Recently in Dolls Category

Happy Hallowe'en


Okay. I know I'm a little off on this one. But I wanted to introduce another one of Mom's dolls last week and that didn't really work out very well. And this special doll is very appropriate to Hallowe'en. So stick your hand into the last of that candy that you didn't hand out and meet Bea Witched.

Bea Witched

Mom writes:

It's a little late for Halloween, but let me introduce you to Bea Witched. She's an adaptation of Julie McCollough's "Pumpkin Head". In Julie's rendition, Pumpkin Head literally has a pumpkin head. With the nose you see on the doll. Because it was October when I started her, I early-on decided she needed to be my little witch. She also told me that she was not just any ordinary witch, but a fashion follower and so her wings (bet you didn't know witches had wings - much more practical than a broom) and dress were made from one-of-kind fabric. The wings are orange cotton covered with embossed black net and her dress was made from ribbons of material sewn together and then cut out as one piece. Do you like her fancy boots? On the other hand, she couldn't have too fancy a coiff or she wouldn't look like a witch. Her hair is actually ravelings from a strange piece of cloth that someone brought to club meeting. Despite the bats in her hair and pet spider on her wrist, she's really quite lovable.

Bea Witched Up Close and Personal

Even if you don't make cloth dolls, Julie McCollough's Magic Threads site is worth a look for her creative shapes and characters.

Mom has asked me if I know of any blog rings that contain fabric dolls or if I know of any bloggers who are making fabric dolls and blogging about it. If you know of either (or any other really good doll resources), please leave me a message in my comments or send me an email.

Johnny Appleseed

Johnny Appleseed

I'm lucky to be the child of very crafty parents. I was always encouraged to develop crafty hobbies and engage in the creation of special things. Mom's newest passion is fabric doll making.She started doing it several years ago. The doll above is "Johnny Appleseed" one of her very first dolls. For anyone that might be interested, Mom does have a group of dollmakers that she gets together with regularly. If you're in southeastern Michigan and want to know more about them, let me know and I'll get you in touch.

Dad took a bunch of pictures of her creations. Because I think they are all wonderful and each one has a story, I decided that rather than post a whole bunch of pictures at once, I would devote a blog post to each one. For this post, I asked mom some questions. Here are my questions and her answers:

Why did you make him?

Making art dolls started out as a lark – a different new crafty experience. I joined a class at a semi-local quilt shop that was teaching Julie McCollough’s Razzamatazz doll pattern. Johnny is an adaptation of that pattern. Although Johnny doesn’t exhibit many different skills because he was my first birth, what I really discovered was in making art dolls I could used nearly every bit of sewing, painting, and varied needle expertise that I had ever acquired over the years.

What you were trying to do with him?

Over and over you will hear doll-makers say we’re just having fun. That was the second discovery; that it was OK to make something that had no real practical purpose.

What you like most about him?

That he makes me smile. His hair was in place when I set his eyes. I got them a bit higher on his face than they should have been and so he ended up with this sort of surprised innocent look. It was as if he woke up and said “Wow! This is a great place and I have a need to do something to keep it that way.” That’s when he really became Johnny Appleseed. That’s what happens with dolls – they eventually tell you what how they really want to look and dress.

Any special things you did to make it better or more interesting?

Once a doll tells you what it really wants, there’s no end to the embellishments and backdrops you can make for it. I’ve graduated a long way from Johnny, but you can see some of the first attempts at add-ons with his “leather” boots and apple pack. I think it was dad’s idea to use a ¼ cup measure for his “pot”.

Like knitters, or maybe way beyond knitters, doll makers collect a stash of fabrics. I say way beyond, because rarely more than a fat-quarter is needed in any one construction. So it’s incredibly easy to compile a stash of hundreds of fat-quarters that you “might use someday”. And also like knitters, eventually the collection expands into the very expensive with acquisitions of silks and velvets, hand wovens, hand dyed, beaded, leather and antique pieces.

Chuckle. She thinks she can out stash us, eh? Well, actually, she can. And she has. She's got the better part of a room filled with fabric and sewing goodies. And not only does she get to stash fabrics, bus she also stashes yarn, roving, buttons, beads and all sorts of decorative notions.