How about a few more "Hoop Skirt" dolls? I retired this style after making a group of six pieces in 2014. This was one of the first doll styles I made and sold in 2009. This success began a series of over 100 pieces in the smaller size (26" across the base) and 30 dolls in the larger size (about 23" across the base). The shape of skirt changed a bit over time and I tried a variety of design strategies, always relying on machine quilted fabric collage for the skirt But, finally, enough was enough! I recently pulled out the few pieces remaining in my inventory, thinking I would like to present them this spring. Well, they just didn't look that good! So, I am in the process of making at least two more.
The piece below was painted about this time last year. it was part of a group of fabric paintings using free brush strokes and printing. This piece got pretty wild! Parts of this are great, but taken all together it is a bit much. I decided to use part of this in a skirt for a large hoop skirt doll.
I was hoping to have this finished for the blog pictures. As it turns out, the photo makes it easier to see a few more adjustments to make. I have now broken up the patterned blocks a little more with strips of black, and I have painted the bottom stick and the bodice turquoise, adding wood finials on each side of the base.
I am happier with these design changes. But for some reason she doesn't hang straight, kind of drooping down on the right side. I haven't figured that out yet. Also, I discovered that there isn't quite enough skirt fabric to wrap around the edges, so I'll have to add a narrow bias strip on each side. I'm beginning to remember why this style was in retirement! I to share a photo of the finished doll soon!
Her hair was flat and messy. She was over dressed. Her kids were cute, but didn't really show up. So, I wondered if I could give her a new look. I have a different eye than I did when I originally made this doll in 2015.
I removed the quilted skirt/ruffle thing hanging at the back, the shawl and necklace. I wrapped her arms with another layer of green to cover the patterned fabric and simplify the form. Then, I moved one child up to her shoulder so that it is easy to see. Her new hair is dark brown instead of black and pulled to one side to balance the child. The yellow ribbon repeats the color of the child's clothing below. I realized that her hands were begging to hold a book, so I made one, using bright colors to reference other colors in the piece.
Here is the new look!
This is the end of the first year of trying to blog rather regularly. The practice has helped me maintain some focus and motivated me to keep moving along so that I have something to share. That alone made it worthwhile. My thanks to anyone has checked in now and then to see if anything is happening.
For 2020, I plan to post a blog entry twice a month on the second and fourth Fridays.
I have figured out that Art Dolls are my main thing. They amuse and inspire me. All the fiber and mixed media tricks I have learned can come into play and there is still much to learn. Having said that, I won't be limited to dolls. I might get involved in something else, and that's OK, too.
In the past 10 days I have done several things to gear up for a new year of doll making. First, I pulled out a number of notebooks that I've kept over the past few years. These tend to be very messy. If an idea hits me, I make some sketches and notes...right next to the grocery list, or whatever. The process of culling and organizing these was interesting and has given me lots of "new" ideas. Then, I dug out the inventory leftover from the past few years. I can see why some of this stuff has yet to find a home! There is one large bin to be explored and I hope to find some better stuff in there. Finally, I emptied my boxes and cabinets of all the treasure that I have saved for doll making. This was fun and made a pretty big mess in my studio. I found a box of parts: hands, feet, legs and so forth, that had never been used or had been salvaged from an unsuccessful project. The dolls pictured above and below grew out of the parts box this week.
The next step was to register for the Open Studio Tour that takes place in our community in mid-May. This will be a new experience for me. I sincerely hope that the panic I am feeling right now will translate into some wonderful new work in 2020!
These are the dolls inspired by the Apache Medicine Bag I saw this fall. I've been struggling along with this idea for weeks, so I was pleased to finish these figures. Each is about 20" tall and designed to hang on the wall. I had originally planned for these figures to have arms built on a tube and held out straight to the sides with a simple cut dowel for hands. When I decided to bend the arms down I got involved in making wrapped wire arms with polymer clay hands.
I have one more hand painted fabric I'd like to use in this way, and then maybe it will be time to move on.
This doll is smaller at about 15" tall.
I enjoyed developing the quilting and the texture of the fringe and beads. Very near the end of the process I realized that she would be so cute with little feet, and this began a frustrating struggle. This might have been much easier if
I had thought of this detail in the first place. Back tracking is always harder, but worthwhile in this case.
Now that I am looking at this photo I see that perhaps I should make the arms dangle, too.
This is a tool I made for fabric painting. I discovered these 7 circular pieces in a bag of thrift shop treasure. The texture and uneven thickness of each disc makes me think they were cut from a gourd. A hole had been drilled in the middle of each one. I threaded them on the handle of a paint brush putting a little masking tape in between each to keep them apart. The uneven shape lets them wobble a bit as the paint loaded tool is rolled across a surface. I have loved this for fabric painting with results pictured below.
I've wished I could paint on canvas with the same reckless abandon! So, what would happen if...
I used a brush to start these paintings with some basic color blocks as under painting and then just rolled and rolled until they seemed finished, or at least at a stopping point. They almost look like paintings of fabric or possibly landscape. I'd like to work with this process a bit more, possibly creating some new tools.
By the way, doll making continues. I hope to be ready to share some new work very soon!
This is a little project from the summer and/or fall of 2018. I enjoyed it again when I sorted through a box of collage stuff recently. I worked on this over a period of a week while we were traveling in our RV. Before we left home I had made a "book" using the backs of recycled note cards. I glued strips of fabric to hinge the pages in an accordion-fold style. I had also gathered bits of collage papers to take along and then collected a few things as we traveled. I just painted and colored for a little while each day, working on both sides of each double page. You can flip pages and keep looking without coming to the end. I would love to do this again sometime soon!
My husband has a way of finding the perfect book for any gift giving occasion. My recent birthday was no exception. I was thrilled to receive a copy of Historic American Indian Dolls, by Forrest Fenn. He was listening to me chatter about my "Apache Medicine Bag" doll idea! I will enjoy absorbing the stories about these dolls and their children.
I realize that it would be impossible for me to make an American Indian doll, and probably inappropriate to even try. That is not my plan. But, this book is full of inspiration about textures and details that I can incorporate into my work. For example, I noticed that most of the dolls have shoulders and arms that curve around the figure instead of sticking straight out to the sides, as in my current design.
In the process of working through this idea I discovered that the arms on my figure were a bit short. I've been back to the drawing board on this so many times now, why not make another trip? The new arms are more complicated to construct, but make a more graceful figure.
I have admired encaustic paintings for some time. The deep glow of the wax surface is hard to resist.
I finally found an interesting opportunity to take a short workshop last fall at the Encaustic Art Institute here in Santa Fe. I loved it! I invested in some very simple tools and supplies so that I could give a try at home.
" What stinks? It's giving me a headache!" were the comments my efforts prompted. And, truth be told, I had a headache, too, and my eyes were irritated. More ventilation needed! So, fast forward to this fall. I set up everything in the garage, opening the double door and using a large box fan. Ventilation still seemed to be a problem so I finally moved the whole operation to the back porch on a few fine fall afternoons.
It is pretty easy to see that I don't know what I'm doing here, and have almost no control over anything. That is part of the charm! There is a lot to learn on this, but it is all on hold again until a warm spring day.
I began this year with a round of fabric painting. I really enjoyed that process and was able to use one of the painted fabrics for a skirt on this figure. (Arms needed!)
So, with that result in mind, I went back to work for several weeks in October. I painted a variety of pieces that I hope will become bag dolls. This is a heavier weight of fabric than usual so I'm not sure how the idea of quilting will work out. I may need to find coordinating light weight fabrics to use for the sleeves.
For some reason this process seems so much easier than painting on a canvas, as in creating a painting. I'll have to figure that out!!
I love projects where my idea is clear and all the steps fall into place quickly with stunning result! Sometimes it happens that way. But not in the case of my 'medicine bag' doll idea. The "bag" body was too short, the arms were too long, she did need hands, and I couldn't seem to get the bottom and back to coordinate with the front. I ended up cutting and re-cutting, painting and patching.
After I had finished (finally) this doll I realized that, of course, there was an easier way to make the "dress" pattern work around the neck and shoulders. Didn't I grow up making doll clothes? I don't like to give up on something with a glimmer of potential, so I made a few more attempts. I designed a new pattern.
In this doll I made use of a fairly detailed collage quilted scrap from a long ago project. This dolls turned out more smoothly, but I still had to patch up some adjustments at the lower edge.
On the third attempt I decided to use a quilting idea that I had experimented with in the Uncommon Quilt Challenge earlier in the year.
This doll wears a dress quilted with postage stamps. I used the stamps as they were originally stuck to the plastic mailing envelope. I solved most of my construction issues and I am happy with the overall results. However. I think i'll avoid a white background in the future. Oh, and guess what? The stamps are beginning to become unstuck.