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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Saturday, 17 April 2010
I realized, upon reflection, that my creative process for toy making is very similar to my creative process for sermon writing.

I need to start by inputting the ideas/ material.  For sermons, I study on Monday and gather all of the relevant information that I can about the text in question.  For toys, I often purchase, or gather materials with only the vaguest notion of 'I'd like to make something with *that*'.  For the Four Seasons Children, I had the peg people sitting on a shelf, waiting to be born.  Sometimes, I make the basic piece~ a piece of wet felt or a knitted pouch, and then set them aside and wait for the ideas to coalesce.

Like a sermon, with the toys, I often go back and handle the materials. Turn them around, hold them, tinker with various ideas and then set them back on the shelf for a while longer.

Now a sermon has a timeline, but thankfully, the toys can wait until I am ready.

When an idea starts to gel, having drawn on the influences around me:  listened to stories, watched my daughter play, considered what I feel drawn to creating, I talk it out.  My poor husband, thankfully he is a good listener (or can fake the appearance of one). For the Four Seasons Chidlren I wanted something different than the other peg people out there (wonderful toys!) and the watercolour seemed like a good start over my more familiar acrylics.

Another factor in my process is to bear in mind the shipping costs with Canada Post and to strive to create sets that will give the customer the most value for the postage paid.

With a sermon, I generally allow the ideas to become 'full' in my mind~ it is a sense of being ready and a timeliness for the ideas and inspirations to come together.  And then I say a prayer and start to type, allowing a free flow of ideas for the first draft.  Once that is done, I walk away from it, for a night if I have the time.  And then come back to it to edit.  Generally, the editing is minor, although I will have spent a night sure that it is all completely unusable!

For toys, once I feel that I have all the ideas percolating together, I begin.  For the Four Seasons group, I knew I wanted to do the mushroom caps as a nod to Elsa Beskow's beloved children.  Other than that, I knew I wanted the translucency of watercolours so I set out all the supplies and made a start.

Faces first, and then caps. And then, as always, the colour called to me!  I made the fall child first, having to go back over finished portions to make it all work together, but once the design and the process was worked out, the rest unfolded very easily and the Four Seasons Children were born.   As I operate with basic principles for all of my toys, some of the process is now automatic (open faces in the Waldorf style, safety first ~ smooth edges, no small parts etc.).
  They are finished with our organic beeswax polish for a beautiful warm glow and child-safe seal and grouped into unbleached cotton muslin drawstring bags for storage and toting about by little hands.

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