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Grammatically speaking, the phrase should be “playing nicely”, but when it comes to getting a point across, often it’s more effective to use what’s most familiar.  However, you must know that I did wince when I typed this post’s title.  heeheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

As an artist, immeasurable joy is derived from the creative process…bringing my vision to life in tangible form.  I cannot adequately express how amazing it feels to “see” a doll in your mind’s eye and then to, over time, bring it into the concrete world using a vinyl canvas.  I love the freedom that my work affords me.  I like working on my own schedule.  I like having my desk a total disaster and not having to clean it up if I choose to leave it be.  I can work for 14 hours straight or not at all.  I can paint.  I can sculpt.  I can sew.  I can style hair.  There are so many things involved with what I do, and I have total control over all of them.  Unless…I enter into a commission contract with a client or a collaboration with another artist.  There are benefits and concerns with both.  This post won’t go into the realm of commissions.  Today, I’ll talk instead about collaborations.  So, if you had a burning desire to hear my thoughts on commissions and the collectors who request them, you’ll have to wait for another day and another post.  🙂

I enter into collaborations with other doll artists infrequently.  The idea of two or more artists who are, in many cases, emotional and passionate and temperamental, actually getting along long enough to complete anything is pretty daunting.  I know how I feel about my work.  I assume most doll artists feel just as strongly about their work as well.  Add to that volatile mix the need for clear and concise communication and you’ve got yourself a nice little batch of TNT.  I have been blessed with a doll artist friend who was heaven-sent.  Seriously, I cannot imagine having a better “fit” with another artist.  That’s not to say another fabulous fit doesn’t exist.  I’m just saying that my cup already runneth over, so I’d not know what to do with myself if I discovered a second artist with whom I work in perfect sync.

My collaborative soul-sister is Kelsie of Mutant Goldfish Designs.  I’m not really sure when we “met”, but I know it was several years ago on some online doll list.  A year or so ago, we began working together on an occasional project.  Kelsie is AMAZING when it comes to avant-garde fashion for dolls.  Her style is so unique.  And when she isn’t building a new home while managing the old one and chasing after an energetic toddler, she is so good at humoring my many requests for this or that fashion piece.  I won’t go into detail about how well we work together, but I’m happy that we do.  Our most recent collaboration is “Late for Tea!”, a One Of A Kind Fashion Royalty Natalia Fatale from Integrity Toys.  She was created for the 2010 IFDC in Las Vegas where she and other artist dolls will be auctioned off for charity.  The convention’s creator, Jim Faraone, came up with the brilliant idea to give a group of doll artists the same nude doll and let them create.  From what I’ve seen so far, the work has been incredible, the variety amazing!  Here’s the blog link to see the various OOAK incarnations of Natalia:  IFDC Charity Dolls by Various Artists And here is the link to the Mutant Goldfish Designs page about “Late for Tea!” who will soon be added to the site at the previous link.

Here’s the “before and after” photo of my part of the collaboration:

Back to Black Natalia Fatale "before and after"

After B2B's OSSification

I repainted the doll’s face.  Kelsie styled her hair and created her costuming.  It was a fun project and a worthwhile cause!  Thanks for allowing us to participate, Jim!