Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

My poor old blog has been a bit neglected these past few weeks.........not any doing of mine, but my old computer all but gave up the ghost. I now have a new one and I'm still learning its ways, but I'll be back blogging regularly soon, I hope. I have special treats in store for you! Thanks for reading my humble blog in 2012 and thanks  also for all the comments you left.

I'd just like to wish you all a Happy!New Year and all good things in 2013!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Challenge...............

One of the online groups I belong to (Dixie Redmond's MAIDA group: is hosting a challenge to recreate a version of one of the best-loved early cloth dolls - the "Columbian" dolls of Emma Adams, which were made between 1891 and 1910. Here's what the originals look like:

The dolls had well-designed but simple bodies with flat faces, which were expertly painted by Emma using oil paints. The hair was also painted. There are a few designers out there who have excellent patterns for reproducing these dolls - I used one by Connie Tognoli, which makes a 19" doll. Connie took measurements from actual examples to make her patterns. The doll went together really well, with some interestingly different pattern shapes.
                              My doll is not completed yet, but this is what I've done so far:

             Then I had a bit of a play with Picmonkey to make my doll's face look a bit "aged".

Sometimes a gal's just gotta have a bit of pure FUN!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

It's getting to be that time..........

Trying to engender a bit of Christmassy feeling (bit over a month to go!). This is the first of a few.

Also completed this 13" doll......keeping busy trying to get pre-Christmas orders done in time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Little Cloth Animals

Here is a little cloth deer that I have just completed - I absolutely love making things like this.....don't know's just FUN! Here are the steps in deermaking 101:

Cloth parts sewn, turned and ready for stuffing and assembly

All assembled, needle-sculpted, paperclay eyes added and sized with a mixture of acrylic gel medium and modelling paste, which seals the fabric, preserves it and gives a great surface for painting.

Partly-painted and sitting in my hand to give you an idea of the size.

I also made another of these frogs.....see the fairy wings sticking out of his mouth?

And if you go to the lovely Marijke has written a post about my work. her blog is beautiful - a real work of art in itself. I'm going to write a post about her work in coming days, when I can free up a bit of time to do it properly.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Special Visitor

Look who came visiting today............

At first he tried to pretend he wasn't there, but once he decided that I wasn't too much of a threat, he went on his waddling little way in search of ants to eat.

This is of course, an echidna, a primitive mammal of the monotreme class. The only other monotreme I know of is the platypus. What makes them so special is that, although they are mammals, they lay eggs. Echidnas are only occasional visitors to our garden, so it is always a great thrill to see one passing through. This little fellow was obliging enough to hang around long enough so that I could fetch my camera. We love to encourage native wildlife in our garden, and with five fairly unkempt acres, we do see quite a few different species. Apart from echidnas we also have visits from: wallabies, bandicoots, brushtail possums, ringtail possums, blue tongue lizards, green-and-gold bell frogs, black cockatoos, white cockatoos, a sea eagle, masked lapwings, native hens, mountain ducks, magpies, superb blue wrens, scarlet robins, Eastern rosellas, swallows and a few snakes. I'm pretty sure I've missed a few.
For those of you who have never encountered an echidna, they are about the size of a football and the spines are very sharp!

Friday, November 2, 2012

New Work

First, a new wall piece - "Winterlude" - mixed media (cloth, clay, sticks, string)

....And a cloth child doll, Matilda

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Missing Zappa.........

Every time I have left my studio this week, I have, out of habit, opened the door very carefully, because our dear departed Zappa liked to sleep on the doormat just outside. I can't get used to her not being there any more. At least we have the very amusing Violin Case Kitten to distract us somewhat.......he is so funny and entertaining! I've never known a cat to like water so much. As soon as I fill the sink to wash some dishes, he's up on the windowsill above, keenly interested in every drip and gurgle.

Here are "Lisbeth" and "Lucinda" - sister dolls that I have just completed.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Vale Zappa

We had to have our dear old Zappa put to sleep today. I'm writing this through tears - she was a wonderful old dog and we'll miss her greatly, but it had got to the stage where her life was no longer enjoyable, so we chose the only option we really had. She was seventeen. Vale, Zappa.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cherry Pie!

This is "Cherry Pie" - she's the fourth doll made using the "Pipkin" pattern and mould. I've had this print fabric with cherries on a black and white gingham background for quite some time waiting for the right little person to come along......and she's it! So naturally, I had to make her a little basket for carrying her own sweet little cherry pie! Like all the others she has a jointed cloth body and a cloth over clay head. She is dressed in a simple cotton frock, with matching bloomers, knitted cardi, hat and socks and little handmade leather shoes. I have a kit for making this doll available in my Etsy store.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Upcoming Events

October is going to be a busy month for me - I have a number of classes scheduled, beginning with  "The Pensive Child" class at Bear Essence at Tooradin near Melbourne with my lovely hosts, Kim and Josey. This class will be held on 2nd and 3rd October and you can find all the details on their website.

Following that a few days later, on the 6th and 7th of October and still at Bear Essence, I will be teaching a painted cloth animal class. We will be concentrating on making a frog like this, but the skills are transferable to making other animals. This class is so much fun!

After a few days off, during which I hope to visit my son and his partner in Metcalfe, north of Melbourne, I'll be heading down to Geelong to teach (13th and 14th October) for the lovely people at the Trolly Dollies Cloth Doll Club. They will be making a doll like this:

I'll just have time to catch my breath after I get back home and I'll be getting reading to teach a class in my home studio on 27th and 28th of October for the West Tamar Arts Group ArtEntwine event.

This class is called "Personifying Your Muse" and I'm hoping to see some very personal and creative interpretations of this idea. The students will be sculpting heads, making cloth bodies and then letting it rip with mixed media and paint!

Then I might take a few days off!

PS - There might be places available in some of these classes - if you're interested, get in touch via the links.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Toy Boy!

Remember Lucy? The baby looking a bit apprehensive about her new, scary toy? I made her earlier this year.

Well, she had a Big Secret.........she was really a boy! So now he is Lucas, not Lucy, and he's on his way to a new home in the USA. I had a customer who wanted her/him, but thought she/he really looked more like a boy. Ever happy to oblige, I redressed Lucy and she became Lucas. I'm pleased to report that Lucas is happy in his skin!

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Big Week!

Well, dear readers, it's been a pretty big week for me - it was my birthday........and to my utter surprise, I find I am now sixty years old! How did THAT happen? Seems like only a few yesterdays ago that I was a student, a young mother, a young grandmother. (I'm pleased to report that greatgrandmotherhood has not happened yet - and I hope it doesn't for a few years yet - though with my eldest grandchild approaching nineteen, who knows?)

So I had a lovely day shared with some special friends, even though the weather was pretty wild  and typical of Spring in Tasmania ("In like a lion, out like a lamb" they say - hope that's right).

Here's what I spent yesterday doing, after dropping my husband at the airport at 5:00am - he's headed off to the Flinders Ranges in SA for a few weeks of rock-climbing. With Resident Grand-daughter also heading off tomorrow for a week in Queensland, I have a week of solitary bliss stretching out in front of me. For me, that means not much cooking or housework and uninterrupted hours in the studio with the fire blazing! I should get lots done.

This piece is still a work in progress - plenty to do on it yet. I wonder if you can work out what some of the unusual things are that I have incorporated into this piece?

Monday, August 27, 2012


I started making this piece quite a while ago and it has been languishing unfinished - waiting.....waiting.....waiting.

So I got it out the other day and began working on it, because I thought it was about time and before I knew it i was on a roll and the piece was completed! It's called "Lacuna" - a word which means "missing part" or hollow space". Here are some shots of it as a work in progress and completed.

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