Two Year Anniversary

It was roughly two years ago that I started making dolls. I had been doing secret paintings in my cellar and stacking them up for years.

The drawing above is one of my metal printmaking sheets that I made back in art school. I was really into pears then. Here's a more recent painting which is an experimentation of dropping rubbing alcohol into wet acrylic paint. I love building up layers in paintings - laying a wash of one color over another and then drawing in the wet layer.

The thing is, all these paintings were just stacking up in my basement because I didn't have the time or inclination (or energy!) to start doing the gallery circuit. I had other more important things on my mind during those years, as I was focused on helping my oldest son who has autism get the treatment he needed. That is another story that takes up a decade. But it's important to this story, because I have cobbled together two part time jobs (doing things I love) to try to make money to add to the family coffers. I can do these jobs at night, or early in the morning, or while kids are in school and work them around my family's schedule. I used to be a teacher long, long ago.

I was going to auctions, buying small antique/collectibles and selling them on Ebay. I bought a lot of old cloth dolls (oh HOW I wish I had kept those dolls now!) and tried to sell them on Ebay. They didn't go for much - they were rag dolls from the 1920's or so. One was a wonderful antique black doll. That's the thing about selling smalls on Ebay - sometimes you might buy a glass ashtray from the 1950's and sell it for $200 and other times you buy an antique copper tea kettle and you don't get what you paid for it.

Anyway, while trying to sell the dolls I purchased to resell at the antique auction, I noticed the modern primitive dolls on Ebay. For weeks and weeks I watched while these amazing art dolls were offered on Ebay. I didn't even know that this arena existed, truly. I had been trying to think of something that I could do that is uniquely me and would be something I could do again and again, instead of hoping there would be a good lot of depression glass at the next auction. :-)
After a while I thought, "Hey! I can sew!" and "Hey, I can paint! Maybe I can make some art dolls to sell on Ebay." I e-mailed two people who were encouraging to me.

It was two years ago this month that I tried to sell Valentines snowman. I my goodness, she is so kitschy. I still own her, and she's a mascot of sorts in the Northdixie Designs creativity zone. It's okay if you chuckle along with me - I've learned a lot in two years!

Here are some other early Northdixie Designs creations.

One of my loves is to try and take the painting techniques I developed in all those paintings I stockpiled in my cellar and to apply them to dollmaking, and to take the techniques I've learned in dollmaking and apply them to paintings, because I still do paintings, and sometimes sell them on Ebay.

If you are still with me, you are a good friend or family member or I've been very interesting! Thanks for taking this retrospective walk with me. ;-)

If you made it this far you deserve a reward! Shhhhh! I'll tell you a secret. I'm going to be making something this month to offer as a giveaway to mark my two years of artmaking as Northdixie Designs. I'll keep you updated in the next few posts.

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden


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