Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Strathalbyn visit

Today I vistedLorell Lehman at her Studio in Strathalbyn. She is so talented and her Studio is a magical place. Lorell is so willing to share her knowledge and methods, and just talking to her and being surrounded by her beautiful (not all!) fantasy creatures is so inspiring. I really enjoyed visiting, even though it was brief, my dream is to have a little studio/shop to work in one day............

Lorell's Halloween fairy.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Work in Progress

I was a little nervous about this white cotton jersey, but doll making is all about problem solving. So I just boiled some water, added 4 teabags, bunged in some coffee and stirred. After rinsing the fabric to remove the sizing I threw it into the pot and crossed my fingers.

To my surprise, it worked! The fabric came out a warm skin colour. It wasn't blotchy and I rinsed thouroughly to make sure. The only disadvantage is I think the fabric SHRUNK! So I had a little less sized piece than I thought, but nevertheless, I was quite happy with the result.

You can see the difference in the colour.

The next step was to create the back of the head and this is such a simple solution, however I must give credit to Leslie Molen - her Gossips pattern included this method and it is the best way to create a good shaped(seperate) head for a mask doll. You just cut off a length of a ribbed sock and gather both ends after stuffing to the size you want. Then glue it into the mask.

The 'Glorex' doll kits come with a hand armature. I can't work out if it is a plastic or metal, but you can bend the fingers and wrist to pose the hand. I stitched a hand with individual fingers and inserted and stuffed the arm. It makes for quite a nice hand and is so much easier than creating pipe cleaner armatures!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Creating those masks....

Well, I decided to try to recreate one of the mask faces for those little dollies I like so much. I happened to find a small doll - I'm not sure if the head is porcelain or just a resin. She was missing an arm and her hair was falling off, so I rescued her from the $2 box. I spread a generous layer of vaseline on the surface and here is the method I used to create a paperclay mask.

Now the mask is quite fragile because it is so thin. I let the paperclay dry out for a day, sanded the face and prised it away from the head -(I was quite nervous doing this, I was sure it would crumble, but it didn't!)

There is still trapped moisture on the inside, so I let this dry some more and then to strengthen it, I decoupaged the inside with torn paper and diluted PVA glue. It worked quite well and dried quite strong. Although it did shrink a little, the mask is a little narrower than the original head, which is okay, because it keeps the head close to the original size of the body. Of course I will make a new body, I only have some white cotton jersey fabric which I will try to dye a skin colour. I'm not sure this will give the right body shape when I make it up, jersey is not the body fabric I had for the other doll, but we will see what happens..........

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Doing Something.........

I am exhausted from trying to fit in my craft. I am a wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter,home maker,cook, cleaner, hostess,secretary, adviser, problem solver and general gofor - before I am myself! I guess that sentence doesn't make much sense, but I am continually frustrated by distractions to what I really want to do. Now I understand why artists go bush and stay in complete isolation while finding inspiration and creativity. It is impossible for me to just spend a whole day working on my craft. I can't really blame my family, because even on the odd day when I have a few free hours - I can't get the clear head space to just pick up something and work on it. I am blocked. I don't know why. If I had nothing to do I would be complaining too. I don't know what is going on with me. I try, but you really can't force creativity, it just comes out of you. Trouble is - it is not coming out of me! I have tried making something simple and quick, and enjoyed it, but again, not finished yet. So after my whinge, here are some pics of something I have been trying to work on.

When I was in Riomaggiore I found this quaint little doll shop, where this lovely young woman was creating the sweetest dolls


I could not resist coming home with one. I really loved the one in the red scarf, and almost picked her. (I took the picture of her through the window when the shop was shut, I couldn't take photos in the shop, that would be bad manners!)

But it was the freckles, oversized boots! and ethnic look of the one in green that stole my heart.

Now if any of you know your dollies, you will recognise that these little girls are actually 'Glorex' mask face dolls. I did not realise till I got home - I posted the doll back to Australia so she was not crushed in the luggage, so I only had her for about 1 hour before she was sent home. Anyway.......she is a 'Glorex' doll. Well, I don't mind at all, because she is so sweet and the doll maker has really given her her own charecter. I love her. But being a doll maker, I know I could make one of my own. Well, a few weeks back we had a doll show here in Adelaide, and of all things, there was a made up face mask for a 'Glorex' doll! It sold for the bargain price of $10 which included the body pattern and even the arm armatures! When I got home, I found the body fabric in my stash, just enough for her body and limbs! So I can make my own doll, which I am working on now. I just love the sweet faces of these dolls. I would like to make my own mask version - one day when I have time. She is very easy to put together.

If you are interested, you can get these masks and instructions to make the dolls from
CR's Crafts
There is an Australian source, but I have not seen representation at the shows and the email address bounces, so it is probably worth going by the US supplier. So for the time being, I am trying to wake up my creativity by making this type of doll. Very simple, very basic, but very sweet and endearing.