Gratitude versus Greed

You know I started doing Heart and Hands Dolls several years ago for children and the elderly who were terminally ill or abused and neglected. I drew each one from my heart for no charge; that blossomed into having a crew of dear sweet ladies who made individual soft sculpt fabric dolls for abused and neglected and terminally ill kids and the elderly. They donated all their time and efforts, as did I, in an absolute labor of love. From the design, to having the fabric made, to cutting out the dolls, sewing and stuffing them, to watching--tears in our eyes and our hearts full of pride and joy--as the elderly women who we gave them to wept, overcome with emotion because they hadn't hugged a doll for decades. And the families of kids who sold them simply to raise money to pay medical bills and somehow acquire further care with the fervent hope their child could continue living. I am so very deeply grateful and humbled for those experiences. 

So it only made sense to me that when Covid struck, people needed comfort--kids needed comfort. So in early March of 2020, I elected to make the paper versions of the dolls free. From the depths of my heart, I really wanted to help a world in fear. At first it seemed to be working. I never asked for or expected anything in return. However, to my amazement, I received dozens and dozens of emails from teachers and moms and grandmas all over the world, thanking me for bringing back paper dolls, thanking me for caring, thanking me for sharing. Once again I was humbled and grateful that I could be a positive force for good in the world.

A few days ago, that all seemed to change. Things got mean. I started to hear from people who--to make a long, long story short--said they were going to take my art from me for their own profit. Despite this notice on my printables page:

These Hearts and Hands Paper Dolls are free for your PERSONAL use. The images may not be resold as digital downloads or used in any way, shape or form for profit. Add each image you want to your cart, then proceed to checkout; next, download the images and print them. Have fun!

They said all they had to do--since I had posted it of my own free will and choice on the Internet--was make a few changes to the design, remove my name from the work, and the art would be theirs to resell and make profit for themselves. It was no longer about changing lives for the better, bringing hope to people in need, giving and sharing--it was about plain, simple greed. 

So please forgive me if you've clicked a link that used to direct people to free downloads, because I've elected to charge for them again. Hopefully, if you you're one of the countless masses that still do have good intentions and really just want a fun activity for your children, you won't find the cost too prohibitive. I could tell you stories about how the people who've bullied me have said they have it "bad" because they can't make a living on their own and I "owe" them because I'm a successful artist whose work may be popular today but that I'll be "nothing" by next week. I could argue that the reality of what these people think about me is that as a self-taught, mostly obscure artist during Covid, I make less than half of what a teenager flipping burgers at a local fast food joint makes... 

...but the bottom line is: pursue your own goals and dreams without stepping on others to get there. You can because you are divine by nature, remarkable by choice. Choice--use it well. Be kind. Have integrity. For your own sakes, not mine. My Gratitude Leaf Kits will remain FREE--a symbol, I hope, that gratitude, not greed--can help make all our lives more abundant in whatever circumstances we may find ourselves.

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