The timing of the demise of ADO is quite fitting for me as I was seriously considering leaving in the next few months. I have to be an active member of a group if I join and lately I just don't have the energy. I know that right now that could be the arthritis talking (oh hell, it talks now?) but after finishing the ADO Ezine project late last year I have just felt a little ambivalent about the whole art doll scene.
Don't get me wrong, I love dolls and I love making dolls and I love seeing other people's dolls. But making the dolls is just a small part of it, there is all the other stuff that I like so much less and it swamps out the doll making. There is all that cyber-keeping in touch, making yourself visible so that people remember you or know you are there in the first place, blogs, twitter, face-book, Etsy groups... posting photos here and there and everywhere, the list is endless and my time ISN'T.
Maybe I don't come across as very friendly but when I was deeply immersed in the Ezine project it was like I no longer existed for the rest of ADO, I stopped getting chatty emails from all but a couple of lovely people, stopped getting comments on my photos, etc... Because of that project I didn't just have no time to make dolls I also had no time to join in any of the challenegs so most other members forgot I existed. I wound up feeling very isolated and once the Ezine was published I wondered if I had any place in the group anymore. Everyone was going over to see it and saying how great it was, how it was a great advert for ADO but I felt totally detached and off in a corner by myself. I found getting back into the swing of the group really difficult. Everyone had moved on during the 9 months I had been immersed in Ezine stuff and I no longer fitted in. I know I wasn't the only one who got immersed in that project who also wound up feeling a bit side lined from the rest of the group. Just a statement of fact, or a statement of how I felt, not blaming anyone.
That whole experience also led me to question how I go about making and marketing my dolls because I am not sure it works for me anymore. I have so little free time and making dolls should be fun but often it feels like a chore because I have mentioned a new doll on the blog and then have failed to finish it... usually for the very good reason that I have had no "free time" since mentioning it! The bottle dolls are a good example, I previewed them just after Christmas and they are almost ready to go in the shop... ALMOST. When I feel a bit better I will finish the 3rd and list them for sale, but will anyone still be interested? Hard to know. The problem is that Esty has grown so huge now that it is almost impossible to get noticed if you don't do the whole cyber-network song and dance.
What is the solution? I really don't know. I'm just sure I can no longer run myself ragged trying to keep up with posting here, there and everywhere. I think from now on the blog and Flickr are going to be my only shop windows, other than my etsy shop obviously. I detest Facebook, My Space is long dead, Twitter confuses me and I just can't bring myself to join anymore etsy groups. I enjoyed being a member of the Esty Dark Side Team and loved ADO, but have had so little time for it for a long time now and won't use those tags on my dolls anymore. ADO is gone, even if some of the members keep the name it won't be the same to me.
So where do I go from here? Will I even make anymore dolls after the bottle dolls are finished. I just don't know right now.