Making What I Think People Will Like…September 5, 2012 Posted by in Blog
This is possibly the ultimate working artist’s dilemma. I know I’ve struggled with this over the years; especially with the Nonesuch Dolls. Is my next Nonesuch Doll going to be a something influenced by the latest trend? Or something obscure that deeply inspires me?
I’ll let you in on a little secret: The dolls I make for me are more popular than than the dolls I perceive as being what people want.
My top three most popular dolls are…
Dandy was the first Nonesuch Doll I made that wasn’t a prototype. I remember how ecstatic I was the first time I made him. He came out exactly how I pictured him. He’s my unofficial mascot and my most favorite design. He’s proven to be a fan favorite as well!
Narwhals have become more trendy in recent times, but Norbert was another doll I made just for me. He actually first came into existence long before the wool felt version was conceived. Despite his obvious flaws, I loved him so much that he became part of my personal collection. So, of course, when I updated my design, I had to update Norbert as well.
The fact that Tototl has become one of my most popular designs absolutely delights me. I’ve made more quetzals than all of my owls combined. This proves to me that you don’t need to be trendy to make sales. You just need to be you! I ADORE quetzals! They are my favorite bird and I’m thrilled whenever someone orders one.
I still get caught up in the latest trend on occasion. I do try, however, to be selective and only make things that I actually want to make. For example, I recently saw a viral video of a sea otter stacking cups. (You know the one.) After watching this video like 5 times, I busted out the felt and whipped up a Nonesuch Doll version of this intelligent little creature. I couldn’t help myself! And that makes all the difference. I made this sea otter because I was inspired by something popular. I didn’t make this sea otter because I thought it would be popular.
the lovable sea otter
smart and cute to boot
I think it’s important to pay attention to what’s happening around you and to possibly pick up on a trend here or there. It gets you out of your own head and sometimes makes you try something you wouldn’t have thought of on your own. However, I think it’s equally important to only pursue trends that inspire you. It’s no fun making something you don’t like just because you think other people might like it.
On the other hand, making something purely to satisfy your own inner heart is something you shouldn’t ignore. No matter how silly or impractical it seems, just do it. Get it out of your system. Trust me. You’ll thank me later!
he chases away nightmares
defender of dreams
Nox the Black Unicorn had been rattling around in my head for about a month before I finally made him. The voice of doubt was noisy and kept me away from the idea for weeks. He’s too weird… No one will like it… One day, I woke up feeling really low. I managed to drag myself out of bed and face my to do list. I wasn’t feeling any of it. My mind wandered back to the little black unicorn and I thought, “Screw it! I will like it!” I grabbed some black felt and pearlescent medium and got to work. He turned out better than I even imagined he would. I felt revitalized. My to do list suddenly seemed like a party instead of a chore. Nox chased the doubt away and got me back on track.
I’ll let you in on a big secret before I go: Your enthusiasm about your work and being true to yourself is what people want most. Whether you tend to draw your inspiration from something trendy, your own inner self, or a combination of both, don’t forget to make your work for YOU. People can tell when your heart’s not in it and will pass right by you. If you love what you do, other people will notice and want to get in on that love. Give it to them by giving it to yourself first.