Friday, October 27, 2006

Cloth Replica Pattern for Aranbee Doll

WOW I can't believe how many people have commented on this doll. I am amazed! I've gotten a slew of private emails as well as the comments which have been posted! I've decided to make an online pattern/class to replicate the doll in cloth. If you're interested in the pattern/class, you can leave a comment, email me privately, or just keep checking. I'll keep it very reasonable and inexpensive.... She should be ready by February.
Read more ...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Vintage Aranbee (R&B) Doll

This is a vintage baby doll from the 50's. The owner of the doll obviously cherished her as a child, and still does. Dolly came to me a couple of weeks ago in need of repair on her cloth body. I was to recreate the original pattern. Here you can see the final result. Came out pretty good! I can understand why this doll is so well-loved. If she were mine, I would want to preserve her, too. I've gotten slightly attached to her myself!
I'll tell you a bit about this doll's restoration.

Happily, her vintage vinyl arms and legs, and "hard head" were in perfectly good condition. The eyes open and close. You can hear a charming "squeak" when they move, reminding us of her age. She wears an adorable pair of booties, which the owner says she purchased with her allowance for 25 cents. Her mother was quite upset at her spending "so much money" and she never got allowance again!

To restore the doll, I took the original cloth body apart and traced around it to redraw the pattern on paper. It is a very interesting pattern, and not easy to assemble. At one point when I was sewing the new body, I got scared that I would not be able to figure out what to do again. I had to use the old pattern and match up needle holes in order to solve the "puzzle!"

The stuffing was so decrepit, I am sure it wasn't too healthy... it did not look like stuffing as we know it today, but more like some weird soft and lumpy fiberglass material. It made me very nervous and I disposed of it immediately. I wish I had a picture of the way the doll looked before I began her restoration, and the stuffing, but I forgot to take a picture.

Here's the original cloth from the body:The doll's head was painted in brown paint, and a wig was glued over that. Based on what I saw inside the body, I felt that there was bound to be something going on under the wig. I was right. The paint was disintegrating under there, and you could blow the dust off if you wanted to. I'm not sure if the paint contained lead, or whether some of that dust could be from the glue, but whatever it is, I'm glad it's gone.
I decided to wash the wig as well. After all, it had been sitting on 'that business' for so many years! I used gentle shampoo, very good conditioner, and cold water. When the wig was dry, I noticed that the hairs are quite brittle. Some of the thread holding the wefts in place, and some of the netting, had deteriorated.

The washing definitely helped with the latter- at least put a stop to it. The curls came out though, and the original poodle hairstyle is no longer intact. It is possible to re-curl the wig. However, it will take time because it's so short, needs repair, etc. And, the hair is brittle. She will be getting a new wig... stay tuned! The hunt is on.

I love this doll. I think she is wonderful! I can't remember too many of my own toys because I was into weebles (remember those?!?!), jumprope and stickball, my dog and cat, tape recorder.... I didn't really start "playing with dolls" until I was 30! Can you believe it? It's true. I wish I had an old doll. They certainly do not make dolls the way they used to! This one is priceless, that's for sure. I am inspired to buy an old doll like this on Ebay, and make it new. Does that count? *^*
Read more ...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Rainbow in the Sky

Last night we had a rainstorm. There was thunder and lightning, and everything. When I noticed the rainbow, I hastily grabbed my camera and snapped the picture from my balcony. Glad I did, because it was gone within a few minutes!I just had to post this.
In Israel, it does not rain all summer. By the time the hot, dry season ends, we are all glad for the rain. We always have to pray for rain and hope the rainy season is good and wet, because it affects. Israel's water supply for the entire year. I love faeries, elves, goblins and other folklore. So, when I woke this
Read more ...

Beginnings of a new Sculpt

I've had an urge to sculpt. I'm not so sure what this will turn out to be, but I think it will be a faery. I've been in the mood for those lately. The face still needs a mouth, and I've got to think about what I want- a smile? Serious? Hmmmm.... Stay tuned!
Read more ...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Crafts Cool

I woke yesterday, made myself my morning cup of Turkish coffee ('mud' as they call it in Hebrew) and sat down to the wonderful world of Outlook Express.
I received an email from a lady in India, who asked me for an interview for her blog.
It seems like a wonderful blog. I am amazed, it seems doll making is making its mark everywhere!

Here's the link:

Happy dolling!
Read more ...

Doll Muse in Ranaana, Israel

This picture was taken by Terry, at her home where she hosted 'Quinglish,' an acronym which stands for "Quilters in English." I was honored to come and demonstrate the art of dolls.
I had such a wonderful time there, and met some very extremely talented fiber arts women. Some women were native Israelis, some were from South Africa, Europe, Australia and of course, the good old U.S of A. I hope a doll workshop will be in the works! It's definitely a dream that I have. A doll workshop in Israel! What a thrill!
During my talk, I discussed what art means to me, the value of groups, why I love creating art dolls and how I believe that anyone can. During my demonstration, we did a little hands-on experimenting with TLS, angelina fiber, Yadeno mohair with felting needles.
I had a marvelous time at Quinglish. I hope to report more about art dolling in Israel in the near future!
Read more ...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Firefly- a study in mixed media composition (Quinglish Sukkot 2006, Ranaana)

Please meet Firefly, a wonderful faery doll composed of contemporary art materials and interesting techniques.

This is the final composition which started as "tsukineiko doll." Look back in the archives, (August 22) and you'll see how she began as a "dud" of a torso pattern. I decided to paint it with gesso and ink, experimenting with it instead of discarding it. It was sort of a process for me, releasing bottled up frustration and "wasted energy." Two posts ago, I talked about painting with thread. The legs in that post belong to Firefly.

This went on the shelf and out of the way for about a month, until I picked it up again. I had to work with a pinkish doll with an odd texture, something that proved quite challenging. I re-discovered an antique firefly broach pin from my grandmother. It's an heirloom. Well, I pinned it to the doll's hand, and it sparked my imagination. A faery began to evolve.

I decided to use this doll as a reference point for demonstration of various mixed media techniques at the annual Quinglish event in Ranaana, to which I was invited to talk about the art of fiber dolls. I am very excited about this, and can hardly wait! Quinglish is a special event for Israeli English speakers who are passionate about fiber art. People from all around the country will be in attendance, and I feel very privilidged to be chosen as the highlight speaker!

I'll be demonstrating free motion embroidery (shoes) Translucent Liquid Sculpey and Angelina Fiber (wings), use of Gesso and Tsukineiko ink, and needle felting (hair).

Those who are attending the group will be given a complimentary pattern to use at a future workshop.

Stay tuned for pictures and info about Quinglish and the event!
Read more ...

Preventing Micron Pens from clogging

Micron pigment pens are great for drawing the tiniest of details on cloth doll faces. For example, you would draw eye lashes and the creases in lips. The point on a micron pen is so small, your results are as "neat as a pin."

One downfall that comes up often is, the darned things get clogged easily. You must be careful not to try and color over wet paint or colored pencils. The best thing to do is to use createx textile medium over the colored area, let it dry, THEN do the fine detailing with the micron pens.

Storing the pens is also important. Believe it or not, NOT storing them upright in a jar helps prolong their life. The ink stays in the felt and doesn't migrate downward (then it "clogs.")

Always store your micron pens laying down. I have an old Estee Lauder make up case that I got from somewhere, which has a zipper and is just the right size. I can transport them easily, too.
Read more ...