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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ridiculous amount of fun at Swaporamarama

We had tons of fun as a family, met lots of nice people all getting extremely creative, caught up with some of the local crafty community, and I personally felt like I was getting something grand for nothing. I came home with some nice silk ties, a couple of skirts for my daughter, some floral cotton drapes that will be mined as doll raw material and several completed projects. My husband found a nice shirt.

Jayn (8) had a wonderful time making two critters thanks to the Monster Madness station and all stuff supplied.

"Cookie Owl" and the bunny were both t-shirts in another life. She was very excited to be filmed by these guys.

James made himself a monster too and then found a nice kilt pin attached to a skirt going begging. My soft doll project is still going - once upon a time a girl's dress - but I did dash off a toasty scarf out of a knit fabric jacket and the trim from the bottom of an outdated skirt.

It was a cool venue, and an amazing number of sewing machines were out for everyone. It sure made me realize how much easier sewing is when you have a nice wide table for cutting out on!

Here's my new friend Sonya Nimri staffing a design workstation. Sorry about the blurry photo!

I hope they do it again, and I encourage everyone to look out for a Swaporamarama in your area.

Bead Head Granny progress

I am very pleased with how her head is turning out. I have covered her with cloth "skin" and started the beading. Next will be her robes and hair.
Did I mention how excited I am by how she is coming along? This is a hugely different project for me, in scale and character. I keep just stopping to stare at her. I'm loving it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Granny bead head progress

A layer of white florists' tape and then polyfil secured with strong quilting thread.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Blog - EGADS Team

EGADS Team is made up of the fantastic artists who sell their art dolls on Etsy. A new blog has been created for us to talk to each other. I'm going to try and post different pictures there than here, just for some variety. There are some jaw droppingly amazing pieces being made out there.

Currently art doll artists are agitating to have a new category for Dolls and Miniatures (that are definitely not Toys) created to facilitate customer searches and attract more sellers. A petition is underway, and I encourage all art doll makers, especially those interested in using Etsy as your store front, to sign it.

In fact artists in other categories interested in reducing crowding in theirs might consider supporting the doll and miniatures artists by signing also. There is a space for comments in the petition set up.

Wire woes

I probably should know better than to use 16 gauge galvanized wire for a doll armature just because I had it on hand. The stuff is hard and of course only gets stiffer with work hardening. My hands were aching. However the result is pretty strong I hope, and it will all disappear under the padding and fabric. Whether I will use it for the other bead head is another question.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Handpainted face pins

I have many of these black acrylic discs which are trash from our friend who has an acrylic products factory. I painted faces and adhered them with liquid polymer clay. The next bake was a top layer of LPC also attaching some premade pc rose buds, plastic buttons and beads.

The LPC gives a strange orange cast to the painted surface. It did some odd things to some of the eyes as well as warming up the skin tones.

My next step will be to put a semi-gloss clear coat, the pin on the back and a felt backing for comfort.

Dolls in progress for artisan fair

Here are some enormous "bead" heads made from scratch in polymer clay over foil, with small ceramic beads for eyes.
One is a young woman, maybe a bride or a dancer . The other will be an old granny, a spirit of the earth and harvest and a storyteller.

Here are the sketches from my notebook that continue to inspire these figures, who are like giant wish dolls.

I think I am going to make some other bead heads, with the hole going vertically to be charms and decorations. I have a charm trade coming up soon.

Three patriotic dolls on Ebay

Here are three Dream Star dolls on Ebay, just in time for 4th of July celebrations. These are all I plan to make of these remnants of patriotic fabrics, which were in my late mother's stash. She used it for things like table linens and door wreaths.

These three sisters are very cheery and ready to party.

Anyone searching Ebay, my seller id is "designarob" but here's a link to the listings for these three.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pin doll

I made this for a trade and like her. I think I'll make a few more for the artisan fair. She's about 4 inches tall, and very cheery.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wish doll progress

What a happy sparkling crowd of Wish Dolls! And a nice little stack of votives to go with them.

I enjoyed beading a bunch of these little people while sitting in the shade in a large hat while Jayn played with her friends and I got to visit with my friend.

These make a sweet gift for anyone who has something to wish for, especially a secret desire.

Fragrant pillows next!

Charm bracelet

I met the author of Beadalicious, Sonya Nimri, at a local crafting event. In her cool book she says that she is a "more is more kinda gal". I'm wondering if this bracelet I made, inspired by the cover bracelet may not be just a tad more than sufficiently more. But it is relatively light since the beads, recycled from a vintage necklace, are paper mache. BTW, as well as inspiring projects, the book has some very clear and well written basic beading instructions. I bought it and am enjoying it very much.

The latest basket and exciting plans...

What most excites me about upcycling "waste" material into art is the moment of recognition. For example I love mixed media art dolls where people have cleverly repurposed household and found objects into decorative motifs. I am always intrigued to examine such figures or mixed media wall art very closely and spot the witty juxtapositions.

People look at my crocheted baskets and grok that they are former plastic shopping bags and that is what makes them smile and appreciate the point.
Now I am beginning what will be a series of larger scale (between 24-30 inches as a beginning) crocheted figures, made from post-consumer plastic shopping bag yarn and similar repurposed "waste" material. Each figure will be free standing with an internal armature and stuffed with - well I'm still deciding what the recycled stuffing material will be. I will add surface embellishment of found objects using plastic bag yarn for embroidery also.

The idea that fascinates me now, with these crocheted figures, is retaining the obvious identity of the raw material. My hope is that will be the factor that will transform my figures from merely pretty (like the Dream Stars) to becoming a commentary about the need to re-examine our single use of soft plastics that are both flimsy yet pervasive and eternal like bags.

Or equally dangerous to wildlife, the endless quantity of monofilament fishing line scraps in every color, that fishermen seem to just leave to blow into pelicans' roosts or foul the very waters that they are enjoing. I have been collecting the stuff every time we go for a walk near the stone breakwaters where rod fishermen fish for leisure, and plan to reuse it also in some way. It may take a while to accumulate enough (I can only hope), unlike the plastic bags which are easy to source - at least the white ones are.

So far I have completed a foot and leg. I need to scrounge about 4 black bags to do the other shoe, which begins the leg. But not to worry - I am planning a barefoot character too. I hope to have at least two completed for my upcoming artisan fair appearance.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Dolls for the artisan craft fair

As promised, to whet the appetite I hope, here are the first four 8.5 inch Dream Star dolls that I have made for the upcoming artisan fair. I am really having fun with them, especially making their little petal skirts.