a bit late- 2014 in review

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-

1:9:sidewalk

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.

Licensing- The ornaments for West Elm were a big hit! I hear that the moose was the most popular and I love that! I still have some toy designs available at Land Of Nod too.

Gallery Shows- I did 2 this year. Don’t Play With Me in Pawtucket, RI and Good Mail Day in Dover, NH.

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.

Gather Here made a sweet little video on their 3rd birthday called Why We Make. I’m in there for a sec.

Yes, a very busy year. Let’s see what 2015 brings me!

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.

2011 review- dolls of the year

This has been a very busy year for me. I said yes to several projects that have stretched me in new ways. As the year is coming to an end, I am contemplating the paths I want to keep following and the ones that probably aren’t working for me. The year, now that I am looking back, seemed a little less creative. I feel as if I let outside forces direct me instead of following my own creative compass. I need to get back on track with that.

This is my round-up of projects I posted on flickr.

21 Tiny Worlds and I taught one workshop last spring. My big challenge with these is finding good tea cups.

16 foxes.

13 owls plus I made the pattern last February. And 3 babies and 1 bird lady.

14 Tattooed ladies and 3 girls.

And 27 handsome men- 4 lumberjacks, 2 Staffordshire inspired fellows and 21 tattooed men.

And all the rest- 7 kitties, 19 fish, 3 tikis and 4 dogs.

That adds up to 110 dolls plus the 21 Tiny Worlds.

And there are the things I made or worked on that didn’t get posted. Last February and March I worked on some patterns that will be included in a book that is coming out in June 2012. It is not a secret anymore because it is now available for pre-order on Amazon. You can see at least one of the dolls because he is on the cover!

I will be back tomorrow (maybe) for some more reflections and hopes!

 

thinking about 2009

window

I have been thinking for several days about how to approach my review-of-the-year posts. 2009 has been a very strange year. Over here in blogland, things have been mostly fantastic. But, the blog is sort of a Christmas letter version of my life. In my “real” life,  there have been challenges, anxiety, loss of some people I care about- my view of how my own future is likely to play out has changed dramatically this year. I am happy to see 2009 over. I have hopes for a new year- why does a new calendar year hold so much optimism? Anyway, here we focus on my artwork.

I started out 2009 thinking I would make it a year of challenges- every month I would identify something I’d like to accomplish but was difficult for me.

January- make a pattern. When PurlBee asked me in the fall of 2008 if I would make a pattern out of their felt, I said yes- my first challenge!  I worked on it in January and delivered it as part of a fun trip to NYC.

February- teach a class. I taught the tiny world class at the end of February- it was great fun.

March was suppose to be the month to get back to work on the studio room… well, I did get back to work on it for a while… but, got totally off track when I got a contacted by Etsy about doing the Handmade Portrait. After that, all my energy went into cleaning up the house and studio. Luckily I only had about a weeks notice- otherwise I would have made myself crazy! It was a while before I got back to work on the room again.

April was probably the last month I consciously thought about the challenges. I said yes to participating in this print show- yep, that was a challenge (and a distraction). And I got to work writing my first pattern for sale- the tiny world pattern. It felt doable after I saw what a great job PurlBee had done, writing up the directions and photographing the steps for my doll pattern. I used it as inspiration and a guide.

In May, I launched the pattern- it felt HUGE! Apparently I spent June making dolls. Funny thing about that!

July was when I took a class and the first steps into Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. Talk about getting out of my comfort zone- that was 30 hours of stress. But, it turned out I absorbed more then I thought when I went back to it in November to work on another pattern. I also managed to get the studio room to a point where I could start the move-in process.

August- So busy! 1. All my kids were home for a few days! 2. I worked on settling into the new room, then figured that I really needed to get back to work and the mess would settle out in time… still working on that. 3. I taught another Tiny world class. 4. My camera broke. 5. And the Handmade Portrait came out. 6. Peter left for college and we became “empty-nesters”.

September was a trip to South Carolina and working to settle into the studio. October, another Tiny World class and some tattooed ladies. Also, I started working on a new pattern- a kitty. I got the pattern finished in November- and my head swelled up to the size of a pumpkin because I was so proud of myself for managing to get it done using Photoshop and InDesign- with a little help from Kerry! And December was, you know, December. Crazy month of selling and trying to fit in family and friend obligations.

The biggest challenge always seems to be how to make a reasonable living doing what I love. Because this is my job. I don’t mind working really hard but I don’t want to burn out. I am always looking for ways that I can generate income that doesn’t mean making more dolls- like the teaching, the patterns, cards, etc. We’ll see what 2010 brings.

Tomorrow I will be doing a wrap-up of the dolls and tiny worlds of 2009. I always love seeing everything all together. Happy New Years Eve!