Friday, November 15, 2013

The "Art" of Taxes

Are you one of those lucky people who create art and make a living from your passion?  
Lucky you!

Aside from being passionate about art doll making, I am a tax accountant.  I think that makes me a geek who plays with dolls.

I'm gearing up for the coming tax season and I've been thinking about art a lot.  Dolls... tax.... how to merge that together?  Seems like pickles and ice cream or something. 

Anyway, I remember myself years ago when I first got started with Doll Makers Muse.  I didn't know the first thing about bridging business and playing with dolls!  Do you know how to account for your art business properly? Are you just starting to make money and not sure what to do next?  Do you know how to get all the tax deductions artists can get?  I mean, who wants to deal with all that stuff anyway?  I'd rather work on a doll head than take my head off trying to figure all that stuff out.  Wouldn't you?

So I know I'm an oddball of sorts.  I'm into dolls and accounting.  Must have something to do with our ability to sit, stay focused and pay excruciationg attention to detail as artists.  I don't know what it is, but it is what it is LOL!

 My website

Thanks for reading, everyone!

Happy dolls and happy taxing!
No, that doesn't sound right.
Happy dolling!

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

ADQ Review

Art Doll Quarterly by Stampington & Co. has been around for years, but I haven't read it for some time. That's why I decided to challenge myself and write a review. I hope you find it interesting!

I must start out by going back in time, when I first began my love with doll making and my first impressions of ADQ "way back then." Then I'll fast forward to what I find now, after not having seen it for some time. I think it will be interesting, so please bear with me!

**TIME WARP** Seattle, WA 2003
Bought an EXPENSIVE (how could I afford justify???) Husqvarna Designer 1 with a FLOPPY DISK lol! for the most amazing embroidery possible to mankind. The shop where I had just purchased this sewing machine car was unusually large and spacious, with groups of tables scattered around. This allowed for many different classes to take place at once, and was quite comfortable. One evening during a class where I was learning to use the thing, I noticed a group of women sitting around their cluster of tables, passing dolls around.
I could not help but stare at them.
How utterly shocking and intriguing- perhaps the most shocking and intriguing thing I had ever seen- grown women having a show and tell of dolls!?  I had to find out what was going on over there. I walked right up to the group. My mouth must have been gaping or something. I must have had the 'spellbound' look on my face because I left my machine parked on a table on the other side of the room and was quickly ushered into a vacant seat. Everyone was friendly, and they let me get a closer look at their dolls.
The ladies were passing around this "brand new magazine called Art Doll Quarterly." I could not believe my eyes. What, a doll making magazine for adults? Who ever heard of such a thing? Is it even allowed? Needless to say, I fell in love with the art of doll making instantly, and have been in a trance ever since!

The first issue of ADQ

 I was impressed because of the audacity of it- grown people reading about dolls. The pages were not cheap and flimsy. It felt good in my hands. There were all kinds of dolls in it from all kinds of artists. And the thing that impressed me the most is that the artists were ordinary people from all around the country and all around the world. Ordinary people like ME who can't necessarily explain why they love dolls. And don't HAVE to. Bravo!
By the way, the artist profile in this premiere ADQ is Akira Blount, who the doll making world just lost very recently, may she rest in peace.

 **Fast forward**  Some of my work was published in ADQ: Fuscia 

and a mischeivous theft-prone goblin who can only be pacified with Turkish coffee-

PAGAZ - Found Object Aficionado of the Sky

PAGAZ appeared in this 2006 edition

Nothing was more delightful than to see my "babies" printed in ADQ.

I can remember many rainy weekends picking up random issues and re-reading them for the 10th or 11th time. I drew much inspiration from this particular magazine, just knowing that there were others out there who shared my same passion. It made me feel very special.  I collected ADQ until eventually I moved to Brooklyn, NY to get married to my dear husband, David.  NYC hasn't been an inspiring place for me because of the stress of the city, and because it's so expensive to live here that I don't afford myself the time to relax and be an artist much these days.  So it was a real pleasure to pick ADQ up once again. 

 **Fast forward even more** Winter, 2013 edition of ADQ
 It's mid-November, and I'm bracing myself  (grumble) for the holiday shopping season.  I'm Jewish, and oftentimes I get very aggravated by all the advertising, consumerism and alienation that I feel during the end of the year.  "Winter wonderland" ends in December... there's no January or February!  Just kidding.  Anyway you understand.  I'm sure that my being Jewish has very little to do with it... I know people feel this way too.  It's all about selling and selling and selling, and I don't like it. It's overkill.   I just want to enjoy the season for what it is, the way it was created, in all its beauty and splendor.

So............. I open my mailbox, and there it is, in my hands once again.  ADQ.  Winter.  2013.  I get into the elevator and all these thoughts come rushing through my mind....what's in this magazine?  Am I going to like it?  How is it going to make me feel?  In a quick one-and-a-half-minute elevator ride, I was whirling around in my own mind, bracing myself and basically expecting to find a doll magazine filled to the rim with everything that I'm not interested in.  But I was wrong!

What I did find was page after page of interesting techniques, inspiring projects and the same high-quality paper and fabulously inspirational photography that took my breath away 10 years ago when I saw that first issue.  There were familiar, artists whom I have "known" for years, like Shelley Thornton, Marlene Verhelst, Annie Wahl and Adele Sciortino.  I'm particularly fond of Adele because she and I exchanged fabrics and notions across the ocean when I was overseas in Israel for a short time.  I loved Marlaine's article about creating facial expressions. 

I was mesmerized by Connie Smith, whose work is 100% new to me.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading about (and seeing!) her anthropormorphic dolls.  WOW.

I was touched by Julie Branch when she talked about a woman who "flabbergasted" her by asking [about her dolls on display, perched all around her] "So why do you make them?"  This is a question we all must ask ourselves.  She beckoned me to read further into the magazine.

I found myself unraveling, going back into my expressive, curious artist self.  It felt so comfortable.  Turning the pages, I was delighted to see the "song dolls."  What a perfect idea! Rod Steward "Do You Think I'm Sexy?" made me CRACK UP.  This was not something I was expecting to find in a winter wonderland!

 I did see some elves, but these were cute LOL!  In the Show and Tell section, there are these funny winter frogs named Ralph and Justin, by Cheryl Riello. Winter frogs?  What a sense of humor!

Would you believe there was a Hawaiian Santa?   I think he's brilliant.  Despite my original apprehensions, he really appealed to me because I got a very positive message.  It was like saying, "I'm not like everyone else, but I still belong here and I have a great time and I'm beautiful!"  He hit the nail right on the head.   Thank you, Becky Supon for creating him (and the seahorse!) and thank you, ADQ for choosing such a brilliant Santa inclusion. 

There were many other interesting artists, dolls and ideas in this issue of Art Doll Quarterly.  If you haven't seen it yet, I suggest you pick it up.  You might be in for a nice surprise!

Happy dolling,

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Sunday, November 03, 2013

My Visit to Etsy

Have you ever wondered where Etsy is?
So have I!
My husband and I were cycling around DUMBO, Brooklyn today, and so I decided to find Etsy and have a look.

Etsy is located in a relatively new-ish neighborhood in Brooklyn called DUMBO.  DUMBO stands for 'Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.'  I say 'new-ish' because for years, this place was seedy, scary and pretty much abandoned.  But recently it's been on the up and up, with stunning NYC waterfront views, cobblestone, old trolley tracks, and charm.  It's truly emerging as part of the "Brooklyn Tech Triangle"- the 'silicone valley' and arts hub of NYC.

I looked up ETSY on my GPS, and followed the directions to 55 Washington Street.

Here is the street.   You can see the Manhattan Bridge in the background.

mom and girl with balloon

me on my bike

I was going up and down the street, looking for Etsy. 
55 Washington Street....
I was expecting to find an amazing old remodeled industrial building.  But I found that ETSY is housed in a large glass office building.  There are no logos outside at all!

I didn't go inside the building, but I did continue wandering around the streets for a while.  It's such an interesting place!
Plymouth street, around the corner from Etsy.  Brooklyn Bridge in the background

Here I am directly under the Manhattan Bridge.  Someone made some fun graffitti on old (abandoned?) buildings. 

Continuing up the road I come to the waterfront promenade.  See the Brooklyn Bridge in the background?

Just look at this view!

I had such a wonderful time looking around this beautiful place.  This time I got to see the outside of Etsy.  But I can't wait to find out what it looks like inside!

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