I was able to finish up my drawing yesterday. Whether or not I was able to squeak the project in under the deadline for submissions remains to be seen. I honestly was not sure of the cutoff date, but in some ways (to me, anyway) it didn't really matter. Either way I wanted to create these designs. Either way I win.
As time goes by and and I do what I do longer and longer, I have discovered that there are a world of options open for me. I used to get rather tense about deadlines and things like that. I would worry and push and found myself at a high anxiety level, which wasn't much fun for me or anyone else around me. I don't think that it helped my work either. While I do work well under pressure, there are different types of pressure (self-imposed vs. external) and since my own standards are usually higher than any external standards, I find I do best following my own heart and time table.
Designing isn't like production. You can't just tell yourself to spit out a design in a given amount of time and expect it to be your absolute best work. For me – it just doesn't work like that. I realize that in reading that I sound somewhat like a diva. I really don't think that is the case for me. At least that isn't my intention. I only know that when pushed too hard at doing something, it doesn't seem to yield the best results for me. While the designs may be nice, they aren't usually my favorites. Perhaps it is because I recall the anxiety that I experienced while creating them under those circumstances. I don't know.
I have come to resolve myself to letting go of things that I have to push too hard for. This in no way means that if I have to WORK hard for something, I turn away. I actually like hard work and I think that working hard on something usually (for me, anyway) brings some of my finest results. I just mean that I find that it is helpful to let go of the sense of urgency of having to get something done. I used to attach this urgency to nearly all my deadlines, and I was operating at a level of stress that took much of the fun out of what I did.
There will always be other chances on the horizon. Yes – we may have to look for them again, but they will always be there if we choose to seek them out. There will be another issue of the magazine. If not the same magazine, there are others. There will always be the next site update. There will always be the next opportunity to offer our designs to different companies. I choose not to look at each assignment as if it is my last hope. It makes a world of difference.
I used to live in a state of high anxiety, where I treated each deadline as if it were my last. I was constantly wound up and worrying about not only whether I would meet those deadlines, but also whether my work would be good enough to be accepted. While pushing to a point can be good, it can also be destructive if taken too far. Eventually one needs to let go and allow whatever is going to happen . . . well . . . happen. You would be amazed at how freeing this simple mindset can be!
I realize that this isn't always the easiest habit to get into. I can't actually put my finger on the date when I can honestly say that I went through the transition from being frantic to mellow about these things. I think it is something that you acquire gradually, as your confidence in yourself and your work grows. And like many mindsets, once we experience a small taste of that feeling, it can quickly snowball and change our whole way of thinking. I believe that is a good thing. And once we reach that plateau, we never want to go back.
With that said, I worked on my pattern over the weekend knowing that it will fit into my life 'somewhere.' I will offer it up for submission first, and if not accepted or if I missed the deadline – no harm done at all – I will add it to my site later on this week for immediate purchase. Either way I win. No hard feelings either, as there will be another issue to strive for coming right behind this one and there is certainly another opportunity for me to submit to that. The way I see it, I can't lose.
This attitude is one that I find very healthy for me as a designer. As any successful designer can tell you, learning to accept rejection gracefully and without despair or hard feelings is something that we need to learn early in the game. Doing so will only help us in the future and keep us from throwing in the towel and getting burned out. For it is much easier (and more FUN!) to go through our days of designing without carrying these burdens of worry along with us. I believe it also allows us to do our best.
Here is a little sample of what I created over the weekend:
Obviously it is a Christmas design. I really enjoyed drawing these and I really think they are going to come out nice. I love cutting this type of fretwork and I love Damask motifs. I created several of my own and I plan to incorporate them into several different types of project in the next couple of weeks. Damask designs are very popular because of the classic appeal. With all the "Shabby-chic" and "Cottage" style of designs, they are a perfect fit. I spent the last week or so drawing up a huge amount of 'elements' and it will be fun to fit them together like puzzle pieces to make my own unique motifs and designs. What a lot of fun!
So today I will be at the scroll saw cutting these pieces out. I don't think they will take very long, and I think they will be a lot of fun to do. As usual, I have several decorating ideas for them, and I am probably going to cut several layers so I can make several different sets. It is going to be a great day!
Before I sign off today, I want to show you all something that I received the other day from a friend. I met Carl Sherry on Facebook, and I have come to love his beautiful woodwork. Carl lives in Hawaii, and every morning when I would get up and sign on to my computer at 6am or so, his posts were at the top of my news feed, as he was signing off to go to bed. There is an eight hour difference between Nova Scotia and Hawaii (I think!) and it was just something that always seemed to be there first thing in the morning to read. I got in the habit of commenting on his posts and he on mine and we have become good friends. Carl not only makes beautiful pens, but also exquisite turned bowls. His artwork is featured in a local shop called the Nohea Gallery and he does very well with it there. I love to see his beautiful work. Below is a photo of Carl and one of his bowls:
Well – a couple of weeks ago, I complimented Carl on some more of the beautiful pens he made and he was kind enough to send me three of them! They are all three made from Koa wood and they are all extremely beautiful.
The top one is Orange Acrylic and Koa, the Middle is Brown and Orange Acrylic and Koa and the bottom one is Curly Koa. I think they are just lovely!
Thank you, Carl for your wonderful and generous gift to me. Every time I use my pen I will think of my friend that I have half way across the world. I am so happy to know you.
I am so grateful for the wonderful friends I have met through my blog and networking. I find that one of the reasons that I am so happy is because I am surrounded by wonderfully creative people. Just seeing what they make is truly an inspiration.
I hope you all have a wonderful Monday today. We have cloud cover now, but it is cool and calm. It looks to be another beautiful day!
Happy Monday to you all!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"