I decided to do a post on my own personal vision of creativity and how I go about doing what I do. I am by no means any kind of expert on anything and do not profess to ever be that way. I just work hard at what I create and I probably take longer than others, but I’m okay with that too. Why do I have to work like a woman possessed, that’s not me, it never will be, I just work at a turtles pace and I get there eventually.
The working theory for the purpose of this post, of what it takes to be a master of anything, is that you have to put in 10,000 hours minimum. That’s not 10,000 hours of doing the same thing over and over, it means you have to be working at whatever it is, and improving exponentially. If you’re not doing that, you can’t ever reach a master level and even if you do, there’s still going to be someone better than you.
10,000 hours in doll making terms to put that into some perspective could as an example be: to work 4 hours a day, 5 days a week for 10 years, and, to be improving all the way along. If you only have 2 hours a day, think of 20 years to reach a master level and so on.
So what I’m trying to say is, I don’t get caught up in the mind game of trying to be more than I’m not. I work hard at what I’m passionate about and my reward is to see the smiles on peoples faces whether or not they buy what I make. Anyone who really knows me well, knows that I do not compete with anyone. I’m just who I am, a solitary artist and doll maker with no interest in trying to be better than anyone else. I just try to be better than my last project.
I’ve had the occasional person say horrible things to me and try to bring me down to their level, but I just chalk that up to their own issues, not mine. Insecurity is a very crippling thing and would stifle me if I allowed that kind of negative emotion to creep in. I create what I do, to the best of my ability and keep improving and learning with each new project.
I don’t get enough time to work on “original” projects as much as I would like, but when I work with patterns or in classes created by others, I do make each doll in my own way. I add my own touches and usually change some feature or other to add my own creative voice to it. Teachers love it when you add your own twist to what they create, and all they ask is that you give them credit for the original idea.
I have a sketch book full of my own ideas and that’s what I do from time to time. I draw out ideas for different dolls and some times I just take a snip of fabric and tape it to the sketch in the areas where I think they will go.
What I don’t do, is use a picture of someone else’s work, make a lookalike and call it “inspired by”. That’s not being inspired, that’s just copying. I don’t go there, and why would I want to be a copy of someone else. I never claim an original unless it is, from start to finish. If I use for example, the body parts of a pattern, I give credit to that designer. The rest I create from my own thoughts, and I claim that part as my own.
In one case I have written to a graphics artist who gave me permission to use his art to create a doll from, so that idea resides on the wall next to me, waiting for the day it breaks out and becomes a reality.
I’m an individual and I want to have my own voice, besides, creating something out of your own imagination is so much more fun. There’s nothing wrong with being inspired by what others do, it helps to challenge me to stay outside the box and try new things.
Just to clarify, techniques can not be copyrighted, but designs are. I study what others do and I often find great techniques or ideas to use in my own doll creations.
I view all my dolls as miniature people who come to life in my workroom (translated – spare bedroom). I can spend ages putting together the fabrics alone for a project, never mind all the embellishments that will follow. As I work through my doll, I often will change the fabrics because they don’t often translate in reality the way they first looked. That’s why I take so long. I always want my dolls to be their best.
When I do my hand sewing, it has to be right or I take it out and redo it. I don’t automatically attach my trims. I almost always, will pin everything to the doll as much as possible and walk away. Sometimes I leave them overnight, sometimes a couple of hours, but it’s a good way for me to see how they will look after I’ve been away from it for a while and see it with fresh eyes.
How does it feel to have people compliment your work ? Feels great doesn’t it. I think so. I think it builds confidence in you as an artist or whatever term you like to use to describe what you do. My friend Janet and personal cheerleader ;o)) (we all need one), is always telling me how much people compliment my dolls when they come to her shop. That always makes me feel so good and inspires me to keep doing what I do, and validates that I’m on the right creative path.
I hope what I’ve posted here, gives you some insight into my way of working. It’s not easy to sum up because one thing leads to another and another….. but if I can give you some snippets of how I live and create, it is this….
I don’t allow:
- Negative people and thoughts into my life, they suck the life out of of me, if I let them. Because of that, my circle of friends is small by choice. I choose who I want to spend time with, not the other way around.
- I stay away from dream stealers, they try to crush my enthusiasm and joy.
- I’m not afraid to do the difficult things, like purging people from my life who do not encourage or support you. I’ve done that at least 3 times in my life. Letting go of friendships is sometimes what I have to do for peace of mind. Once the trust is gone, it never fully returns, so I let it go.
- Don’t be distracted from trying new things by the fear of not succeeding. Better to try and fail and try again, than to give up.
I always allow:
- Positive people who lift me up and encourage me. I have no time, energy or use for those who just want to take from me and never give back, so I keep those around me that I trust for support, and in return I give support to them whenever they need it or want it.
- I never rise above anyone, I treat them as equals, so I stay away from those who won’t and can’t be equal to me. Pedestals are for statues, ego’s and dolls, and I’m none of those things.
- Work hard, stay focused and be disciplined. Someone asked me the other day to share how I discipline myself to get so much done. It’s not a secret or a trick, I’ve just learned that I have to discipline myself to keep moving ahead and stay on target. I make lists, lots of lists and cross things off as I go.
- I always allow myself rewards as required. When I get a job done that has been big or just more involved, or I’ve been at something for ages, I reward myself with whatever I would like. Perhaps a nice dinner out with hubby, or just something simple like a special dessert that I seldom buy, or even just some down time for a while to enjoy other things, like a cup of tea with a good friend.
Whatever reward you need for a job well done be sure to do that for yourself… You deserve it, so do it… I hope this helpful to someone out there. Love to hear from you… Signing off for now. ;o)