So I've been evolving my business in the last year or so, picking and choosing the direction I want to take my work and myself in. Whilst I love making small and simple toys in bright colours and patterns, I feel like I could always be doing more with my toys - more technical detail, more line work, more colour.
At the moment, I have been cherry picking the events and fairs I want to attend, not only tailoring my work to suit them but also finding ones where my work fits in and adds to the overall atmosphere of creativity and workmanship. One of my favourites parts of my work is being able to surprise people, showing them something they haven't seen very often before - I love when someone picks up one of my toys and I can see their pleasure glowing out of their face, whether it's more the colours of the fabric, the cute little added details or an unexpected correlation in their lives.
Selling my work online or at fairs is a tightrope walk, you have to find the right level of detail and technique and then sell it at the right price so that people who want it can have it, and it's a mutually beneficial arrangement for me too. I've said in the past that the creation part of my work is the most important part for me - pushing myself, trying new ideas out, creating new characters. I would give my work away if I could, but unfortunately time is a commodity that is in short supply and we all need to justify our time and currency.
Where I can really push myself is in my commission work. Fairly regularly, I have people contact me after finding me online - Facebook, Etsy, Instagram, Tumblr - or whether in real life - at fairs, shows, word of mouth - and they're after something different. Something unique, something special whether it's for them or for someone they care about. It's a beautiful thing about people, that we want to show the people closest to us how much they mean by surprising them with gifts. In that gesture, you want to surprise and delight them, show them how much you pay attention to them and their passions, you spent time thinking about them when they're not there and you wanted to see that moment when their eyes light up, and they feel your affection for them condensed into a tangible memento.
And really, that's what toys are - little parts of our memories, of playing together, of imagination and delight at the beautiful world around us.
With this in mind, I have decided to change my commission process only a little bit. Now, when someone asks me to create something special, I want to deliver something truly unique. By taking my techniques to the next level, adding details and embellishments - whether with embroidery, fur, beading - I want to deliver a creation that will be beautiful forever.
And so, here is Sheba.
Sheba is a feline fatale, with brilliant scarlet and burning orange fabrics. I used a tattoo flash fabric in tan for her paws and forehead and ears, and in black for her appliquéd stripes. I lined her ears with super soft plushie fur, and gave her a few earrings! I appliquéd a few tattoos on her belly - including a sacred heart and a few stars (because everyone has a star tattoo left over from 2007). She also has her 'jellybeans' sewn onto her 'footers'.
She's the Queen Sheba. So eat it up, and crown it. You're welcome.