Today I want to share with you about my friend Alexandra Boyle. She is a dollmaker who lives in South Africa. Her business is called Angelique's Angels. In March of this year Alexandra was diagnosed with a brain tumor. You know, I have never met Alex. It's kind of a weird thing - this age of the Internet. You make friends you will most likely never meet or see in real life. Many of my Internet friends are friends I have made through my art - customers and other dollmakers. This business of being friends with someone you don't really know is often a bit strange.
Some of my customers I have known a great number years. I have seen their children grow up on Facebook. I feel like they are family to me... But then there is the weird money thing. We got to know each other because they bought a doll or two from me. My customers support me and are devoted to the success of my business. I love them so much I just want to give them everything for free. Those friendships are beautiful but still complicated.
Then there are the friendships with other dollmakers around the globe. Many of these dollmakers I have known for years. We have met in various sellers' groups or touched base in different selling venues. We have followed and admired each others work. I often wonder what it would be like if we actually got together in a room and had a day of sewing together? How much fun it would be to visit each other's studio and share the excitement about our work! BUT then there is another side. How can you be friends with someone you are in direct competition with? You admire and adore their body of work yet at the same time you may suffer from pangs of jealousy at times. Also there is the problem of copying. Is it imagined or real? Where does the fine line between copying and being inspired start or end? It's complicated...How do you deal with negative emotions you have?
This year I had an epiphany of sorts. I decided to stop worrying about these things any more. It's been much easier since I got another job as a teacher. Don't get me wrong, the dolls are still really important and I try to get in a few stitches every day. But it's been very liberating to have another source of income and not worrying about selling or not selling my work. Now I am able to just go into my studio with a happy heart and sew for the fun of it.
This whole situation with Alexandra has brought life even more into perspective for me. It's been absolutely amazing to me to see the community of dollmakers around the world come together to help out a friend on the other side of the world. To see the outpouring of love by so many people for someone they have never met in real life. A Facebook page was created where a multitude of dollmakers meet and share contributions and donations to help Alex. It has made me so happy and glad to be part of this community of totally amazing women and doll artists.
Each day I look with great joy at the wonderful collection of natural dolls and handmade doll clothes that people have brought as offerings to the Love For Alex site. I am praying for Alex's healing, and I want to thank her for healing me by bringing us closer as a group of doll making friends - connected through our love for handmade dolls.
Please visit our fundraiser site and consider bidding on any of the miraculous dolls and sweet doll creations.