I have been working hard on my craft since 2004, and I think I have a skill level that shows in my work. I am the do over queen and there are many heads without bodies to suggest that these mistakes drive me to the perfect end. The finished doll always seems to lead to the next doll, one is born out of another. This is why I love making dolls. It is the air I breathe and pretty much defines me. I am a doll maker.

This may sound strange but these bodiless heads and headless bodies speak to me. I have control over the parts and pieces individually, but the position involved in the connection is revealed at the moment the pieces touch one another for the first time. The head moves me to sew it in a certain pose, same with the hands and arms. The whole doll forms itself to be expressive according to its idea of itself.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Ever Heard of a Six Headed Doll?

Just joking, don't plan on taking that trip.
I've really enjoyed making the small heads again. I am so happy with the softness the non sculpted nose has produced in my dolls. The photo above shows the heads before and after the needlesculpting and before they get stiffened.

Can you see why doll making makes me so happy? The evolution between the faceless and the expression is the journey that I love . . . . .

Saturday, July 18, 2009

"Fancy" From the Past

As an artist I need to be inspired to create. Most times I have let the process inspire me to the next idea and action. With these 2 dolls I took inspiration from a movie "The Gangs of New York", the style of clothing from the last half of the 1800’s and a movement of the early 1900’s, "Steampunk"
As I was in the finishing stages of these dolls I realized how much they reflect the theatrical element that costumes the performers of the circus. Not that I know the history of the circus, but I am assuming much of this is because the time period is the same.
I really think these are the best dolls I have made so far. They flowed in their creation and I gained a pattern for a pair of pants that I will continue to use and I can now make great hats. I am very happy with these guys. They are everything I was inspired to make.

"Fancy in Pink Stripes"

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Bit of Color for the Boys. . . . . .

I love stretch knit fabrics and stripes of course make them all the better. I wish I had better places to shop around town for such fabrics, but no. I chance upon all my fabrics and then I buy yards of the stuff.
I tend to score the best stuff at thrift stores. Other people's useless things become quite cherished by me and my dolls.For this second doll I made a vest out of an orange/pink print. It has taken me a couple of days to fall in love with the whole look, but now I think it is perfect. Not just any doll could pull this outfit off.

I am always amazed at the creations I come up with. Didn't think boy dolls could be so fancy, but I guess I was wrong. . . . . . . . . .

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Making a Doll for the Hat

About 15 years ago I took a costuming class with the drama department at a local university. The whole atmosphere was magical and inspiring. I had this idea to make a doll that was based around the top hat. I played with it but life got in my way and I got lost in others reality.
Ever heard the saying "if you love something let it go and if it comes back to you then it is yours"? Well look at what has come back to me. The doll with the top hat.These dolls are inspired by "Steampunk" and "Gangs of New York" and of course the Top Hat.This is the doll I wanted to make all those years ago. Actually he is better, because my skills have been developed over the years of doll making. This is the doll, where I finally realize that old dream.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

How To Make a Hat . . . .

This is how I make a top hat.
My first step is to dye some 100% cotton batting the color I want. I found a plastic tapered cup to serve as my mold. The cup has been covered with plastic wrap and vaseline so the batting will release. I cut a piece of batting and cover it with fabric stiffener. I then wrap this around the cup. I set the cup on top of a jar so the fabric will dry. I also cover extra batting with the fabric stiffener so I have fabric for my brim.

Before step 5, I have removed the dried fabric from the cup and cut the excess off. I place this tube inside the cup and set it in front of a fan so the inside will dry more. In step 5, I would like you to disregard what the top of the hat looks like, I decided it worked better if I did not keep this folded over fabric, so I trimmed it off. The 5th step is to cut slits around the bottom of the tube. I cut about half inch slits all the way around. I then put a steam iron to this area so I could bend these pieces up easily without breaking them. In step 6 I have cut 2 pieces of the extra stiffened batting into circles. These will become the brim of the hat. A center hole is cut in both and the first circle is slid over the flaps and glued down. The 2nd piece covers the flaps on the bottom. It is glued also.

For step 9 I have cut another circle and then cut flaps to what the size of the hole is on the top of the hat. Once the flaps are folded down this piece will fit inside the hat and be glued in. Which is step 10. Step 11 I have cut a piece of batting that has not been stiffened. This will get covered with the fabric stiffener.

In Step 13 the fabric is laid on top to the hat and trimmed slightly and I press it down around the edge. Step 14. Once it dries, this piece is trimmed to the edge of the hat and is the final piece that finishes the top edge of the hat.

The size of the hat is determined by the size of the cup or glass used as the mold. Remember though the opening to the mold has to be able to fit over your dolls head. One can always make the tube smaller by cutting it up the side and then you can adjust the size and glue it. I hope this makes sense and feel free to question any thing and I will try to explain better.

I think this is a great hat and of course one can add all sorts of finishing touches to it. It can even be painted if dyeing is not your thing.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Going Back In Time . . . . . . .

These two fellows will be dressed in their best. I really love making these hats, especially since I figured out how to make them. Figured it out all on my own. Granted I cut some pieces wrong, but I have ended up with a great hat. I would explain how I made these, but I did not take pictures of my progress. I will do this though on the next hat I make. . .
I have had these guys floating around in my head for a few days now. Inspired by steampunk and "Gangs of New York". Lets see if I can pull this off. . . . . .