I found that I needed a couple of days to catch up with things. As our little business grows, with that growth comes a need to spend more time on the administration duties. I am not complaining about this at all, as I realize that it is part of the process and I am happy that so many people are interested and asking questions and learning. I am thrilled that others are learning from our experiences and I try to help them whenever I am able.
But that sometimes means that there is less time for designing and writing. There are times when I don’t feel that I am creating enough new patterns in a given amount of time. I need to remind myself that quality is more important than quantity, and that very few of my new patterns are just line work to be cut or painted. Usually, if I have an idea, I am thinking of several ways to complete it, and it is very difficult for me to offer only one.
Some may feel that this is a waste of time, but the many letters I receive from customers who are grateful to try the new techniques encourage me to continue doing things in this way. I know I am on the right track.
One thing that I found is that many customer feel that our designs are generally a bit difficult to cut. Both Keith and I cut all of our own prototypes to make certain they are correct, and I think that because we are so experienced in cutting and have been doing so for so many years, we may take the difficulty of the pieces a bit for granted. What may seem easy to us may not be so for someone who is newer to cutting. It is difficult for us to grade our pieces, as for myself – I find it hard to draw a line between what I can do easily and what others would also consider easy. It is probably one of the things that I should try harder to work on.
With that said, I have had many requests for simpler designs. I realize that what will keep our industry growing and healthy (as well as our business) is bringing new people into scroll sawing. Over the past several years, we have watched it grow and we know that the newer people are also looking for simpler, yet still attractive designs. After all – we have to walk before we can learn to run. And while we always like to put our best foot forward and push ourselves as designers, it only makes sense that we offer some things that are a bit easier to do.
I always thought of this in terms of a pyramid. The newcomers with beginning to intermediate skills make up the large base, and as the techniques become more difficult, there are less that are able to accomplish them. This is an important thing to remember. If we only gear our designs to the top of the pyramid, then the chances of our business surviving will lessen. That doesn’t mean that we will never offer new difficult designs, but it does mean that we need to create designs that cover all the levels of difficulty. It only makes sense.
One thing that I want to keep in mind though is that just because a design isn’t extremely difficult, doesn’t mean that it can’t be fun and attractive. Actually, sometimes the easier designs are the most fun to make. Not only do you start and finish in a short amount of time, but the time spent making them is more relaxed and fun. It is a win/win for all involved.
I had an idea over the weekend for some new designs that I am creating. If I had to grade them, I would say that they will be “medium” difficulty. The cutting is very forgiving and a pleasure to do, but the end result is (I think) quite attractive.
I spent yesterday drawing and cutting out the first version of this plaque. As usual, there will be other options to come. It didn’t take very long to do and when I saw it on paper I was worried that it would be plain. Keith also expressed a concern about that. (“Is that ALL you are putting?”, he said)
But I saw the design in my head and I knew it would be enough. Sometimes I just know. When I was finished, I was pleased with the outcome, as I know that this is only the beginning. There will be (as usual) more to come:
I consider this a beginner to intermediate project. The frame was simple to cut and the only thing that may give an issue would be the lettering, which is quite forgiving as well. I made the plaque of maple and because I used birch plywood for the letters, they are really strong and not as fragile as they look. I painted the lettering black, but the wood purists could always use a dark wood such as walnut.
It’s a good start.
Today I will work on the other version of the plaque – which will reveal the inspiration for this project. I can’t wait to see it finished and show you all. I am a bit excited about the possibilities.
I feel good about this. Not only did I accomplish something, but I have a really nice, mid-range project to offer. Even Keith was impressed with how it looked once it was cut. To me, that is a nice stamp of approval.
I hope you all have a great Monday. More to come tomorrow.
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"