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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Commission Work-In-Progress

I am really rather proud of this doll - an Erte inspired purple Dream Star Doll being made on commission. She's nearly done, although I had a couple of days when I couldn't do too much because of the wretched flu. But I'm back working now, and she is looking beautiful, if I do say so myself. I'm especially happy with her face.

Today I'm doing her beaded and embroidered skirts, and I expect to be putting her all together by Friday for mailing. Did I mention that I've been using the ScraPerfect Embellie Gellie to help with the beading. It really makes a remarkable amount of difference in the speed of the process.

Glass beads and faux freshwater pearls

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Uptown Report, and a decision.

Well, after two days at the Uptown Village Market, I have come home with one commission (yay), a small amount of cash, but all the art dolls I took with me other than the big seller, Wish Dolls. I stayed up late last night (Friday) making a second batch, and I'm glad I did because they all went.

My stall, Roya's spot and Sacred Waters Soaps (sorry about the blurry)

The organizers are to be commended for keeping their promises. The vendors actually were all wonderful artisans and higher end local crafters. There were no mass market imports or factory made items amongst the sellers, and a quite a few fine artists selling prints and originals. I count myself in that group of fine artists. They gave us tickets for drinks both days, and lunch on Saturday.

The organizers promised a mix of products, limiting the number of each type of offering. While it is true that there were plenty of jewelry makers from which to make a selection, they were all of different styles, and the fair didn't feel like every other booth was beaded jewelry, as some do.

The organizers promised huge crowds, and they delivered on that too. They stopped counting on Friday evening when it got very busy, but they estimated a good 2000 people spilled over from the "First Friday" art walk and came in to sip wine, enjoy the carolers, and peruse the art.

Saturday had fewer people, but more actual shoppers. The people that said they would be back to me, came back and made their purchases, which was delightful. The store next to me, selling sooooo soft faux fur and pretty printed fabric infinity scarves did a great business both days. I think their success can be attributed to having the right product, an easy- to-wear accessory, with a consistent on-trend aesthetic, and the right price point for the crowd. Their booth was never quiet. They were making money through the lower cost/high volume method, which works at craft fairs. (Why can't I find her card, darn it!)

More sellers!

I wish I could report that Uptown Village Market was as successful for me, but I can't. And I have no-one to blame but myself. I misjudged the demographic and the affluence of the shoppers. I expected a more mature, art buying crowd. Accordingly I brought my high end stuff. What I didn't expect to see, especially on the late Friday evening, was the number of families with young children. Poor research on my part!

I bet if had made 100 Either Way Dolls, my kid's item, instead of focusing on Dream Star Dolls, I could have sold them all, even at $8 each/2 for $15 price point. This is the first time I have been at a craft fair and not sold at least one or two Dream Star Dolls. My sales stats did not hold, with many fewer sales per visitor than in the past.

On the other hand, the emotional response to my dolls, the admiration accorded them, especially the Bead Head dolls, was gratifying to say the least. People loved hearing "Journey's story". They read the blurb about "Miss Tick". They spent time looking at all the dolls, picking them up and being very curious. But they weren't the right group to buy them as fine figurative soft sculptures.

In the end, after booth fees, and adding up the gas (not much really) my profit on the event is barely more than $100. If I intend to do craft fairs, I have to make more money than pennies, which means making Either Way Dolls en mass which kids do love, and Wish Dolls, which people do enjoy very much because they are a cute concept. But they aren't anywhere near as much fun for me as the Art Dolls which are one of my outlets for self expression. Plus they still would come out to less than minimum wage per hour per doll.

The time away from my family and other concerns, the stress, the hauling, the initial outlay for booth fees - it's no longer worth it to me to sell my art that way. So I will not be doing any more craft fairs for the foreseeable future. My dolls will continue to be available through the Gallery 9, as long as they wish to host them, and Etsy. To unschoolers, who love my dolls, yes I will continue to make Either Way Dolls for Etsy and conferences.

However my desire, my yearning, the images I am seeing in my head for art dolls that are calling me to make them - these are for major, larger scale works. I have dreams of making a 6 foot tall cloth Dream Doll built over a forged iron armature. I still have plans for a whole series of plarn crochet figures, with a message. These are large scale works, suitable for public exhibition and public spaces - the foyers of buildings, corporate offices, permanent collections.

I am going to devote my professional time to my educational publishing project, so that I will have the wherewithal, the space and the opportunity to take my art out of the craft fair level, and into the public art sphere.

For anyone considering joining an Uptown Village Market event in Bixby Knolls in the future - and they are planning a summer sale - they are an upstanding group. Buy the electricity and bring extra lighting for your booth. The spaces are just that - not all have walls. Bring a range of products that are visual and unusual, including a couple of eye catchers, but have the bulk of your price points $25 and under. Have stuff that appeals to young women and kids, with "stocking stuffers" that are cute and appealing.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Erte Inspired Dolls available for the first time.

I have decided to offer a pair of very special Dream Star Dolls for sale this weekend at Uptown Village Market.

This pair of one of a kind dolls were made for a contest and show, with the theme of Art Nouveau. I based the designs on the beautiful figurative sculptures and costume & fashion illustrations of Erte. My mother had a collection of illustrated plates with his designs that she treasured.

Both dolls are heavily encrusted with beading, and have custom made beaded skirts. The fabrics are reclaimed vintage and the faces are of course individually hand painted.

One is white and gold with a beautiful swirled beading and swoosh shaped skirts. The other is a darker foliage inspired with exotically shaped petals and hanging beads. Both have yarn hair and paper beads. I'm pricing them at $60 and $70 respectively.

I should add that the dolls did win blue ribbons for artistry.

More Uptown Dolls

...for your viewing pleasure.

Three more beautiful one of a kind in a series Dream Star Dolls that will be available at the Uptown Village Market in a mere 2 days. Cost for a unique and gorgeous gift: $50 (+ tax).

Here is Believe Zodiac, with beautiful silver charms and lively zodiac print fabric. She looks out serenely on the world with azure eyes. Her hair is adorned with blue paper beads wrapped in cording - lots of fun.

Follow Your Heart Paisley wears rose petals and ribbon roses on her skirt. Her body is made from a vintage wool blend paisley twill that I love. Her wavy edged paper beads, wrapped in cording, remind me of cork (but they aren't!). Her charm reads "Follow Your Heart", and offers the good advice to "Love Life, Live Life" on the other.

Homespun Gingham is made from this wonderful black and brown woven gingham that I found in my late mother's stash. She is full of love and hearts - sequinned and felt. Her charms include more copper hearts and a pewter cup. Tea or coffee? You decide. She has a lovely country cottage feel - and not too much makeup.

Hope I see you at Uptown Village Market!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dream Star Dolls Going Uptown

Here is the first batch of Dream Star Art Dolls for the Uptown Village Market. Each is one-of-a-kind in a series.

Green Batik

My beautiful beaded 8 1/2 inch Dream Star Dolls appeal to people on an emotional level. Somehow, magically, you will be drawn to one. I can't predict which doll you will like - it just happens. You will just feel called to her. You will pick her up, turn her over in your hands and enjoy the soft hair, the little surprises of the paper beads or the charms. Sometimes the words on some of the charms will be the clincher. I never know which will be claimed first. But somehow they all eventually go out into the world to inspire dreams of beauty.

Bright Batik

Some people keep them on their mantels, others by their bedside. Lots of people tell me they keep theirs beside their computer. Maybe you will tell her your troubles, or just feel grateful that there are beautiful things and beautiful people all around you.

Orange Lady Charms

Maybe you will see one and immediately be reminded of someone special in your life - someone beloved. Maybe the doll is calling to you to take her to that person, to be their totem. My dolls make gorgeous and very unique gifts - you won't find the same doll twice. 

Cerulean Blue

They will be presented at Uptown Village Market for $50.00 (+ tax).

Japanese themed One of a Kind Art Dolls Preview

Here are the two gorgeous Asian themed Dream Dolls (14") with Kabuki mask faces.

The first is a Kimono doll with charms and flowers ornamenting her dressed hair. She is made from a selection of new Asian printed quilters cottons, while her obi is silk from a reclaimed vintage kimono. Her kimono is lined with vintage silk.

Her friend is wearing Shinto inspired wrap pants of a linen blend and a Shinto style headdress - a wrapped pony tail with flowered headband. I was so happy with the beading, which includes mother of pearl shell beads.

Despite the vividness of their face paint, I get quite a serene feeling when I look at these two girls. I rather love them, and I hope they will inspire dreamy thoughts . I'd love to see them go to their new home as a pair - but destiny will determine that.

The Asian Inspired lovelies will be presented at Uptown Village Market for $90.00 (+ tax) each.

Shop Handmade For the Holidays at Craft Fairs.

As you know, I'm going to be at Uptown Village Market in Booth 45 (Top Left of map), as is my good friend Royaboya - Friday Dec 2 (5-10pm), Saturday Dec 3 (10am-4pm) in Long Beach.

Meanwhile my other friend, Studio Litha, will be selling her gorgeous Art Sock Monkeys at a backyard craft fair, Saturday Dec 10 (3-7pm) in Torrance. These are not your usual mass produced critters.

Fairy Sock Monkey by StudioLitha

Friday, November 25, 2011

Work in Progress Teaser

Here are some WIP shots of some of the Dream Star dolls I am making especially for Uptown Village Market next Friday and Saturday.

The Kimono and Shinto style pants for the one of a kind Dream Dolls have worked out very well.

The Dream Star dolls will be $50 with bonus doll stand (while supplies last) while the gorgeous Dream Dolls (14 inches tall with wire armatures) will be $75 including stand.

Also available will be a new batch of Wish Dolls, which make a sweet gift and few other bits and pieces. I'm hoping to have some original collage art mini-canvases ready too.

BTW, check out the review about to be posted on my Dolls: Crafting and Collecting blog about the very beautiful "Embroider Everything Workshop" by Diana Rupp. In summary - a great resource for beginner embroiderers!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Martha Stewart Scoreboard Card Ornaments

My most recent web column for Natural Life Magazine includes a tutorial for making circle based ornaments out of old holiday cards with scissors and a bone folder. Here's how I use my beautiful Martha Stewart Scoreboard and a Recollections Three inch circle punch to make it just that much easier and FAST. Rather addictive actually!

Here are the tools. Best Glue Ever dries very fast. Use sparingly.

Trim off excess as needed to center the image you like.

Three inch round. You need 6 or 8.

Place your round flush to the top left corner.

Score at the half-inch mark.

Score again at the 2.5 inch mark.

Fold up one score line. Turn the circle 90 degrees. Place the fold flush against the rim of the Scoreboard.

Score again at 2.5 inch mark.

Score again at half-inch mark.

Fold all four sides upwards (towards right side).

Here are some more cut and folded rounds.

Tiny dots of glue are all that is needed with Best Glue Ever. 

Best Glue Ever dries quickly, with just finger pressure. For another white glue, some paper clips or clothes pins would clamp the segments until they dry. You could also use glue stick. Will it last as long? I don't know.

Add a hanging string. I'm using a scrap piece of card to push the string into a line of glue.

Square in circle ornaments.

Here is an alternative, making triangles with the scoreboard - so much easier than having to measure!

Place the 3 inch round flush with the top left corner as before. Score at 3/4 inch.

Spin the circle, keeping it flush with the rims, and line the score up at the 3/4 inch mark.

I've illustrated with a pencil mark for this close up.

Score at the 3/4 inch mark.

Spin the round again and line up the score at 3/4 inch mark. Score again.

Note that the 3/4 inch score line meets the very first score at the bottom edge of the cut circle.

Fold on the three score marks, and glue as before.

Use 8 to make double ended pyramid globe - not sure how else to describe it. 
Only four together make a small pyramid.

Hanging in the Camelia bush outside my house. I use these in my tree of course, and also to decorate gift boxes and wrapped gifts.