(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 Lumos! LIGHTBULB MOMENT #1: a bookmark!
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!
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 post. My 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.