Morning Coffee Blog: Happy Accidents

Happy Little Puppets

Really fun stream yesterday. We started on the Smally, a free pattern now available from The Creature Works Studio. Tom Stewart, the principal behind Creature Works, is a long -established pro builder and has dropped by the streams from time to time. Also a very nice chap.

It’s a good thing Tom was there cuz there was a hilarious part where I failed to read the pattern correctly and almost cut some the wrong shape. Thankfully Tom caught it and course corrected me before the damage was done, and we all had a good laugh.

I’m glad that happened as it’s illustrative of a point I keep making: the difference between a beginner and a pro isn’t that the pro doesn’t make mistakes, it’s that when they do, they either have the experience to know how to handle it or the experience to be able to improvise a solution. Experience is the common denominator.

This was one of my big takeaways when I did BJ Guyer’s wonderful courses for the Stan Winston School of Character Arts. By the time I did the courses I had already been building for a while and knew quite a lot of the basics. BJ positions the courses as beginner courses and that’s largely true, but watching BJ work really taught me valuable lessons and upped my own skills and confidence to a whole other level.

BJ’s courses are all archives of live streams that some lucky students got to participate in (I believe Tom Stewart was one of them) and as a result, not everything is perfect and polished. Stuff occasionally goes sideways or isn’t easy to demonstrate, and watching BJ, who is a well-established professional and among the best of the best, deal with it and talk through it taught me more about not just puppet building, but the best headspace to be in in order to cope with mistakes.

Which is why when I messed up yesterday, we had a laugh and moved on. When I was just starting I remember a sense of nervousness, of being afraid of making mistakes or failing, of having no confidence in my abilities, and I’m betting other beginners do to.

That feeling goes away the more you build. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. You always will. Only by making the mistakes can you learn why they are mistakes in the first place and how to move past them.

And now for some completely intentional coffee.

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