What does Sister Dottie Dixon, the Mormon housewife from Spanish Fork with a gay son, (actually a character created by Charles Lynn Frost) have to do with Utah’s craft community? Recently, our friends Leigh and Rachel Kade, the artists behind Grimmleigh’s Fiends were commissioned to make a doll of the lovely Sister Dottie! Artduh caught up with both the Kades and Sister Dottie to get their thoughts on this crafty act.
Here’s our interview with the Kades:
1) Sister Dottie Dixon is a Utah icon. Where did you get the idea to make a doll of her?
(Leigh and Rachel) We made a doll of our friend Gavin (Gavin’s Underground for City Weekly) and I think Dottie actually saw it and asked us to make one of her….I was intimidated by the prospect to be honest, and kind of put it off….when she was announced as the winner of Best Utahn we decided it was the perfect time to make it!
2) What exactly is a Grimmleigh?
(Leigh) A Grimmleigh’s Fiend is a culmination of our creative energies. We never really know what they’ll turn out like until they’re finished.
(Rachel) Basically, I LOVE to crochet and Leigh’s always been an amazing painter. We used to craft/create “next to eachother” and now we do it together!!! I crochet the dolls (amigurumi style) from patterns that float about in my head, I sew a plain cotton face on the doll and then Leigh paints the face on… They are all completely unique and one of a kind. I’m not sure whether they qualify as dolls, toys or collectibles. Adults seem to like them and so do the kids…They’re creepy but not tooo creepy ya’know?
3) Where are they available?
(Leigh)We are pretty much regulars at Craft Sabbath, which is the first Sunday of each month @ No Brow coffee & Tea in Salt Lake City. We have a few dolls at Salt Lake Citizen @ Library Square….let’s see…
(Rachel) We have an etsy shop www.blackfezstudios.etsy.com and we also have a blog www.grimmleighs.com . We will be @ People’s Market this summer (Sundays @ Jordan Park) and we’re *hoping* to have a booth @ the Downtown Farmer’s Market.
We love custom orders and requests so just ask
4) What other custom Grimmleighs have you made?
(Rachel) The first customs we did were of people’s pets…I think we did Dan the LapTopMan’s pug Spud…our friend’s Boxer, my mom’s cat….then we did Geek Show Pod Cast guys (Leigh’s on the panel) for Christmas. So, Kerry Jackson, Jeff Vice, Scott Pierce, Shannon Barnson and Zack Shutt…and Gavin…
5) You’ve made quite a name for yourselves! What advice do you have for other crafters about turning their passion into a business?
(Leigh) Do your homework/research. Look at etsy, go to craft shows, find people who inspire you and try to talk to them and find out what works for them. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to fail. This is our third “venture” as crafters and the first really “successful” one…
(Rachel) it helps to know the right people too! I’m not gonna lie ~ be friendly and network network network! We’ve been really fortunate to have friends & fans who support and help promote us! I don’t know where we’d be without Meg from Craft Sabbath and some of our friends who have told friends, who have told friends etc. etc.
(Leigh) Don’t underestimate the value of promotion and advertising. If you’re on etsy..post post post! Use social networking sites like FB. And just get your stuff out there.
(Rachel) You also have to treat it like a job. We devote pretty much ALL of our “extra” time to this…it’s not just a hobby anymore, and when we got to that point we knew and took the “plunge” to make it more serious. We’ve really discovered that the more we treat it like a business the more successful we’ve become….But make sure you’re still having fun…We love what we do and that people love what we make…that’s the best and most important part!
And here is our interview with Sister Dottie herself:
1) How did you hear about the Grimleighs?
(Sister Dottie) That sweet Gavin of Gavin’s Underground told me about his new Grimmleigh and I wanted ta see it sa bad, and when I did I wanted one of my own~~for Sister Dottie really badly kid! Gavin is sa cool, knows ALL the happenin’ stuff, is kind and abundant and shares and networks–things I admire sa much. And I guess I, Sister Dottie try ta be that way too, oh…and cool. Gavin jist won BEST BLOG, that should tellya somethin’! I had heard about them befare, but never rilly gotten quite sa obsessed and what not! Then I did, and then I inquired, and then I got a BIG YES, and then I was jist sa happy. And then I got ONE! And at the City Weekly BEST OF AWARDS they presented it ta me. And I was sa happy, and taken by it. Pictures galore–ta beat the band. It was even in ma video interview with me. I have talked about ta everyone, til hell will have no mare, and many, many have inquired. I feel them kids are onta something HUGE here. Rilly HUGE!
2) What do you think of your new doll?
(Sister Dottie) I think the artistanry is amazin’, and the detail sa refined and superbly done. I stare at it ta see ALL they have sa perfectly captured. The two of them make a real team, and the quality is stunnin’, simply stunnin’! It is a keepsake treasure, and a little masterpiece if ya ask me. And I want ta show and share it with jist everybody. And it has caused a lotta questions ta be asked, and I am drivin’ business their way as fast as my big mouth and typin’ fingers can! Donnie loves ma Grimmleigh, wants one of his own. I told him maybe if he stops drinkin’ sa much damned beer, I might jist consider arderin’ one fer him fer Christmas! But he’s gotta give a little too. I’ve had ta put ma Grimmleigh under glass, because he keeps wantin’ ta play with it. Not seen this behavior since he was 4 and had a Dreamland Barbie. Lands and Lawsie. Don thinks they have hit the bullseye with this little imitation Sister Dottie. He loves it too. He comments on the tongue and lips all the time. But then a carse he would! It’s only natchural.
3) Do you really sleep with it?
(Sister Dottie) It is on ma nightstand AND I do indeed sleep with it. I don’t want any harm ta come ta ma Dottie Grimmleigh. Donnie’s little dog Javier, who is a Chihuahua wants ta git his teeth on The Sister D. Grimmleigh. It makes me sa damned mad. If he does, (which he won’t trust me) there’ll be Chihuahua in the treetops I’m tellin’ ya! Chihuahua in the TREETOPS!!
Love, love, love ma Grimmleigh. I’m honored, humbled, and blessed ta have ma own. Git one fer yerselfs folks, ya won’t regret it–I’m jist sayin’!
Sister Dottie S. Dixon