New Doll: The Searcher, Intro and Progress

I started a doll for the All Dolls Are Art 2012 Silent Auction and she didn’t get finished.  I’ve picked her back up again after finishing my Stretching Art and Tradition piece as she’s one of the pieces I’m submitting for the Celebration of the Doll exhibit at IQF in Houston.  I had to pick a name for her, and called her the Searcher, although I haven’t really thought up for story yet.  I’ll give her a better name, like Lina, the Searcher of Dreams or some such thing once I’ve had a chance to figure her out.  Normally, this part of the process is the beginning of a doll for me.  In this case, not so much.  Any way, here’s the current state of progress.

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Her creation is an entertaining story of calamities.  I started out with the fabric for her tunic, which is some rayon challis I hand-dyed.  The same fabric is used for her pants.  I added the velvet for the apron and the turban to the mix, also one of my hand-dyed fabrics (this one, hand-dyed indigo velvet, is available in my Etsy shop).  Since I had a definite purple theme going, I pulled some purple toned hand-dyed skin fabric out of my stash, laid out the freezer paper templates, not really paying attention to grain on anything but the face, and started constructing her figure.  After I started stuffing, I noticed something weird.  The first piece I stuff is the torso.  It was really, really long.  Then I stuffed the legs.  Whoa!  More weirdness, one was really long and skinny, the other, short and fat.  Hmmmnn.  What’s up with this, you ask?  Unlabeled, one-way stretch fabric.  I also ended up with one long arm and one short arm.  Because I was short on time, I went ahead and put her body together and it was really wonky.  So, her costume design was conceived to cover up the flaws in her figure.  LOL.  I ended up with a pseudo 1001 Arabian nights costume crossed with an east Asian flavor out of the need to cover up the maximum skin and hide the figure.

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Later I added the purple daisy trim (hand-dyed too using similar colors, but not intended to go with this fabric).  Since I had more time, I dug through my stash of Treasures of the Gypsy trims and ribbons and added the purple and gold braid at the hem of the tunic, the beaded trim at her forehead, and the purple rick-rack at the neckline.  She’s going to get a necklace or a scarf to go around her neck.

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She’ll also probably get a ton of beads to bring some sparkle to her turban and veil.  I’ve yet to finish her make-up and finish her hands (nails) and sculpt her feet.  I haven’t decided if she’s getting shoes or not yet.

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I have another piece to start for Celebration.  This will be the last in my Seasons of Goddesses series, the Goddess of Winter.  I really really want to do her in blues, but to go with the other 3, I think I’m going to do her in winter greens and reds.  I’m going to pull out fabric for her probably tomorrow or Thursday.  I already have a good idea of the costume and just need to finalize some details on her figure before I draft her pattern.  My goal is to have her pattern available for sale in time for the Houston quilt show.  We’ll see how that turns out!

Last, but certainly not least!  I’m an aunt again for the third time this evening.  My newest nephew (Sawyer) arrived (early!) at 8:23pm.  Mom and baby are doing great!

When Social Media Becomes a Bad Idea

I was reading some blogs that I sporadically visit and came across a link to a post regarding copyright and Pinterest on Michelle Allen’s blog.  If you use Pinterest, I suggest you read this.  It certainly got me thinking and I went in and removed all of my boards and pins for things I do not have express permission to use. 

I had one of the artists who is teaching at ADAA 2012 recommend Pinterest to me as a place to promote ADAA classes, so I requested an invite from a friend of mine who’s very connected in the social media world.  I have to admit, I’m not a social media evangelist, not even a fast follower.  My day job is in the high tech industry, and I get more than enough screen time between 8am and 6pm, so I’m not inclined to spend more time on the computer when I get home.  Unless of course, I’m not particularly motivated to do yard, house, or art work.  Even then, I’m still an introvert online, preferring small groups of friends to large groups.  I’m sure I disappoint Facebook and Google+.  In fact, the only reason I’m on Facebook is to promote my work and All Dolls Are Art.  I get on only when I need to post something about the conference, and while I’m there, I check in with my SiL and my friends.

Because I’m an artist, producing both art work and patterns, I’ve got more than a passing interest in copyright.  I’m careful to watermark my photos and to never post hi-res images online.  I am fully aware that any content I post on Facebook is outside of my control. 

Because I work in high-tech, I pay attention to privacy issues.  It constantly amazes me how much information people are willing to give up in order to use Social Media.  When Google’s Privacy Policy Changes were announced, I went in and changed my settings to prevent, as much as possible, tracking.  I’ve been reading up on how to prevent tracking through Wiki’s on Wired Online and other outlets.  If you want to learn more about this, I recommend The Electronic Privacy Information Center.  If you live in Europe, you are in much better shape, as the EU has already started to tackle online privacy.  I get that there are good reasons to track what I do online.  I love that I can see recommendations on Amazon and that they can keep items in my wishlist and my shopping cart if I have to leave the site for some reason.  I opted in to that.  As far as I’m aware, I haven’t gotten any spam, or snail mail spam, from companies who have purchased information about my reading and listening preferences from Amazon.  The article in the link to DDK’s blog makes me want to go read their privacy policy though. 

I happened to ask a person that I know through my day job why Europeans’ have such a different view of privacy.  His response was “Can you imagine how much MORE damage Hitler could have done if he’d had access to the amount of information that is collected on people today?”  His response seems a bit extreme, but he’s got a point.  Of course, he’s also German.  But it does make you think.  Would the Arab Spring have made it off the ground if those in charge of things had been able to force all electronic communication through their filters?  If they’d been able to find the people planning to protest in Tarir Square BEFORE the protests started?

We Americans take our Freedom of Speech and Rights to Assemble very seriously.  Today, political campaigns are making use of all of the data mined on citizens in the US to “target” advertising for particular towns.  Translation, they are so able to predict what message will resonate with a particular demographic that they can say what we want to hear instead of what they really intend to do.  Regardless of your political affiliation, that should scare you.  Because when they are saying what you want to hear, you believe them, you vote for them, and they get in office and they don’t have any reason to respond to your needs, issues, complaints.  An example of targeted advertising using data mining provided to me by a co-worker:  A national retail chain, using data mining techniques noticed by looking at search terms used by a particular young woman that she was likely to be pregnant.  This retailer then targeted advertising to this young woman that featured items needed in pregnancy.  Her father saw one of these targeted ads.  You see what happens next?  Nothing good.

What do we do about this?  It’s hard to see a way to a reasonable solution.  So, for now, I will not participate in Pinterest, except where I have express permission to use a photograph or it is my own.  I am going to go read privacy policies for the online communities I participate in.  I’m going to pay attention to the policy and legislative activity around privacy.  I’m going to do a better job of formulating and articulating privacy policies for online communities I manage.  I will be more vocal on the topic of online privacy and will advocate for simpler, easier to use and find privacy policies.  Because we shouldn’t need a law degree to figure out what we’re signing away.  What will you do?

A New Year, A New Pattern, or Two

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My time off is almost at an end as the New Year begins.  It’s a bittersweet moment.  I did not accomplish as much as I would have liked, but spent time with my family, and enjoyed every minute of it.

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I spent this last weekend working hard on website updates and patterns.  I finally finished Modron’s pattern and got it posted to Etsy.  The Goddess of Fall was actually completed soon after Christmas, but I didn’t get back to her pattern until Thursday.  She’s such a lovely doll.  I am very happy with the way she turned out.

I also started another Kate’s Party  Doll, this one for my mother, who was as enchanted with the first one as I was.  I’m doing the pattern for this one as I go along.  It’s a fast doll to put together, as I said in the midst of the last one.  I would have finished it today, if I hadn’t been writing instructions at the same time.

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Actually, I would have finished her, if I’d not spent most of the morning finishing the updates to my website that I planned to get done.  I have Modron up, as well as Alvan, the Gypsy Queen, Count to Ten, the Nutcracker, and Kate’s Party Doll.  I did not get the Monkey commission’s page up yet, nor my quilt from Stretching Art and Tradition this year.  Actually, I think I’m a couple of years behind there.  Anyway, it was a busy weekend, but now I have to go back to work at my day job and back to part time on my artistic endeavors.  The cats are going to be disappointed that I’m not at their beck and call all day! 

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After the Technical Difficulties/ Fireplace takes shape

Apologies if you visited this blog in the last 48 hours and discovered missing pictures.  I hit the limit on my server and discovered that, between Live Writer and WordPress, I had up to 5 copies of every photograph I’ve posted in the last 5 years.  After much trial and error, I deleted the correct copies of the pictures, leaving the linked ones intact (or restoring them as the case might be).

In between dealing with that, I’ve been enjoying a long weekend, doing a bit of gardening, a bit of cleaning, some fabric dying with a neighbor and working on round robins.  I finished up the Cool-aberration round robin and got that in the mail and posted.  If you want to take a look at the round robin, visit the blog:  http://2010coolab.blogspot.com and take a peek.  I have also been beading the fireplace on my 2011 Gypsy round robin book.  I started beading and removed the beads after discovering I was going to run short of one of the styles of shell beads.  After a shopping expedition, I started over.

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Here’s the fireplace, quilted – no beads yet.

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And here it is with the beading on the right side done and the left in progress.

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Here is a close-up.  I’m attempting to make it look like an underwater environment with coral and shells.  I haven’t figured out what I’m doing with the mantle yet, but have time.

I also made a trip out to Ikea with mom and got a sofa table for my hall so I could move all of the family pictures that are scattered through various parts of the house to one spot.

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Here’s what it looks like in its new home.  The photographs above the table are ones I have taken, had printed and framed.  The ones on the table are of my family.  The ones underneath are some of my pictures from Oaxaca.

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Here’s a better view of the top.  It’s got a glass top with a shelf underneath that I’ve filled with small hand-made books and a photo book of my niece and nephew that I received as a gift from my SIL and Brother. 

All in all, it was a relaxing weekend.  I’m praying for an end to the wind, rain and the recovery of my SIL’s Grammy who’s in the hospital and listening to James McMurtry’s “It’s Memorial Day in America” on the radio.  Happy Memorial day.

Progress on Sirona

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I had a very productive day.  I got my floors cleaned by lunch time and after lunch, I sat down to work on Sirona.  I got her bodice gathered and stitched down.  I, then, designed the corset and constructed it.  There will be beads or trim or both around the neckline of the bodice and the edges of the corset.  I also got her sleeves made and used up almost all of the remaining lace from the packet I had. 

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I got my stuff packed up for my weekend play date and then sat down to draw Sirona’s face.  Unfortunately, this represents the one step back part of today’s program.  I don’t like her face or head at all.  I tried something different with this head.  I sewed it on the bias, to give it a bit of breadth.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work the way I wanted and I didn’t see that until I got the face on.

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Her nose is too big, her eyes too high on her face and I hate the mouth that I drew.  I was going for joyous and ended up with solemn-ish, going on bored.

So, if I can get up early enough tomorrow, I’m going to sew another head to take with me.