Friday, 24 October 2014

Materials and Techniques: Wildflower Innocence

I am a big fan of handmade, so each fortnight I have a chat to another artist about how they go about making their products. Today I am talking to Suzanne, who makes dolls for her store Wildflower Innocence. Suzanne is a fellow EtsyKids team member and is based in Northern California in the US.

Please tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Suzanne, and I am the owner, designer, and creator behind Wildflower Innocence. We are located in the beautiful foothills of the Sierra Mountains in Northern California, USA.

For as long as I can remember, I have been surrounded by creativity. My father is a toy maker, and the owner of Elves and Angels and my mother was always creating some beautiful doll for myself or one of my many siblings. My parents both have an amazing gift for creativity, and toys were something that we always had a great abundance of... and not the Made in China garbage that you find at Walmart and Toys R Us... most of our toys were lovingly handmade by my parents or an older sibling.

I have always loved working with my hands and making toys and clothing for my own 3 daughters. Last year however, I decided to launch Wildflower Innocence. I was driven by my love of beautiful, simple toys. There is something different about a toy made by hand and a toy that is mass produced in some far away factory... it is like meeting the farmer who grows your food... or better yet, growing your own. Being able to have something of meaning to share with future children and grandchildren links the past and their future. In today's world of tech products and over the top toys, it is my hope to bring a little simplicity and innocence back to childhood.

What materials and techniques do you like to use?

I work with felt and cotton designer fabric the most. Cotton and wool yarn are also used a lot. There is something to be said for a toy that can truly be felt... the softness of the wool felt, or the different textures and colors make creating each doll a joy. Every little wing and cap, hand cut and hand stitched... and with each step you watch someones new little playmate come to life.

What challenges have you faced in the creative process?

I would say that for me, the biggest challenge would be marketing. I was never the most tech savvy person, so in the beginning it was all a bit overwhelming. This last year I have spent a lot of time researching and learning and I can honestly say it has paid off. I now have active Etsy, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Blog pages as well as my website. Things really seem to be coming together.

What drives you to create?

My daughters, my childhood... so many things... I rarely have a hard time coming up with ideas. Most often I have to get myself to stop coming up with new dolls so that I can continue producing inventory of the dolls I already have! I also do a lot of custom orders and have received some wonderful ideas from customers.

What is coming up next?

More dolls! I am hoping to continue growing my business and adding to my line of Storybook Dolls. I'm also planing on adding dolls of different ethnic background to my dollhouse family sets, and I am hoping to add fairy houses within the next year. To me, the possibilities are endless!

Do you love reading about materials and techniques? Read more in the archive. If you'd like to share your story, just drop me a line.