Little Thing magazine

I am absolutely thrilled by my profile in Little Thing, a Chinese lifestyle and fashion magazine. I just received a copy and I’m blown away. Look at this!

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It is a calendar for 2014!

The theme of this issue is Grandma Style- too funny.

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Here are my pages and as usual, I have no idea what it says. Hopefully something insightful and witty. Notice my neighbor- Jenny Hart. Good company, eh?

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And here is the index if you want to see what else is in this beautiful publication-

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If you are interested in getting a copy, they have a facebook page for international sales here. They also have an instagram feed with loads of beautiful pics including this amazing little video of the pop-up in the magazine. Here is a link to Google image search which has lots of pages and gives a great idea of the look of the magazine. I am putting the article pictures into my Flickr stream. You can look at them in a large size if you want to.

My top 10 2013 review

the above photo has nothing to do with this post or the weather today. I just thought it was pretty :)

I know, I know, time to move on! But stay with me, I need to do these reviews to think about where I want to go this new year. I’m just a little bit late.

2013 has been pretty awesome over here in my public art life. There have been a few blips (some kind of major) in the private life, but in general it has been a surprisingly good year. Here are my top 10 of 2013!

#1 is Teaching. I decided that 2013 was going to be the year I pushed myself out of the house and did more teaching. I threw myself into the fire at Gather Here where I was the January artist-in-residence. I taught 4 classes on 6 consecutive days. By the end of that week I felt like I’d run a marathon, exhausted but so proud of myself. I taught there again in April, then in San Francisco, at ArtRetreat in New Hampshire, and twice at the New England Quilt Museum. So far this year I am scheduled to teach the Tiny Worlds at Gather Here next weekend, The Makerie/Sweet Paul Retreat in March, and ArtRetreat in August again. I’m so excited!

#2 is Dolls. Wow- 144 dolls- The most ever! And my new line of friends at Land Of Nod. Yes, those are my cover dogs!

#3 is all the Selling. I did 3 in-person Markets in 2013- Renegade San Francisco, Renegade Chicago, and Crafty Bastards Washington, DC. My online sales are mostly through Etsy but this year I did a flash sale on One Kings Lane. Amazing- sold out in under 2 hours!

#4 is direct sales. Because I sell directly to customers, I get a lot of wonderful emails with stories and compliments. Among the best of this year- A tattooed man is hanging in the office of someone who works at the fabric manufacturer of the toile, a tiny world was part of a marriage proposal, one of the man dolls accompanied someone to their chemo treatments. I get to know that I am a special part of a lot of peoples’ gift-giving- even when they are buying that gift for themselves! Makes me happy.

#5 is Instagram. I love it. It has made me much more active about posting process photos and also posting on Facebook. Follow me if you want- I’m mimikirchner.

#6 is Patterns. I only got one new one out this year (hey- I got kinda busy!) but they continue to sell and give me a passive income which help me do this crazy doll thing that I love.

#7 is the Eyes of the Internet. I’m referring to this. The bad, sad, angry-making, frustrating thing. I strongly believe that by putting my work out for the world to see, I am safer than if I kept it under wraps and private. I will always hear from you all if someone is copying my artwork. I am so grateful. And sometimes the bad times can have a happy ending.

#8 is Putting Myself Out There. I was in Sweet Paul Magazine (here), Make Art That Sells, and Crescendoh.com where I wrote an essay for the Art Saves column. I had 2 pieces in a show of tattoo art in France. I also joined the fun with my friend Liz and was interviewed on her show, Makers in Business.

#9 is Doing the Hard Things. I leaped right out of my comfort zone and said yes to doing the Holiday window at Gather Here (still there if you are local to Cambridge, MA). I made 15 Tiny Worlds for it including some that pushed the boundaries of anything I’ve tried before. I took a weekend intensive class in Illustrator. Hopefully something sunk in and it will show up in a pattern or 2 this year. I said yes to some things this year and no to other things. Both/either can be scary.

#10 is Friends. That is you, all my blog readers. And my Crafty Biz meet-up buds who I see (at least) once a month and we talk about all the biz stuff. And Lilla, my so generous, meet for coffee and talk about the important design stuff, friend. And all the people I’ve “known” online and met in person this year- Betz, Mati, Lisa. The those that I’ve known online and in-real-life and got to see again this year- Susan, Sonya. And the friends on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Yes, a very good year. I stretched myself in good directions and feel stronger for it. Bring on 2014- I am ready!!!

all the things, 2013!

Happy New Year everybody!

My dolls of 2013- 6 babies, 29 foxes, 1 musician,

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And, 17 Tiny Worlds too!

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Fantastic news and resolution!

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I am working with West Elm, designing a line of ornaments for 2014!!! Sometimes great things happen as a result of bad. Remember all of this mess with Cody Foster and the copying and all? West Elm contacted me as a result and I am now busy working on some very fun and exciting designs. I can’t show anything at this point but I am thrilled to bits!

This has been an amazing year and I am planning an overview, but I didn’t want this news to get lost in a big long list. And these ornaments in the photos have nothing to do with the West Elm job, though the one below is something I made a million or 20 years ago.

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ripped off again

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”-

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These are the lumberjack ornaments that Cody Foster produced-

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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.

Abigail Brown wrote about it here. I love her incredible birds.

Wolfie and the Sneak.

West Elm reacted quickly once the story came out.

The story was picked up by Yahoo News.

Jezebel.com focused on Lisa’s story. It even made it onto Boingboing.

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.

LATimes article.

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.