Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Calling all Hoffman Challenge DOLL Entries

Some of you may have visited my website and know I post photos of Hoffman Challenge doll entries each year (no affiliation). Today I began constructing the pages for this year's challenge. While the fabric is absolutely beautiful, I'm having trouble envisioning the doll. This could be because I haven't really allowed myself time to think about it, with my focus on the ODACA centerpiece dolls. The deadline is coming up (July 25). You can print the entry form from the Hoffman site below.

About the Hoffman Challenge: Every year, a team from Hoffman Fabrics chooses an upcoming fabric design and issues a challenge to quilt, clothing, and doll makers to create original items using the fabric. The entries are juried, and a team of judges chooses the award winners.
Over the following year, selected quilts, clothing and dolls are exhibited by quilt and other fiber guilds, shops, museums, and textile shows across the US and Canada.

So, if you are making a DOLL for this challenge, send me photos of your entry. I'd love to post the best quality photos possible, so please read my post on Photographing Dolls for some pointers (refer to the "Labels" in the left hand column for a link to the post). Large photos are fine, as I can resize them (better too big than too small!).

Please include your name (and other information you want ~ your website, blog, email, etc.). Let me know if your doll is your own design or from another's pattern (include the name of the designer, even if you have "tweaked" the pattern). Include the name of your doll and any special techniques or information. I usually use one or two photos for each entry, but feel free to send me more and I'll choose the most suitable.

If you'd like to see previous years' dolls, visit my website (http://www.blueherondolls.com/) and click on "Hoffman Dolls" from the list. I've participated in this challenge every year since 2002. Because the fabrics are always a challenge for me, I have grown as a doll artist through participation.

Oh, and if you're wondering where to get this fabric, I recommend eQuilter.com (again, no affiliation).

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Necessary Break from Dolls

Believe it or not, today was spent on something other than dolls.

My ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) expires this month, so I sacrificed several hours of my day recertifying online. ACLS is a requirement for my job, and I'm fortunate to work at a hospital that not only pays for the course and the hours spent taking it, but also a $100 bonus for each advanced certification. Taking it online not only saves the hospital a little money, but is a HUGE convenience for me, 'cuz I took the class in my jammies and didn't have to drive to Portland!

Then while taking my online course today, I tried to use my pda ~ it has a program with drug information. The batteries were dead. So I put in new batteries. It still didn't work, so I set it aside. About a half hour later I heard a loud SNAP and then a crackling sound. It was the pda! I promptly removed the batteries, which were bubbling with something that looked quite toxic.

After finishing (and passing, you'll be happy to know) the ACLS test, I went to the basement computer to "Hot Sync" my pda (with another set of new batteries) and reload my data. The computer didn't work. I ended up spending over two hours troubleshooting, reinstalling Windows, messing with my pda. After much frustration, everything works now.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Arms Race

This week has been spent on bodies and arms for the ODACA Day centerpiece dolls. Before work, after work and on days off. I'm not saying what the doll will be or look like yet (it's hush hush, you know), but let me say 10 dolls didn't sound like that much in the beginning. I was wrong. All these body parts take much longer to make than you might think. Not to mention the needle sculpting, multiple layers of Messy Mix, gesso, acrylic paint, and don't forget the sanding between each layer. And I haven't even begun to paint the facial features. That task is for tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Coffee With Tea

Yesterday I was invited to join another fabulous group of dollmakers on eBay. I'm just learning the ropes and finding my way around, but this is the group that sponsored the Red Riding Hood challenge a short time back. The resulting Reds were incredible!

Their current chalenge is "Itty Bitty Izannah." The Izannah Walker inspired dolls have to be under 8 inches tall! The deadline is June 8, so I doubt I'll be able to jump on this one. Would love to try, though.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Whew! My Friday

I'm just home from work, and while today is Sunday, it's my Friday. Now I've got three glorious days off, and plan to screen all calls. It's been SO busy at the hospital. Today en route to work we saw a big cruise ship docked and expected the worst. Cruise ship days can be particularly heinous.

Friday was unseasonably hot here - in the 90s, so we took the boat out on the river where it had to have been 10 degrees cooler. It was lovely. And relaxing. The perfect way to unwind after a very stressful shift. Do I look relaxed?

The next few days must be spent working on the centerpiece dolls for the ODACA Day Luncheon (end of July, Las Vegas). Also on my plate is the Hoffman Challenge, the fabric for which hasn't yet inspired me. At all.

I've also got to finish a wine-themed doll for doll club on June 7th, to be held Roxanne's ( http://fermentingfriends.org/). I'm going to call this doll "Meditrina," the Roman goddess of wine, health and longevity. The doll is sewn, stuffed and assembled, but totally naked. Obviously, the costuming and embellishment is what will make her "wine themed." I'd not heard the name "Meditrina" before, but found it on a bottle of wine. Here's the back story: One of my favorite white wines is "Evolution" by Sokol Blosser. It's a blend of nine types of grapes. I discovered Evolution by accident, and loved it so much, turned several friends onto it. The same winery also produces a red medley, called "Meditrina." http://www.meditrinawine.com/ One of my new converts discovered this one, and I had to try it. I'd highly recommend both.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Teaching in Moro

Last week I taught a class in Moro, Oregon. Moro is a city in Sherman County, and is the smallest county seat in Oregon. To paint you a picture, the population was 337 at the 2000 census. The drive along the Columbia River Gorge was was beautiful, and after turning off onto highway 97, I was delighted with the rolling expanses of fields with windmills used to generate power.

The class was held at "Lisa's in Stitches" quilt shop (on the right side of the street above), and it was small and intimate (see the link to her store under websites to visit). I had a wonderful, relaxing time. The students (and other citizens who stopped by) were so warm and friendly ~ I can't wait to go back! My greatest disappointment was forgetting my digital camera (I managed to remember the charger, though!). I had to stop en route and pick up a disposable camera. The photo quality is lacking - I'll be posting class photos to my picturetrail site shortly (www.picturetrail.com/blueherondolls) The photo of downtown Moro (above) is a stock photo from Wikipedia.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. Here I am, with my first son, born on Mother's Day 23 years ago.

My mother is on her way here to celebrate the day. We plan to take Mom and Dad sailing, weather permitting (it looks kind of iffy right now). If it's inclement, we'll eat lunch on the boat instead. Mom's first (and only) sailing experience wasn't a good one. Hope today's is better.

Update: weather was ok, went sailing! It was a little windy, but all went well. Below's a photo of my mom (far right), dad (far left), and friends/co-owners of the boat in the center.

And here's my Mother's Day Birthday Boy (all grown up), who was able to sail with us today, too.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Submitting Work to a Magazine

In a previous post, Mae asked:
"How does one get into a magazine? Do you have to get a hold of them? Do you have to make a pattern for the doll you have in the magazine? How does that work?" I thought I'd answer her in the form of an article I'm writing for ODACA Expressions, the publication for members of the Original Doll Artist Council of America:

>>As doll artists, collectors and admirers of dolls, many of us subscribe to doll magazines. But if you haven’t considered submitting an article to one of these publications, you should. For the artist, an article will call attention to your dolls. Consider it the best free advertising. There is the recognition of your expertise, and even payment for that knowledge. Of course, the readers and magazines benefit from submissions, too.

What should you write about? With a variety of doll magazines on the market, one is bound to suit your fancy. Research past issues of the magazine for a better understanding of what they are looking for, i.e. step-by-step instructions, materials, sources.

If you are a doll artist, consider taking step-by-step photos of a new project, or submitting a doll pattern. Many magazines publish submission guidelines, indicating the kinds of articles they want and photography requirements. Here are just a few:
Soft Dolls & Animals~ http://scottpublications.com/sdamag/submit.html
Doll Crafter & Costuming~ http://www.dollccmag.com/DollCraftersubmissionguidelines.pdf
Contemporary Doll Collector~ (also published by Scott Publications, above)
Doll Castle News~ info@dollcastlemagazine.com

You may want to start with a query letter before investing time and energy in a full article. Check the guidelines first. Sending a letter first to see if an article idea interests the editor can be done much more quickly than researching and writing a whole article. Your query letter should be written on plain, white stationery, free from grammatical or spelling errors. Address the letter to the editor and include a stamped self-addressed envelope so the editor can reply. Many editors will accept query letters and articles via email; others prefer regular mail. Don’t wait for the magazine to contact you. Without submissions, magazines can’t sustain readership.>>

A couple months ago, I submitted a pattern proposal to one of the magazines above. I included all the information they requested (description, size, skill level, supply list, contact information, etc.) and several photos of the finished doll. I wrote that if they weren't interested or unable to publish the pattern due to space/theme constraints, to let me know ASAP and I'd submit it to another magazine (this pattern was one particularly suited to magazine submission - not too lengthy, good for many skill levels, etc.). Their schedule was full for the rest of the year, so after hearing from them I sent the same information to another magazine. They accepted the project and currently have the sample doll, a hard copy of the pattern, a CD containing the pattern instructions, illustrations and step-by-step photos. (Incidentally, the first magazine just contacted me and asked whether the project was still available.) The magazines have wonderful photographers and often prefer to take their own photos.

At least a few of the doll magazines also have galleries that feature photos of dolls readers have submitted. Just check out the magazines (some have gallery "themes") to find out how to submit a photo, and what their digital resolution requirements are.

Above is a photo of me and most of my patterns, holding my beloved Rosie.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Out of Town

Packing up probably more gear than needed, I'll be leaving later this morning to teach my "Viola Ruth" class in Moro, Oregon at http://www.lisasstitches.com/. This class will be small, and held in Lisa's quilt shop. Sounds ideal, doesn't it?

I'll be gone for several days, and will be away from my email, Internet, Husband, pets, work, and hopefully rain. I'll miss everything but the rain and work.

I still haven't received my SD&A magazine, and pray it arrives before I leave. I need my fix.