checking in

I have been working. I’m doing that part of the job where I am getting all the parts sorted out (matching dyed “tattooed” body piece to plain flesh color pieces and then cutting parts out), stuffing groups of already sewed animals (kitties and foxes) and giving them faces,

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and moving forward with dressing some of the them. I had a fox girl that I had promised to make so those are moving forward first.

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Soon I will have some finished pieces to show. But, the thing is, that really isn’t why I’ve been so quiet.

*** trigger warning for liberal politics- stop here if you can’t stand anymore***

I have just been so overwhelmed and distracted by what is happening here in the US. I have had a hard time focusing on my work. I get sucked into checking the news multiple times a day. My social media feeds (twitter, facebook) are filled with all the terrible news. I find myself thinking, I will just go peek and see what horrifying thing this new administration has done since the last time I looked. I know this is bad for me. I have to limit my exposure but I vacillate between feeling like I need to be informed and wanting to put my head under the covers and block everything out. I am a person who has struggled with depression my entire life but focusing on my work is what has kept me stable and functional for years now. I have to find my way back to my focus, and I know I will, but it is mental exercise and that is hard work.

This blog has never been a place for politics. Someone once told me that my blog was their little oasis from the real world. I am not planning on changing the focus of the blog. I will give a trigger warning if I feel like I need to vent again. But, I can’t remain completely silent. Someone in my life recently said to me, it doesn’t matter who won the election, they were both the same. Honestly, it ruined my day to think that anyone believes that and I consider it to be deliberate ignorance. We are at the beginning of a very scary time. I will be participating in some art projects as one of the ways I will express my resistance and that will be showing up here.

This is what I worked on all of Inauguration Day. It is for a community art project for the window at Gather Here.

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And this is what I posted on Saturday in solidarity with all the Women marching.

1-26-resist - 1 (1)Now that I’ve finally written this post, I am hoping I can get things back to normal around here, posting and all. I was feeling completely blocked so phew.

 

recap, 2016

I posted all the dolls, and now the rest of the things that happened last year.

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I started the year making foxes. They were for the window at Gather Here in Cambridge. And then I made more and more and more foxes until there were 18!

I also gave a talk about using social media at a local gallery in January. I did 2 talks this year because I also spoke about my work at a local church womens group in November. Getting in front of a group of people to talk is NOT my comfort zone but I do okay as long as I can show pictures and talk about the work.

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In the Spring I went to Craftcation in Ventura, California and had an amazing time. So amazing that I am going back this year and also will be teaching! After the conference, Ben and I spent a week in the LA area having a most excellent vacation. So Many Tacos!

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In May I found out that I had won an award from the Academy of Handmade for the Textiles:Woven division. I was so surprised and honored. I have my award hanging in my studio and it makes me happy whenever I look at it.

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Also in May, we had a family gathering in Brooklyn for my son’s graduation and MFA celebration. I am always up for a trip to NY!

In September I went to Nashville which was honestly, pretty much a bust. But that happens sometimes.

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In the fall, my 3rd line of ornaments came out at West Elm- an owl family. I was really pleased with how they turned out. Unfortunately, it looks like that is all for now- no new designs for 2017. Oh well, I was very happy to have the opportunity to work with them and was never expecting anything beyond the first year!

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The last big thing was CraftBoston Holiday which was terrific. I was so happy with how that went. I was invited to participate and I am so glad I jumped at the chance. It had never really occurred to me to apply because I didn’t think it would be the right fit for my work. I was wrong! Now I am excited to start moving in a new direction- namely higher end, more fine craft shows. It will be interesting to see how that works out.

Because of the CraftBoston Holiday show, I ended up in 2 separate gift guides in the Boston Globe on the weekend after Thanksgiving- that was amazing!

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So, it ended up being a pretty exciting year for me. Not everything was smooth or obvious or easy. I found the politics to be incredibly stressful but luckily for my artwork, the way I deal with stress is to go into my studio, shut the door, find an escapist audiobook, and get to work. I feel like I have a good idea of some new directions for me to pursue this year. I learned (reminded myself?) that I do better mentally, physically and creatively when I am busy and have deadlines. It is good for me to do shows and get out of the studio and be with people. I am hoping to do more teaching both locally and out in the bigger world. And, I want to get some more patterns made. I came to a crashing halt on more ornament patterns and I have to get back to them.

1-2-patterns-1And the pattern for the dog. There, I said it so maybe that will make it happen! So, another year goes by and another year to look forward to. Happy New Year everybody and thanks so much for coming and visiting and being on this journey with me!

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Handmade Wardrobe weekend

Have you heard about Sonya Philip‘s project, Summer Stitch Fest? It is all about making a handmade wardrobe. She is hoping to get people sewing, knitting, whatever, next weekend, July 29, 30, and 31, then posting online with the hashtag #summerstitchfest16. I am planning on participating and to warm up, I pulled out everything I’ve made so far this year and photographed it to show you. I tend to make a bunch of stuff when I am going to travel or have an event and then nothing for a long while. All the pics are things I made right before I went to LA in April.

The simplest first- a linen scarf. I actually made 2 but I couldn’t find the other one today! These are super easy to make. The one I couldn’t find is made of a drape-y shot cotton. I bought 2 yards, cut it down the middle the long way, zig-zagged the edge with a variegated thread and done! This one is seamed in the middle because I only had one yard but I wanted this color.

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Next is my favorite skirt pattern, Oliver & S Everyday skirt. This is the 4th one I’ve made. Easy, comfortable, pockets. I love it.

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Next, a linen shirt. I bought this linen at IKEA, a while back. I think it was meant for curtains but it makes an excellent shirt! This shirt has a pocket because I want pockets in everything. This is the second shirt I’ve made of this pattern. This and the next things are all made from patterns that I drafted from favorite clothing that wore out a long time ago.

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And 2 smocks/dresses. I wear this style most of the time, with long and short sleeve shirts, over jeans or skirts. They both have 2 side in-seam pockets.

I think this one looks a little like a Brownie uniform!

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I could only find one photo of me wearing any of these things. Here I am in LA last April.

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Hope to see you posting your handmade wardrobe next weekend!

I’m a winner!

Awards 2016 (25)

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! I feel my head swelling as I write this!

I am so honored to have been named a winner of the Academy of Handmade awards- category, Textiles: Wovens. When I received an email telling me that I had been nominated, I was completely surprised and I really didn’t know anything about the organization- Academy Of Handmade. (Here is a list of all the 2016 nominees.) Luckily, when I was out in LA at Craftcation, I met people who are involved with it and I think I have a better idea now.

It is an online and in-person support group for micro handmade businesses like mine. You have to apply to be a member, there is a membership fee, and it is mostly West Coast based at this point. It seems to be a formalized version of my Crafty Biz meet-up. (Their faq page.) I would guess that it is incredibly helpful to people who are near an in-person chapter. I get so much from my monthly meeting up with people who are doing a similar maker biz thing.

Speaking of which, Merriweather Council, my friend and former Crafty Biz meet-up fellow (we miss you since you moved Danielle!) was a winner too! She also won the award for Handmade Community Superstar which she totally deserves!

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We had a fantastic time in Puerto Rico! What a relief to get out of the dreary monochromatic winter-scape and see colors. All these photos are taken in old San Juan, a lovely place to spend a day or two at the end of March.

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4:2:colors 6I have never been to PR before and really didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t do much pre-planning and let ourselves be open to enjoying the warm weather, beautiful colors, and tropical landscape. I will post more pics soon.

 

trip to Washington, DC

It was great fun to get out of the studio and go down to Washington for a few days. Here we are, packing the last few things to go in the car, early Friday morning. Yes, I’ll be posting photos of all those dolls soon!

Our big excitement on the trip down-

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We drive a 1997 Honda Civic so it’s about time!  Here is my booth on Saturday morning-

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And look who showed up on Sunday- Betz! We’ve been internet friends for years and finally met in real life!

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I left my studio

Yep! I went down to the beach in North Carolina for some brisk beach walks and salty air.

5:2:hatteras15:2:hatteras2There is cactus there. And people zipping around the water using kites.

5:2:hatteras3Lots of pretty beaches for walks.

5:2:hatteras4And lighthouses.

5:2:hatteras55:2:hatteras65:2:hatteras7Big dunes and bird watching.

5:2:hatteras8Did I mention that my daughter was part of the group?

5:2:hatteras9And then a very long drive in the pouring rain.

5:2:hatteras10The last leg was a train trip from Connecticut back to Boston. One of the things I love about the train is all the views of the undersides of the world.

5:2:hatteras11And I’m home! Hopefully I will be back to work soon and get some things finished up and posted. So much to do including the garden which came to life when I was gone. See you soon!

let’s review- 2012

My Christmas sewing this year- reusable lunch bags and shopping bags-

Another year goes by! I am thankful for my blog to keep my memories for me. It is fun to go back and review. Here are some things that made me happy this year-

- a new floor in the studio! I know it doesn’t seem like much but I love scooting around in my chair.

- I was in a show with some other fantastic doll artists. Thanks Nichol!

- I went to Honk! It was AMAZING!

- San Francisco- Loved it! Renegade and some vacation too.

- 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!

- I won something from a blog give-away- Thanks again Mr. Finch! I love my moth!

- 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.

- 2 things that sound good but mostly were really stressful for me, book and licensing.

- 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.

and then I went to a doll conference

I went to the NIADA conference in Stamford, CT. I saw some amazing artwork.

I love Neva‘s work- the craftsmanship is amazing and her humor has stayed with me- every time I think back, I am amused again!

Nancy Wiley‘s beautiful work. She now has 2 children’s book- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Red Riding Hood. I bought myself the Red Riding Hood book. She did a presentation and described the process of illustrating the book and self-publishing.

Ana Salvador

Ankie Daanen

I love seeing Shelley Thornton‘s work. I wish there might be more but even one is a treat.

E.J. Taylor

I saw other dolls (Anna Zueva) that I missed getting photos of and met some wonderful people (Lillian Alberti). There were hours and hours of presentations.

The talk I needed to hear was by Robert Tonner who is currently celebrating 20 years of his doll company. He spoke at the first NIADA conference I went to in 2005- I still remember things he said from that first talk. This is what he said that I wrote down and will post in my studio- If you want to grow, let it go. I need to hear that- over, and over, and over… yes, I admit it. I can go nuts if things aren’t just so- especially if they have my name on them… reminder to self- let it go.

And now I will probably burn any bridges that might have existed with the NIADA part of the doll world. Wow- I just checked out the doll websites for the above artists and several others too. Most of them have not gotten the message about the internet. Please- update your sites! Put some of your new dolls up there. Get rid of the black backgrounds. How many clicks does it take to see what you do? Sigh.

And here is a story that will be what I remember from this trip. If I ever get worried that I am getting a fat head when exciting things happen, I will come back over here, reread this and laugh one more time!

background- On Saturday morning there was a program where visiting artists’ could sign up to show 10 images of their work- they called it 10 x 12 (based on this). I hadn’t submitted my images because I thought that, heh, I’m all over the internet. People have seen my work and I should give other people a chance. (silly me!) When I asked the organizer of the program, she told me only 7 people had submitted work so I joined the fun after all. I presented and survived- it was the first time I have ever spoken into a microphone! At the end I mentioned the licensing contract with Land of Nod. I then spent the rest of the day answering the question- how did LON find me. I don’t actually know the answer to that but tried to suggest ways that hopefully didn’t make me sound like a jerk. That evening was the banquet and again someone asked- how did they find me? Maybe I’d used up all my patience but I said- they probably saw my work on line. I’m pretty well known on the internet. And the woman sitting next to me asks, For what?

I am still laughing. It was all so absurd. Yes, I was at a doll conference. No, almost no one there knew my work or was even interested. I apparently don’t fit their definition? Luckily I am at a place with my work that I find it funny and not discouraging. And, next year I will think about going to Comic Con where I think I might fit in a little better.