Thursday, June 28, 2012


Here's the little doll I designed last "Pipkin". She's a 12" (30 cms) tall cloth doll with jointed hips, shoulder and neck and  her head is air-dry clay with clothover, painted with artist's acrylics. I made her a knotted mohair wig and she has a cotton print dress with matching bloomers and knitted cap, cardigan and socks. Her little red shoes are leather. I've taken a silicone impression of her face and saved the body pattern in case I decide to offer this doll as a kit in my Etsy store.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

An Update

Here's the little doll I was designing a body for at the weekend. I managed to get it stuffed and put together last night - no mean feat these days as I find it increasingly difficult to work at night like I used to........7:30 often sees me dozing in my chair!
This little doll is only 12" (30 cms) tall - a small size I quite like. He/she (not decided yet) has a flange neck which fits into the top of the body so the head can turn and joints at the shoulders and hips.

The head has been covered with knit fabric, firmly glued onto the sculpted form. Next step is to size it with a special mixture to make it very strong.

I'm pleased with the body size and shape. And I do like this hat on him/her (I knitted it last week at a meeting - it is serendipity that it fits so well!). Next job is to stain the body and start painting the head.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Designing Ways

I love designing stuff..........I love the whole process from having an idea as a picture in my head, to sketching and then working out how to make whatever it is. It hasn't always been an easy process - time was when my ablitiy to make something fell well short of the picture in my head. These days, with so many years of making under my belt, usually I can manage a reasonable facsimile of my concept - the object doesn't fall so short of the ideal picture.
Designing usually takes place on the floor. I have large tables in my studio, but they are usually so covered with creative detritus that the floor is the best clear space available. If it is a doll I am designing, I usually start with a sculpted head. I then use the head as a guide to get the body proportions and size right and then the body sketch is used to make pattern pieces. I need to know at the outset what kind of jointing I am going to use, because that greatly affects how the limbs are constructed.
If I particularly like a head I've sculpted I sometimes make a silicone mould so that I can make more similars, or a series.
I am often asked how much you need to allow to translate a flat sketch into a rounded object......the answer is - I don't know. I do it intuitively and it is usually fairly right, though on occasion I have got it very wrong and have had to start again. My doll-making has entailed a lot of trial and error over the years!

The sculpted head - in this case it is a slightly stylized young child head. The pencil marks are just my way of making sure the sculpting is balanced enough - it's easy to get it unbalanced without realizing. They will disappear when I sand the head before putting on the cloth layer.

How cute will it be with a little knitted gumnut cap?

Original sketch and subsequent pattern pieces

Ready for a test run!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Three In A Row

One of the new listings in my Etsy store is for a doll kit consisting of a finished "Pensive Child" head painted by me along with the pattern for the body and instructions for completing the doll. Here are a few of the finished heads that have been sent off......redheads have been popular. I thought this would be a more affordable way for people to buy my I love painting them! As you can see, although they are very similar, there are distinct differences between them. I also have the kit available with the head uncompleted, with instructions for doing the "clothover" and the moulded thread hair included as well as the body pattern.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Musical Kitty?

I was playing my violin a little while ago as one is wont to do on a Sunday morning................I turned around and look who had taken up residence in my violin case and appeared to be listening intently to what I was playing!

There is a bit of a story behind this kitten - my grand-daughter was staying at a friend's house one night a few weeks ago. On their way to the school bus stop next morning they found two tiny, abandonned kittens in the middle of the road. Of course they had to rescue them! One went to live with the friend, the other now seems to have adopted us as his new family. He can't have been more than four weeks old when she found him and very skinny and starving. He took to solid food very well, but of course, got a dose of the runs before his little tummy adjusted. He's growing so fast and is a feisty, playful little cat. I wonder if he knows how lucky he is, that a soft-hearted fifteen year old found him? I think he probably does!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Every Boy Needs A Horse.........

........even if it is only a stick horse!
Here's my little boy completed with scarf, socks and shoes - he looked like he needed a little something else, so he got this hobby-horse. Now, no doubt his sister will be tapping me on the shoulder asking for a toy as well!

Remember this little baby I made a couple of months ago? The one looking a bit frightened by a jack-in-the-box? Well, I entered her in the Doll Net 2012 cloth doll baby challenge - and she won first place in the "advanced" category! *does little happy dance around studio table*.
Thanks to every one who gave her a vote.
Click on the link to have a look at all the doll-babies.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Brother and Sister

These two are nearly completed in their warm winter woollies. I've only shown the top half because the brother is still waiting for one sock and his shoes.
(They are 'spoken for' and will be heading off to a new home soon.)
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