Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Pattern Hoarding and Pre-Toronto Chaos...

There’s something about getting ready for the show in Toronto that makes me feel so alive in a total panicky kind of way.  I usually have dreams about showing up at the wrong room or with the wrong supplies, but there is something so satisfying about watching the kit pieces come together as they take over my living room.  Erin and Bethany have a 5 day Thanksgiving weekend this year since the next 2 days are Curriculum Development days.  Teachers have been given a lot of new course materials to integrate with very little preparation or time to review the materials, so they will be doing some workshops and fine-tuning things. Rather than begrudge the fact that they aren’t in school, I gleefully informed them that they could work for me!  Kit assembly requires many hands and someone to double-check the counting, snipping etc.  Bethany worked for an hour tonight and actually enjoyed herself!  We’ll see how long that enthusiasm holds up when we have to put floss on card!

I didn’t teach this week in order to get everything ready, knowing that I’d want a bit of family time for Thanksgiving, so I actually got time to catch up on e-mail and business stuff, but that also allowed me to discover a disturbing trend.

I really wrestled with the shift my work had to take towards illustration as it became almost impossible for me to do trade shows alone with degenerative disc disease.  I actually shipped a box for Toronto up to  Erica today rather than have too much weight in my suitcase when they asked me to do a book signing for Owen & the Dinosaur in the Kid’s Zone at the CreativFestival.  While I may not be publishing as many patterns, the older designs that I spent 16 years of my life creating are still out there for stitchers to enjoy.

This week, several e-mails from stitchers overseas and in the USA revealed a rumour that “Dragon Dreams is no longer selling to shops”.  When that showed up in two separate e-mails, I was floored!

See this? 

This is just what I keep in my office close at hand in case a shop or distributor needs something quickly. 

I also pay for a self-store every month for all the boxes of printed patterns that used to take over my basement.

Honest... the dragon is NOT hoarding her patterns!

So, if your local shop is having trouble getting their claws on a design for you, tell them to give me an e-mail.  Only THREE of our 98 published patterns are getting close to being out of print... and they are the least popular of all my designs.  I will happily send them to shops who have customers with specific requests or just thought that a design had gone out of print.

The only thing that I won’t do is sell directly to stitchers.  Call me old-fashioned, but I spent too many years of my life at trade shows building relationships with store owners to suddenly become their competition.  I fully understand that many of the new designers feel the need to have both a retail and a wholesale presence out there.  I chose to head more into the Children’s Book Illustration and teaching.  We all have to decide what is best for our businesses, our families and ourselves... but I’d hate for stitchers to think that I’d taken a torch to all the patterns that I spent so many years creating.  Until those printed patterns run out, they are still IN PRINT.  Trust me...  I will NEVER, EVER run out of StormBringer patterns.  I had to print 3500 to get that printer to take me on and I’ve sold less than 1,000.

I know that some people believe that you are only as fresh as your last piece of work, but I also believe that classics stand the test of time.  I know that every time I read A Wrinkle In Time to my kids!

What brings me a lot of joy right now is getting ready to teach pieces at the CreativFestival.  I was going to keep my 3-D Perforated Paper Castle Ornament under wraps until next week, but I am just so tickled with how it turned out, that I have to show you.

I am NOT the best person at 3 dimensions...  I almost failed sculpture in Fine Arts.  Yet, I wanted to come up with a cool ornament for a tree that wouldn’t require a lot of finishing.  Perforated paper seemed ideal, but I also wanted it to have some SHAPE.  The results were even better than I’d hoped for.

Here is the front...

and here is the back side with the year.

Is is just me or is this too cool??

I can’t wait to get together next weekend with stitchers, friend and other creative people who understand the importance of being Creative in a ready-made world!!!