill that time. One promise that I made to myself is that I will not rush things. If I am tired, I refuse to try to work on it. The piece, being a true “sampler” uses many new techniques that I am trying for the first time and I would assimilate it to a university course in embroidery and stumpwork. While I have done crewel embroidery in the past, I have never used many of these advanced techniques and I feel that even though I am on the third of seventeen panels, I have learned a great deal already. If it takes a year to finish, then so be it.

Embroidery always fascinated me. While we are able to get many things done by machine, this type of work is not possible without the hands of humans. The other day I found a link to an amazing woman who does embroidery for the costumes of movies and television series. The artist’s name is Michele Carragher and below is an example of the work that she has done for the HBO series “Game of Thrones”

There is a wonderful article here that showcases her beautiful work with many more photographs. I was mesmerized by the labor-intensive work and absolutely blown away. You can click on the photo or this link to see how beautiful it is:

Art comes in so many forms. There are so many wonderful ways to express ourselves. To me, seeing and learning as many types of creating as possible fills my life with wonder and enjoyment. With so much good to focus on, it is impossible to be unhappy.

I hope you enjoyed this slight deviation.

Have a wonderful Thursday.

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

8 comments so far

View Handtooler's profile


1628 posts in 2369 days

#1 posted 02-27-2014 01:19 PM

Outstanding blog and certainly beautiful work! Thanks. This will be sent to a past president and continuing member of the Huntsville, AL Embroider’s Guild. She a meticulous artist in her own right. But, your ideas and broad range of WONDERFUL art work really intrigue me. I’m more technically inclined but still appreciate beauty of hand/ needlework. Have a Great Day!

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9237 posts in 3157 days

#2 posted 02-27-2014 01:56 PM

Thank you Russell! I sometimes worry about posting “non-wood related” blogs here. But as I have said before, I post the blog in lots of places and I really don’t want to pick and choose what gets put where. I am glad you see the correlation between the artistry and I hope it is inspiring in other ways to many. To me it is all “art” and I leave it at that.

I hope you followed the link and saw the photographs of the costumes. They just amazed me! Your friend would probably like them as well.

I am really enjoying this part of my artistic journey through this life. Focusing on creative beauty is a welcome diversion to the daily world. I find that my artistic friends are truly the happiest, as they have little time to center on the negative things, and their days are filled exploring and learning and appreciating beauty in so many forms.

It’s all how we look at things . . .

Thank you for your comment. As always, I appreciate your thoughts. :)


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

View Celticscroller's profile


1270 posts in 2310 days

#3 posted 02-28-2014 03:35 AM

The embroidery is beautiful! Even though this is a wood working site I think showing creative flexibility is an inspiration to others to create in many different ways. Many of us can’t always get to the workshop to do the woodworking so it’s great to get inspiration to try other creative outlets which in the end enhance the woodworking!
We are going to have another blast of winter this weekend so tomorrow is the day to get outside and enjoy the sun for a bit. Spring will eventually come to us all :)!

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9237 posts in 3157 days

#4 posted 02-28-2014 12:13 PM

Hi, Anna:

I once again awoke to several inches of new snow. Winter is certainly still here on this end of the country. But I have lots of things to do this weekend so it doesn’t bother me. I hope you have a great weekend as well.

Take care and keep warm, Sheila

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

View LeTurbo's profile


234 posts in 1822 days

#5 posted 02-28-2014 04:48 PM

Awesome work, Sheila. I particularly appreciate it, because the Pincushion Protea is here in my part of the world in Cape Town, and I can see how well you’ve captured it. Actually though, it’s fynbos, which comes from the Dutch for “fine bush” as a rough translation. I’m blessed to live in the smallest of the world’s 6 floral kingdoms, and yet its richest with some 6000 species of fynbos. Even as I write this, small Cape White-eye birds, so similar to your Sunbird but a deep vivid green, with a small white ring around each eye, are cavorting in my bird bath. Life is rich!

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9237 posts in 3157 days

#6 posted 02-28-2014 05:13 PM

What a small world it is! Thank you for the correction. I was my error, and not Di van Niekerk (the designer and writer of the instruction book.) Can I attribute it to the fact that I probably was only on my first cup of coffee when writing this post?? I am glad you pointed it out to me, as I do want things to be correct.

I am happy that you recognize the flowers. It didn’t dawn on me until working on this third panel of the design that the flowers were native to South Africa. At first I was more focused on the process of the embroidery, but now I that I am aware of the cultural lessons that can be learned in addition to the process, I am even more fascinated with the piece.

I plan to continue to give periodic updates as I progress. Please feel free to add any information that I may leave out (or correct me if needed!) as I want to represent these beautiful plants and flowers correctly. :)

Have a great weekend, Sheila

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

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3255 days

#7 posted 03-02-2014 11:07 PM

This is outstanding work and definitely not easy. I’ve watched my mama sew, my grandma too, and my wife and they have never ever put out work like you showed here! I’m impressed!

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9237 posts in 3157 days

#8 posted 03-03-2014 12:03 AM

Thank you so much, Erwin. It is all a learning process. I love to learn new things. To me it is just another fun way to create things. Keeps me out of trouble. :)

Have a great evening! Sheila

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

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