8 Things I Learned from Teaching the Izannah Walker Workshop Class

Dolls made by members of the current Izannah Walker Workshop.

  1. Naming your project or goal is the first step toward completing it.  Say it out loud.  Write it down on paper.  Type it many times.   Talk about it with close friends, family and mentors.
  2. Large goals can be accomplished by breaking the task into smaller chunks.   "Design and Izannah Walker inspired pattern and class" was a daunting task.   My husband was very helpful in helping me break the project into do-able steps such as  "design hand, take photos of leg construction, convert pattern to PDF, etc."  
  3. Mentors and cheerleaders are very important in meeting a goal.  State your goal and project aloud to people who are both honest and encouraging.   Honest feedback will improve your project. I had several experienced doll makers test my pattern and their feedback was invaluable.
  4. Project time-lines are crucial.   If you don't set timelines you won't strive to meet them.  This is why I talked about making this pattern for two years.  When I set the project timeline goals, it only took me a few months to design the pattern.  They were very, very intense months of work, though.
  5. I enjoy seeing other people engage their creativity almost as much as I enjoy creating.  I had an inkling of this since my other jobs in life have involved teaching in some way. I genuinely feel great when someone uses my pattern and makes a better Izannah Walker doll than I could.  One member said she had never sculpted before and she is an amazing sculptor!  It thrills me that she discovered a new skill.
  6. It is important to follow where your creative passion leads.  Most normal people would start with something easier to design, like a Dixie Pancake doll pattern.  But I wasn't passionate about a Dixie pancake doll at the time, I was passionate about Izannah Walker Dolls.  The passion will fuel the project.    
  7. If you're afraid to do something new, you should do it anyway.  I was really nervous about putting a pattern "out there" for others to try.  Sometimes people can be snarky.  Especially since it was dealing with such an important icon for doll makers.  But I'm glad I did, because the class has been enjoyable for many people.
  8. Most of the time, people want you to succeed. And if they don't you should ignore them.
YES, you can still take the self-paced 


Robin's Egg Bleu said...

Wonderful post! These workshop dolls should have their own traveling folk art doll exhibit, they are all so beautiful and warm. Looking at them all together is like having a cup of tea with an old friend.

Carol said...

Great post! I hope you offer the class again! I tend to have a chance at idle hands in the winter.
The dolls are beautiful.

Dixie Redmond said...

Hi, Carol - you can still take the class. It is on-going and self-paced, and will be running through August of 2011 at least. :-)

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

John Wooden