Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Puppy loves Dolls

I'm participating in a very fun Round Robin challenge called "Flat Stanley." Everyone created a flat "blank" doll and a journal. The doll and journal have been traveling the world, meeting new people and having a great time.

My dog Daisy likes dolls. She was in the room when I was writing in the journal, and so I introduced her to Francis. Now they are friends! Francis had to go, and Daisy will miss him. Oh well, Daisy will find somebody else to play with while I work! She always does. Good doggie!
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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bead bags, anyone?

I did this out of necessity. At first I thought it was ridiculous but, well it turned out to be fun! (I've been doing a lot of that lately!)
I wanted to put together some fabrics and beads, to be transported. But I didn't have any place for the beads! I got "desperate," so I made my own baggies. Came out kind of cute!

Using a regular sandwich bag, Sew lines on it, about 2 1/4" apart. You'll want to leave channels in between for cutting.

Then turn bag and make more lines going the opposite direction

Cut out the squares so that each one has 3 sides with an opening on top. Some sides won't require any "seams" because they are the actual sides of the sandwich bag. In other places there will be some "excess" which you can sew separately.


You can melt individual squares of plastic together at the sides, using a candle. THis will create seams for you, and you don't have to sew. You just need to pre-cut the baggies. My husband made that one up!

Try this too-
Fill a soda bottle cap with beads
Lay it on a square you've cut from a sandwich bag (or whatever you like)
Tie this at top with a bit of yarn.

Seem silly? Maybe. But in a pinch, it worked. And, I actually got some comments! Maybe I should do this more often??? What do you think?
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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Gesso and Tsukineiko Ink on fabric ... great combination!

Last week I was designing a new pattern, and today I was in the mood for an experiment of sorts.
I finished just the torso (I always begin with that!) and spent so much time on it. When it was done, well- I decided to play with it.
I spent so many hours tweaking the pattern, it was the perfect release of bottled up frustration and energy.

I painted the darned thing with gesso. Just slapped it on! Gesso is the stuff you use to prep a canvas with. It was almost as if I was enbalming it or some weird thing! I still don't know why I did this, but it felt good!

When the gesso was dried, I wandered back in the studio to look at my new "creation." Honestly, I thought it would be thrown away. I didn't plan to make any use of it at all. But something about it called for me to do more.

I took my "mummy" and painted it with tsukineiko ink. This is the type of ink they use for ink stamp pads, in liquid form. It' fabulous stuff. I colored it with
red and then while still wet, I added silver gray. Then I let my fingers "print" all over it. I really went to town! It felt good.

As I applied the ink, I discovered that the gesso left beautiful
brush strokes because it it so thick. The ink being very thin, was
soaked right into the crevices of the brushstrokes, creating the most dreamy
effect. It was soooo cool! The two colors together combined with
the brush strokes, and my fingerprints created such a beautiful soft
look to the surface. Almost like roses or something. It was very calming, almost fragrant! My senses were very stimulated when I saw that.
I could also see some threads that I neglected to trim off, and they
were now painted over and added interest.

Now the pattern looks PERFECT! As if it were meant for this.

I am going to finish this doll. I'll "Dress" her with gesso and
ink. When I make her arms and legs, I will use the same technique.
I'll paint her skin with flesh colored paint.
Since it is fabric, I can still bead the doll. I'll probably use
some light organza or silk to dress her up a bit, as well.
I have a good feeling about this new pattern now. I've discovered something new!

Don't you love it when you have a happy accident?

I do!

close up of texture
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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Free Motion Embroidery for Shoes

Somebody wrote to me recently asking how I had created a certain pair of doll shoes. I hadn't really thought about it- truth is, I did the shoes last and rushed through them to "get the doll done" ha! But the shoes are so interesting, they look out of this world. And, best of all, easy!

I used free motion embroidery to make them. Here's how:

1. Prepare Hoop some water soluble stabilizer.
2. Attach a free motion embroidery foot to your sewing machine
3. Choose two or three different types of thread
4. FME all over the hooped stabilizer until you have a "fabric"
5. Immerse the "fabric" into water
6. Let it dry
7. Make shoes! (cut out a sole and sew that on, then add the "sides" by pinning and hand sewing the "fabric" onto the foot and sole)

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Using Darts on Dolls forFantastic Figures

I've begun working on my doll entry for the upcoming TREASURES OF THE GYPSY challenge at the Houston Quilt and Fiber Arts Exhibition. I'm making an original pattern, and it occurred to me that it's really amazing how a few darts added to a simple pattern make a doll into a work of art.

For the torso, all I did was draw a front and a back, and add some darts in the right places. Now my "gingerbread man" looks like the woman whose figure I wish I had ... perfect hips, curved back and even boobs - all from a flat piece of fabric. Wouldn't it be great if I could put some DARTS in myself! haha

I happened to be working with dark fabric (I don't need this fabric- I use stuff like this for testing) and white stitches. I just knew that I had to take pictures and show you! The darts are so visible and obvious!
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Thursday, August 17, 2006

A whole week....

Gee wiz, it's been a whole week and I haven't posted. Truth be told, I had a guest! She was here because of the war in the North of Israel. After the cease fire, she went home. That was yesterday. Her house windowes were blown out and all of her plants died (oh no!)
So, not much doll making was happening in my home.
I'll post something next week, when I feel more refreshed!
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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Making something beautiful with scraps?

If you're like me, you've got a bazillion bits of fabric scraps lying around after a hearty day at crafting work. I used to throw it all away, but I've discovered that they can be quite valuable- you'd be suprised what new materials you can create with scraps.

Yesterday I was in need for an interesting type of something-or-other to use as an embellishment. I looked in my stash but I wanted something different than what I was seeing. Something handmade! So I opened up my "scrap tub" and got to work:

Angelina fiber
Teflon Pressing sheet or Baking / Parchment Paper
Scraps of pretty fabric- lightweight is best
Optional extra's: seed beads, attractive yarn or threads

Create a "new" sheet of fabric by using Angelina Fiber. What's that?
Angelina fiber is relatively new in the art world, having been around for just a few years. It's made from manmade materials and is basically a wad of tiny heat bondable fibers. By heating them with an iron, they melt and create the most beautiful irridescent colors.

My idea was to sandwich the little bits of fabric and other things in between layers. Then when I iron, it would become embedded. Take a look:

1. On the teflon pressing sheet or baking parchment, put a layer of angelina. I used purple.
2. Add the fabrics and any other embellishments. This is the "peanut butter and jelly" of the sandwich.
3. Add Another layer. I used a different color on top.
4. Iron the Angelina sandwich for a few seconds. Check to see that the fibers have bonded, and viola!

The pictures are a bit difficult to really see because of the white background. I hope you will try it though!

Marcia Acker-Missall has another great idea- here's a link to that:
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Saturday, August 05, 2006

ARTFUL GLORY- Paper Doll Self-Portrait

There's been a lot of buzz lately about paper dolls. "Paper dolls," you ask? Not the kind we played with as kids, of course - the kind we art-minded folk just can't get enough of! Paper dolls stretch the imagination by enticing us to play with so many different media, and they are so easy to create.

For my paper doll, I wanted a theme. I decided that it would be a self-portrait. I wanted to portray myself as an artist- the way I see myself creating and the feelings I have when I make art.

I dedided to dress myself in a zany costume that shows just how much fun art is for me. And, I also wanted to show how creativity puts me in a dreamy, heavenly sort of state of mind. To do this, I decided to mount the doll on a canvas, in a collage-type composition.

*Photo of a face
*Watercolor paper
*Canvas or other element to create collage on
*Rubber stamps of words, stamp of torso, stamp of legs, stamp of angelic wings
(or drawings/cut-out pictures that are copyright-free
*Ink for the stamps (you can also use paint)
*Watercolor paint in shades of blue (OR Caran D'Ache artist crayons
OR Portfolio water based pastels)
*A few beads or other embellishments
*Fabric scraps
*A bit of mohair
*Found object if desired
*Gel medium to glue it down with (if not available, use a good clear glue)

1. Paint the canvas with watercolor paint or color with crayons/pastels. When dry, put it under the sink and let the water run off. This creates a dreamy feel. Allow to dry.
2. Stamp the canvas with a rubber stamp with words, in a repeating motion.
3. Stamp legs, torso, and wings onto watercolor paper and cut out.
4. Make a skirt, pants or whatever with fabric scrap.
5. Cut out face from photo, from chin to forehead.
6. Arrange paper doll parts on the canvas.
7. Using gel medium, glue them down. Don't glue the wings down completely. This will let them "fly."
8. Create a necklace with small beads or desired embellishment. Glue this down with gel medium, as well. Do the same for any other found objects or attitional elements of the composition.
9. Apply a thin layer of gel medium over the paper doll to seal it.
10. Add some mohair for fun
11. To finish off the piece, rub antique gold paint with your fingers along the edge. This adds to the dreamy effect and pulls it all together very nicely.

I had a lot of fun with this piece. When I look at it, it inspires me to do art!

Try making a "self portrait" doll of your own!

Rubber Stamps- Stampers Anonymous
Inks, mohair, more rubber stamps-
Artist Crayons, water based pastels- or
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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Colored Pencils for Cloth Doll Faces

Have you ever wondered which colored pencils to use for your cloth doll faces?

Living overseas, I don't have easy access to specific brands of art materials commonly used in the States. I know I've been confused about this on several occasions. Colored pencils is definitely "one of those things."

Usually when I tell art shop keepers that I'm a doll artist and I need colored pencils for fabric dolls, they don't know what I'm talking about! The brands that I hear a lot about in America (Prismacolor and Derwent) aren't available here in Israel. We've got Swiss, German, and other European brands. They are probably all comparable, but let's face it- they're still all different! I've had the opportunity to do a lot of trial-and-error experimenting, which put me on a learning curve.

In Israel, I use a brand called LYRA Aquarelle Artist Pencils by Rembrandt. These pencils don't color on paper, but they are smooth as silk when coloring on a wet palette (like a cloth doll face). These are watercolor pencils. They blend beautifully, and have been my favorite so far.

I've found another brand called Koh-I-Noor. These are wax-based pencils. They are much harder than the Lyra pencils, but they don't seem to blend as well.
Something has been telling me, I should try expanding my colored pencil horizons.

Recently, I heard Cody Goodin comment about colored pencils (the ones available in the US) and what he said made a lot of sense to me. He gave me permission to quote him, and this is what he says:

"There are three main differences that you can find between the various brands:

1. Color palette
2. Softness
3. Lightfastness.

This refers to standard wax based pencils, not watercolor.

Prismacolor is considered to be a relatively soft pencil that is easy to blend. They have one of the most extensive color palettes available. They are actually introducing 12 new colors again this year which will bring the total to 132. They offer 24 lightfast colors that are great for art that needs to be very permanent. Not all colored pencils are, by the way.

Derwent pencils come in three basic types. The artist pencils which are like the prismacolor ones in softness are called Studio version. These are slightly harder than the the watercolor ones. Derwent's color palette tends to be more traditional like a painters palette of colors. They are not all lightfast, so they will fade eventually.

There are at least ten more other brands and types out there. My advise is to go to your favorite art store and take some fabric or good paper scraps with you and test them out for yourself."
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