Friday, December 14, 2012

Lessons 4, 5, 6 - Finding Your Creative Path

Lesson 4. Find your market. After establishing that first retail outlet, what next? I signed up for a small craft show and set up a booth with a hooked rug on the floor and baskets filled with sunflowers and my sweet little rag dolls. As the day rolled on, the guy in the next booth was selling beer can airplanes as fast as he could take the money. I hadn’t made one sale. I knew my work was good so obviously craft shows weren’t the right marketplace for me.
At that show, my heart dropped as passersby whispered to each other, “I could make that doll!” 
Then, inspiration struck! “I can teach you how to make those dolls.” 

Lesson: Think creatively about how to make negative situations work for you---make lemonade.

Lesson 5. Jump in! Next, I piled those little dolls into a basket and took them to a local fiber shop and asked if they were interested in holding classes that I would teach. The first question was, “Do you have a pattern?” Of course the response was an indulgent but nevertheless enthusiastic, “Yes!” My teaching career was started. 

Lesson: Just jump in and be ever mindful that you can do it.
First Pattern-Dolls l to r: Doll with Colorful Soul, Folk Art Story Doll, Heart and Soul Doll.

My goal was to create each pattern with a new technique 
so my students" knowledge would grow with each pattern they made!

Lesson 6. Stay true and be Teflon. After many years my doll and pattern making were well established and a love of the process had evolved into many different techniques and styles. Developing those skills “spoke to me” and I found inventing “the new” to be thrilling. But the thrills didn’t come without glitches. Editors of crafts and needlework magazines wouldn’t publish my work because it couldn’t be pigeonholed into one specific category, and some retailers were reluctant to carry the patterns because my dolls were "sweet".
Then, at a doll show, Barbara Campbell, then an editor and now dear friend said she was impressed by my talent to capture so many varied techniques and styles while keeping a common thread or “signature” throughout the collection. That was and has remained my Eureka moment. 

Lesson: Stay true to yourself and your work. Don’t let the negative stuff stick! 

Recent Doll Patterns; Meow Meow Neko, Hunny Bunny, Ruby Radish, Etta, Tasha

Change and different techniques 
has now become my own personal trademark! 
Next week Final Lessons 7-10
Keep learning and give yourself time
Step out of your comfort zone
Keep a fresh eye
Be grateful and walk in sunshine 

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