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My first Teddy

… creating somethig for the first time will suck.

I made my first art teddy! Hooray!

I was so excited when I bought an art teddy bear pattern from Tamara Chernova @lorlila_teddy. I printed the tutorial and the template, transferred the body parts into the fabric, cut them out and started to sew. Then, I stopped. My stitches were terrible and I began to worry that this teddy would not be perfect, so "what was the point?" I asked myself.

It was arrogant to think I could create anything perfectly the first time and it led to turning a fantastic adventure of making into an unpleasant chore I have to do. So I put everything away for six months.

I finally picked up the project after so long. This time I finished the teddy in only four evenings. This time I was not expecting great results and was concentrating more on the process and practice. I learned a lot about the art of sewing teddies, artistic ego, fear of failing, patience, freedom to experiment, acceptance that things will suck for the first time, and how to approach a new project with less anxiety.

It sounds like I should already know this, but growth is a spiral rather than a straight line. We learn the same stuff repeatedly, but each time with a little more wisdom and knowledge about our craft and ourselves.

I started my artistic journey pretty late in life, so I guess I am trying to make up for the "lost" time. Of course, I wish to create everything beautiful straight away and fast, but it doesn't work like that. 

Here are a few lessons I learned

  • Take your time and observe your emotions.
    Don't overwhelm yourself. It doesn't have to be done yesterday. If you feel anxious, just take a step back, do whatever you do to relax and think. Ask yourself 'why do you feel uneasy'? Approach a new skill step by step. Do you remember a similar project you made in the past? You probably created something before that was new to you back then. You started and finished it then so that you can do it again now! 

    in fact, if you are afraid of trying this new thing, it probably means that you should do it. It means you care about this project or this experience. You know deep down that this adventure will teach you what you want and need to learn.

  • It's OK to quit.
    You don't have to finish all projects. Sometimes in the middle of a piece of work, you may lose interest or purpose in making it. That's OK. You are not a failure or a quitter by doing this. Don't listen to people or your ego. You are brave and honest with yourself for noticing this is going nowhere, and you will be happier to focus your energy on a different project. But before you quit, ask yourself why you are quitting. Sometimes there is more than just boredom. Sometimes you are afraid to fail. Be honest with yourself and if you are scared, then continue reading this post.

    I stopped making my teddy and picked it up after six months. Yes, it took me six months to find the courage to create him. But this was one of those projects I couldn't quit. This was a project I had to pursue and finish.   

  • Your first project will not be perfect!
    You will take a massive weight off your shoulders when you start creating something new without any expectations. Accept it will not be perfect, and you are free. When you are free and relaxed you will be less frustrated if it doesn't go right, because you are already prepared for it. Think of it as a time to experiment and play, explore and learn. So, take notes and write down everything you realized you need to practice more, write down all your mistakes. For example, one of my biggest mistakes was that I put soft instead of heavy stuffing in my teddy's legs, and he was out of balance. The weight of his belly had been pulling him down, and he couldn't sit straight.

  • Talk to your ego.
    Talk to your ego and make them shut up! This is not the time to be the best. Remind your ego or "your false self"; (this is what spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle calls the ego) - that this is time to learn and make as many mistakes as you like. The more mistakes you make, the more you will learn.

  • Do something easy first and build confidence.
    If it turns out that this is too hard for you to create now, then try something similar, but for beginners. After finishing a less complex project, you will have more confidence to start a more difficult one.

  • Make notes.
    Document your experience so you can remember and learn from it. Try to answer these questions:

    1. What was easy to make within the project and what was challenging?
    2. Which steps did you enjoy and which did you want to finish as quickly as possible?
    3. How did your project turn out by following pattern or lesson instructions? 
    4. Would you write some parts of the tutorial differently? Was the tutorial/lesson easy to follow or not? 
    5. What skills and techniques do you need to learn or improve to do a better job next time?

I hope my experience will help you as well!

Have a great & creative day!

"Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly."

Robert F. Kennedy
My  first Teddy
My  first Teddy
My  first Teddy

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