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...