My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1449: Walking Before Running

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 11-24-2014 01:42 PM 1338 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1448: Different Strokes for Different Folks Part 1449 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1450: More New Scroll Saw Designs! »

You may or may not have noticed that I took a few days off of blogging here. It wasn’t because I didn’t accomplish anything, but more so because I was rather focused on what I was doing and I wasn’t sure if the process that I was working on would be interesting to you all. At least not at this time.

I have always loved to create. Be it crayons, wood, paint, sewing, needlework, or any of countless forms of media – if i could make something out of it, I would. I don’t always understand where my need to ‘make things’ comes from, but I know I have had it for as long as I can remember. If anyone had a pre-determined destiny, I think that it was me.

I began blogging to document my woodworking pattern process. So many people inquired about what designing and being a pattern designer entailed that when the opportunity to write a daily blog arose, I thought this would be the perfect answer. I believe it has been over four years now that I have been blogging on a nearly daily basis and I believe it has offered some insight to many of you as to what being a designer entails. I never mind sharing because I feel the more that others know, the more interested they will be in crafting in general – any type of crafting. And that I believe will benefit us all.

But over these past four plus years I look back and see how things have changed for me. I have somewhat expanded not only my own designing scope, but also have opened myself to learn other forms of creating. This, I believe, can only improve my abilities as a designer and an artist, as I am a firm believer that no matter what media you create in, art in any form greatly overlaps. So much of what I learn from drawing and painting can be applied to my scroll saw patterns. The same goes for my sewing and needlework. For each venue requires one to learn shape, form, depth color theory, and many other aspects of creating things. The more I expand my own abilities, the more I see how they can apply across the board to my creating. I feel that it makes me a better artist and designer.

It also keeps my ideas fresh and flowing. Hardly a week goes by when I am not asked where I get all of my ideas. I think by opening my mind and looking at all the creative things around me (in any form) it keeps things fresh and exciting and it fuels my creativity. If I only looked at wood and scroll saw projects, I certainly would become flat and uninteresting. I think of how mundane things would be if I would limit myself to only one type of designing and I know that for me, I need to feed my creative soul a varied diet of creative possibilities. I thrive on learning new things and I love to see how I can take a new skill or media and merge it with what I already know. It keeps things fun and fresh and flowing.

Last week I showed you some little chicks that I needle felted. This was my first time trying this media and I became immediately fascinated with the process. I can see many ways of how I can use this process not only in my painting designs, but also in my woodworking and scrolling designs. While you may not see the correlation between the two, you just need to check back every now and then and I assure you it will happen. It is too much to explain right now.

After completing the website update on Thursday, I rewarded myself with a gift of time which I slated for exploring and learning more about the needle felting. I have some ideas in my head as to what I want to do with this art form, but before I can run with them, I needed to learn the basics. I was very pleased with my first projects (Nugget and Peep, pictured below) and I had a great time making the little props for them to help them tell their story.

While I was greatly encouraged by the outcome of these little characters (thanks to the wonderful instructional videos provided by Sara Renzulli of Sarafina Fiber Arts) I knew I still have a mountain of information to learn. In order to implement my own ideas, I need to learn to walk before I can run, and learn not only the basics of construction, but also the different fibers and how they react to what I am doing with them and the overall ‘feel’ of things. I decided to dedicate my weekend to doing so.

I began by making a mouse, using the kit I bought from Sara and following the video. Through that process, my little grey mouse “Misfit” was created. I am calling him Misfit because he is quite full of errors. His torso is too long, his face is rather goofy, and several other things didn’t come out quite right.

But he does have a certain charm to him, and while I contemplated abandoning him altogether, I decided to keep him around as a reminder of the beginning of my journey down this path. The more I look at him, the more endearing he has become.

I immediately got ‘back on the horse’ and tried again making another mouse. This time I created Carla. I adjusted some things with her and I am happier with her, but she is still not exactly what I envisioned.

I did take this photo of one of her hands, though. On the left is Carla’s hand, in which I used a different method than what was taught in the video. On the right was the rather messy hand that I attempted and abandoned. I think I made quite an improvement.

I then moved on to beginning one of my own patterns. I created the wire armature for a baby Emporer Penguin that I want to try on my own. My only instructions for that will be photographs of real baby penguins and it will be interesting to see how it will come out. However, I got to the point of baking the clay that I am using for the claws on the feet and I kind of chickened out. I wanted to work more with laying the fibers correctly before I moved ahead on the penguin.

So yesterday I made several of these cute baby harp seals. (Again, the video is available on Sara’s site).

I was very pleased with how these came out and learned a little more with each one.

I am sharing this because many times I only post the final products of what I create. While on the outside it may appear that things just dome easy to me, often they do not. I never mind sharing my failures as well as my successes because I don’t want to give the false impression that there isn’t a degree of learning involved in most everything we do. While many aspects of different types of art and creating overlap, there is still the factor of learning the limitations and abilities that each new forma of media possesses. It is only by learning to walk first that we are able to run later on.

I thank you all for being so supportive of all of my creative venues. I understand that those of you who do woodworking may not have much of an interest in sewing or painting or sculpting. And those who paint may not find woodworking very fascinating. But I believe that all of these different aspects of creating makes me the designer I am, and they all play an important part in each aspect of what I do. I am glad that most of you enjoy seeing everything and I hope that by sharing all these different types of creating with you, it may help peak your own interests and expand your own creativity.

That would be amazing!

Happy Monday to you all!

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

2 comments so far

View Celticscroller's profile


1203 posts in 1493 days

#1 posted 11-24-2014 05:54 PM

I see a story coming on! You could write a beautiful book about these cute creatures. I agree with you – branching out into different mediums adds to creativity and enhances the mediums already used. I’m in the process of learning the MUDding method. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

-- Anna

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

8985 posts in 2340 days

#2 posted 11-24-2014 05:57 PM

Oh, Anna – you have been one of my biggest inspirations. I love how you embrace so many mediums as well, through your scrolling, carving, painting, etc., etc.

I suppose I don’t want to be pigeon-holed into one area only. There is so many wonderful ways to create! Thank you for always supporting and encouraging my deviations! I am glad you enjoy seeing them! :)


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

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