Members of the Collective

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Introducing... #4

It's the time of year when we invite a few American artists to join us in our upload. This year we've added an element of surprise. Can you guess who our fourth guest vendor is?
After having my first baby in 2010, I picked up new interests in the form of sewing, knitting, quilting and crocheting in order to make things for my baby. Then at the end of 2013, I discovered the world of handcrafted dolls through a knitting book by Brandy Fortune called "Just Like Me Knits." It was through this book that I discovered the amazing Fabiola Perez of Fig&Me, who would be a pivotal inspiration that launched me. Just like any other thing in life that catches my interest, I like to dive into and try it out for myself. So, I made my daughter her first doll using a kit by Joy Chambers. And the rest is history. I opened in April of 2014. Handcrafted dolls became a means by which I was able to combine all the things I love...fabric, paper, yarn, photography and writing all into one craft that would conglomerate and produce the soulful doll. Now I am hopelessly smitten.

 Starting a shop was a way by which I can "run a business" doing something that I love and still be able to stay home with my young children. So far, I have learned so much, not only on the creative side, but on the on-line business side and it is thrilling to constantly be learning something new.
It is the name of an amazing species of mushroom, the sarcocypha coccinea....a not so uncommon, incredibly beautiful red mushroom. I have always had a fascination with the fungus kingdom, just as I obsess over clouds. Perhaps it is because these things are less commonly noticed by most people but their functions play such a paramount role in nature. So, that's all...I just love mushrooms and this one stands out to me more than others because of it's scarlet color.

I enjoy the connections I make with people from all over the world. It is truly amazing to be a part of such a global community. I guess I can't say that there is anything I don't enjoy. My business is so small right now that I don't face some challenges that some shop owners might face such as having to deal with their designs being copyright infringed upon or having to deal with big financial concerns.
Prior to motherhood and crafting, I was a mechanical engineer for a number of years, a math and physics teacher for some time and a crime data analyst for a university police department for a short time. When I had my first baby I closed the door to all those things and dived into full time work as a mother. More than anything else in life right now, I am a mother to two sweet toddlers, one aged 2 and one aged 4. I am also an avid and frequent rock climber and I mountaineer in modest amounts. Once a year I leave my children at home with my husband and for several days I take some time away to summit a big mountain with my girlfriends.

I make the smallest Waldorf style dolls out there that have very fine detail in their clothing and in their facial structure. When I first discovered the art of handcrafted dolls I saw many dollmakers making dolls of the Waldorf style but no one made 6" Waldorf style dolls...with much detail, that is. If they were small dolls, they most likely did not have facial features or facial structures and their bodies were often simple and not detailed like the bigger dolls. More recently I have seen some of the long time dollmakers making smaller dolls, but most still do not produce much detail in the smaller dolls. I don't believe that it's because they are not able or that they don't have the skills (they certainly do...very amazing skills indeed). I just think that no one wants to invest the time in making a small doll with that much detail because the financial benefits are not as gainly as the bigger dolls yet the smaller dolls take just as much, if not more time to create. But, for me, I love detail and I love making small things. So, I don't mind spending the time to craft a detailed small doll that would not necessarily yield as much of a financial benefit as the bigger dolls.
What inspires me are two things; 1. if they are not custom dolls and just dolls that I create myself, they are certainly inspired by the people, memories, things in my personal life that have had very deep meaning for, they are very very personal. 2. if they are custom dolls, they are certainly inspired by things, people, memories that are of great meaning to the people I do the customs for. So, regardless, of whether they are custom or not, each of my dolls has a deep and meaningful connection in some way to either myself or the person I am making the doll. I cannot make a doll without a personal story that inspires the doll to come to life. And as such, this makes it so that all of the creations I've made are vastly unique and different from each two are ever remotely the same.
And this month's favourite question - What is your favourite thing about the US...
FREEDOM, opportunity, equality. I am a US citizen. But, I was not born here. I was born in Asia in a poverty and war-stricken country. I was also a Peace Corps volunteer and lived in Africa for over 2 years. I have traveled extensively and mostly in undeveloped worlds such as India, Nepal, Tibet China, Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam, Bhutan, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya. I know from these experiences that there is no other place like America, where people have choices such as who they get to marry, expressing their political points of view without being oppressed or threatened, a chance a jobs. I am grateful every day for the life I have here in the US and as an American.

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