Monday, November 28, 2016

My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1805: The "Bunny Blunder"

I’ll start this post off by mentioning that it was a wonderful and productive weekend. After all the nice comments on my sloth picture, I was happy and very encouraged to continue in some of the directions that I have been heading. I am actually quite humbled by the kind comments I received from everyone, and it just goes to show the power of kind words and encouragement. I really felt like an “artist.” (That may seem basic, but any artist knows that it is certainly not a given.) 

I had quite a long ‘to do’ list of what I wanted to accomplish this weekend. Since the USA Thanksgiving was over, it was high time that I began thinking of decorating for the upcoming holiday season. After all – it would come and go quickly, as all of these past months have done. For that I was sure.  

But first, I had some orders to cut. Lately, I work in my shop probably two days of the week. I try to get cuttings done as quickly as they are ordered, and with each session, I add in a few extra pieces to build my stock. It really helps when things are busy. (Which is always, lately!) 

I realized that I haven’t shown my shop lately. (Actually – I have been pretty bad with showing any progress I have made with the house here. I promise to do better in the future!)  I really, really LOVE going up there to work. What a far cry it is from having to cut my pieces in my small kitchen as I did at our old place!  While we made it work for nearly eight years, it was definitely time to find a better way. And that we did! 

I feel like a queen in my new workplace! 

It is big, bright and yes – it is always that CLEAN.  When I showed the photos on Facebook, a lot of people mentioned that it looked “too clean” and should be a mess if it is functional. 

“Why?”, I ask?? How would that make it better? 

You can see that it is all hard surfaces – wood floors, closed cabinets, etc. – so that it is very easy to vacuum the dust after each session of work. It takes a few minutes and then next time I come into work, it is a pleasant, clean and most importantly SAFE environment.  There is nothing at all wrong with that. 

As you can see, the only tools that I use in the shop are the scroll saw, drill press, and the small router. Since I do smaller, project work and I am not building furniture, it is more than adequate for my purposes. We have a small table saw at Keith’s mom’s that we use in the basement to cut our wood to size. We don’t have a planer or a jointer, and we have our friend Bernie or the lumber mill do that part for us. It may not be a full shop, but it is functional for our own purposes and works well for us. 

I also took a photo when I was about midway through the work I was cutting:

Since the shop-vac is right next to me, it is easy to just turn it on and clean up the dust every half hour or so and keep ahead of it. That way I don’t track it all over the house if I leave to go downstairs and it really does keep everything pretty clean. There is usually a light layer of dust on the floor and the nearby tools and tool box, but a quick vacuum of those surfaces keeps everything clean and fresh. It is easy, fast, and as I mentioned, keeps things safe. Also – putting things away after I use them in the proper place means that I am not spending time looking for things when I could be working. People often ask how I accomplish so much in my day, and I am certain it is because I take the time to stay organized.  No – I am not perfect, but in general, putting things where they belong when I am done with them is a habit and works for me. After all – wouldn’t you rather walk into a shop like this to start a large job than a MESS?  I know it makes me happy! Add in my cordless headphones and I am definitely in my 'happy place’! 

After finishing cutting on Saturday, I spend Sunday doing a variety of things. I did put away all of my autumn-themed decorations and I brought up the boxes of Christmas stuff. My pretty Mums that were planted outside had all died by now, so I went out there and pulled them all up out of the front garden.  I began decorating a little bit (there will be blogs about that in the next several days) but I realized that I really don’t have as much as I would like. Now that we are in a large home, we have so much more space to fill to make things look 'festive’. Since we were in a small place before, I had downsized quite a bit. Now I look around and realize just how many open, blank walls and spaces I have to fill. I had better get busy! 

I decided to decorate little by little, as I am still in the process of deciding where everything would go. I wanted to spend some time painting, as I have a deadline due at the end of the week for a project at ToleTown and while I had it clear in my head, I needed to get moving on it. 

It began nice enough, and I got the background of the piece in nicely.  But as I started doing the main subject (a bunny) I found myself feeling 'lost’. I struggled with him for an hour or so and eventually he became quite the mess:

I wound um re-base coating his head as shown above. Not very pretty is he??  

So why am I showing you my 'blunder’?

After the weekend of praise over my sloth, I want to show you all that it isn’t always a given that things go smoothly. As an artist, I find that each project has its’ challenges. It is sometimes difficult for me to switch back and forth from the kind of art that is intended to be what I call 'fine art’ and the kind of art that is meant to be reproduced and taught to others. Those of you who do both kinds of art know that there is quite a distinction between the two. Apparently, the gears in my head hadn’t switched back from one phase to the other. After making a mess of the bunny, I thought it best to let it alone for the night and come back to it today. I hope things go better. 

My point is that we shouldn’t be discouraged by our failures. I thought a bit about where I went wrong with the bunny and I think I can do things differently and salvage him and make him 'teachable’ in the process. I will be making a video to go with this class, so you will certainly all see the process that I will settle on. I am determined to make him work. :) 

So that is what is on today’s agenda along with the usual tasks. I am sure it will be a full day and hopefully it will have a good outcome for the bunny project. We will just have to see … 

Happy Monday to you all! 

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