Oct 21, 2014

A Question of Izannah Dolls

Just as I was finishing the last of the UFDC commissions, and was looking forward to working on Jan-dolls, I got another Izannah order.  And I said yes.  Again.  This puts me in an odd position...and while it'll sound dumb to fuss about it, I really do feel the need to make a change.  I really want to spend my time making original dolls! 

Yes, I spent many hours and much effort learning the Izannah dolls, and getting my sculpts to where I was happy with them.  Looking back over the last several years I realized just how many I've made!  From first to last there is an interesting progression, and I love seeing them all lined up.  Here is a good cross section of the ones made since I began in the summer of 2011.
 
My first three, taking Dixie's class.
My own pattern designs in 2012.  (The one on the right is one of the first three above.)
 
2012...sisters.

Study, study, study.  Sculpt, sculpt, and re-sculpt.

2013 Izzies...give us limbs, please!
 
She was hard to let go of...still my favorite of all the ones I've made.


For the last six months or more, the limitations required to make these dolls correct for their period have me longing for work to be play again!  Color, shape, texture...so many other factors to create with!  I said as much to the hubs one evening, and he looked at me like I was stupid.  I thought the look meant, "Why spend so much time and energy getting Izannahs the way you wanted, only to complain when you get commissions?"

But then he said, "Seriously?  That's a pretty easy fix.  You still like to make them, once in a while, right?"  Right.  "So raise your price enough to make it worth the hours you put into them, and let it stand at that."

Now I've always known he was the business brains behind our cooperative venture, always has been.  But my inner scairdy cat shot off little flares of caution--oh no!  What if no one buys another Izzy--ever?  So I had to look far into the future and see what I'd be happiest doing.  And I came up with this: if making these Izannahs keeps me from working on original Jan-dolls, then I need to give it up, or at least take Phil's advice and the inherent risk.  If I never make another Izannah, I would be sad (and might have to make one for me, once in a while), but if I stop having time to work on my own dolls, I will have to stop making dolls--period.  And that ain't happenin'.  

I have learned so much from these babies with their sweet homely faces and odd little bodies.  And much of what they've given will be part of new ideas for Jan-dolls.  Maybe only doll-makers who have been badly bitten by the Izzy bug will understand the vague worry of disloyalty.  At any rate, once I told the scairdy cat to shut up, I realized that this was a concept I must put into practice.

So this commission I'm working on might be the last.  It might only be the last of the frequent orders, and I only make one a year or so from here out.  Either way, I'm glad she's turning out as the customer wanted.  I believe I've gotten her almost-smile just right, along with her little bare feet.

Pictures of finished dolls soon, but for now, here's an in-progress photo.  Hope your week is going as you would wish.
Jan
  

10 comments:

  1. You make beautiful dolls. They are all Jan Dolls. :-) But I totally get what you are saying about doing orders...

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    1. Want to follow this up to say that your Izannahs are so Izannah-like, while still being Jan dolls. Even those people who use molds from original Izannahs still have their own hand show through in the making. It's all good.

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    2. Thanks you...I know what you mean. Mine will never be confused, past the first (distant) seeing, with an antique Izzy, but I know each one pretty darned well. :~)

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  2. You have come far in your work with the Izannah dolls. Such a simple face, but not easy to recreate. Your dolls, Izzies and all, are beautiful and have done your proud for sure!

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    1. Thank you, Mary. You are so right about that simple face.

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  3. They are all good. Most doll makers do not have the huge cast of characters in their creative minds that need to be expressed! You Do Girl! Good Bones is great enough for MOMA in NY in my opinion. Follow your star. Best, Edyth

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  4. I had to chuckle over your hubs simple answer to your seemingly complicated dilemma. They can be so irritatingly right! It's not good in any sense to stifle a creative mind, be it a child or an adult lady doll maker. One look at your work and it's evident you are a creative soul, so go for it gal, make what ever your desire!
    There is much to be said for enjoying the work you do & continuing to learn and expressing ones self. You make beautiful dollies Jan and I am thrilled to have one! I look forward to seeing your creations in the future.

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  5. Great pictures of your dolls. I hope you will always make the kind of dolls that interest you. Your Izannah's are great, so are the originals ones you make. I think we always make the best dolls if they are what we love to do and our complete interest is in them.

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  6. Now, the reason why I enjoyed these artistic rendering is that the dolls remind me of 1890's and play periods that involved: holding a doll just like this and learning to sew. Do children feel that they are holding a grandmother of long ago? atk

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    1. Maybe "adult children" (doll collectors) do...sadly, most children of today have too many toys with bells and whistles to appreciate an antique doll for what it is. But my granddaughter's favorite is a rag doll I made her when she was six months old...so there's hope!

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Thank you for taking time to comment! I love hearing your perspectives and ideas.