We are getting ready for another site update, and I have a couple of new patterns that I have been working on that I hope to finish up today.
It seems that people really like word art. We often get request for personalized projects and plaques that have names or sayings that our customers like. That is one reason that Keith decided to do some personalized plaques, and they have been really popular.
I also love cutting lettering. To me, the prettier the font, the better. There is something very relaxing about cutting beautiful lettering from a piece of wood. The process makes the wood look soft and graceful.
But cutting lettering involves much more than just copying a font and cutting. It is rare that you would find a font that you can just print and cut and look nice or work out with the scroll saw. I don't believe that most people understand what goes into the process of creating a "cuttable font".
Keith and I receive many inquiries regarding the fonts we use in our designs. Many think we just take a font and print it onto whatever plaque, tray or block we are designing and cut away. What most don't understand is that in order to make the font really work, it takes a great deal of time and patience to in essence redraw the lettering so it not only looks good, but will physically work with the scroll saw. Depending on the font, this process could take hours or even days to accomplish. Anyone who has tried to just print a font and cut knows exactly what I mean.
That is why we look and we choose our fonts very carefully – making sure that our usage falls into the licensing guidelines or purchasing a license that will allow us to use the font commercially and alter it if necessary. As with any work of art (and fonts certainly are that) we need to respect copyrights and follow the guidelines that the creators of the fonts request. And just like when people create portrait plaques from a photograph, there really isn't any 'magic' program or formula that allows you to just push a button and make it into what you would like. There is much more to it. So we pick and we choose and we create just one lettering pattern at a time, but we know when we are done that they are able to be cut and are properly drawn.
With that in mind, I created two new patterns which involve lettering. The first on is SLD486 – Merry Christmas Letter Blocks:
I really loved how this pattern turned out. I cut my sample set using half inch thick hard maple. While I would generally rate this pattern as a medium difficulty project, using the hard maple brought it up another level to a more difficult task. I taped the wood with packaging tape so there was no burning, but I must say that you need to be a bit patient when scrolling these out, as the cutting process is very slow. It would definitely be much easier and quicker if one were to use a softer wood such as poplar or even cherry, but I wanted the blocks to be lighter in color and (for once) I didn't even consider adding paint. The maple lettering sprayed with light coats of lacquer looks beautiful and rich and I am thrilled with the results. The only downside for using the maple is you need patience and can't force the cutting to be quick or hurried. For this project, I put on some nice music and relaxed and enjoyed the process. The results were stunning though!
The next project that I just about finished and will be adding to the site today is my SLD487 Alphabet Ornament shapes:
This set offers two full upper case alphabets for scrolling – a negative set in which the letters will be cut out from the ornaments (the top two words – PEACE and JOY) and a positive set of lettering where the letters would be used as overlay pieces (NOEL in the photograph). The pattern also includes 12 simply shaped ornaments that can be used for anything from garlands to magnets to ornaments for wreaths. While I cut my samples out of 1/2" stock, they could easily be cut from thinner wood for hanging on a tree. Since all 26 letters are included in the pattern, it leaves the option for spelling anything you like. I like offering this type of versatility in a pattern and I think it will be useful for other purposes as well. The pretty Old English type font is pretty and not difficult to cut.(especially the negative version which has no strike throughs).
I hope that these patterns are well received. I also hope the Alphabet Ornament pattern encourages others to create some unique and fun projects using their own imaginations. The classic alphabet is not only suitable for Christmas, but for any time of the year.
I really like the idea of offering patterns like this. I think it helps others be a bit more creative as well. Sometimes if you are given the tools, it inspires you and helps you try things that you may not have thought of before. That way you can also grow as an artist. (And besides that – it is FUN!)
I wish you all a wonderful Thursday!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"