This project begain in Spring 2015, when I was brainstorming at Mattel. It was suggested I create a 'voodoo doll' kit. Guatemalan Worry dolls seemed like a less controversial approach, and thus the quest to build string dolls began.
Significant to me, were the string dolls I had as a kid, flexible and playable, the Halfpenny dolls from Hearthsong and Magic Cabin Dolls. They were my utmost favorite toy. The further this project continued, the more I was recreating these dolls in a modern form, but with a dark twist.
At one point Mattel called, concerned that we might come off too satanic with the kit, and thus any implication or association with a particular culture had to be removed. But since Cleo is a mummy, there is certainly no conflict there. The wrapping activity of making your own little homunculi was preserved.
In the past, I had been spending as much of my waking time possible hand-sewing the creatures of Tyler Poncho Toys. I knew this wasn't a lasting solution, and needed more experience to figure out a way to take that work to the next level - one where it wasn't me just sewing in a room for a niche audience. This would allow me greater personal freedoms, including of my finances and time. Over the past few years, I've been gaining this experience. I don't yet know how I will utilize it for the next stage, but I am aware of the need for transition.
Of course for me, the greatest challenge in taking on a task like this, was becoming the leader. I had always enjoyed my 'power behind the throne' positions, and now I not only had to take credit, I had to lead people and present my ideas. All new things I did not want to do, but knew I needed and must do in order to further what I'm able to create.
The easier part for me, is the balanced creative work of analytical understanding of the mechanics of the project, and the inspired 'right brain' that pops out little bits at just the right moments. This task was an opportunity to refine these skills.
I also consider the network of my creations. Each object I create is a part of me extended beyond my physical form, going and reciprocating energy to myself and further creations. They continue to increase reach, power and influence whether I intend it or not. This Mummy Maker is not the furthest reaching in scope or quantity, but it takes second place with more of my originality.
This project came from an essential place inside me, and is able to expand to worldwide distribution, without my personally needing to hand manufacture and sell it. It is a personal achievement, and I await what will unfold as the next one.
Below is the 'class picture' from the workshop I shared at Tex-Set. Each initiate created their own Mummy using the materials provided from a project that is a 'thud' from my recent work made to provide me more self reliance, empowerment, and creative capacity. It took greater perseverance to see this through to the completion than any previous creation.