29 October 2007

what makes it worth it

commissioned bunny

Thanks to everyone who responded to yesterday's post. I hope that I didn't come across as negative or whiny. Going by the responses I received, I don't think I came across as either. And I hope I didn't worry anyone. You folks hit the nail on the head; it seems that I am at a crossroads. I definitely plan to continue doing this softie-thang, but there will be changes here and there. I have been toying (no pun intended) with the idea of self-publishing patterns for way too long. It's time to do or die, or more specifically, to just do it. Also, I think after the holidays, I am no longer making critters. I will still be making softies, but I want to play with new patterns and designs. The critters have kinda run their course for me. I like 'em well enough, but I don't want to limit myself to them, or to the mini-manti for that matter. The idea of producing tons of these is definitely appealing, but the actual physical effort it takes to do so is not so great. Also, it takes my time and focus away from developing new designs. I'm just pumping out the same things over and over again. I feel that if I don't go with the momentum that builds up around an idea (as with the bats, for example), then the idea will never come to fruition and those specific softies will never get made because they will keep getting bumped back by the critters, which take time to make despite the fact that I make them in an assembly line fashion. I have nothing against the whole assembly line production thing, but what do you do when you have more items in production than you have work space (and you can't afford new work space)? It gets a bit overwhelming when every flat surface in your space has critter parts in various stages of completion on it. Not that I'm complaining. I'm just clarifying why I am so daunted by the task at hand.

And yes, right now, I am drawn to other things. I have so many designs that I would love to work on, and hopefully, I will have a ton of new stuff, fresh for December. You have to enjoy what you do and do what you love, be it writing, teaching, sewing, or practicing law. As for making art or crafting, it shouldn't be a struggle, but all creative sorts do experience slumps here and there. Getting out of those slumps can be a struggle. That is not to say that one should be the angst-ridden artist always struggling. I wasted too much time in college being that way. (Although, it is a bit of a struggle to find your voice and your style when your teachers are all telling you to be unique and be like everyone else simultaneously, but I digress.) It's about figuring out what your next step should be and making that step, staying motivated, and really believing that what you do is worth it in the long run.

I had a productive day today, so I feel a million times better, like something inside me has shifted. I can see the big picture now, and I am approaching the work before me in a more organized and (dare I say it since the word always makes me want to projectile vomit a little as every manager in the country likes to flip it around) pro-active manner. Hence, I am getting things done. I finished several softies today, but the one I am most ga-ga over is the one in the photo above - this little flippity-floppity lanky bunny complete with fingerguns and an outtie that I made as a commission piece. His ears are super-floppy, and his eyes are machine-sewn felt that was then hand-embroidered, keeping it safe for the wee ones. In fact the only thing that was hand-sewn on this is the little pouf tail. Between now and the holidays, I will be making a bunch of these guys with the felt eyes for the younger softie fans. I know the plastic safety eyes are a concern for some, so I want to offer an alternative. And there will be lots of softie-making between now and the holidays. Stay tuned for a shop update this Wednesday.


Anna said...

Glad you've found more equilibrium. I love your critters, and am sure that you have a million other projects in your head that will be exciting to see too! Change is good - go with what you're drawn to and see where it takes you.

corinne said...

Too funny, a great one !

sugarcreekstuff said...

I am suffering from making burnout too. It always happens before a big show. Taking some of the self imposed pressure helps, but then the guilt of not doing sets in.
That bunny with the outie belly button is too funny. You are an awesome toy designer.

Ashley said...

Oooh, I'm excited for the baby-safe eyes. honestly, I don't worry about them particularly--your toys are so well-made that I think it's unlikely that a kid could get the eyes out, but I know the moms can be vigilant about it, and I've got a couple of newborns to shop for.

The belly button is adorable and funny, btw.

sulu-design said...

I'm only now catching up on a week's worth of missed posts (in-laws were visiting...) and I'm glad to see this follow-up to the previous one. Knowing that you've got so many ideas swimming around in your head is exciting to hear. Your work never disappoints, no matter what it is. It would stink if you were stuck on one design, just cranking it out. Every time you come up with something, we (your viewing public) go ga-ga for it, so I'm glad that you'll be following the creative ideas in your head and going with something new. Best wishes figuring this all out.