Saturday, January 25, 2014

221B and the inner conflict

Please note that this is a bit long winded. I apologize. I'm usually not as blabby but I wanted to let you in on the status of any additional 221B / Sherlock tins and the whys and whatfors.


There's a good chance you are here because of this. 

G. D. Falksen posted it, Steampunk picked it up and it's been a sort of whirlwind ever since because of this little tin. It's brought me more attention, well wishes and nice words than I've had in a very long time. I appreciate all of it. Truly, I feel like a very dorky princess... which is absolutely bloody lovely.

There continue to be loads of requests to buy this little tin, will there be some for sale? where can I get one? when will they be posted? To be honest I've struggled with that because (cross my heart) I made it just for me. I love it. It's one little thing I created out of sheer fan-girl geekiness, to celebrate something that has brought me joy. I never imagined it would be so coveted.

That's great right? It's what every artist dreams of! So, what's the dilemma? Really, I've been torn about making more.

There's a lot of time, love and skill in that little space and each of those things is valuable to me. Handmade items are unlike those from a factory. They are not manufactured, they are created with hands and skills and heart. I'm sure the price will put some people off and (heaven forbid) dishearten those who would like one but don't have enough pennies. (Being quite penniless myself I understand that particular frustration.)

Then there is the enjoyment of it to consider. I am a fortunate artist. I make what I love. I never want to make things that I dislike. There are LOADS of artists making things they hate. I don't blame them one bit mind you... arty folks have bills just like everyone else. The thing is, I don't want to groan every time someone orders something I once loved.

If I'm honest, the control freak in me is biting her nails right now too. I don't take custom orders or commissions. I like to have full control over what I make and I know that if I started churning these out that people would start asking for changes. Can you add a cat? Can you make the walls blue?

And what about churning them out? Doesn't that diminish the value of the object just a little? Perhaps it would make the original just a little less special.


I'm not naive. I know that others will jump on this bandwagon and sling copies online within a week. They won't feel a smidge of guilt about taking credit for it, claiming the idea as their own. It won't matter that my heart will sink into my feet when I see my idea being sold by others, or that they'll gain greater benefits from it than I. Should I make more just to beat others to the punch and attempt to retain a small portion of the pie? Perhaps, but I have neither the head nor heart for business and much prefer cake.

Now, I DO appreciate that people are interested in a quirky bit of handmade goodness. It's amazing to me that so many people have taken notice of this little piece of whimsy. I'd hate to feel like I'm letting an opportunity pass. It would seem ungrateful in a way.

AND making more would give me the opportunity to make minor changes. There's one or two improvements rolling around in my mind. It could be fun to make a 221B.2 and right all the things that are nagging at me about the original.

Taking all of these things into consideration, here are my plans...

I'm going to create a small run of similar tins. Very small. Probably 5, maybe 8. When they are all complete they will be listed in the etsy shop. I will post a time frame when I have a better idea, and will give 24 hrs notice before they are actually available.

I will NOT be taking pre-orders or reserving listings.

When they are gone, that will be it.

I'll move on and make the other dorky things floating around in my head.

Hopefully you'll like them too.


  1. I think you have made a wise choice. I once had made angels and put them into a shop attached to a massage/acupunture salon. A customer (well known in our area) bought all the angels and then got in touch with me and said she just had to have them for her spring show of her jewelry. She wanted 50 of them in about a month. I was greedy and thought of what my family could do with the money. So I agreed. I ended up hating the angels. When I delivered them, I was never so happy so get rid of something.
    You are taking care of yourself and that is huge. Good for you darling girl. Oma Linda

  2. My dear I am a big fan of all things pixie hill and I think you should go with your gut.... It never leads much as I would love to have a little piece of Sherlock I would much rather know you did what you felt was best for you. With love from a Floridian who thinks you are the bees knees!!!

  3. I have just discovered this crazy situation you are in, and don't envy you one bit; however, having said that, it is a valuable opportunity for growth, and I agree you have made a wise choice indeed to choose what it right for YOU!! BRAVA! For an artist especially, it is our creed to honor ourselves. That all being said, I hope I am lucky enough to be able to share in one of the Sherlockian pieces as I am also a shamefully addicted fan of the new series. Never dreamed someone could have changed it up so well, as we love the old Jeremy Brett series too. xo

  4. I'm so glad you wrote this post. As I mentioned in my last post, I'm working on a book about fans who go pro with their work. Many of the people I've interviewed are fannish crafters who started out doing it for the love and are now swamped with orders.

    Some are thrilled to turn it into a true money-making biz but for others it's a stress point.

    My husband builds SciFi models for love and money but he hates to make anything twice. So once he's done a project, he's more than likely to turn down an order from someone who wants a duplicate.

    I like your solution. If it becomes a chore then the fun goes right out of it all. I'm all for people getting paid for their fannish works but never to the point where you're sorry you ever started.

  5. I will volunteer to eat Altoids and drink wine with you while lending you an ear to chew while you make a VERY limited run of this unimaginably brilliant piece. Picture a price point that makes you gasp...then double it. You have earned the adulation, not the heartache. All my best.

  6. Simply amazing chickie!!!

  7. Being a painter on a break for some of the reasons you listed here I can only admire and applaud your wiseness, mindfulness and pure joy in doing what you love.
    Just like Linda I 've been in this situation where you just do not enjoy the creation anymore and just do want to get rid of the order which brings you so much frustration...
    One question, what would be the price range of this Holmesian marvel?

  8. Sabbio: To be honest I'm not sure what the price is going to be. It has been suggested several times that I put them up for auction rather than at a flat price. I'm not a fan of auctions, but then at least buyers are paying what they feel is reasonable and it gives everyone an equal opportunity rather than who's the quickest. If it is a flat rate it'll depend on the time spent making the final tins. It's something I'll have to think about carefully and am torn about.

  9. Jimmer: that sounds pretty damned delightful actually! Altoids, wine AND you'll listen to my gabbing?!? Sweet.

  10. Nichola,

    This is a wonderful and inspiring post to read today. I was just saying the other day that my "ideal" would be to do away with the 30% of my creative work that are custom orders and simply get back to making, 100% of the time, what my heart wishes to make. I may be in that position soon and, when I am, I will call on your words to help explain the ideal behind it all. . . so well spoken here. I wish you a world of success with all of your creations, as always, and whatever your wonderful heart dreams of next. :)

    nicolas (and sofie)
    from bewilder and pine

  11. I so understand your thoughts. I hate making duplicates and abhor doing assembly line work, so each piece I make is,a,little different. Because I too get tired of something and the thought of doing more makes me cringe!!!
    Having said that I'm doing a happy dance that you are thinking about making some more tins.....I will keep my eyes open for your post...good wishes go out to you...and your decision.