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.

House on the Rock

After Chicago Renegade, my husband and I drove into Wisconsin to visit the House On The Rock. I’m not sure I’ve ever been in Wisconsin before- it is beautiful even though they’ve had a terrible drought all summer. We were lucky enough to be there a few weeks after they’d finally had rain and although the corn was only about 3 ft high, everything was very green and pretty.

This is the display in one of the the Ladies Restrooms!

I was initially confused about what kind of collection I was looking at. It is a wide variety of stuff. Some is rare, special and amazing, some looked very close to junk to me- especially when I was looking at something I know about. I readjusted my expectations.

There was an amazing collection of automata, mostly musical- from individual self-playing instruments to whole orchestras!

I was saddened by how many were in poor repair. Visitors can buy tokens and choose which they’d like to see in action. One of the first that we tried was a mechanical banjo. There were 4 “fingers” but only 2 of them were working. It was terrible. Other ones that we tried were wonderful in spite of the broken bits, but I really wish someone cared enough to spend money on keeping these treasures going.

Wonderful collection of circus posters in the cafe.

A player piano with an interesting way of storing the scroll- definitely worth 50¢ to see that in action.

Here you can see the scale of some of these “music boxes”.

This one filled an entire room- And it wasn’t the only one!

There were a number of these planters out in the parking lots. I’m not sure you can tell how big these are- well over 10 ft tall I think.

And next I’ll post some photos of the NIADA doll conference and my too short visit to Maker Faire.

Thanks for all the nice notes- really I’m fine. I mostly wanted to let people know why things were going to be quiet around here. We all need time to reflect.

Currently I am planning to schedule some classes in the next few months- I’m thinking that it would be fun to focus on projects that people would like to make for holiday gifts- little felt ornaments, owls, tiny worlds… and if I can figure out about sewing machines, the fish. I’m wondering about weekends versus weekdays. Also, just a reminder, I am happy to schedule a class for any group at your convenience if you have a least 4 people ready to go.

I’ll be back soon!

what’s happening

I know it has been quiet here and that might be true for a while. I have a big, un-blog-able project to finish up. I am heading down to Stamford, Connecticut and going to the NIADA conference on Thursday. I’m hoping to have my project mostly done although I know in my rational head that that is totally unrealistic.

To tell the truth, my Chicago trip knocked me for a loop. I can’t blame how I’m currently feeling entirely on the trip- I’ve been heading in that direction for a while. I’ve been spending too much time on things that aren’t making me happy with the direction my art life is going. I’ve got to slow down and do some reflecting. Way back in December I was feeling like things were getting off track. The Chicago trip was just the last straw I guess. My mood was off the whole time I was there. I seemed to be feeling very fragile. Loads of nice people came into my booth but I only seemed to hear the horrible things that got said (Really people, do you not realize that the maker of the work is standing right there?!) I was having some vague allergic reaction that was making me itch, part of my display got totally soaked on Saturday night, I had some booth neighbors who need to learn some show etiquette, a giant dog came into my booth and grabbed one of the dolls…  yep, not a great time.

So, I am trying to imagine how I might redirect my energies in the coming months to get to a better place. Firstly, I will not be doing any Holiday markets or shows this year. I will continue to stock my Etsy shop and that will be how I will manage my holiday season sales. I’ve got other ideas going around in my head but will keep them to myself for now. I just know for sure that I want to have some time with no deadlines and no demands. Sounds good, right! And, eventually I will post some photos of our trip to House On the Rock.


Chicago Renegade booth

above was Saturday, below Sunday. I put the back wall up on Sunday so it looks a little different.

This was the Saturday wall display.

And more goodies in a cloth basket. All those fish have found new homes!

And this is how I changed the wall around for Sunday.

And the table display-

I have almost finished putting everything in my shop that didn’t sell. Hopefully I will get that done in the next few days.

Thanks to every one that came out to say hello!

one more summer girl fox

I know summer is coming to an end but I can’t let it go yet.

I’d make her a heavy sweater but it just didn’t seem right.

She has a bright, pretty skirt made from a Lizzy House fabric.

And a shirt made from handkerchief linen. Well, actually made from a handkerchief. I added a little line of lace at the neckline. And a spider-webby shawl in case there are cool breezes.

A wool felt purse-