My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1538: The Cast of Characters

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 04-17-2015 11:57 AM 1552 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1537: Learning from Mistakes Part 1538 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1539: Task Lamp Steampunk Makeover »

I skipped posting yesterday because I felt there was little new that I had to show you. I know that sometimes when that happens, I find something interesting for a 'filler post', but I didn't want to take the time to think in other directions. I was on a mission. 

The new project that I have begun working on has consumed me. I find myself thinking about it most of the waking hours of my day, and even as I awake momentarily in the middle of the night to roll over. It has been a long while since something has taken over so much of my thought process. I suppose that is one of the reasons that I know it is time to create. I need to get this done.

Painting the poles for the six main characters of the project took longer than I expected. It wasn't because it was difficult, but for the most part, I consciously took my time. On a good day, I am what you call a 'slow painter'. Things take me sometimes twice as long to accomplish what I see others do so quickly. But usually when I paint, I am not just pushing a paint brush around – I am thinking. Some may refer to it as daydreaming, but I prefer to think of it as planning. Envisioning. Calculating. This is especially true when I am finding my way through a new creation. I have been told that things come 'easy' to me. From the outside, it may appear to be so. But that is only because while I am slowly and methodically going through the process by outer appearances, on the inside my mind is on fast forward. Trying one method and process at a time until I figure out the best fit for the next step. One by one eliminating possibilities until I find the best one and am ready to move forward. This was especially true for what I am working on now. 

I'll be honest in saying that I was terrified in moving ahead. When I got to the point on my last post where the pole was finished, I was happy with the result:

However, it was now time for the 'real work' and my next step would (I feel) make or break the entire project. I knew if I wasn't able to make it come out as I envisioned, I wouldn't be happy with anything else about it and I would probably need to scrap the entire idea. 

After spending a good part of the day on all the usual distractions (the computer, getting the mail, tidying up the house, etc.) I held my breath and came to a point where I had to just sit down and paint. I truly didn't even realize that I was 'stalling' until I looked at the clock and it was nearly 4pm. Another day was nearly finished and while I did finish the last bit of the bases for these pieces, it should have only taken me about an hour instead of three or four. It was time to "just do it" and hope for the best. 

I was happy that I flubbed the first piece that I showed you. Since then, I had re-drawn the piece to correct the error and then re-cut, sanded and painted it so I would be all caught up. That was one of the distractions – albeit a justified one. The incorrect piece came in handy though, as I used it for the first attempt when I moved forward. This way, if I messed things up again, I would still have the six good pieces that I need for my subsequent efforts. It helped ease the pressure I put on myself – just a bit. 

I finally sat down and just started painting. After trying to draw on the piece first with a chalk pencil, I figured out that it only caused unnecessary hardship and decided that painting free hand worked much better. I actually liked it:

With each piece, I became more confident. One looked nicer than the next. While the first piece took me the better part of an hour to finish, by the time I got a couple under my belt, things came much easier. I think the last three pieces only took me about 20 minutes each. It was a major victory for me. 

As you can tell by now, these are carousel animals. The project will be a vignette of a Haunted Carousel scene. I am going to build an entire carousel, complete with animals, benches and a canopy top. It will be situated on a lazy Susan mechanism, so it will actually spin. 

Every element of it will be unique and detailed. I have been going over things in my mind and figuring out how to make it work. My goal is to not only offer the pattern, but a full wood 'kit' of pieces for those who do not cut wood, and smaller sub-kits as well for those who may not want the entire project. 

The six skeletal animals are the focal points and 'stars' of the piece. I decided to have a horse, giraffe, frog, rabbit and dragon. And (of course) a cat:

I think that these six pieces alone will make a splendid ornament set. They would look wonderful on a wreath, mantle, or even Halloween tree. I will be adding to them as I go along, and I still have a few surprises in store. 

You can see now how this part of the project was so important. But there is so much more to do yet! It is probably my most ambitious project to date, and I realize that while it may or may not sell, it just had to be done. Sometimes you have to do things for yourself, and no other reason. 

I am going to continue to work on this throughout the weekend. There is much to do and I have to start thinking about the next step and the next  pieces. One by one I have been sorting elements out in my mind and thinking of how I will make everything come together. So far, so good. 

In all honesty, I will probably deviate from this project from time to time. I am sure it will take several weeks to complete, and I think it will be good for me to do other things in between. There will be those times when I will need to step back and get away from it, so I can come back with a fresher perspective. But that is OK. 

I already have drawings for other, unrelated projects that I have been working on. I was never one to meander back and forth between designs – at least not in the real world (I do it all the time in my mind). But this will be the exception. 

I hope you will enjoy taking this journey with me. Sharing it here will help me keep on track and keep moving forward. I think in the end, it will be something that I will be very proud of.  I hope so anyway. 

I wish you all a wonderful weekend. Nearly all of our snow is gone now, except for the once huge piles on the sides of some of the roads. We have definitely made it to the other side of winter, and I can honestly say I am happy to see it go. 

Happy Friday to you all! Enjoy your day!

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

3 comments so far

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3577 days

#1 posted 04-17-2015 07:28 PM

Those are just cool

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Celticscroller's profile


1286 posts in 2846 days

#2 posted 04-18-2015 03:03 AM

What a cool project! This will made a very cool carousel.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3693 days

#3 posted 04-18-2015 02:10 PM

Thank you so much Anna and Roger. I hope it works out well. So far . . . so good. :)

Have a great weekend! :)


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

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