My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1441: Originality - The Child of a Variety of Influences

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 11-11-2014 01:48 PM 1839 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1440: "A Perfect World"- Panel 14 Part 1441 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1442: Organizational Triumphs »

As a designer, one thing that can sometimes be difficult is creating something that is totally "original".  With all the information at our fingertips through sites like Google and Pinterest, the world is at our feet as far as seeing the creative work from others. 

Many years ago, when I just began my crafting and designing career,I began designing my own original teddy bears. Besides wood, I love working with fabric and sewing and creating the bears was really one of the reasons that I began scroll sawing and painting in the first place.  I had needed some wood 'props' for my stuffed bears, mice and bunnies and seeing the stuff that they offered at craft supplies like Michael's just didn't turn my crank. My friend Cari had a scroll saw and I was fascinated by it and I credit her with introducing me to the art form. It was so nice to be able to create my own props and accessories for my bears and animals and it allowed me to not be limited by what I could purchase. I quickly learned that taking raw materials and creating something myself would be the key to my own originality.

To make a long story short, one thing led to another and when I met the people from All American Crafts, they were as much impressed by my bears I was fortunate to have several of them published in Craftworks magazine. It really gave me some credibility as as designer and earned me some recognition. 

I loved designing soft animals along with their clothing. There was such a beautiful array of fabric available to me living in the Chicago area that the sky was my limit. Not only did I design the dolls themselves, but I also completely designed their costumes. Usually I was inspired by a cut of fabric that I was able to obtain and went from there. I don't have many photos of my bears left, as digital photography was in its infancy back then, but recently I came across some photos that I had scanned onto the computer of one of my bears. This one is a gypsy and I was inspired to make her by the beautiful iridescent fabric that I created her skirt with:

Seeing these photos reminded me that sometimes in order to create original designs, you need to go about it in a round about way.

Originality is important as a designer. One needs to develop their own style that will be recognized as their own. With all the information and resources that are now available to us, it is sometimes a difficult thing to do. We are all influenced by the things we see, and sometimes it is difficult to filter them out of our minds when we are setting out to creating something that is truly unique. At least it is for me.

I have wanted to do more painting patterns as well as scroll saw patterns. While I like to paint and draw cute characters, I find it difficult for me to just come up with things out of my head – I need a subject to draw from.

I am pretty good at drawing from looking at something. If I have something in front of me, then I can pretty much replicate it in just about any form. So that is to my advantage.

However, without a subject, I am not very good at drawing from my head. I have a friend who is an artist (well – several actually) and I have a great deal of admiration for them and what they do. They seem to be able to draw wonderfully from thin air. It is something that I really think is a talent.

So where is this all going?  

I have come to a decision that I need (yes – NEED) to make some three dimensional models to use as subjects for some of my next designs. That way I can put them into situations and pose them and create cute patterns while remaining in my own comfort zone. It will also ensure that my own drawings will be completely original and not be a copy of someone elses' idea or drawings.

When writing and reading that, it sounds almost too simple, yet I realize it will be a complex process.

I always say how ALL the creative things that I do overlap each other. Sometimes the woodworkers don't understand how painting can help my ability to design woodworking pieces. Or the painters don't understand how sewing can be an inspiration to a painting design. But I am realizing more and more that they are intertwined with each other and all part of the whole picture.

The more I think about this idea, the more excited I am about it. I am already imagining how I will pose and set my new little creatures so that I can paint them and use them for news series of patterns.

Over the next several months, you will see me meandering from one type of media to another. This will be part of the process I just described and I think and hope you will enjoy seeing this develop and that the adventure that I will be taking will also help inspire you all in your own creativity.

All along I have written this blog with the hope of inspiring others through sharing.  If I just went through a cycle of  "thinking/drawing/implementing" design after design, it may entertain you for a moment, but I am sure after a while it would be boring to you, as it would for me. By exploring new ideas and ways to create, I think it keeps us all excited and anxious to see just what is coming next.

So I will close with that today, and get to work on something new. I am still awaiting my 'creating supplies' for the new pieces. They should be here any day though and I promise to share them with you when I begin working with them.

I hope this will be fun and interesting for you all to see. I also hope it gets you thinking in other directions for creating things yourself. A whole world of fun awaits us all!

Have a wonderful Tuesday!  

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

7 comments so far

View Rick13403's profile


271 posts in 4554 days

#1 posted 11-11-2014 03:42 PM

Good morning Sheila, I am looking forward to see the new direction that you are going in. I am always amazed by your creativity and how it all relates to each other.

-- Rick - DeWalt 788 & Ex21 -

View Steven Davis's profile

Steven Davis

118 posts in 3964 days

#2 posted 11-11-2014 04:06 PM

Sheila -

Check out James Gurney, of Dinotopia, good blog and books on drawing things you can’t see.

-- Steven Davis - see me at

View CFrye's profile


11209 posts in 2890 days

#3 posted 11-11-2014 07:07 PM

I can totally relate to the need to look at something. Will be fun to follow this path with you, Shiela. As always, thanks for letting us tag along.

-- God bless, Candy

View CFrye's profile


11209 posts in 2890 days

#4 posted 11-11-2014 07:48 PM

Steven, thanks for the heads up on the James Gurney blog. Son is a big fan!

-- God bless, Candy

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3970 days

#5 posted 11-11-2014 07:51 PM

Hi, everyone! Thank you for the nice comments and Steven – thank you for the lead on James Gurney. I will definitely look into it. I am always open to learning new ways to do things. I appreciate your helping out. It will be fun to explore the different options that are open. :)


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

View Celticscroller's profile


1286 posts in 3123 days

#6 posted 11-11-2014 11:37 PM

Beautiful Teddy Sheila. She has a very expressive face. Love the way you did the muzzle. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with next. Your creativity has no bounds!

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3970 days

#7 posted 11-12-2014 10:58 AM

Thank you Anna! I loved my teddy bears. It was a great part of my creative life. I do have some other wonderful things ahead though and I hope I enjoy them just as much. Thank you for joining me in my creative journey! It is so much more fun to have company along the way! :)


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

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