Thursday, April 16, 2020


Doll group photo taken who knows how many years ago.
     I probably shouldn't write this post. Not only am I vaguely annoyed, I am also a bit hangry and frustrated. But I am going to write it anyway. It needs to be said, even though I am sure it has been said in many places and in many ways. Yesterday I was annoyed by some comments on a post in a Facebook group. I know, those are incredibly broad strokes, I'll narrow it down a tiny bit. Someone was asking someone (not me) about getting free patterns for doll clothes. There was a comment saying that people don't share because of high dollar money grubbing. I found that to be an incredibly rude, entitled comment. This attitude is not new to me, and is very familiar to artists of every kind. There will always be people who feel that they should get a thing for free. And if they don't get it for free, it is because of greed. 
     That is so far from the truth. 
     Yes, some artists will share every single tip and technique they figure out, and that is awesome. It is also not required and should not be expected. If someone comes up with an amazing recipe, a lot of people expect to be able to access it for free. But that is not fair to the person that spent their time and money to develop the recipe. Because creating a thing takes trial and error, materials, and time. Time does not seem to be valued in our society, which is a very sad thing to me. 
      In a similar post about getting free things someone commented they like to help because, we all got help in the hobby when we started out. In some ways that is true, and in some ways that could not be further from the truth. Did I have help in the model horse hobby when I started out? Absolutely! I have had many, many people help me out with showing. Whether it was tips on how to improve a specific entry or the fit of tack on a particular model, I definitely had help. I got tips on where to find 1:9 scale miniatures, or things that might pass as 1:9 scale, and I still do. I have definitely had help in the hobby. But when I started making dolls I didn't have any help. There were no resources out there. I literally had to draft patterns for doll clothes. And anyone who has ever drafted a pattern for anything (or tried a new painting technique or a new recipe, etc) knows that the trial and error process takes time. Creating a new pattern takes time. Sure, the material is not substantial in trials of making doll clothes, but there is a lot of time involved and some material. When I started I was completely on my own in everything. I have told people, several times, how I got started. I started by altering Breyer clothes, which is an excellent way to get started. You figure out a lot of important things that way. You get to know just how much of a seam you can use to tighten up the fit of something and how much of a seam is just too much. This is really only something you can get from practice. After that I started creating new patterns, at first by taking apart doll clothes and then by drafting new ones. Sometimes they worked and sometimes they didn't. After a bit of time I "met" Joan Yount through a photo show series I was hosting and we discovered we had both started making dolls at about the same time. That in itself was a really cool coincidence. After awhile we started to share our discoveries with each other. Some of my patterns didn't work for Joan and some of hers didn't work for me. Sometimes we could tweak a pattern we got and make it work. That is also something you can only learn to do through practice. So while Joan and I share things with each other now, when we started out we were both completely on our own. 
      I'm sure some people will take this post as me complaining and whining. I am complaining, most definitely. I am complaining about the entitlement I see from so many people. I have had it all of my life, because I can sew, people expect me to do it for them. And for free of course. I have seen it with artist friends. Because they have design skills, painting skills, graphic art skills, they should do a thing for people for free. Because clearly "great exposure" pays the bills. If artists/bakers/craftspeople/etc choose to share their recipes/designs/patterns/skills with you for free, be grateful. If they don't choose to it's not because they are greedy. It's because they have spent a lot of their time, and money, developing their particular skill set. They do not HAVE to give you their techniques or anything else. And on that same note, they don't have to do the thing for you at all, or for money. If they want to create everything just for themselves, that is totally fine and is their right. If they want to sell their wares, that is fine too. But in the end what people choose to share, for free or for profit, is up to the individual. Just because you want something doesn't mean you are entitled to it. 


timaru star ii said...


Nichelle said...

THIS. So much this!!

I frequently get requests for free tack patterns (mostly blankets) or step by step tutorials. There's never any harm in asking, but my answer is always no. I do mention that I'm willing to help with any problems they may be having/materials to use/etc etc and that's usually met with silence. Or if I do end up explaining something some don't even bother to say thank you?

I've tried making doll clothing. It's HARD. I have so much respect for doll makers because of it. Pattern making in general is HARD. It's frustrating and time consuming but I strongly feel that in order to make tack, doll clothes, etc, you NEED to learn how to do it.

I do like sharing free tutorials/patterns/printables for little props and things to fit in barn scenes, and I hope others enjoy them too. But more complex pieces, like blankets, have so much more involved (as well as developed skill and years of practice) and are not something I want to share for free. I think people don't realize just how much time it takes to create a pattern, let alone a high quality and (hopefully!) fail proof tutorial to go with it.

This comment is longer than I intended, haha. But this is something that's been bothering me for a while so it's nice to see that it bothers other creators too! It makes me feel better about saying "no" and that it's ok for me to not feel like I need to share everything.

Field of Dolls Studio said...

Nichelle, you definitely give lots of tutorials and patterns for free. Sometimes I think that gives people the feeling that you should share everything, for free.
I definitely agree about the time involved in making a (nearly) foolproof pattern. The trial and error, wasted time and materials, lead us to not only know what we can and probably should do, but what we shouldn't do. Our mistakes teach us so much!