I have never been really 'fast' when I am creating a new design. Whether it is the process of making one of my own creations or following the instructions of someone else, things just seem to take me a long time. Often people mention how quickly I produce new projects, and I find that rather odd. It seems that more times than not, I take quite a bit longer than I anticipate to complete anything that I am working on. I think that I can attribute the illusion of me working so quickly with the fact that I spend a large portion of my days on whatever is in front of me at the time. I lose track of the hours and my days go by very quickly it seems.
As many of you who have been reading lately know, the current project that is taking up my days is my Haunted Carousel. Bit by bit this project is coming together, but it isn't without its' stumbling blocks. I don't take these pitfalls as failures, but I embrace them as tools for learning. As I solve each issue, I am learning more and more about construction and what will work and what will not. I believe it will help me in future projects and not only make more things possible, but also teach my customers some things as well.
The biggest issue that I have encountered with this project is creating the pieces so that someone with very little woodworking experience is able to recreate it easily and efficiently. I have a very limited amount of tools here (basically a scroll saw, drill press and sander) and I want to be able to make kits that include many, if not all the pieces so that the final customer only needs common household items like paint and glue to complete the project. I think that the least amount of running around to find supplies for this would be to my best advantage. Since the boards that make up the carousel floor and ceiling are going to be about 16" wide, the package that will contain the kit will cost a certain amount to ship. We all know that shipping is expensive, and after it reaches a certain point, adding pieces doesn't really raise the cost. So I may as well include just about every piece that I can to make the kits complete. I know my customers will appreciate that.
I spent the last couple of days working on the large canopy for the carousel as well as the stands for the figures. While it would have been nice to have everything fall into place immediately, that wasn't really the case.
I actually did three mock-ups of the canopy and there was a great deal of consideration involved. The carousel is going to have eight figures, so I felt that the canopy that will create the roof of it should be divided into 24 sections. However, since it needs to be angled like a tent, it involved much more than drawing a circle and evenly dividing it into 24 equal parts. there needs to be overlap where the canopy joins, and the amount of space that will overlap will directly effect the height and angle of the top. After two tries and getting to a point that I was happy, I noticed that the overhang of the canopy was too long. While it looked nice and decorative, it dropped too far and made it difficult to see what was underneath.
Back to drawing . . .
I finally got everything to where I think it will look good. I spent the remainder of the evening painting it, although I am not finished yet. But so far it looks nice and I am happy.
The next thing to consider was the stand of the carousel animals. Since I want to be able to offer them as an ornament kit, I created them out of 1/8" wood. I considered clay for the bases, much like I used for my SLDP201 Mini-Skating Pond Vignette Kit:
But while the clay looked nice for the figures here and resembled snow, it wouldn't do for the carousel.
The 1/8" thickness of the wood didn't allow me to dowel or post the figures into another piece of wood. So I decided that I would make a two tiered stand for each figure in the shape of a spider web. The two levels not only added to the stability of the pieces, but allowed me to insert a flat disc magnet underneath so that I could glue flat, metal washers onto the base and the figures would be able to be easily set up and removed. This will help in storing the large piece when the season is over.
To further impove the stands, I decided to make them in the shape of spider webs, to add to the spookiness of the piece. I am going to paint them today.
Little by little. Step by step. Things are slowly coming together. I find that the projects like this – those that require the most 'thinking' – are usually the best ones in the long run. My goal is that when my customers receive their kits, they are easily and confidently able to create their vignette. The thought and time that I am putting in now is a real investment in what I hope to be a long term successful project. There is no other way that I would do it.
I skipped posting yesterday and may do so again from time to time. While many of you have expressed that you enjoy seeing the building process of this project, there are times when things simply just take more than one day or one go at it to be successful. When I am in the middle of things and they aren't quite figured out yet, I find that it is better to lay low and keep working. But my absence here will probably mean that I am making progress – so it isn't bad at all.
After the canopy, stands, and ceiling are completed, I will be moving ahead to create the two benches as well as the central pillar. The pillar will be the most important part, as it will not only support the roof and canopy completely, but will have some beautiful artwork on it as well. I have some ideas as to how I want to proceed with it, but I need to make sure I do it right. It will be the heart of the construction of this piece.
So much to consider . . .
I thank you for all of your supportive comments on the project so far. It is really nice to see it come to life. I know I have to get back to creating 'regular' patterns soon, but I just want to focus on this for a little while more. I am on a roll. . .
It is dark and stormy today – typical of 'spring'. The last small piles of snow are still evident, although they are shrinking every day. It will be good to see the buds and green grass. I am sure it will come soon.
Happy Thursday to you al! Have a wonderful and creative day!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"