Friday, July 15, 2022

Xhosa Doll makeover

 I am privileged to be able to do some work on a primitive #Xhosa #ClothDoll for someone who wanted a more realistic face to remind her of friends she worked with in #Africa.

I wanted to share the #process of putting her together. The newly designed upper body and head are staked into a weighted Fanta bottle, (in keeping with the height), wrapped in batting, and covered in the original 'skin'. I have not made a base cover, wanting to keep a little of the primitive nature of the doll, so she is now called a Stump doll. The face is made from tea-dyed Muslin, Stitch on the bias, to give it enough stretch for the minimal sculpt.
The upper body is made from pink velour that I had to paint enough so it was unnoticeable.
The initial head wrapping didn't do her justice, as she needed more bulk on the head, so I used the felt one for the under wrap, and made a new one after watching some video's, and learned how to make and tie a head wrap.

I stitched her clothing on, but wanted to keep the integrity of the doll intact, as I was aware that I was working with someone else's original creation.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this process and love how she turned out. My daughter says she just makes her happy and her expression is so welcoming, so that was nice!

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Covid 19 Lockdown The Lion King - Remember who you are - life after the Pandemic!

7 May 2020
Looking at the end of Lockdown and moving into Level 2 - it's important to 'Remember who you are"! After weeks of isolation and no routine....
I spent the best part of 2018 designing and making this series of dolls for an exhibition called 'Reflections on the Lion King"!
I began designing with this one - Nala. I drafted all the dolls from the original pattern I had begun with, a head, trunk and limbs, and changed them according to the pose and size I needed. This gave them all a uniformity, except the faces, which shape I changed for each character.
From this, I made both male and female, by widening and expanding, or decreasing chest, hip, arm and leg shapes, lengthening or shortening as needed to fit the character and to keep them to the correct scale. For this, I used images of the performers I found on Pinterest, as a guide.

I was very happy to discover how I could make Scar and Mufusa’s 3 D mask in cloth, and I had great fun making the Hyenas! So much so that I made a pattern of the head, and tutorial video showing how I did it, using a wet-on-wet technique, which I put on my FB page for others to try. I discovered that the more figures I made, the more instinct took over! I was in the zone, and each figure needed no reworking.

Process and problem solving is what excites me about design and creating. Making an expressive face through shape, needle sculpting and coloring, and the look of movement into a cloth figure is something to which I aspire.

To make something out of the ordinary, to portray the story gives me a great buzz!

The Lion King is a story of love and redemption, and it was the story as told in the musical, as much as the figures themselves that inspired me to make this series - and to see if I could!

Young Simba and Nala

The Lion King!

What challenges are you facing with the idea of coming out of grief, separation, isolation, or Lockdown? There has been a shift and you are changed by it.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Afghani Women

Reduced form - thinking about Afghani women, and any person whose life circumstances are reduced - what if her story was my story.

Made from beachwood, and cloth & trims from Egypt. I made it to express how I felt about the invasion of Afghanistan after the US pulled out and the Taliban reinstated it's draconian laws on the country.

Harry Potter Theme

Mandrake Root was an interesting wee challenge that I thought of when I found some tea dyed quilters muslin!
And each time I made it, it came out differently!  Have made a few lately!

From the same cloth, I tried a Sorting Hat!  Taht was fun, but what to do with it?
Aah!  Dobbie!  I woulde never have tried him but for a friend, who died unexpectedly in 2021.  She made one from a free pattern on the internet.

So I thought I'd have a go too and put my own interpretation on it.

It all came together nicely, and I have made several of these for friends!

Very appealing!

Friday, April 15, 2022

Iconic Iris!

I started making a stump doll and because I like a character, I found Iris.  Iris likes things to be a bit OTT, so this is what I came up with.
She sold very quickly in the Gallery, so I thought I'd better do another!

Now I find myself going to even more lengths to exaggerate her style!

Watch this space!  I'm having so much fun with Iris that I am going to teach her at the upcoming Art Connections Summit in October!  Wonder what she'll look like then!

Sunday, December 26, 2021


Introducing you know who! My last pattern for 2121, and I call the pattern 'Graduate', because its useful to have a graduation doll for when the occasion demands it, and we are all in our second year and hope to graduate through Covid 19 times.

This doll came about because one of my dollmakers thought I could design it so she could make it for her grandson! So she made it all the while pushing me for more bits to add. Once I got up to the Gown, I gave up and decided if I do this much I should write it up. So I have just finished writing it in time for Christmas! Now she's on to Nana Santa for goodness sake!

Well, these are the things that motivate a pattern designer and dollmaker. We do things because someone wants them, or we wouldn't bother.

I have to say I quite enjoyed the process of this one, who shall be nameless, and he is now in my Etsy Shop and will be in your favourite pattern sellers this Christmas!


Monday, October 4, 2021

Drag Queen Bust 'Viola'!


I was experimenting with foam craft and managed to make some great eyelashes on a doll head. 
  Arley Berryhill encouraged me to exaggerate it more, and sent me a picture of what he meant.
Out came the Heat gun and the silicone glue!
After studying the Cos Play wigs a little, I began putting the wig together.
Unruly curls don't just form themselves.
A little glue in strategic places
and 'Viola'!

Free Patterns

Xhosa Doll makeover

  I am privileged to be able to do some work on a primitive #Xhosa #ClothDoll for someone who wanted a more realistic face to remind her of ...