Thursday, September 26, 2013

2013 Colliii Awards Announcement today......

Today was the big day that we all have been waiting patiently to come along.  That big day where Colliii Awards out of Germany announced the winners in their annual competition.  The competition was stiff and there were MANY fabulous entries, and many yet, whom I felt also deserved nominations that were overlooked this year.  Those that won, are true winners, deserving of their awards.   It is always bitter sweet the competition among friends.  It can be tough to compete against your peers as there are SOOOOOO many talented doll artist out there in the world!   But in truth, I would rather lose to my friends who I consider equals and in many cases better than I am in my craft.  They are deserving winners and I am pleased that my friends have won awards in the Colliii competition.  It is indeed a very prestigious, world-wide competition and I am happy for their accomplishments.   My friends who know me, know that I speak from my heart when I say that I am truly, very happy for their achievement.  They know that I am VERY proud of each and every one of them.  xoxo  

But, again, I say it is bitter sweet.  I do not intend to come across as a sore loser nor am I trying to be childish in any way.  I am sure that it will probably appear that way.  As it is, perhaps today, I have marked myself as a Black Sheep within the Colliii doll community.  The albatross.  Only time will tell where the matter is concerned.  But sometimes, you have to speak up for yourself and for all of the other doll artist who follow the rules in competition.  Sometimes a single person has to speak up where others will walk away carrying only the thoughts of "wanting" to speak their minds and are afraid to do so for fear of the wrath that may fall upon them.  

Now, don't get me wrong here, I do not believe it was the fault of the entrant into the competition because dealing with so many different languages and peoples from around the world, it is easy for the wording in the "rules of the competition" to be confusing; especially when so many languages are involved.  Albeit, I have to assume that the rules are posted in each possible language though, so truly, there should be minimal confusion where the rules are concerned.  Also, if something is allowed in one portion of the competition, then perhaps it should be allowed in the other portion of the competition.  Regardless of this fact, the rules were still the rules, written in black and white for all the world to see. 

For those in question, here are the rules as posted on the Colliii site for the OOAK or one of a kind entries:

at 1.) One of a kind (OOAK)
This award is for all dolls that have been hand modelled and either oven or air hardened and are in the following sub catergories.
  1. Newborn: a realistic reproduction of a new born baby up to 1 month.
  2. Baby: a realistic reproduction of a baby age 1-3 months.
  3. Toddler: a realistic reproduction of a baby age 3-24 months.
  4. Human: a realistic reproduction of a human, inc children. The sculpts have to be 70cm and larger. 
  5. Fantasy figure: a reproduction of a fantasy figure (incl elf, fairy and mythical figures. These figures have to resemble human like beings and not animals or inanimate objects)
  6. Mini Babys: a realistic reproduction of a new born baby, reproduced with a maximum size of 35cm.
  7. Mini Humans: a realistic reproduction of a human with a maximum size of 60cm.
  8. Mini-Fantasy figure: a reproduction of a fantasy figure (incl elf, fairy and mythical figures These figures have to resemble human like beings) with a maximum size of 35cm.
The portion that is in question in particular is item #5.  It clearly states that "These figures have to resemble human like beings and not animals or inanimate objects".   The problem with this rule is the winner in this particular category was a "puppy dog".  Granted, it is being held in the palm of a "human" hand, BUT that human hand is a "real person's hand" used in aiding the display of the figure and NOT part of the sculpture!  The "dog" was the figure that won that portion of the competition.   This is what has me and some other doll artist who also entered the competition a little perturbed.  Now, with that being said, again, I do not believe it was the fault of the artist who created this wonderful and cute creation of a puppy.  However, I do believe it is the fault of the Colliii staff to have permitted this as an entry into the category from the VERY beginning of the competition.  The Colliii staff is well aware of  their own rule system and should NEVER have allowed this entry into that category of the competition to begin with.  Realizing that this artist also received a double nomination for their work, both pieces I might add were "puppy dogs" and most likely entered into the same category, is a wonderful accomplishment for this artist. I do not wish to take that from them at all.  They earned their nominations rightly through the public voting.  But in truthfulness and in fairness by the rules, it should not have even had the opportunity to have even received the nominations.  To deepen the blow further, this figure has now won in this particular category and this has me a little dumb-founded based on what the rules clearly state for the category in question.  

Now, I will also take into consideration that there was a recent and sudden death within the Colliii staff.  And for those individuals that are dealing with a loss I am truly very sorry as I know what is to lose a loved one suddenly as my oldest son committed suicide a few years ago.  It is devastating, heart-wrenching, and knocks the wind out of your sails and floor from under your feet.  To those individuals, my heart hurts for them, and I am sorry.  I do pray for their comfort in dealing with their loss.  Whether the loss within the Colliii family deterred their focus of the rules, I do not know.  Again, I am sorry for the loss they are currently dealing with at Colliii. 

Granted we all work hard creating the things we love.  And for the artist who did win in this category of the competition, Congratulations to you.  By no means do I wish to rain on your parade.  But, leave it to me to be the old fuddy duddy and stickler for the rules and all that is in fairness, I can not sit here and not speak my mind.  For too long, I was one of those people who walked away carrying the thoughts in my mind, wishing I had enough guts to speak out and say what others should be voicing as well.  The rules are the rules.  That is all that there is to it.  I followed the rules like all of the other OOAK doll artist.  I was judged by my peers and governed by the judges rule.  So, why is it that the rules were not followed the staff at Colliii?   I would love to have an explanation from them, but I doubt it will ever happen. 

Perhaps, Colliii should consider creating a NEW category for animals.  A category that ONLY contains animals and nothing but animals.  This way there is no confusion of the rules, no matter WHAT language is spoken.   This is merely a suggestion that a good friend of mine brought up just this morning after seeing the results at Colliii.  I happen to think it is a marvelous idea that the staff at Colliii should consider in their future competitions.

I also realize you can't win every competition out there, nor can you win every single battle, whether it is a righteous one or not, regardless of the rules, sometimes we lose and the good guy doesn't always come first.  Regardless of what the outcome may be in this situation,  I do not know, but I do know what fairness is.  Whether my pieces would have won or not, that is not the question or the argument here as there were MANY wonderful entries that were just as deserving of this fine award by artist who did FOLLOW the rules as stated by Colliii.   I simply wish that Colliii would recognize their error and correct it accordingly for all of those artist who did participate in their competition.  At the very least give an explanation or apology to all parties affected. 

I apologize for this long rant and raving about the results from the Colliii Awards competition. Sometimes things need to be said, even if they are not comfortable speaking, hearing, or reading for that matter.  It was something I felt I had to say, and I did it. 

However, I am thankful AND grateful for my double nomination for my pieces that I entered into the competition, "Father Yule" and "Cricket".   Without all of you out there who took the time to vote,  I would not have received my nominations.  I thank you for your support in my artistic endeavor. You are all truly wonderful. 

Again, here are my three entries into the competition.  I thank everyone who voted for my pieces. Without you, it is not possible.  Thank you!  

In order of appearance:
                                                                      "Carrot Top"


"Father Yule"

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mixing things up a bit...

It's true.  I thought I would step outside of my comfort zone and mix things up a little.  Why not?  Who says we have to conform to the same old stuff all of the time?  Besides, doing something different can get the creative juices flowing when you feel a little stagnant.  Not that I've been stagnant per say because I have a TON of ideas lingering in my noggin, but, I guess I just have an itch to try something DIFFERENT!  And so, in the spirit of creativity, I thought I would let my muse out of her box and have a little off-road adventure!  And, so, here we are, right smack dab in the middle of a massive project wondering where my muse is going to take me on this little escapade.  Only time will tell, though I can hear her whispering constantly in my ear.  Sometimes, I swear, she never shuts up!  LOL

At any rate, I decided to re-approach the paper clay medium.  I've tried using paper clays in the past, here and there, with different brands and on different types of projects.  No matter what it was I was trying to do, I just couldn't develop a love for the medium, and so, it fell to the way side.  And, so, I stuck with my go-to favorite medium polymer clay.  Don't get me wrong, just because I'm trying something new, does not mean I am giving up polymer clay.   No way!  Me and polymer clay have a pretty good understanding of each other and so we'll keep it that way!  But, just for fun and creativity, I thought I would give paper clay another look.  Especially since the last time I used the medium, it was my first attempt sculpting with ANY type of clay, and my sculpting skills were,( putting gently), quite terrible!  It is probably safe to assume that I did not really give the paper clay medium a fair shake.  :-P

Either way, here we are, using paper clay!  At the moment, I have Premier brand paper clay.  I admit, when I first opened up the package, I thought how incredibly light weight this product is as compared to what I remembered of the medium in my past usage.  Of course, keeping in mind that different brands have different consistencies, this is indeed still lighter once dried than say Creative Paper Clay...from what I can remember.  The other thing I will say is this: you definitely have to find the consistency that works for your sculpting style.  If I add just a wee bit too much water, it's slimy!  I don't quite care for the sliminess.  Bleh!  And, too, it is a VERY soft clay to work with.  Since I've been using polymer clay for many years now, it is a strange feeling using a different medium, especially something that is so soft and light weight in comparison to that of polymer clay.  It takes a bit of getting used to at first.  But, since I was determined to give this a fair shake, I stuck it out and I have discovered what works for me while using this product.  So, if I don't add "too" much water to my clay, and if I let it dry up to a certain firmness, I have found it quite workable.  Not only that, but once it is dried, it is like a feather compared to a finished polymer clay piece.  I admit, I like that key factor a lot!  

Unfortunately, I ran out of my package of Premier paper clay and needed more to finish my project. So, this time around, I thought I would try a different brand to compare the consistency, drying times, etc.  So, the next package I picked up was DAS paper clay.  Well, first thing that comes to mind is THE SMELL!!   I'm sure there are those out there that LOVED sniffing glue in elementary school, but, I must not have been one of those kids because let me tell you something, OMG that stuff made me sick just smelling it.  Perhaps some of you might like the strong odor that permeates from this clay, but for me?  Let's just suffice in saying that I tried using it for as long as I could possibly stand it and had to go out and buy another package of clay!  Like most artist on a budget, I hate wasting money on products that I end up not using, but, I just could not stand the smell.  It was THAT bad to me.  Aside from the smell, it was also a lot lumpier than the Premier clay.  So, guess what the replacement package was?  You got it....Premier paper clay.  

So, I stocked up on another couple of packages of paper clay, and once again, I was off and running with  my new project!  Currently, I have 12 heads sculpted and sanded.  There are a couple that need ears, but, for the most part they are completed aside from their painting and other details of course.   I also have another 12 heads that are 1/2 sculpted, giving me 24 pixie/fairy styled dolls in paper clay coming soon!  And, since I am are in the mood for "different"  these will not be like most of the dolls I have created to date.  They will, indeed be just a little different than my normal art doll creations.  My hopes is to have all 24 dolls completed by the end of October for the Annual Mount Dora Craft festival that I participate in each year with my dolls.  I will be posting dates of the festival soon so that the local collectors can come and visit me.

At any rate, if these new paper clay dolls go over well, I just might start adding these into my doll creations.  You will have to let me know what you think of them once they are completed.  In the meantime,  I have tons more work to do if I am going to have all 24 finished by the end of October!  Talk about a hefty goal!!

Here is a sampling of the first 12 heads.  As you can see, they are still very much like the pixies I typically sculpt except these are in paper clay.  Let me know what you think of them so far.  Sorry for the picture quality, but, the photos are good enough to give you and idea what they look like so far at this stage in the creative process.  Thanks for taking a look! Your feedback is ALWAYS welcomed!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Unfortunate turn of events for unlucky doll artists....

As the saying goes, "all good things must come to an end", and so must it be with the IDEX Orlando 2014 show.   According to their article post today on their website,  sounds like it will be a permanent closing.  This is indeed a very sad turn of events for both doll artists and collectors alike who have been long-time patrons to the show every year in it's running of 22 years.  The IDEX show has been "the premier" show for doll artist to date.  Anybody who was anyone in the doll world would showcase their hard works of beautiful dolls and wonderful styles each year; bringing something new and exciting for the world to see.  In fact, there were doll artist from all over the world showing their wears.  It was a HUGE exposition!

Speaking for myself,  I used to attend the show each year as a "collector" years before I became a participating doll artist in the show itself showing my work with the group of the International Art Doll Registry.  In my first years of attending the show as a collector, I was AMAZED at all of the booths to see of wonderful and creative styles of dolls.   Prior to my attending the show, like most people who think of dolls, I would immediately think of a "Barbie" doll or one of those rubber play dolls you see little girls playing house with.  This was my imagery of a "doll" when someone mentioned a "doll".  The IDEX show was a real eye-opener for me and many others too I'm sure.  There were so many styles of dolls that it really broadened my viewpoint of what a doll figure should/could be.  Dolls were not necessarily play toys for little girl's to brush their hair and feed a bottle too in the world of make-believe.  In fact, most of the dolls shown at IDEX were meant for collecting, these were works of art!  Of course, there were some baby dolls and dolls similar to the classical "Barbie" as we know her in our minds, also called the "fashion" doll.  But there were other dolls that fed my imagination as an adult.  Which, as a creative person, led me to want to try my hand at creating something more than a simple rag doll for play.  And, so, attending the shows at IDEX helped to open the door way and encouraged me to create the types of things that I create as a doll artist today.  I realized that dolls were not just play items, but, works of art.  And, THAT, was right up my alley!  

At any rate, over the last few years of attending the show as a participating artist, I had noticed the decline in the collector base at the shows as well as the artists' attendance.  It was very sad to come from a showroom that was so large I felt as if I could not see it all in a single day down to a decreased venue size and seeing the entire show in a few hours.  Before, it was elbow to elbow and you had to wait to see many of the dolls up close to get a good look; and the last show it was like living in a valley with the closest neighbor being 10 miles from you.  A HUGE change.  I am sure, the economy played a large role in this downfall and you can either sink...or swim.  I guess IDEX swam for as long as it could stay afloat, but it's little rubber arm floaties finally got a hole in them and it sank...much like I thought was going to happen in the future.  :( 

Now, with my eyes wide-opened to the world of doll artistry, it seems that one door is closing in this chapter of my life.  No more IDEX shows to participate in, unless, of course, they decide to re-open the event at a later date, which could be a possibility when the economy begins to pick back up.  In the meantime, you know the old cliche` "when one door closes another one opens", and so, I'm not going to get depressed over this turn of unfortunate events.  Nope!  Not gonna happen.  Instead, I'm going to consider this as one chapter of the book might be over, but I am ready to read the next chapter to see where my new adventures will take me and my little pixies in the knoll.  That's right!  I'm not done yet and neither are these pesky pixies!  

In fact, there is hope on the horizon!  This past year, I had the pleasure of attending the Quinlan Doll and Teddy Bear convention in Philadelphia, Pa!  It is still a relatively new show (only showing 3 years now) and probably has more teddy bear artist than doll artist as of the last show, BUT, more and more doll artist are learning about this great event and want to participate in the convention.  The super nice thing about this convention is the fact that ALL of the pieces in the show are ONE-OF-A-KIND!   That's right! No 2 pieces are alike.  If you are a collector, this is the show to be at!   I will say, last year was my first experience participating in the show or visiting the show.  Let me tell you something....I had a BLAST!!  The Quinlan's did a great job of making sure there was something for everyone.  So, if you are feeling discouraged over the closing of the IDEX show....I say, don't be.  If you are a collector looking for a new, exciting and a fresh atmosphere of one-of-a-kind doll and teddy bear work, then I say this is the place to be!  Mark my words, I've said it before and I'll say it again, the Quinlan show is the next PREMIER show for doll artist.   Check it will not be disappointed!   Here is a link about the convention for 2014!  Let me know what you think.  I'd be interested in hearing your input.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

It's been an uphill battle all day long....

But, I think I might have this mess finally figured out!

It started out many moons ago with having no access to my "old" blog due to the changes that Google made some time ago. Whether it was because I could not remember my password, (humble frailty of the mind you might say), or just a bunch of gremlins playing games in my computer hardware, either way, I was only able to access it "once" to create a wonderful post with a great promise to seriously start attending my blog!

Well, as you all very well know, that last post made me look like a naughty pixie who had fallen ill on their word! But to save face, I truly tried to keep updates running in a "blog-style" format on my website in the tab of "adventures in the knoll". For those of you who would like a detailed history of the recent past events, just head on over there and take a gander of all that has been going on of late. I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised at all the events that have taken place since my absence here in bloglandia!

At any rate, back to the troubles with the blog! Since I had no access to the "old" blog, I ended up with the creation of a 2nd blog. Unfortunately, the bad news is that I have not yet figured out how to "delete" the "newer" blog, but, the GOOD news is that the "old" one is now up and running with a new face lift! LOL

So, if, by some odd chance you end up on a page about The Pixie Knoll, and it looks identical to this one, except it only has one post, don't panic! You are not entirely in the "wrong" place per say, just a step off of the beaten path. :-D If that should happen before I can solve this atrocity, hopefully, you will have realized something was afoot, and you headed off the path less traveled in search for the "real" Pixie Knoll.

In the meantime, I will continue to try to figure out how to rid myself of the "newer" blog. Which, of course, will probably result in contacting Google to solve this problem. Either way, the "newer" blog has to be deleted out some how so that only one blog is in existence, otherwise, we will have utter confusion. And to think, I thought pixies were the only mischievous characters around this place!