Sunday, September 09, 2007

Fun at the Doll House

I've had several people ask me why I don't post pictures of my house in Seattle. Truth is, it really looks like a doll house. It's cozy and cute as a button. Hard to believe people can really live in it, but it's so comfortable we hardly notice.  That's my daughter Sury posing up there, on the first day of school just a few days ago.

I believe that as you grow older, you should do what makes you happy and not give a "poop" about what other people think about personal tastes and preferences. Have you ever seen a lady wearing Kokopelli earrings, big beaded necklace and very loudly colored clothing that says "my name is Rivkah!"  That's going to be me when I retire.  I might dye my hair pink.

So even though I have not been very actively making dolls since I moved to Seattle this summer, and am working hard at my new job and getting settled- I have lots of dolls and live in a doll house. (I must definitely be getting older because I quite do NOT care if I sound silly (!)

So this is what has been happening at the doll house!

Sury had her 10th birthday on Wednesday. That was very exciting.
It was also the first day of 5th grade in a new school. What excitement. I had the day off from work, brought her to school and stayed for a little while to help her feel comfortable. Then I went to the bike shop and got her the most wonderful PINK bike I have ever seen. What a wonderful suprise!!!

Here's Sury with her brand new bike.
I think I would have peed in my pants to get a bike like this when I was 10.
I still remember my bike though. It had sissy bars and a big glittery banana seat. Remember those?

Well that was last week. Took me a while to get the pictures up. I can not believe how life has changed since I left Israel. I don't have any time! That will change for the better, I think. Next month I plan to go to the Auburn,WA doll club. I can hardly wait!


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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Dollerious Doll Group in Arlinton, WA

Now this is GREAT!
Last night I was privilidged to attend the delirious doll maker's doll group in Arlington, WA. I had a WONDERFUL time. I was a guest there, a sort of "show and tell" I guess of Linda Hanson, fellow contributing artist to Li Hertzi's new book. Naturally we met each other because of the book, and I am absolutely thrilled.

The doll group is held in a charming quilt shop. Posh! It's the perfect atmosphere for fun. There was a lovely group of talented women there who were all so friendly and welcoming. (Did I mention I had a fabulous time?)

The group is working on a project of storybook dolls to be exhibited. I subjected most everyone to my camera lens...
Here's Linda with her display of 3 dolls. I just love them. Such "creative willingness!" Her dolls have one eye, 2 eyes and 3 eyes. I can't remember the name of the story she made the dolls after, but the dolls themselves tell their own story...

Now I will have to learn everybody's name. (I hope that means that I'll be able to make the 1-hour drive every month to keep going, and get to know everyone!!)

Here is my new friend with her version of red riding hood. She said that the fabric is special because it belonged to a special garment.
This is Sue with her Japanese doll.

This is Rapunzel. Her owner was busy and I forgot to ask her to pose!

And Pinocchio, of course
And a princess who is still in the works. Can't wait to see her when she is ready!
Look at this adorable princess. Can you guess who she is? (I mean the doll...)

OK now here is an actual picture of the entry of the shop.
There's so much eye candy in here- I can't wait to go back again. That is for sure! Looking around there was just so much clever decorating going on with the quilters fabrics, quilts and displays. Here is one thing that really caught my eye.
Little yo-yos of excess fabric, put onto an armature. The yo yos are tacked in place with a button on the end of each "limb." The original antique doll head was intact. What a playful idea!

Last but not least, I needed to visit the rest room on my way out. My mom always jokes about that, you know, you've just got to check out the bathroom everywhere you go. Seriously, I was NOT expecting to see this! Wall to wall with quilted stuff. One of the quilts was just hilarious- appliqued pleasantly plump women on the beach! Made me instantly comfortable HA!
(Click on the picture to enlarge it for detail)
This one's my favorite:

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

BECKY doll class is here!

BECKY Beautiful Baby from Jerusalem class is ready! Without further ado class begins August 10th at
doll street
This is an advanced class and is a recreation of an antique Arranbee collector's doll- original cloth pattern is an exact cloth rendition of the original solid material parts. You will learn beautiful face painting techniques and there is even a custom made iron on transfer to make it easy. Hope to see you there!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Cowboy Slim

The doorbell rang just before 2:00 this afternoon, and what do you know- Cowboy Slim did mosey on in!
Cowboy Slim is my entry for Li Hertzi's new and fabulous book, Art Doll Adventures. He's such a character! I forgot to photograph him before I sent him into the wild blue yonder, and now that he's back- well I'mma round up dem photos!

First off, lookit this silly hat. Not your typical cowpoke hat. I was inspired by an old kids book called Go Dogs, Go! In the book, there's this girl dog who keeps asking everyone if they like her hat. "Do you like my hat?" she keeps asking. "No, I do not. I do not like that hat," is always her response. Finally, she comes in with this absolutely unbelievable hat with tons of things on top of it- "Do you like my hat?" "Yes! Yes I do like that party hat!"
Thus, my cowboy is a bit deviant today, and dressing on the wild side. I for one, like his hat!
(Yes, a bit weird, I know, but well I was asked to create somehting "different!")
Next, we have the gun. I made it with a vintage photo and inkjet transfer paper. I sewed 2 guns together, turned and stuffed it. The holder is made from polymer clay and antique solution, just like the cowboy boots.
What good would a cowboy be without an ATC?

I really had a great time creating this little guy. He stretched my creative comfort zone and for that I'm thankful. Taught me to be wild. He told me, "little lady, lookem in the eye, and say, 'I take no sass but sasparilla!' "

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Mexican Bead Collage

This is probably one of the most interesting things I've seen in a long time. It's an art form from Mexico- a great find by a neighbor who vistited a few years ago. This piece hangs on her livingroom wall and has my greatest admiration!
The story behind it is just as interesting. It's made by a certain tribe called Huicotl.
Believe it or not, they were once cannibals!
She found this while wandering in some kind of an open market. People from the tribe were sitting there, creating and selling their work. And what spectacular work it is! Just look at these details...
The whole thing is a layer of beeswax (I think mixed with another substance, I'm not certain what), rolled flat and spread over something like a coconut, to form a kind of mask. The eyes are cut out. The work is done in the sun, to keep the beeswax warm and pliable. With tweezers, the artist carefully places beads in a pattern.
Is this incredible or what?

I think it's amazing.
The catch: if this gets hit by the sun- the whole thing could melt!
Oh and the price: a "whopping" $70.
Can you believe it????? A very well-spent $70, that is for sure!

Maybe one day I'll try this technique on a doll. Then again, maybe not! I doubt if I could duplicate this skill! I'm just astounded. Aren't you?
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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Best Fabric and Mediums for Cloth Doll Faces

Marie-Paule from France wrote me a letter today asking about the kind of fabric used for cloth doll faces, and how to color them. This is a great topic. I can tell you from experience, not all fabric is suited for making dolls, and some fabric is better than others when it comes to coloring them.
Of course, there are lots of mediums you can use to "paint" a doll's face- and body, too! But let's get down to basics.

If you are beginning to learn how to construct a cloth doll, and color the face- then you should start with colored pencils. You get absolutely gorgeous results and it's a perfect way to learn and practice all the important techniques- how to shape the eyes, where to place them, how to shade, how to form realistic features. It really isn't rocket science. And you can do it all with a few colored pencils. After you feel comfortable, you can try paint. Many doll artists just stick to colored pencils, though.

What kind of colored pencils?
Most importantly, they should have a high pigment and do well on fabric. Not all pencils that are made for paper can color on fabric. I wrote a post about this about a year ago, and you can read more about it here.

Fabric is also very important. THe best kind of fabric for dolls is cotton, the kind you use for making quilts. The higher the thread count, the better the quality of the fabric, and the better for painting and coloring on. There are several resources on the internet for "doll fabric." Your local quilt shop may have something in a nice skin color, but my experience living in Israel tells me that such fabric may not be accessible to everyone everywhere! I tried substitutes but believe me, when I ordered the "right stuff" from the internet, my dolls and faces changed dramatically. Form needle sculpting to coloring, fabric makes a tremendous difference.
Here is one of my favorite sources for doll fabric:
My favorite doll fabric happens to be "Pimatex parfait." You can find it at that site. Another goodie is Kona Cotton. It's a bit thicker than the Pimatex.

Some other handy things you will need when coloring faces:

  • micron pens (they are super super thin, great for making eyelashes)
  • Gel pen in white (for whites of eyes)
  • Spray bottle or q-tip dipped in water (for blending)
  • Fixative Spray (for sealing and protecting your work)

I'll try to post a bit more details about face painting in the future. Lots of pictures to upload, I'm afraid I don't have time today!

And of course, there is a fabulous book that I have to recommend. Creative Cloth Doll Faces byt Patti Medaris Culea. There are lots of books out there on this subject, and Patti's is a great resource. Easy to understand, well written, and you can't go wrong!

Have fun!

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

"Doggone" Seattle

Seattle has an awesome off-leash dog park with a trail and a lake at the end. We took our Israeli dog Stella there today. Boy was it a fabulous experience... actually it's quite a special story.

Stella, a black dog with tan markings and a squiggly tail, was born in Tzfat, a small town in the mountains of Northern Israel. Last year on this day, ketyusha rockets began to fall on Tzfat, marking the beginning of the war. The city was bombarded for a month straight, and people had to live in underground bunkers. Some people died. We weren't there- we lived in Rehovot, near Tel Aviv. But Stella was there. She was living with a different family at the time. No doubt that experience was terrifying. This year, Stella had the time of her life in her new home in Seattle.

The off-leash dog park is straight up (and down, and up and down) the [hilly Seattle] road in my neighbourhood. It's really quite close. The park has a trail which leads up to Lake Washington. It's so beautiful. Paradise for people- and dogs!

Here's the view at the top of the hill. I'm still in my car! Just below is the entrance to the park.

Here we are in the park. Stella's strutting around off leash. YES!!

A friendly message

And here we are at the lake! WHat an incredible thing, eh? Dogs fetching balls and frisbees- what great swimmers we have here! This is really a lot of fun. What do you think Stella? Never been in water before- and definitely never been around so many friendly dogs before, let alone swimming dogs!

Stella was kinda chicken, actually. I always thought she was "tough..." NAAA! That's okay. Lots of fun things to see... I know she really enjoyed this.
Look at that pug dog standing on that rock next to his owner. I love that Husky dog on the left side- that's Seattle's mascot dog. The college football team is called the Huskies.
We stayed for about an hour. Stella went in and out of the water several times but never too deep. I wonder what was going through her mind when she saw all the dogs swimming- all but her! Maybe next time she'll give it a try. Maybe I'll dress for the occasion and help her into the water!

PS...we did have another dog- Daisy. Daisy is a Collie, and she stayed in Israel. (It costs more to ship a dog one way than to fly a person round trip!!!!)

We gave her to a wonderful young couple who have a ranch with horses, goats and sheep. She's very happy there. Stella- well, what can I say. She's really our dog!
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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

We're Here!

We have arrived safe and Seattle, WA. Moving from Israel was quite a task, but, it's finally over. I've mailed all my art supplies in the mail via sea, which could take up to three months! SO that should give me plenty of time to get settled before I start getting back into art. Israel, I'll miss you. But it's sure nice to be home.
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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Screw This!

Recently one my dolls had a sort of of "falling out" with my dog. More like a "falling apart."

The dog decided to have a "meeting" with her. She tore her head off and removed all the mohair, and proceeded to do some more dastardly deeds to this poor doll. What fun!

One of the shoes was damaged and I just thought I'd share with you how I am going to repair it.

Screw it!

These shoes are made from polymer clay. The pattern  can be found in the "freebies" section here on this blog.

To repair the heel, I'll add some air dry clay over the screw. Not such a big deal. Since it has grooves, I won't even need to add paper tape to prevent the clay from slipping. Once that's dry, I'll just paint right over it.

A new "quickie" beaded ankle bracelet hides the tooth marks!

Thankfully she did not destroy the rest of the body, and the face is all right. Needed a bit of work, but not too bad.

I did have to add hair again, touch up her face and sew her head back on. Her "hat" was damaged but I put it back on, this time I sewed it down with beads. Not bad. I think she still needs some more work but she's okay.
The doll came out okay in the end. She's still got her spark.

Now that she's been salvaged, I can think about this a little more....
She's a bit on the naughty side. Maybe she deserved what she got? hehe

The fun part about making dolls is that you can dress them in whatever way you want, and "get away with it." Maybe not...
When creating a figurative sculpture, whether from cloth or clay, it can be very hard to bring yourself to cover it up completely. Sure, you want to dress the doll and use as many embellishments to build its beauty and character- but then again it can be a shame to conceal all the hard work you just did. My teacher Alex Mergold- a master sculptor in Israel- once commented that he believed sewing dolls and creating a realistic pattern is so difficult he could never do it. Well, I don't believe THAT, but I do know how painful it can be to cover up all the skill and hard work that goes into creating a body, especially when there are fine details.
This is why I sometimes create these extremely immodest people... yeah yeah-

I guess what it all boils down to - I'll know better than to trust my dolls around my dog. (And they say collies are supposed to be smart and loyal? Ah well, you can't win em all! All's well that ends well.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Altered Cowboy

Li Hertzi's long-awaited book Art Doll Adventures has just been published, and has hit the bookshelves. I wish I could see this book but I'll have to wait for it to arrive in the post! It's not sold in Israel.... I get a complimentary copy from the publisher. I hope they send it fast! I'm almost tempted to order it from I'm sure you all will have seen it way before I do.

I got a heads up on the release by my email inbox, which has been receiving mail over the past few days from people who had purchased the book. Gosh it is such great fun- and the suspense is almost too much! You folks get to see the book and I just sit here and wait... not fair!
My doll, like the others in the gallery, is an artist interpretation of one of Li's patterns. She just assigned the pattern to me and I was free to do with it what I wanted. I don't know exactly where my "feller" came from but what evolved from my imagination was a rootin' tootin' cowboy with more sass than sasparilla.
His name is Cowboy Slim and he has got to be the funniest thing I have ever made. Li's style and patterns are just so different than anything I had ever made. When she emailed me the project details, I must have sat there for two days just saying to myself, "what am I going to do with this???" Finally I just laughed out loud and decided he had to be a cowboy. I can't tell you why- just imagine- someone in Israel making a cowboy. I still don't know what came over me!

The pattern is absloutely flat, and that was the challenge. I just "let go" and let myself go and just did the "do with it what you will" kind of thing. I just tell you, while he was evolving, I literally laughed and snickered each and every time I walked into the studio room. Actually, he had everybody in the house hee-in an' haw-in!

Here's one of the notes I got... this is from another artist who also contributed to the gallery.2

"The book arrived at my house (I ordered it from Amazon not knowing when the publisher zould send out copies, and I couldn't wait to see it.) Saw your doll in it. Very clever and suprizing doll... you are such a versatile artist! I love his face, he looks impish to me. Since ou have been publishe so much, is it still a thrill to see your stuff in print???"

Yes it is exciting, to say the least... and I think it gets more exciting every time!

I'm getting anxious...I simply can not wait to see the book and all the other wonderful art I know is in that gallery! And gosh, Li, thanks so much for inviting me to contribute to your book ^*^

Li Hertzi has a new blog and website, about her adventures writing Art Doll Adventures. Way to go, Li!

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Firefly Published

My doll Firefly is on the cover of Soft Dolls and Animals Magazine! Actually she is one of the preview dolls on the left side... because there is a nice article about faerie wings in there. I am still waiting for my copy to arrive... I can't wait to see it! The next issue will have another doll in it, too.

Here is the magazine issue:

And here is a full -sized render of Firefly.  
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