two new faces and learning to trust

During October while I was quiet on my blog a few crafty projects were happening offline. One I'm sharing today was a custom-order for a brother and sister duo, commissioned by their lovely mum — an amazingly talented, crafty-maker. Um... no pressure there right?!! The brief was to create soft characters in the likeness of the siblings. These characters would become their Christmas gifts. And while I felt extremely honoured to be given the opportunity to create hand made gifts for two kids this Christmas, I also felt the hideous additional expectations I seem to bestow upon myself with all custom-orders. Is it enough? Had I captured their likeness enough? Would their mum think so? I mean, it's their mum right? She knows her kids!! And this was one clever crafty mum! Yikes! 

Taking a deep breath (or three) I hit send on the final email that included images and immediately thought; What if I don't hear back? What if their mum doesn't know what to say because she thinks they are hideous? What if...? What if...? What if my mind would shut the F*&^ up?! That would be sweet! 

Within minutes my phone rang and it was their mum, so full of gratitude and warmth. She loved each character. Her joyous call was the best damn call I think I've received! I know I need to learn to trust my creative instinct and myself a whole lot more. Self-doubt is so unkind. Perhaps that's my goal for 2013. If you have any tips on how-to rock your creative confidence and believe in yourself, do share!

Pressures and expectations aside, while creating these two I felt a whole lot of joy and I wondered about the adventures they'll be having with their new friends. Would they meet other friends? Would they live on a bed, on a shelf, in a basket? How might they spend Christmas? Would they be given names and what might those names be? So much to wonder, yet one thing I know for sure is that I feel like the one who's been given a Christmas gift.


dropstitch said...

If they hadn't looked like her children, she could always have swapped her kids for ones that matched the dolls. Seriously, too lovely! Good job :)

Paravent said...

They are just wonderful Evie! I do know how you feel, though - whenever I've done a custom order the pressure of expectation is so overwhelming. Maybe it's a good sign that we care? Congrats on a job well done :) Kx

Sandra Eterovic said...

Such a gorgeous post on so many different levels, Evie. Thank you so much for sharing that experience -- I felt like I was reading my own words. I often say no to those sorts of requests as I don't think that I can fulfill expectations. Big mistake! The only way to gain confidence is to do what YOU have done -- try and succeed. I imagine it will get easier each time, as you build a back catalogue in your mind of successes to draw confidence from. :)
Happy weekend and big thanks again.

annie said...

I totally stress out EVERY time I send a custom order, and if I don't get a reply STRAIGHT AWAY then I convince myself it's because my person doesn't like what I've made. I think i t's just the territory of caring about and loving what you do... x

Anonymous said...

People's expectations of us, as well as our own of ourselves can put us under enormous, mostly imaginary pressure.

Your two figures are totally gorgeous, and I am not surprised at the joyous response they received. Amazing work!

Pippa said...

They are a very previous pair! Of course they were entrusted to the right pair of hands! Well done to you! :)

Christina Lowry said...

Oh! They are all sorts of gorgeousness Evie! It's difficult not to be hard on ourselves, but it is also a sign of caring. I think we all need to remind ourselves to cut ourselves some slack sometimes. Says she who still gets nervous each time she posts off a piece of jewellry... :)

Victoria said...

Evie they are gorgeous. If you just look at them, forgetting the pressures you've mentioned - do you feel proud, anxiety aside? I don't know if they bear a likeness to the "kids" but I KNOW that they are utterly delightful. Remember it's capturing a style, a vibe, I'm sure you've done that completely.

As for how you believe in yourself, hmmmmm, I honestly don't know, do you think it's just inbred in some and the rest of us learn it? I've lived a bit longer than you and even now at things some tell me I'm good at, I find it easier to dismiss their compliment or belief than I do to really accept and absorb it .. not sure it will ever change. How about we just bolster each other up and perhaps, eventually, we'll learn to do it a little more for ourselves!

Victoria said...

PS - I've pinned these guys in Pinterest - maybe it will start a small avalanche of enquiries!

teddybearswednesday said...

As you know I can soo relate to so much of this post, though these two are just wonderful, i can't see why you were worried.
But I get the whole worry , pressure custom order thing.
I go through it too. But I often feel the things I agonise over and worry so much about come out to be my best. Do you find that ? xo

Madeleine said...

Evie I feel sick that I missed this post! Sick I tell you! (I completely blame instagram. I haven't checked any blogs in almost 2 weeks. I think my poor simple mind can only manage one thing at a time)
I wish that everyone reading what you wrote and seeing what you made could read this essay-like comment I'm about to launch into....
(Deep Breath) Evie, I came to you with my custom request because your work is so beautiful and joyful and ever since I first pinned that bearded guy to my jumper many moons ago I knew that that wouldn't be the last time I shopped at Handmade Romance.
When you said yes to the custom order I squealed, I was so grateful that you would be able to fit it in before Christmas.
When you asked me for information about my children, I smiled a lot. It gave me a chance to really think about those two apples of my eye and how much I loved them. I got to think about the little things that make them them. How they physically look and trickier things to capture like how close they are, such a team, how Coco looks up to her brother in a most besotted way and how he always keeps a protective eye over her.
When I received the photos I burst into tears! Evie (as I've already told you) you captured not only the the physical attributes (amazing attention to detail! It looks just like them!) but somehow you've captured the trickier elements. You've captured their closeness (look how Co is looking at Otto!), their sweet and joyful natures and best of all their sense of brother sister conspiracy!
I came to you because I LOVE your work and despite wanting you to capture my kids, I desperately wanted a sense of your amazing work in the characters. And that come through above and beyond my wildest expectations.
I understand and feel the same way you and the other commenters do. Every custom order is a nerve-wracking experience for me. Will it be right, will it be what they hoped for, what will they think???? But what I am ever-so-slowly learning is that people come to you for that something extra that only you can bring to the project otherwise they would make it themselves!
Evie, you are amazing. Your work is amazing. Every time I peek in the bag at the dolls I get goosebumps. I can't wait to see the kids faces on Christmas morning! Despite the fact that Otto is 10 I know he will get a huge kick out of a doll in his likeness and Coco, well she is going to lose her mind!
They still play long elaborate games with all their soft toys. I just know that these two new characters will fit right in with Totoro, Catbus, Max Wild Thing, Lowly Worm, Rosy, Jemima, Mr Murphy, The Rabbit Twins, Superman and Weird Alice.

Thank you Evie from the bottom of my heart xxxx