They are have an event called 6 Weeks of Softies that includes a contest with all kinds of amazing prizes! All the info is here, if you want to learn more.
#16 Delores! The giveaway is now closed. Thanks everyone who participated- it was great fun to read all the comments!
Well, that is an odd collection of things! This is how they are all related-
Hurray! Today is my blog birthday- it has been 11 years! I have been working on felt you-deserve-a-medal prototypes (more on that later) so I made myself one. Don’t I look mighty proud?
My medal says blogger- it has a gold star for 10 years plus a white star for 1 year.
These are the rest of the medal prototypes I’ve been making, inspired by many things including this fellow, Lord Kitchener.
And the reason for the prototypes? This is a class I will be teaching (a project I will be leading?) at the ARC, the Art Stream Art Retreat Camp. There is a story about where the idea started. Last year, at one of the markets I was doing, someone came into my booth, looked around and asked, “Why are these so expensive?” I hate that question. It immediately puts me on the defensive and I get all huffy. Later I was thinking that one of the reasons I charge what I do is that I’ve done the work, I’ve been validated as an artist, I have a seal of approval. And wouldn’t it be great to have an actual seal of approval that I could pull out! And medals for all the “battles” I’ve fought along the way. Really, we all have fought the battles, have the scars, and deserve the medal so lets make our own.
Lastly, the patterns. Back here I talked about why I pulled my patterns from Etsy. Well, it looks like they’ve got things figured out so I will be putting them all back up. To celebrate, I have lowered the price of all the patterns to $8 for all of February. Here is a shop link.
And guess what? More snow on the way!
Yes, I’m late. 2014 was a very busy year, maybe a bit too busy. And 2015 is starting out the same. I am just getting to this now because I have been hard at work doing exactly what I was doing last year at this time- designing a new line of ornaments for West Elm for the 2015 Holidays! This week I went to Brooklyn to deliver them in person and meet my contacts there.
totally random photo-
This list will be of the a lot good and a little bit bad variety.
Teaching- I taught at Gather Here in January (Tiny World pin cushion) and again in February (owls). Then in March, I headed down to New York to teach at the Sweet Paul Makerie event which was beyond amazing. I reached out to see if anyone was interested in classes while I was in San Francisco in July but got no interest. After that, nothing.
This year? I am teaching again this month at Gather Here. And I am going to the Sweet Paul Makerie in Philadelphia, but this year I am going to play instead of teach. I can’t wait! Hopefully there will be more teaching gigs- I will keep you informed.
Shows- I did 3 shows again this year- San Francisco Renegade, Chicago Renegade, and Crafty Bastards in Washington, DC. None of them was fantastic and it is making me rethink doing the shows. The shows are expensive and stressful but I get to see show-goers interact with my artwork and always meet amazing people. Unfortunately, my work is expensive compared to most of the vendors at the shows I do and I see so many disappointed faces which is very disheartening. The people that come to the shows are the ones who like my work, might be potential future customers, but are not ready to spend $$$ the first time they see my work. It is not as easy as switching to higher end shows since I am not sure my buyers would be there. My best “show” of the year was the pop-up shop at the Sweet Paul Makerie so I will be trying to think more creatively about this. Currently I am planning to take a year off from craft shows.
Dolls- of course! It was a banner year for making dolls!
Media- Little Thing magazine is amazing and I was delighted when I saw my profile, although I have no idea what it says! And I was in the New York Magazine 2014 Holiday Gift guide- that was pretty cool too.
Patterns- No new patterns in 2014 and I am really sorry about that. To make things worse, the EU has implemented a very complicated tax system on all digital products (as of Jan. 2015) that is impossible for a micro business person like me to deal with. Etsy did nothing to help it’s sellers deal with this problem, such as making it possible to sell only in the non-EU countries. As a result, I have pulled all my patterns from Etsy for the time being. I am sure something will get figured out eventually and I will let you know when they are available through Etsy again. That doesn’t give me any incentive to make any new patterns right now since I can’t sell them. Sigh.
Other stuff- I made a quilt for my daughter and flew out to Chicago to deliver it and have a fun, cold, weekend.
Yes, a very busy year. Let’s see what 2015 brings me!
Happy New Year!
2014 = 156 dolls! Wow- that is my most ever in one year!
I made 17 girl foxes and 15 boy foxes.
I made 25 dogs including the pugs.
6 swaddled babies and 12 owls-
16 tattooed ladies-
and 47 (!!!!) assorted tattooed men!
This is my picture of the year with the most views on flickr (almost 40,000!), most likes on Facebook and on Instagram. It is always interesting and I can never predict what will catch peoples’ fancy!
Do you know what day it is today? My blog’s 10th birthday! It is mind-boggling that I’ve been doing this for 10 years!
This is the first picture in the first post.
Things that I posted in the first 18 months or so are kind of a mess- pics sized wrong, posts duplicated, pics missing. Most of that is a result of upgrades (?) over the years I think. Anyway, so many posts, so many dolls, so many friends, so many amazing opportunities have come out of doing this. I had no idea where it would all lead when I started!
Here is something from the first year- Halloween 2004, a Dr. Who scarf for Peter.
And, here he is this past Christmas, same scarf-
Peter grew and so did the scarf!
So, a reminder to myself- you never know where those first steps will lead!
Maybe you’ve been wondering why, if you follow all the social media, I haven’t posted anything over here about the copying mess with Cody Foster. Well, I was taking a few day off to relax after the crazy busy last 5 months… and then it all blew up. I had very little access to internet. Now I am home and trying to catch up with all the emails and everything else and thinking about what I ought to do.
Here is the deal. My lumberjack dolls from 2011 which are the ones most likely to have been used as “models”-
These are the lumberjack ornaments that Cody Foster produced-
I was originally notified about 1 1/2 weeks ago by someone I am connected with online that there was a striking resemblance. She has a flickr page to document the copying by this company. (She used a more recent lumberjack of mine as her reference.) I was in the middle of a big push for a deadline. I glanced at the tiny photo and thought, Oh Well, they aren’t that similar and I’m too busy to think about with this right now. On Tuesday I got several more emails and on Wednesday, well, everything blew up. And then I went and looked at the photos again. I searched and found a larger photo and that is when I saw the similarities- the details like the bottoms of the suspenders and how they made the eyes. Ugh.
Lisa Congdon wrote a blog post about the blatant copies of her work. She has a huge social network and the story took off like wild fire. If you are interested this story, here are a whole lot of links to articles and posts.
The story was picked up by Yahoo News.
FastCompany article here and a follow-up with a response from Fab.com. This is an excellent article because it talks about how easy it is to copy and get away with it. The cost of fighting these battles is too high for almost any indie designer.
As you might know if you have been here a while, this is not the first time this has happened to me. Now that I am home, I need to figure out what I’m going to do. Lawyer-ing up is probably not a financial option. I feel like a wimp even thinking of just letting it go, or even limiting the fighting to social media, but this kind of thing is incredibly draining. It is depressing and pulls energy away from my creative work. Right now, this minute, I am most angry that this whole mess ruined my vacation. I have been working flat out, 7 days a week kind of schedule, for many many months. It feels so unfair that the minute I take a few days off… yeah, I know. Get over it!
Here is the positive side of things- I have incredible faith in the internet to keep this kind of evil in check. I am regularly contacted by people who have seen things online that they think are copies of my work. They do this because they love what I do and they are protective. I appreciate this more than I can express. The eyes of the internet keep us all honest, hopefully.
And the funny- I got an email from etsy telling me that one of my listings (this lumberjack) was getting a lot of views! Subject line- Congrats! One of your items is very popular.
Soon I will get back to regular programming.
I’ve got various random bits of news. I’m teaching a Tiny World class at Gather Here on April 13 and 14. Come join the fun! This class is suitable for anyone who can thread a needle.
We were away for a few days at a family gathering. On the way home we stopped at a few beaches along the East Coast and saw many signs of the damage from Hurricane Sandy. But still, the beach is so beautiful.
And one more thing- Instagram. I can’t stay away. I’m mimikirchner over there if you want to find me.
My Christmas sewing this year- reusable lunch bags and shopping bags-
- a new floor in the studio! I know it doesn’t seem like much but I love scooting around in my chair.
- I went to Honk! It was AMAZING!
- I got to meet Sonya for the first time when I went to SF. We’ve been internet buddies for years and it was a thrill to give her a hug in person. And then we got to meet again!
- My monthly meet-up with other like-minded crafty-biz people. We are starting our 4th year in January! This meet-up started from a New Years resolution and all I can say is, if you want something in your life, sometimes you really can make it happen!
- And Ryan, my 5 hour a week helper. It has been great fun having someone to talk to on a schedule.
Other important events of the year-
- I took Sister Diane‘s class about doing on-line classes. I quickly realized that I really didn’t want to do it. And that was absolutely worth taking the class to figure out. It became clear to me that doing the classes involves a lot of tech support- not something I want to do. And, being the kind of person I am, I would likely be unable to do any other work during the duration of the class- too distracting.
- I did 3 Renegade shows- Brooklyn, San Francisco and Chicago. I decided not to do any Holiday shows this year- the right decision for my sanity but maybe not for my business. Hard to know.
Tomorrow I will post my dolls of 2012.
#92, Betty from Kentucky! Congratulations! And thanks so much to everyone who entered.
and a garden picture so this post will have some color.
I’m off for a quick trip to Connecticut but I will be back to work by mid-week.
I am going to try to get the Generals into my Etsy shop soon.
I am getting my summer plans firmed up. Brooklyn Renegade- I will be in the NY area from June 22 to June 26
and San Francisco Renegade- I’ll be in the SF area from July 19 to July 27. WooHoo, a vacation!