We've reached a milestone with the design and production of the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz series. The first hurtle is to make the prototype of course, but almost as important is to be able to make duplicates of the prototype which are every bit as good. This is what sets us apart from One-of-a-Kind doll artists. Below is a photograph of the original prototype alongside the first production sample. Can you tell which is which?
Once we get to this point in the design process we call it 'Taking the cork out of the bottle' because now we know that we can produce the doll effectively. It's a great feeling!
There is a lot of work between making the prototype and getting the doll ready for production. We literally have to back up and go over the entire design process with a fine-tooth comb to break the making of the doll down to individual steps. As most artists will attest, making the first of something is often a 'seat-of-the-pants' endeavor. Many things that were done in the creation of the prototype must be analyzed and dissected so that someone can be trained to do them. Susan is the critical bridge between design and production. Without her ingenuity the production systems would not be figured out. And without her diligence, the production would not measure up to the high standards of the prototype. As you can see in the photo above, the production doll (on the left) matches the prototype (on the right) exactly. To me this aspect is the most challenging of all that we do. If we didn't do this only one person could have this doll and that would leave many people very disappointed.
This is another reason why we have always insisted on having our design and production under one roof. If we didn't produce the dolls here we couldn't keep a strict eye on all aspects to insure that each doll in the limited edition kept true to our vision. It's a wonderful little world we live in where we can control everything!
NOTE: The first "Scarecrow" shown above will fly to San Antonio tomorrow to take part in the annual UFDC (United Federation of Doll Clubs) convention. He will be on display in the Toy Shoppe booth in the convention salesroom which is open to the public on Sat June 19. Visit UFDC for further details.
The making of the first production sample completes the design process. From there on the Scarecrow ceases to be a design project and becomes a 'production' piece. While the doll is in production it must be carefully and continually monitored so that it doesn't begin to 'drift.' Even though our team is extremely skilled and dependable it's easy to get off track when doing multiples. But now that the design cycle has been completed with the Scarecrow we can begin to focus on designing the Wizard of Oz mice! My next post will take you there.