My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1716: Developing Your Own Sense of Style

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 04-06-2016 12:06 PM 907 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1715: Back to "Normal" Part 1716 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1717: Overcoming Self-Doubt »

I did a funny thing yesterday. I wrote a blog in the morning and while I posted it on Lumberjocks (the woodworking site) I forgot to post it on my own site, Facebook, or any of the other places that I usually share it.  I suppose I am not quite back to 'normal' after all! 

I am finding that getting back into stride is a little bit more of a process than I would have thought. It seems that sometimes once our general routine is changed or suspended, it isn't always easy to go back to how things were. New habits and routines are formed and it takes a conscious effort to decided which direction to head – the old or the 'new'. 

While I was down with my cold, I didn't really feel like creating. That alone tells you how sick I was. With all the excitement of the many projects that I have planned, I found my energy level was so low that I had little drive or ambition to do much. I did what was required and little more. I also took several naps. I think this was necessary though, as I was not sleeping very well at night, so I would wake up tired. 

But as I began feeling better and still wasn't up for painting or drawing or cutting on the scroll saw, I began watching many of the instructional videos on the internet which taught various techniques in several different medias. Not only did this make good use of my time, but it introduced me to many new ways of creating and showed me some alternative ways to do things that I was already familiar with doing. It was not only inspiring, but I feel that it made me even more excited about what I do. There is always something new to learn.

Little by little, as I got better my enthusiasm once again returned. I have more ideas than ever for new projects and I can't wait to get to all of them. I think you will like them as well.

This experience reminded me just how valuable it is to learn from several different teachers. The cumulative knowledge you gain from several teaching the same technique will not only give you the greatest amount of resources to pull on, but it will also help you develop a style of your own, by picking and choosing your favorite methods or techniques to create.

We all have our favorite genre or teacher. But when we are creating our own designs, we don't want to be a cookie cutter copy of those we admire. We want to develop our own unique style and we want to be recognized not for copying someone else, but for our own individuality and direction. For most of us, it takes years of learning and sampling from many different individuals and our own style develops over a lengthy process. It doesn't happen overnight.

I began designing painting and scroll saw patterns when I began thinking beyond the patterns that were in front of me. After I learned the basic techniques, I began to deviate from the patterns little by little. Before long, I found that I didn't really need patterns at all, and took the step of creating my own designs. To me, this was a satisfying extension of an already enjoyable past time. It began at a very early age and it has evolved over many years of making things. It is, I feel, what I was meant to do. 

I understand that designing is not for everyone. I have known many, many very talented artists and craftspeople who will only create from a pattern. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Without people like that, I wouldn't have a business. I, myself like to do that from time to time when my brain is weary. Besides – there are so many wonderful designers that I admire and I love to create their work. I don't think I will ever stop making the designs of others or buying patterns. It is part of what makes me "me".

Yesterday I spent the bulk of the day cutting again. I was fortunate to have some more wood kits ordered, and it was not a hardship to spend the day at the saw. As usual, I had my headphones on and my favorite music playing and I was in my "happy place". Keith even helped with dinner, which was a big bonus! 

After dinner, I cleaned things up and it was probably close to 9pm before I settled. But I wanted to work on  my "Day 4" ornaments from Lynne Andrews' "12 Days of Christmas" project that I am making. For those who haven't read, I am making six sets for some close friends and family (and one for me!) and painting one "Day" a month to send to them throughout the year. The 12th ornament will be done in December – just in time for Christmas. (You can join my Facebook group that I started to join in or just watch our progress here: 12 Days of  Christmas Ornaments by Lynne Andrews - We are Making Them! It is a wonderful group and we are really enjoying the process. 

I am getting close to finishing up my Day 4 ornaments and hopefully I will do so in the next couple of days. I love them and I think they are looking really nice:

The entire set is going to be beautiful together! (ALL of Lynne's designs are amazing!)  

I have cut probably over 2000 of these ornaments for the members of the group and I must say, doing so has improved my scroll sawing skills a great deal. Those of you who scroll know that cutting a 'perfect' circle can be a challenge, but after doing a couple of thousand of them, it is just about second nature to me. I have very few 'boo-boos' and I am very proud of the quality of the pieces that I offer. It is all good. 

I am going to sign off for now, as I need to get my orders packed so I can post them today. Then I have the day to work on a new project that I am designing for an online magazine. More to come on that tomorrow. :)   Hopefully I will remember to post today's entry everywhere it should be! 

It is bright and sunny here in Nova Scotia today, albeit a bit cool. But I love the sunshine and I look forward to what the day will bring. I hope you all have a wonderful day too. Remember to sample all that the world has to offer. It will enrich your lives and help you develop your own sense of style. 

Happy Wednesday to you all! 

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

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