SFM Cloth Dolls with Attitude! NZ

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Transformative Workshop!

#One-on-one, two day workshop, working on Needle-sculpting and colouring heads! The best time!
We did one each in a step-by-step fashion. Barb was so happy with what she had learned,the first day, she did homework in the comfort of her campervan!

Barb bought the rag doll she had made for her granddaughter who was born with cleft palate, and is now wearing braces, so she shared a picture of the doll when new, then after many years of play.
Barb wanted to update it as her granddaughter is older now, and with the techniques she had learned during the first day, completely made over the face of the rag doll, which is so beautiful, it's unrecognisable!

This is the doll when new, several years ago.
And now, transformed with the newly acquired techniques for needle-sculpting and colouring!

This is what she learned from. We did one each.
And then these!

I am so delighted with her quick progress and natural talent! She is going home enthusiastic, more enlightened and not afraid to risk doing faces! What a buzz!

I am not always able to travel to other locations, and some people find it hard to learn in a group, so if anyone would like to book some paid one-on-one time with me in my studio, here in Oamaru, please message me to arrange it! I am not able to accommodate anyone here, but Oamaru is a great place with plenty of other accommodation. I certainly enjoy the experience and try to make it worthwhile.




Saturday, August 5, 2017

Harley Quinn

 I was commissioned to make Harley Quinn, whom I had never heard of until my daughter was gifted the 'Bat'!  So I investigated, and thought it might be a good challenge.
Needlesculpting and painting the face came together quite quickly, using a head pattern I had designed for  Marie Antoinette.  Just a few adjustments to the facial sculpt, but I neglected to put in the smirk, because it was just a trial head.  I was pleased with how it coloured up, after all, it's just like theatrical makeup!   The Hair, on the other hand, was a mission!  The old acrylic wig I used was curved, and I would have done better with straight, possibly!  Never mind, I managed to get some semblance of style. After all it doesn't have to be exact and everyone will  have a different interpretation!  It's a trial!
 I had forgotten about the hair colour, until I showed it to my family, who reminded me!  Easy!
 A newly designed body was required for this.  One with a higher full bust and smaller hips.  Okay!  I could have needle-sculpted the body, but chose not to, because she would be clothed.
The legs!  I was amazed how much art work went into doing these legs, because the boots are first drawn, then painted in two colours, then Mod Podged, then stitches painted on, then laces threaded through!  After that, turn upside down and draw on the tattoos! 
 Here she is just finished, but with her head sitting on a skewer!
 The Bat came together quite well too and was another piece of art!  Made from the same fabric, stuffed and ends stitched in.  draw in the lettering, sealed with matt Modpodge, Lettering recoloured and defined, and then the handle wrapped.  Resealed in Mod Podge Lustre!
Even the t-shirt had to be hand painted, but that was fun!  The belt is all fabric, with a few unseen studs.  Might have to make a more glitzy one for the pattern.  Yes, there will be a pattern for this art doll!
 Finally finished Harley Quinn, anchoring the bat, adding the glitz to the belt and making the holster to carry the gun!
 I have attached her to a cd, to give her balance.
Back view


With her choker! she's armed and dangerous!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Challenges in the night!


Life givers us so many challenges that we have to face, and sometimes it stalls the creative flow with other things needing to be done - appointments & driving time, caring & listening time, cooking & cleaning time - getting older, can all be challenges in themselves. When there is a lull, I want a challenge of a different kind to kickstart my creativity and journey to peace and wholeness!

I found a head I had made ages ago, that has been picked up and rejected as not suiting a project I had in mind, but couldn't get going on. Bits of the whole thing are lying around - a leg here an arm there and an unspeakable body! The head I had even used as a cushion to demonstrate a needle felting technique to someone! Bits of fluff were embedded in it and it looked used and abused - not in it's pristine condition as this first pic.

Late last night I picked it up as I had the urge to make a face. I started needle sculpting - wish I had thought to take pics then! I was trying for an open mouth - it looked ghastly - I undid it, and re-sculpted the mouth. When I did the eyes, I though this is not going to work - but I stitched on regardless -trying for laughing eyes.

When I started colouring it, I thought I'd ruined it completely and it took a wee while to get the eyes right. The addition of freckles distracted from other marks I had made on the face and eyelashes set it off!


Prior to this, I had been watching Anne of Green Gables and was surprised at the look of this face - how it had turned out! (Because I never have a preconceived idea!)
I decided Tow hair was needed to set it off, so made some wefts. The straw hat with flowers made it quite a different head to the one I was challenged with last night! Might have to think of a body now!



So from nothing much, to something with potential! Is that like lifes challenges?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Queen Elizabeth 2nd 2017

I thought I would try to make Queen Elizabeth.  Not amazing, but slightly recognisable - at least by her outfit and stance!
The fabric used in her dress & coat made this work really well!

At least she looks like she's moving!

Dance like no one is watching!

 Dance like no one is watching! Live in the moment!

 This is my own pattern of a Wall doll, which I make up from time to time and she makes quite an effective piece of art!

 She is a Flapper, doing the "Charleston", so her legs are all angles showing off her 'moves'!

You can buy this pattern from my Etsy Shop, attitude1, or from pattern sellers online.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Merman Reif - Guardian of sea creatures

Merman Reif - Guardian of sea creatures, and general RMM - Reef Maintenance Merman!

All 27 inches of Merman Reif floats/swims on the wall and really looks good as wall art! Even my husband - and the carpet layer, was impressed with this one!

I am happy to announce that this doll is now available as a Cloth Art Doll Tutorial e- pattern, and best suited to someone with a bit of experience at cloth doll making, although it is pretty comprehensive, with many step-by-step photo's.
This tutorial covers everything, from needle-sculpting face and body, colouring the face, dreadlocks, costuming, trident, to armature.

 Reif is often seen working with Greenpeace, during clashes on the high seas! Currently organising shoals of fighting fish, using his guard-fish Snapper, to repel and disrupt underwater blasting in NZ waters and create general mayhem to protect the undersea environment!


I hope you will enjoy making your own wall art!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Merman Heads.

Experimenting with faces. From stuffed to needle-sculpted, to coloured. These heads are all the same colour fabric.


 Different lights make them look like different colours. The original fabric colour is the one with the ears pinned on. It is a mottled, creamy colour, quality quilters cotton.

I am designing a new pattern and I think it will have to include a drawing lesson! Is this a bit much to put in a pattern? I worry that my patterns are too involved for the learner dollmaker, and yet, I recall how I needed more of a challenge when I learned most of the techniques of dollmaking, not realising I was leaning towards art.

I know these end up being works of art, but I do want those that need more to be able to take the next steps towards their own artistry, to have the opportunity to learn what else they can do, to develop their own talent. 

Like all artists, writers and musicians, I do something every day, and I am most surprised what happens!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Soul Sisters

I was thinking about refugees when I made these Soul Sisters.

I found the wood amongst the firewood and was attracted to the torn limbs. It is macrocarpa, branches from an old established tree, still standing. Storms broke the branches off and they lay discarded for some time, muddy and weathered, with the bark peeling off. The branches had been gathered up with other fallen branches, and eventually cut up for firewood. As I weighed the wood in my hands, they felt solid. Too good to burn!
I sanded the bases evenly, so they would stand on end, and the wood is beautiful and strong. I peeled the outer layers of bark off and the colour of the wood is beautiful. The heads I made fitted snugly into the torn elbow of the branches, and the torn pieces reminded me of wings.
As I worked with these pieces the story of the wood reminded me of refugees, torn from their countries by the storms of war. Separated, weathered and discarded and eventually stripped of everything, cut down to size and redefined culturally, spiritually and emotionally. Yet at heart there is a strength born from hardship, there is comfort, protection and the hope of peace.