Tuesday, March 24, 2009


The following is a "little different" tutorial about 'soft sculpture'.. or is it 'sculpture on soft?' 
Let's find out.

I'm creating a cloth doll where the doll's body itself is meant to be the focus of the piece.  I don't plan on doing a lot of needle sculpting.  My main concern is that it should look like a sculpture, not a torso with limbs sewn on.
This technique will give this doll a very intriguing, sophisticated look.

Here he is... stuffed and assembled.  He still doesn't have a head.  I'll finish his body before I decide what kind of person he is.  He might be a hunk, or maybe he will turn out to be a goblin or a fantasy creature.  I don't know at this point.




Click on the images above, and you can clearly see the sewing and gathering and puckering.
This is a wonderful pattern, and proportionally correct.  The doll's "seat" is designed to wrap around the back of the torso so it looks more authentic.

How to cover up those seams??
To accomplish this, I will be using:

1) Golden brand Gesso 
2)Golden Gel Medium Hard Modeling Paste.

The Hard Modeling Paste is like a plaster for the fabric.  It fills in the ridges and covers the seams and stitches.  You can add it to the gesso, to make it thicker, or use it as a preliminary filler as I did.  One other very useful feature of this material is that you can add it to acrylic paint and then sand it.  Acrylic paint cannot be sanded on its own.  It is made to be used on a flexible surface, and so it's perfect for dolls.  

When it dries, I'll paint the whole doll with Gesso.
Finally, I will paint it.  This will make the doll truly unique.  I can really "go to town" and do whatever I like- I haven't decided yet, but I'm thinking of using Dye-na-Flow ink paint by Jacquard, Acrylic paint, or maybe even Tsukineko Ink.  I can use rubber stamps, too, or even decoupage.  I'm not sure what I want to do yet.  I'll think about it later.

Let's get started.
First, apply a generous amount of Modeling Paste to the "obvious areas."

Add plenty around areas that might have become "lumpy."  This sometimes happens to legs when stitched onto the torso.  This is a good opportunity to fill in those imperfections.  Notice the right side, near the seam, there is some puckering going on.... I will apply 2 layers (allow to dry between layers).

Don't be afraid to add the modeling paste to any area that "needs help."  This includes areas that might be lumpy because of imperfection during stuffing (almost inevitable!)

Lastly, brush the modeling paste over all the seams on the doll.   

Put the doll aside and allow to dry.  I usually let my dolls dry overnight.
When ready, take a look and see if you need to do it again.  Chances are, you probably will, and that is ok.

When satisfied, go ahead and apply gesso in the same way.  
You will most definitely need to do this process 2-3 times in the most "difficult" areas.  This time, use fine sanding paper in between layers.

When completely satisfied, cover the entire doll in one final coat of gesso.  When dry, sand the doll down a final time and apply your paint, ink, rubber stamping....whatever!

I hope you liked this tutorial... more to come later.  I'm taking a break now.
This doll probably won't be done for several weeks.  I like to let them sit for a while.

If you like this pattern, you can buy it in my doll shop.  Believe it or not, it is the pattern for NIAMH, the lovely Dead Sea Fairy.  It is also the exact same pattern I used to make my PAGAZ goblin.  The only difference is, I did not use the skinning technique taught in that pattern.  Try it, you will love it!

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Pleased to Meet You...Won't you Guess My Name ? (woo hoo!)

This is my newest doll craze.  I decided I am going to make arbitrarily shaped whimsical dolls with faces of real people.  the body is different..... Can you guess who she is?

The body looks nothing like the real person's body, obviously.  It's not needle sculpted or intricate.  Just plain fun.  

She's also comical and a bit sassy.  She has a pretty face, and has a silk heart over her tummy.   I can relate to that!!

The doll is wearing a beaded necklace with a Swarovski Strass crystal.  Strass is a grade of Swarovsky crystal and is the finest in the world.   I got the crystal from a stunning [and expensive] contemporary chandelier by Schonbeck.  (I work in a designer gallery lighting showroom so I tend to graze salvageable little treasures when I can!)  The part where the hole is got damaged so it cannot be pinned to the chandelier any longer.  I found a better use for it anyway...really  suits the doll's personality because the "face person" liked to wear glitzy glam jewelry.

Can you guess who this is?

Cute little shoes

I actually like this concept...it's growing on me.  I learned something from working with interior designers... in contemporary applications "less is more."    The simpler the lines, the less going on- the more impact it has.
I guess that is where my headspace is right now!  What do you think?

This doll is available for sale in my Etsy shop.    

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I saw these wall sconces in a showroom in the Seattle Design Center.
They are really intriguing...  and NUDE. 

Michelangelo, look out!

Click on the images to enlarge.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Terrific Trio

These are wonderful creations by an unknown soft sculpture artist from somewhere in the Seattle area. I saw these dolls at an antique shop. They are unmarked, unknown and unbelievably wonderful! They are soft sculpted with nylon stocking over some sort of stretchy cotton. Aren't they just darling?

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Hanging Around

What a poor little fellow! I saw him hanging in an antique shop in Seattle. He looks like he has been hanging around for years. He must have been well loved at one time. I think he is wonderful, don't you?
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