It began with my mentor pointing out my stinginess. I had little money for presents, but he countered that I had my craft: “Give it away; it will come back to you.” I ignored his advice. No, it wasn’t a miserable holiday. People were generous to me. Eventually, it began to sink in that he was correct. But for years, I was not creating and had little to give. So like many of us, I bought for others.
When I re-established the business in the early ’90s, I created lists of things I needed to improve on before opening my business – right at the top was lettering.
I’ve always needed to link learning with meaningful work – so I planned projects that targeted lettering proficiency but would then become presents. The photo shows two examples. I made signs and other carved projects for a long list of nieces, nephews, sons, and daughters of friends, and of course, my kids. By Christmas, I had mastered all the serifs, ascenders, and descenders needed and made a lot of people happy. Cost? Almost nothing. I used odd cuts of wood; the only expenses had been for paint, glitter, and varnish.
My present to myself was a gift of increased skills and sharing the happiness I had created.
As I write this, I am planning some new products; the spring is always my most productive time for new things. That means it’s a product development and gift planning time. Need free product development advice; give a gift and ask: ” Terry, these boxes are something I’m developing. I’d love to get your input on them.”
Dare I say it! Do good while doing well? Try it; making someone happy is an excellent use for a craft skill.
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What a great gift item! To pass along something crafted by you. Did you find one style of lettering to be the most difficult? Nowadays, there are all kinds of workshops to learn how to paint/stencil signs. Carving something would be even better yet!
Chancery and Celtic uncial lettering styles are difficult. You have to set up your curved cuts carefully so no overcutting occurs. I like to avoid these styles! The basic skills are those of chip carving which are easy to learn and require limited equipment ( a knife or two, a non-slip surface, compass, and pencil). My Motto is to make presents while you learn.
Nothing like an original piece of work!
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