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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Top 5 Questions People Ask Me About My Dolls

People at craft fairs like to pick up and examine my art dolls. They have questions, some serious and others odd.

1/ Do you do this all yourself?
Yes, although I usually use existing fabrics. I hand paint the faces, do the beading and make the charms and paper beads. My daughter helps me by choosing the yarn hair for some of them, but I stitch it on. They are also my own paper pattern.

2/ How long does it take to make one?
That's a good question, and in truth I haven't timed a single doll from start to finish. I usually work in batches up to a point. I paint a bunch of faces over a couple of hours which I later match to the doll bodies. I sew a bunch of doll bodies, then I sit and trim them and turn them, another several hours. Once the faces are on, I tend to like to stuff the bodies in a batch as well.

Then I start working on each as an individual, beading, dressing, embellishing and adding hair and charms. I've tried making charms beforehand, but I'm rarely as happy with that result as when I custom make the charms to the doll I'm currently finishing. This is the most time consuming part and I think I am going to say about four  to six hours because I do bead fast - although it is rarely in a single block of time, which makes it hard to estimate.

I know that I bead relatively fast because a long time ago I sat in room of seamstresses beading costumes for a musical play, and I finished more garments than all the other ladies. I hadn't realized until that moment that I could do that. It's a lot quicker now that I have the Embellie Gellie to help me.

3/ Are these for kids?
No. No, no. No.
Well... not for playing with.
A thoughtful and mature tween who knows to treat them as objets d'art might be alright.

But really the "No" more for the child's protection than the doll's. Small pieces you know, possibly sharpish bits. Nothing toxic of course, but not edible either - glass beads, wire.

Don't let the dog at it either.

4/ What's it for?
Well that is a big question. The simple answer is decorative use - to brighten a room, or start a conversation. Set them on a mantle, or shelf. Lots of people tell me they keep them by their computers. Decoration.

But really, isn't it deeper than that? Art is to make you consider and reconsider ideas - what is beauty? what is love? am I happy with my life?

Maybe they remind you of events, or the feelings around events. Maybe they hold your secret dreams in a sacred place for you. Maybe there is something about the face that recalls a loved one, or a lost love, or a childhood friend - so you smile when you see her near you. One lady calls her doll, her "totem". Maybe they inspire you to think of stories, just as children do when they play with their dolls. Inspiration.

My greatest hope for these dolls is that they are for spreading love and joy in the world.

5/ Are they voodoo dolls? 
(Thought bubble: Really? That is what you see when you look at these? Really? Oh and you are not the first person to ask this.)

See #4.

(*I'd love to see photos of any Iggy Jingles dolls in their home setting!)


Susan Zimmerman-Orozco said...

Thanks for sharing - I can relate! Also good tip about the Embellie Gellie. I had no idea!

Robyn Coburn Writer said...

Thanks Susan. Here's a post with a picture of seed beads clustered on the end of the Embellie Gellie, showing how it helps me to sew.
I don't want anyone to get the idea that the beads are glued on to my dolls. (Of course EG is extremely helpful in situations where you are picking up and gluing small items.)