More Light Bulb Moments

I’ve lost count of the Light Bulb moments related to Harry Potter.  I can’t even remember what Light Bulb moment #9 was in my previous post anymore. I’m not complaining but I feel like I’m losing focus yet again. My craft show display is messy and confusing enough to begin with but all these new projects make my table look even more chaotic. I can’t even ask my kids to pack away their mess without feeling like a hypocrite. The plan this year was to concentrate on making dolls that are more artsy and goth and steampunk and with armatures, but, light bulbs.

Oh well, chaos is an inevitable part of my brand.  I try to organize, make “business plans”, make lists, but I keep getting distracted by new ideas that I simply must execute. I do try to organize my work area. Then I get frustrated because I can’t find the things I need anymore. It’s odd that I can find almost anything I need despite my clutter while my more organized husband keeps losing his car keys and forgetting his glasses.

I’m not even sure if it’s a good thing that I keep changing my products. But just the thought of making the same things over and over and over makes me a little sad. So yeah, chaos.  Just embrace it, I guess.

I have my own labels for my containers and “concoctions” now. I can’t help it. I went a little extra again!

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You think I would just print a label and slap it on a random container and claim it as an HP-inspired product?

Of course not.  I hand-stamped and distressed the labels to pull off the mood I was aiming for — dark-whimsical and creepy… and a little hazardous-looking. I could probably do that in Powerpoint (I don’t know how to use Photoshop until now) but where’s the fun in that? And again, I did some research on the mixtures and even the wording on vintage apothecary bottles to achieve a little bit of authenticity.

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I’m putting finishing touches for that magical look here while re-watching all the seasons of Closer. 

Harry Potter Inspired Potions

 

Do they look like they belong in a store in Diagon Alley?

IMG_2870If only I have space to keep them all.

You think I’d stop there, but no. I thought I would stop there, but no.

I made “potions” in vials complete with an entry in my art journal. The previous page, the uglier version (not seen. Top secret! Also because ugly), contains my, ehrm, real methods and secret recipes. I used the same contents but I had to make a list of paints I used for each potion because if I didn’t, I’d go random and inconsistent again.

This page in the picture is full of stuff I copied from Wikia for prettification purposes. I don’t think calligraphy is for me (tried it for about five minutes and gave up) but I found a way to take advantage of my uneven penmanship and pass it off as whimsical style. I am really getting the hang of this art journaling thingie. It’s making me discover things about me. And I love that I get to follow some sort of a theme so I don’t go all random rogue again.

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The vials are to be used as bag charms. I’d rather they’d be displays but I also want to make something functional. They might be a bit heavy as key fobs. Here they are, all “freshly brewed” and bubbly, straight from the cauldrons, tee-hee.

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They look mysterious and toxic in the pictures, but in person, it’s probably quite obvious what I used (wiiiink).

Here they are, all distressed in a magical, shimmery way. I used mostly Art Alchemy paints by Prima Marketing, acrylics from Reeves, and Liquid Pearls by Ranger.

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The stoppers are glued to the vials and so far, the “mixtures” haven’t seeped through the wood. But if someone decides to reverse engineer the seal breaks (hopefully this won’t happen), the “mixtures” won’t leave a stain on fabric. They’re not for consumption, obviously, but my guinea pigs kids and I have physically handled the actual contents several times. They’re safe. My kids are still alive… and haven’t transformed into anything. I’m a little more concerned with the durability of the vials.

Fortunately, it looks like they are holding up pretty well. And just in time for my upcoming craft fair next weekend, too.  I’ve been testing some of my finished products. I attached one to my bag and I asked my kids to play with the others for a bit.  I even stepped on the vial a while ago, when I shoved my bag under a restaurant table and then forgot it was there. That’s how careless I am. Even at home, my bag is just lying about on the floor. With my carelessness and my kids’ fondness for rough playing, we’re the perfect durability testers.

Well, how about that? It lights up, too! LOL of course not. That’s just some lighting trick I did. This one reminds me of the Sankara Stone from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

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I wanted to not reference HP too much but it’s unavoidable. I hate to admit it although it’s pretty obvious — like everyone else, I am leveraging on the popularity of the franchise to earn some moolah, of course. (If you’ve read my previous posts, you’d know that I, most of the time, convince myself that I don’t care all that much for moolah. But I have my greedy moments, too.  [justify greedy moments here–>] Moolah means I get to buy more arts and crafts supplies… and sometimes food for the kids… whenever I remember that I have kids. I’m kidding.)

I mean, would you choose to purchase a “Creative Chaos Converting Concoction” over Poly Juice Potion?

Just keeping it real.

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Harry Potter, Finally… and Lightbulb Moments

(Now jumping on the bandwagon)

Harry Potter and his friends had never made it to my list of dolls-to-do ever since I learned amigurumi. Like bajillions of others, I love the Harry Potter books and films, and  bajillions of others loving HP means that bajillions of others are already making and selling HP-inspired fan art and merch (this makes me wonder about copyright and trademark laws in general. I’ve read threads about artisans asking about those and being advised against using pop culture in their works yet they continue to do so. I assume that there are just too many businesses based on fan art and most are small anyway, that’s why they continue to operate under the radar.  I guess that cease and desist order can be dodged as long as someone doesn’t make too much money and draw too much attention to themselves). Anyway, I didn’t want to make something that almost everyone else is making. I also kind of  “shelved” my fandomness for HP and it stayed there for years so my efforts would have been half-hearted if I did make HP stuff.

So, here’s what happened. About a couple of weeks ago,  I was halfway through crocheting a brown poop inspired by my sons’ love for anything poop and it occurred to me: the upper swirl without stuffing — it looked familiar…

SH*T, it’s the Sorting Hat! (see what I did there? wink.)

And that’s how I got sucked back into the HP universe — via poop. I made one Sorting Hat in freehand and stuffed it. I played around with it, placed it on a shelf, softly sculpted it, (did my best hat voice, too — “Gryffindor!!!”), placed it on top of a book and the book looked good in a hat and I’ve always wanted to make bookmarks, only with legs and shoes, but this one seemed like a better idea, so I added yarn chains that could be squeezed into books without ruining the pages, and LumosLIGHTBULB MOMENT #1: a bookmark!

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I did away with the filling for the rest of the hats I made because it added bulk and weight. That’s when LIGHTBULB MOMENTt #2 happened: it’s not just a bookmark. It’s a finger puppet and a hat for a little doll! And it would sit really well on bookshelves. Finally, something I can make in large quantities without feeling uncomfortable and bored (I don’t like making the same doll over and over). It’s multi-functional, too.  But it is a little frustrating. And a little more difficult than the stuffed toys I make. I can’t get the stitch counts right especially in the hollow eye and I’ve  been re-re-re-re-writing the “pattern” since, almost every time I start another hat. But it looks like I’m powered by magic because they all turned out looking unmistakably like the Sorting Hat, thanks to him being all slouchy and imperfect. I get different stitch counts until now. That’s how bad I am in Math.

I’ve given back some life to my poor Etsy shop a couple of days ago by listing 10 hats with a limited offer of free pencil wands for local residents and now I’m down to one! I was a little surprised but very delighted and inspired by people’s positive reactions, hence the lightbulb moments. More positive reactions this way please, folks!

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I thought about writing a pattern in the proper format complete with a diagram (to also help me finally correct the counts) in a Daler-Rowney notebook I got a few months ago and never used because I was scared to ruin the pages. But, oh what a waste of good pages if there’d be just, ugh-yuck, numbers. So I allowed myself to get sidetracked using the Derwent Inktense which I also bought months ago but barely used because they were too pretty.  There was one whole day some weeks ago that I just drew non-stop from morning to almost the next morning which caused my left knuckles to redden and swell.

But, swell! Now I have LIGHTBULB MOMENT #3: an art journal that contains real patterns and and fake patterns and doll profiles and lightbulb moments. It’s probably confusing for others. Here’s the hat that should have been a real pattern. It is based on a sketch by Jerome K. Moore. I still don’t know how to write the pattern in the proper format but, yey, I have overcome my fear of drawing. I know I do ugly drawings but still, they’re drawings.

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I needed props for my hat photoshoot just because. Most experts advise against it, but I like a busy picture. So I made wands using chopsticks, hot glue and acrylic paints. Thank you, Pinterest and Instructables. They turned out better than I expected and I enjoyed doing them and I have to make more of them just because. But who would want a single chopstick? Even as a pair, the paints have rendered them useless. So I thought hey,  LIGHTBULB MOMENT #4: pencils, because why not. (I think I may have underestimated the fandom that is HP.  There were people who were ready to buy those chopsticks. I even tested some long bamboo skewers but their “skewer-y” look was still obvious despite layers of glue and paints. There just wasn’t a lightbulb moment there… but they could be used for, who knows, future craft party activities.)

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Another functional creation. But they didn’t feel special enough. They were missing the “core substance” that most of my creations have: THE PERSONAL TOUCH.

So I thought I’d incorporate something a little playful for the wand owners. LIGHTBULB MOMENT #5: I made a pretend thingie/ wand generator  which they can check out on this site. The thought of a lot of people coming to this site makes me uneasy but I don’t know where else to put the file. I thought about including it in the pencil tags but it would be a waste of paper, and even at .5 font size, it would still be too long!  I would have wanted it to be restricted for wand owners because it’s really just for them, but I don’t know how to do that without having to approve each wand owner manually. I thought about emailing the file to the wand owners but that would be too tedious. So anyone who can google really well or just look at the pencil tag would be able to come across the file.

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I will most likely end up selling these. For most of us poor artists and clients, this is the closest we could get to owning HP wands. Once I’ve earned enough from selling fake wands, maybe then I can afford to go to the theme park to buy a studio-approved fake wand for myself. This led me to the next thought: how do I display them at craft shows? In a mason jar because it was the first thing I saw on my shelf as I pondered and looked around. But the “rustic look” was all wrong. I wanted dark, magical mood  – and that led to LIGHTBULB MOMENT #6: a Harry Potter-inspired jar. The moment for the chalkboard paint has finally come. I’ve had it for months but never used it because I didn’t want to waste it. Then I got the free printable labels from Pinterest, where else? And here you go.

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Wow, I’m on a roll! The jar looked so good and Halloween-ready (why is Halloween taking so long) and I was starting to hear voices, “make more, more, more…volde…”

LIGHTBULB MOMENT #7: Nothing was spared: empty (non-toxic, I assume :D) medicine vials that I saved, plastic bottles, tea canister, an Arctic Fox bottle that still contains dye, and even a bottle of matte medium that still contains matte medium turned into jars and bottles of pretend magical mixtures.  Look at that — straight from the Professor’s cabinet. That brown thing is my dad’s toy dressing table from when he was a kid so that’s authentic vintage. It’s black now.

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Nice props, eh? I made this sketch below while I was researching about wands. I’m serious. What, you think I just make and make and make like a mindless machine? That’s why it takes me so long to create. I like to google educate myself and do a lot of research about things before putting them together.

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And because the canister turned out to be even better than I expected —- LIGHTBULB MOMENT #8. I couldn’t bear to throw away these pretty tea canisters I’ve collected over the years. They come with lids, too.  I had to remove the pretty vintage-style labels though and boy, that was a lot of boring, uncreative hard work! The labels had sticky, gooey glue and I used baking soda mixed with a body oil (any oil will do, according to googled instructions) and did a lot of rubbing and cleaning last night to remove the grime and glue.

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I plan to make my own labels. I’d be working on LIGHTBULB MOMENT #9 (it’s a secret!) if I weren’t so tired from writing this postMy ideas keep on leading me to more ideas and I have so many things I want to do, which is a good thing. I’m not complaining. Last month, days after being “high” from binge-making dolls that were meaningful and more goth for Art in the Park (I didn’t sell any which was ok because I didn’t really want to let some of them go.) and Humpty Dumpty dolls for Easter, I think I may have “crashed” a little and I found myself in a period of non-ideas again. I hate it when that happens but I try not to give in to melancholy. So I just continued to make mostly poops half-heartedly. I mean, come on, poops. Anyway, a table of poops never fail to amuse my kids so I made plenty, until it led me to HP. And now here I am.

If only I have more time. If only I don’t need sleep. If only my toes could also work on something while my fingers are busy. If only I have the power to produce copies of me to work on several projects at the same time, like Doctor Manhattan. I wouldn’t even mind being blue like him.

Harley Quinn: My First Mixed Media Art Doll

The Suicide Squad: All that megahype for nothing.

I used to watch the Adam West versions and the Batman cartoon series and the 90s films although I didn’t really like Bruce Wayne because he was such a bore.  His universe was only worth looking into because Gotham has the most memorable and craziest villains. Michelle Pfeiffer as CatWoman and the soundtrack were the only awesome things about the films. But like most everyone, I was truly looking forward to Suicide Squad.

Harley Quinn was my least favorite villain because I didn’t like her sappy obsession with the Joker but Margot Robbie’s portrayal in the PREVIEW (minus the skimpy shorts, which only the guys get) seemed so awesome.  The look, the attitude — she was just waiting to be made into one of my dolls!

And so I did, last July 2016. And I fell in love with her! And I didn’t want to let her go. She was mine!

And then I watched the film. And I felt so duped. And I blamed the doll. And I couldn’t wait to ‘get rid of her’. And so I let her go and be ‘adopted’.

But now, I miss her. Even though I hated the film, I still think of how much fun I had staying up for several late nights, reading about her character, looking at pictures, researching, making ugly mistakes, redoing, retouching, experimenting and trying to come up with the final design that captured the character’s crazy personality. It felt like I had a very personal relationship with my Harley Quinn doll. I thought it was a little weird, but I recently read somewhere that MAKERS BUILD INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS WITH EACH PIECE THEY MAKE WHICH MAKE THEIR CREATIONS EVEN MORE SPECIAL.

I still receive messages from Harley Quinn fans who found me in Pinterest wanting to purchase the pattern. Not that I don’t want to share but unfortunately, I made her in freehand. There was no pattern because I didn’t write it down. When I’m “in the zone” of crocheting and creating, I don’t like stopping. Somehow, I feel as if writing down patterns  interfere my “zen-crocheting” state. I must learn how to incorporate it into my process somehow and soon.

I do tell those who are interested to feel free to take inspiration from my designs (by eyeballing. If I can do it, you can, too).  And to those who are still interested, here are the only pictures of how I made her.  I find taking pictures of works in progress bothersome sometimes, too, but I force myself to document. Maybe someone could get some ideas from these. I don’t really care about copycatas and all that stuff (at least not yet), but a little bit of acknowledgement would be nice 🙂 Maybe once I get the hang of writing down patterns in the proper format, I might even make one for this doll in the future!

The pictures are of poor quality because most are taken during late nights… and because I’m such a bad photographer.

Making her shoes took me hours. I almost gave up and thought about giving her plain black boots. Good thing I didn’t.

1. HarleyQuinn

1. Turning Harley Quinn’s shoes into a more “practical looking” pair.

2. HarleyQuinn

2. Bowling pin body and arm

Here, she is starting to look more and more like Harley.

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3. Bald Harley Quinn

I made a white skullcap for her so her skin tone scalp wouldn’t show. I hate visible scalps on my dolls.

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4. Working on her collar

I think most dollmakers would have dipped the ends of the white yarn to make ombre pink and blue hair but I was scared to do it. So I added thin colored yarns in the middle of her ponytails. One dollmaker whom I chatted with in Instagram said that she dyed her Harley Quinn’s strands one by one!

5. HarleyQuinn

5. Turning more into Squad Harley

Harley wouldn’t be Harley without her crazy eyes. She looked so tame with just the button eyes. So I researched and most amigurumi artists used either acrylic paint or real makeup for the blush. A real blush on would fade, but would probably fade nicely. If I used real eyeshadow, (which I did on some of my more recent dolls, so now I can’t sell them because the makeup might run if it gets wet) that might pose a problem when cleaning the doll. So I used acrylic paints. This was a scary process because I didn’t know how she would look like. If I make a mistake with stitches, I can always undo. That’s the pretty thing about crocheting. But here, the doll was almost finished, and if I botched it, do I undo her head and start over? Yaiks.

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6. Making her look even crazier with acrylic paint makeup

This is how special she was. I even made a mallet for her using a real mallet! I used stamps, markers, acrylic paint, and embossing powder to distress her weapon. The embossing powder was a happy mistake. It just bubbled directly on wood and didn’t turn into a shiny bronzy finish, but the final gritty result went well with the look.  Maybe I can make another for myself.

7. HarleyQuinn

7. Working on her mixed media mallet

I stamped and drew on sticker paper, adhered to wood, brushed on matte medium, and distress inked the edges.

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8. Harley Quinn’s mallet

Here’s my girl. Her beauty mark is a heart-shaped puffy sticker.

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9. Here she is: Harley Quinn doll

Nobody messes with my girl!

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10. Harley Quinn posing

Her choker is a part of one of my old bracelets.

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11. A Closer look at Harley Quinn

I got so into Squad Harley that I even made a Classic Harley Quinn! This was at one of the craft fairs I joined last year. I like to get busy while selling so I don’t have to talk to customers.

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12. I even made her a friend. Harley Quinn for Harley Quinn

Classic Harley! Take note, this was all before I watched the movie. Had I done so first, these two Harleys would never happen.

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13. Classic Harley Quinn

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15. A Closer look at Classic Harley Quinn

Here they are fighting over The Joker and who’s prettier.

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16. Harley Quinn vs Harley Quinn

But both of them are gone now. Squad Harley was adopted by a male high school history teacher who was also a doll and toy collector. Classic Harley was adopted by a very appreciative and loyal customer.

At least I have pictures to remember them by.  See! I was so excited for the movie and in love with HQ that I even made even more of an effort to draw!

I was barely breathing while I slashed her out of her paper frame.

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Harley Quinn 2

Papercut Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn 3

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Le sigh. Goodbye, my Harley doll.

I take comfort in the thought that the movie sucked.

Celebrating Accomplishments and Creating for Myself

I had no intention of getting back to writing anytime soon (it is in my to-do list for 2017 but my plan was to prolong my procrastination a little bit more), but I doodled and sketched out of the random blue all day yesterday and I had gotten so into it so I was at it almost nonstop, except for a couple of breaks to growl at the kids, until I unintentionally and finally came up with a notebook/idea dump site for my creations, which was awesome, IKR?!? Unfortunately, the 3rd and 4th knuckles of my left hand are swollen and sore now. I have always had a problem with my too tense pencil grips. I know I need to take a break but I get restless if I do non-artsy fartsy stuff. I can’t even sit through a 50-minute TV show without doing anything with my hands anymore. So while I nurse my south paw with cold compress (typing lightly shouldn’t add any more damage, I assume), I’ll take this opportunity to warm up my very rusty writing skills.

This year, I have changed my mindset towards my arts and crafts. I’ve started taking into account more seriously, my to-do’s, completed tasks and even things that needed to be worked on. Although I still have no set direction (I still have no business plan, I suck that way), I’d like to think that things are falling into place. And so, I’ve come to CELEBRATE ACCOMPLISHMENTS, NO MATTER HOW SMALL THEY MAY SEEM. Whether it may be coming up with a logo and printing business cards, a consignment, a picture in a blog or a mention in a magazine, a sudden inspiration or a couple of TV appearances (yasss!),  or even a nice packaging idea and international shipping of a very small item – the littlest things — they all got written down (previously in my Starbucks planner that has been pre-designed with printed watercolor effects so I don’t like it so much, so I transferred them) in my new idea dump site that I made yesterday. It’s not just a booklet of lists. I swear to make an effort to make it into an art journal with a consistent (FINALLY!) theme about my works.

This way, I get to track my progress. And feel good, of course! If anyone has actually been reading my posts, he or she would know that I like to focus on the positive. Yeah, sure, the arts and crafts community is fun. But the business has its challenges and I couldn’t help but feel a little bit bad whenever I don’t achieve what I set to accomplish before. Writing about what worked and what didn’t made me actually realize that what they (who?) say is right: when a door closes, another one, and more, open. Rejected craft show applications, bad customers, failed patterns, ugly art journaling results, even low sales don’t get to me anymore. Because something else, something new, sometimes even better, always comes. This is what I usually share with my fellow artisans. I don’t just say “it’s ok” if they’re disappointed with something (mostly about low sales and craft show rejections) and they needed some comforting. I say it because it’s true: that IT IS OK, and they can always move on and move forward to another opportunity.

Writing about those that didn’t work also make me think about the WHY. For example, I opened my Etsy shop last year but it didn’t really took off (I was secretly hoping for some fanfare, stupid me). My excuses were : 1. Locals wouldn’t pay for extra Etsy and Paypal fees: 2. No one would pay for international shipping fee that’s more expensive than the doll itself. 3. There were already so many well established, more talented artists and dollmakers in Etsy. No one will notice me.

But really, I just got lazy. I didn’t promote my shop all that much. So I let my postings expire. Surprisingly, because I’ve uploaded several of the postings in Pinterest, there are hundreds upon hundreds of repins of my dolls and inquiries (unfortunately, the dolls were all sold). They made an effort to find me because I didn’t put my contact information in Pinterest (another stupid move). And now I think I’d like to revive my Etsy shop, once I find out how my international shipping test run (in progress) with my cousin in the USA goes.

I have also decided to CREATE FOR MYSELF, meaning, I stopped focusing on the approvals of others. I came to the point last year when my mindset turned into “will they (who exactly?) like what I make? Will my creations be sellable? What if they don’t like the dolls?” Such thoughts put a pressure on me – nothing seriously life-changing but still, it was a nagging pressure that really sucked the fun out of creating. That feeling as a worker bee at the office when you need to prove yourself all the time to get your queen bee’s approval? That’s the feeling. Only, there were a hundred invisible bosses. I couldn’t even identify whom I needed approval from. It came to a point when I was surrounded by a set of dolls which I didn’t find enjoyable to make. I won’t tell which, but this was last year. It happened about a couple of times when returning customers at craft shows asked about my new creations and I just shrugged (probably made a face, too) and told them I had no new designs despite the army of newly made dolls behind my back. If they’re not in my Instagram feed, they could likely, but not certainly, be those. I secretly apologize to those who adopted them, but I’m sure they are in more wonderful homes now.

So I stopped thinking about those annoying questions in my head and decided to change, well, revert actually, to my original mindset, to keep on making (even when I am hit by a dollmaker’s block) and to focus on my own designs to be able to create freely and express myself more honestly.  Anyway, a like-minded individual who comes across my works will be able to appreciate what I do.

I also stopped accepting clients requests. There were some who expressed their disappointment when I redirected them to other crocheters and dollmakers, and I admit, I am a little flattered by your disappointment, but I apologize. I know, I know. This is not a very profitable way of doing this kind of business. I’ve noticed that there is an increase in people who want something that’s custom made and special so yeah, I’m losing a lot of clients and profits this way. But the thing is, I feel the need to pour my ideas out before I forget, or worse, get hand injuries, or even worst, lose interest! So while I’m on a roll, I’ll continue to make for myself.

Maybe if I run out of ideas, I will start accepting requests again. But it’s true what they  (who they again???) say. One idea gives birth to ideas which give birth to more ideas. The more I make and create for myself, the more that inspiration keeps on coming!

So let’s keep on making, folks!

What inspires me

These past months, I wrote a couple or so write-ups  for blog features. I also got a couple of minutes of air time in HGTV along with fellow crafters during the Maker’s Market in Alabang Town Center last April which I never got to watch but which my aunt in California did but failed to record. These seemingly simple things (the HGTV talk was a little scary though!), those who take interest and believe in my work,  are just a part of what excites and inspires me to carry on.

Anyway, one of the perks of blog features is that I get to ponder on the questions the writers would send me, things I don’t usually think about. Sure, there’s the usual stuff like talking about what I do, my background, how I got into the craft business, what lessons I could share with fellow crafters, etc. But there are other questions that make me think, like, deep, man.

I recently received a note from another writer who wants to feature me in her website. A few of her questions made me think, like, deep, yo… a book, happiness, success, a story that helped me in my enterprise. But since these will be discussed  in the article anyway, I’d like to talk about the last part which I didn’t expound on (I didn’t want the article to be too long).

What inspires me?

I don’t have a story of a specific individual or occasion. But one of the things that really gets me going are the very unique individuals whom I meet at arts and crafts fairs. Sometimes I just join craft fairs to feel the positive energy and upbeat vibes generated by the fellow makers and to talk to them – exchange ideas, ask for advice, find out what they’ve been up to. Let’s get real. Of course a sale is good, too. We all join these fairs to put our work out there and make some money. But that’s not the only reason that drives me now. I don’t need to join craft fairs during off seasons when the sales are bound to be slow. I could just sleep it off and wait until the peak season, the “-ber” months begin. But I still continue to join —

— because of a group of professional, fledgling and self-taught, part-time and full time artists and makers, from who-knows-where doing God-knows-what, of all ages, from teens to, eh, former teens (me!), of all weird kinds  — individuals who couldn’t be any more different from each other, yet coming together in one community and having the courage to pursue their dreams. They create beautiful, magical things out of happiness and love and thought to sell for a living or heck, just for the fun of it. And in doing so, they pass on that happiness and love and thought to those who appreciate their creations.

I have found my tribe!!!

And they unknowingly continue to inspire me and have helped me affirm even further

  • that my belief that all my decisions this past year (oh hey! I just remembered, it was a year ago when I left my day job!) were the right decisions.
  • that it is never too late to learn new things if you really, really want to.
  • that you can reset your life if you really, really want to.
  • that there’s no such thing as an uncreative, untalented person. Creativity just requires time.
  • that happiness is within your control.

If you’re reading this blog, tribespeople, then now you know.

But Some Things Remain The Same

I still work at nights once the boys are asleep. That’s why I thought to call my dolls “Nocturne dolls/Nocturnals” at first because they were usually created from 9pm to 3am or even 4 am before. But then I started to make some of the dolls in the late mornings and afternoons, too, when my body needs some time off from the daily pounding it gets from my two kids (most of the time, it feels like there are six of them). So I don’t call the dolls Nocturnals anymore. Anyway, Nocturnals sounds like some superhero team from the Marvel Universe. I don’t know what to call them now.

I still suck at sales and marketing. I know I should have learned by now (especially with the knowledge sharing on selling a couple of weeks ago. I think it was held partially because of me. My sales weren’t so good at one craft fair and the organizer took pity on me so she asked one of the sellers whose background is on sales to help me sell the dolls. In 30 minutes and almost at closing time, he helped me sold several dolls!)  Shouldn’t my work speak for themselves, I would think. Yeah, no, duh, stupid. Human contact is needed, says the sales expert. Talking to several people tires me out. But sometimes, I’m just being lazy.

I still suck at photography. I tried making my own light box using a plastic translucent box, white paper and reading lights and taking pictures out in the sun (homygadtheheat!) using my Nikon for my Zodiac inspired crocheted dolls to get that crisp, clean, seamless look that I admire in Instagram and Pinterest so much. 😦 Aside from the pictures being a failure, the clean look just isn’t for me. I just normally gravitate towards a dark, busy, messy background.

Which should not come as a surprise. I don’t work on the floor  like I used to. I have a table now. Yey. And it was organized for 5 minutes, when it was brand new. There was a short period when I would organize my table every other day, but I gave up. I still work in a really messy state.  My little boys are messy, too. And no matter how hard I try to make them pack away their toys (I spy some in the picture), they just wouldn’t. I’m a bad example.

See?

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That’s just what’s on the table. The things underneath, on the sides, even behind me, would make neat freaks cry.

But it works for me.

To Mass Produce or Not?

Hmmm… it’s not even something I am considering. Right now, anyway. But I’ve been approached by some people who asked me if I could mass produce, give them a discounted price for bulk orders (a discount for something I worked on for 20-30 hours, LOL no. And how do I do bulk orders? When do they expect me to finish, in 2 years?) so they could resell. Selling a pattern, yes I could consider that, especially for fellow crocheters who’d like to own a Creative Chaos doll (I’m not sure what to call them yet) they designed. That is, if I had a pattern. Maybe someday.

So, I’ve been having the best time of my life, falling in love over and over again with the dolls I make (I can’t help it. I’m proud of them), feeling thrilled whenever I finish a doll which looked way better than I hoped, and then I come across these people at craft fairs. My heart would start to feel heavy with disappointment and my big welcoming smile would start to fade. They’d say something like, it’s-for-export-we’re-from-a-big-company-your-dolls-are-gonna-be-a-big-hit-abroad-blahblahblah. As if I should be impressed. I’m sure they meant nothing bad. It’s just business for them after all. But for me, (and I’m sure other makers could relate) it’s way more than that.

My art dolls are significantly different from mass produced ones. There’s that huge amount of human energy and love poured into each design to take into consideration, particularly the big ones. My process of creating does not just involve coming up with a piece of work or in this case, transforming balls of yarn into a mere little doll. It also involves a huge amount of effort to conceptualize and research not just the design but the personality and story to be injected in the dolls or doll series, to transform what is in my heart and mind into something tangible. 

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#artvsartist

 

When I do come across such people who don’t understand why I’m doing this (Why, indeed? Mostly for the fun of it. Although sometimes I also don’t get it. Where’s the moolah?!?!?!) I try to imagine these dolls replicated in tens or even hundreds, on shelves at some department store (hmmmm, creepy) or even online with “10 available” indicated in each listing. I would guess that I’d probably won’t even be acknowledged. They’d all just be “made in the Philippines”. I imagine pictures of different girls holding dolls of the same design. Does that make me happy? On the contrary. How frustrating.

But hold on. I’m not earning much because mine is a slow craft movement and it’s never going to make me rich. Why not hire people to help make the doll bodies and I could just finish them up with the designs, I’ve been asked several times by several people. But… but… but that sucks the fun out of it all, I’d answer. Someone I know personally rolled his eyes at me when I said that one time.

Let’s face it. Fun does not put food on the table. So, when we’re penniless and my little boys are starving, feel free to approach me and offer me something I couldn’t turn down. For now, hell no.

 

*updated on May 20, 2016