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.

18 thoughts on “and then I went to a doll conference

  1. Sad, definitely sad – this is an area that could be well served by a strong web presence. Comic Con definitely an option – but what about the Modern Quilt Con in Austin next Feb? Your work would be a great fit.

  2. Mimi you make me laugh! I can’t believe they don’t know who you are! What, do they live in a cave? LOL! I am no spring chicken but at least I travel the internet & try to keep current in the art & craft world. Looking forward to the release of your LON items! Be sure to post it! : )

  3. I can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with for Land of Nod! I like your dolls much better than any of these from the doll conference. Your dolls have more heart, in my opinion.

  4. I agree with Marianne up there. Your dolls definitely have more heart and are also more … approachable? Is that the word I want? I cannot see wanting to buy one of the ones I see in this post but your fox dolls give me a bad case of the “wants” every time I see one. I can also see your dolls being treasured by children; not so much these others.

  5. You’re definitely more famous in my world–never heard of any of them. I can’t imagine ignoring the amazing inspiration available on the web. Why stick your head in the sand?

  6. Mimi, that NIADA doesn’t know you is not a surprise. The organization is known for being snobbish about their art work and narrow focused. They do have beautiful art work, but I have never understood their attitude. Most people I know in the doll making world know about you and admire your art. The story is a classic though isn’t it.

  7. That made me laugh Mimi!

    I can see how a doll conference would be fun and I can see that you have a passion for it.

    I think you should consider it a compliment that the doll snobs didn’t know your work. It mean that they weren’t thinking outside of the box enough to recognize your uniqueness and originality.

    I used to be a teddy bear artist and I was getting good at it, but I felt like it was just me(I’m in my 30’s) and them(older and traditional bear maker ladies)
    I felt like I just didn’t fit in. So, I started making plush and now I am starting to get to know the plush community, and it feels great! Maybe you should ditch the doll people and come on over to the Dark Side…

  8. Oh Mimi, the humility the masses can bring. I wouldn’t give this whole thing another thought. You have a following that “gets” you and cherishes your work! You know that; right?

  9. Oooh, I’m so jealous that you were able to attend NIADA. Yes, I do think that most of the artists need to update their internet presence, or at least hire someone to do it for them. :-)

    Last year I took a class from EJ Taylor, his dolls are amazing! But then again I love all types of dolls … from his style to your lovely felt style. Although I still miss your gorgeous painted dolls with the detailed coats. I think that’s why I especially love your dressed animal dolls.

  10. Thank you so very, very much for your frank and honest assessment of NIADA Stamford. It made it a great deal easier for me to be less bitter about not being able to attend.

    Next year I may go to Spectrum (May 2013) as I’ve heard really good things about their conference (and Kansas City is closer than San Diego). I’ve gotten all of their fantasy art annuals since the beginning and am excited about their new live-on-the-ground-face-to-face art conference.

    Looking forward to your LON project results and just love, love, love your work!

  11. Some beautiful work. So funny that these doll makers seem to be reclusive or out of touch with the technological world. No worries, Mimi. Your dolls are so awesome and you know how to keep in touch with your audience!!!!!

  12. So you said, “Ahem, I’m kind of a big deal”. Well, you are to us. Really funny, so glad you can share and laugh about it. They do need to step into the light and get some technology!

  13. Thanks for the photos and the story. Sheesh, some people are clueless, aren’t they? You do have a presence on the internet, you do have a grateful audience, you are talented. And if they don’t know it, it’s time they found out! Apropos of fitting in, I joined a new group today, and I felt like a misfit, too. Especially wnen they started talking politics, and then I knew I really didn’t fit in.

  14. Mimi. I love your work. Found you through. Purl Bee. I visit your web site for inspiration and to “visit”. I’m in California but daughters boyfriend is from Boston I’ve said if I ever go there I want to see your work or take a workshop. Historical Boston what…..? Isn’t that where the cool doll artist
    Lives? Love what you do now going to look at some tattooed dolls. Thanks for being on the Internet

  15. I’m an admirer of your work. The first time I ever heard your name was, I think, in a Susan Oroyan book, and so I looked you up on the internet. It’s important to have that internet presence. I love checking out your blog. I’ve recently decided to devote more time to my blog and my etsy shop (ImaginePERRYDolls).
    I love your work.

  16. Oh dear, you were apparently the only one trying not to sound like a jerk! I love your dolls and I’m so grateful for your generosity. Your purl girls are one of my only forays into doll making and were such fun!

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