Friday, December 4, 2009

Almost done, half way there, and just begun...

Three dolls in progress.

Little one is almost done, middle is in the works, and the third is just begun! The first one is kind of child-like, or perhaps elf-like, with large eyes that are set a little lower on the head, which is a little larger proportionally for her body. Lots of painting on her (including her back).  I'll take more photos when they're done!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Creating Dolls

I'm working on two new dolls at the moment.

They're sculpted, stuffed, mostly assembled, and just need to be painted, wigged, dressed, and finished!  They're made of paperclay and cloth - I'm experimenting with tinting the clay for a flesh tone. More photos soon! 

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Tick tock tick tock.

Most clocks are no longer made with big brass cogs and gears which wind up with a key - they're little bitty things that run on batteries. But the insides of old clocks are so fascinating that I decided to make a doll with old clock movements. I can think of all sorts of expressions using the concept of time or clocks.  Time after time. Out of time.  Her clock is ticking. Once upon a time. Time and time again. Quiet time. Time flies. Time is of the essence. And so on.

First I visited thrift stores to search for old clocks and watches, but  the pickings were slim - I guess other artists have had the same idea!  I've heard that steampunk has been around for a while, but has only recently become popular.

I started with an air-dry clay and made the head, hands, and boots. Body of cloth, button-jointed arms and legs, and bead-jointed knees and elbows. I created an indented box in her torso and covered it with paperclay.

I filled her chest with clock parts, and small watch parts line her bodice. She even has clock gears in her hair! She's about 18 inches tall if she were to stand.

She sits on a little shelf which I painted purple and added more clock movements. The shelf is 14" x 12".

Here's a view of her back.

And her boots.

Timepiece is currently in a show at Dreamscapes Gallery here in Albuquerque called "Valley of the Art Dolls." There are around 20 artists in the show with lots of wonderful work. Many of the dolls are created from found objects and are far from the traditional doll form.

The dates of the show are December 4 through January 31, and the gallery is just north of downtown Albuquerque at 1523 Fifth Street NW (telephone 688-3190). Receptions on December 4, January 1 & 15 - 5:30-8:30.

 Timepiece was inspired by a challenge issued by the Art Dolls Only group (of which I'm a member) to create a doll with "foreign objects." 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Murina Updated

Murina the Bat Doll got a little more work done on her - I added eyelashes, worked on her face a little more, and painted some little flying bats on her neck (which was looking rather bare).
She's available for sale on Etsy:
Here are some more photos!

Red and black paisley fabric wings and skirt.

I think her eyes look much sharper with more definition.
Her wings are held in place with a purple button just like her arms.
Her boots are painted with a paisley-like pattern to match the wings and skirt.

She comes with a little shelf that she sits on -- can be hung on the wall with a nail.

We created this shelf so that she might be displayed easily. I'm always running out of shelf room for my dolls, so this is our solution -- hang them on the wall like picture frames!

Please let me know what you think, and feel free to message me if you have any questions! I hope you like her.

Murina was made for the Art Dolls Only Halloween Challenge - check out the other lovely art dolls here! 

Friday, October 16, 2009

Murina the Bat Girl

Finally finished my Halloween project - Murina the Bat Girl doll!

She has just been listed on Etsy:
She's made from paperclay (head and hands) and cloth.  The paperclay is sculpted over part of her cloth torso, too.  She's got paisley bat wings (wired for posing) and her feet are painted in a similar pattern. Her knees are jointed with wooden beads, and her arms are jointed with some lovely purple buttons.

I've painted a bat on her torso. Her skirt matches her bat wings, and she has a tulle underskirt. Her hair is made from Tibetan lambswool. She's about 19 inches tall if she were to stand, but sits a lot better than she stands.

She's ready to fly to your Halloween party! 
Murina was made for the Art Dolls Only Halloween Challenge.

Monday, September 14, 2009

We Art the People Folk Art Festival

Ran into my friend Leighanna Light at the We Art the People folk art festival in Albuquerque yesterday, and thought I'd share some of her work! She makes these lovely mixed-media figures out of found objects and clay, and gives workshops around the country.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New Doll Begun

Getting started on a new doll. Clay head, cloth body. This time I wanted to be able to turn its head, so I'm working on figuring out how to connect it. She will be similar to Redwing, but I haven't decided whether the hands and feet will be sculpted or cloth.... Sometimes I feel like I spend more time figuring out how to do something than I do actually making the piece! She will definitely have something painted on her torso like Redwing - researching different Steampunk images now.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Some of my favorite artists

The Cart Before the Horse team (Jo and Dylan) are a couple of people who I never met, but whose work I have been following for some time now. They make wonderful, whimsical figures and other works of art. Click on the image above to visit their blog.

Watching how they consistently crank out work, market it, and sell it over the net has encouraged me to consider doing the same thing (in my own style, of course). I look forward to their weekly newsletters, and almost feel like I know them. I have a couple of their little angels hanging on my studio wall:

One angel holds some dolls with red yarn hair; the other has symbols representing prosperity. My hope is that they help bring both dolls and prosperity to my studio! The piece in the middle is by my friend Richard Maitland; the three fairies on the bottom are by Rebecca Miller Campbell.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Calypso Finished!

Here's Calypso.

I'm sure I could keep working on this doll for a while, but I'll stop with her for now! I worked on her features more, gave her some tattoos on her cheeks and chin, added ears and earrings, made her a necklace, put some beads in her hair, and finished up lots of loose edges. She sits on a candlestick which has a red glass globe.

The character that inspired her, Tia Dalma from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie, is depicted with what look like tattoos on her cheeks and chin. Curious as to their origin, I did some research and discovered that these types of markings are actually facial scarification. These scars are created to express personal beauty as well as for identity and social status. I found some beautiful images taken of people from remote areas of Africa by British photographer John Kenny.

She has little shell-buttons sewed to her skirt.

She's not meant to depict one particular culture or person, but is a combination of many different images that I came across in my research. I see her as a gypsy pirate queen influenced by many cultures.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


My newest doll project is Calypso, a gypsy pirate character.

This weekend I took a class with doll artist Arley Berryhill, who also lives here in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The class was to make a "witch" candlestick doll, but of course I had to deviate from the established path and make my own. I learned a whole lot - Arley's background in theatrical makeup and costuming was invaluable.

She's inspired by the Calypso character in the Pirate movie. I decided that she needed button-jointed arms and dreadlocks. Since the workshop was held at our local yarn shop, I found some wool that I twisted and needle-felted to make the hair. The doll is in progress, so I'll post more photos as she develops. I need to add finishing details, perhaps work on the face some more, and I think she needs ears and earrings. I may add some tattoos to her face and hands, too.

Here's the beginning base & pattern for the doll.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

New Custom Sasha: Butterfly Fairy

When we visit our local Botanical Gardens in the summertime, one of our favorite places is the Butterfly Pavillion. We love watching the lovely butterflies float from one flower to the next, and sometimes even land on our heads or shoulders. It is easy to imagine the the butterflies are little fairies. My daughter loves to pretend she's a fairy - she used to have a little dress with fairy wings that attached with velcro. She wore it so often that it was in tatters!

Thinking of butterflies and fairies inspired me to create Butterfly, my latest customized/repainted Sasha doll. She has a little muslin dress and I've hand painted a blue butterfly on the bodice. A sheer sparkly fabric is tied on with an iridescent ribbon.
She has little butterfly wings that attach to her dress with velcro.
Her eyes have been painted to match the butterfly, with reflection and shading to give them depth. I hope you like her - let me know what you think!

My next project is to start on a new handmade doll...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Art Doll Challenge: Redwing

Last spring, we took a trip south of Albuquerque to the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge. We walked out on a bridge across a lake as the sun lowered in the sky. The place was filled with redwing blackbirds, who flew across the water and called to each other. Those moments live inside me, and I've created a figure which embodies the spirit of the redwing.

The Art Dolls Only Challenge was to make a doll which incorporated some or all of the elements: earth, air, fire, water. A redwing blackbird flies through the deepening blue sky. The red and yellow on the bird's wings echo the sunset and fire. Trees or vines climb up the doll's neck, with roots in the earth but stretching up toward the sky. The tips of the doll's hair are blue as if they have been dipped into water.

Here is "Redwing". She's made of clay and cloth and painted with acrylic.

Her hair is a Tibetan lambswool wig.
Wings are painted on her back.

She stands about 17 inches tall. She's the third doll that I've made as I work on developing my style and technique in dollmaking.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Art Dolls

As I delve into the world of making my own dolls, I've been looking at lots of other handmade dolls. Art Dolls Only issued a challenge to make a doll based on the elements. I hope my latest doll will fit right in! Images will be posted on Friday, but I'll post a preview image now as a teaser. (More preview available on my Allegro Melody FaceBook page!)

This is Redwing, a doll made from airdry clay and cloth, painted with acrylics. More images to come on Friday.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sasha Festival blog by Gabi

Gabi is blogging the Sasha Festival on location in Rochester, NY:

You can see some images of the Lila Sasha there! It looks like more items have been added to her package. She is to be raffled, with proceeds to benefit the Children's Fund.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tilily Tangerine

Tilily Tangerine, the traveling Sasha doll, has been home in New Mexico for a while.

Yesterday, she visited our friend Frank McCulloch's art studio.

Then we had lunch down the street at the Golden Crown Panaderia, where Tilily posed under some dried New Mexican corn.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Custom Sasha Doll: Palila

Happy Summer!

Just finished a new custom Sasha doll (who has now been adopted). Here are some photos:

Her name is Palila (a type of Hawaiian finch), and she has a brown wig with lots of little curls.

Her eyes are painted hazel - brown around the edges, greens inside with hints of brown and gold. A darker green rims her irises. She was painted with artist acrylics after all original paint was removed, and the paint is sealed with a matte sealer.

I made her dress - a simple cotton cream-colored piece with brown stripes. It snaps in the back. When I have customized Sasha dolls in the past, I often wished for a simple dress that I could make in different colors for each doll. I finally decided to just make one myself. All seams are finished.
The doll is in great shape - she even still has her round Sasha wrist tag. She'll come with a handmade hang-tag with info about her, and her right foot will be signed by me.

Her lips are also repainted with just a hint of shading, and she has a scattering of freckles across her nose.

(Not intended for children under the age of 12. Although the paint is sealed, heavy play is not recommended. Gentle play is encouraged!)