Monday, June 29, 2009

Bra Dolls

In the spirit of gratitude, here is a blog showing Bra Dolls for Cancer Awareness. Having its genesis in the loss of one friend and the diagnosis of some other friends with breast cancer, doll artist Barb Keeling and some other doll makers have started a project of making dolls using brassieres, with the dolls and proceeds being donated to breast cancer research and treatment causes. Barb sells her ingenious patterns to five variations of bra doll.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

African Collaboration

My doll friends are indefatigable in their search for great doll sites on the internet. Mary Anne has found another beautiful site, detailing a collaborative doll project in South Africa. It was some years ago, but the pictures there are very interesting. It is wonderful to see the transformations, and the huge variation in the finished dolls, their journals and their containers. Be sure to click on the basketball for a story about another collaborative doll project undertaken by students at the Vaal University of Technology.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Crazy Quilt Dolls

My doll friends keep on finding cool doll artists! Here is the website of another fine artist, Marina Druker, who makes small scale polymer and paperclay figures, with intricate costuming embellished with embroidery. I love their dear little hands, sweet expressions and nostalgic air. Plus many of them have miniature props that are also adorable.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dreams of Cute

It has been too long since we have had a serious dose of cute. Here is Spanish crochet artist "Knittingdreams" Etsy store filled with utterly adorable, fluffy amigurumi miniature bears. There are some bitty felt critters too. They are sized small enough to be dolls for your fashion dolls. Oh yeah, seriously cute.

Bell Carves

High school woodworking teacher and fine doll artist, Floyd Bell carves beautifully proportioned wooden dolls, then dressed in finely made fabric clothing. Often intricately jointed, some are ethnic figures, others are portraits of historical or contemporary celebrities, still others are carved baby dolls of walnut or alder wood. Floyd is a member of both NIADA and ODACA.

Homes needed

Here is a worthy cause for dollmakers. The "Every Doll Needs a Home" Art Doll show and auction to benefit The Salvation Army Evangeline Booth Miracle Home will be held Thursday, September 24, 2009 5:30 - 7:30 p.m., in Schenectady, NY. The Booth Home is an emergency homeless shelter that houses women and children. Contact the organizers via the website to participate.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Nesting Dollmakers

The Russian Matryoshka Doll industry is in big trouble. Discussions of this industry were part of an item on the recession in Eastern Europe on "The World" on NPR. I listen to KPCC in Los Angeles. The hand made dolls were described by one of the artists.

The cottage industry was one of Russia's saviours in the 1990's, but now the many, many crafters employed are hoping for a government bailout/stimulus package.

This is big news in Russia, but there is apparently a bit of cynicism about whether the government will come through. (Picture from the Saint Petersburg Times.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Valerie Bunnell

Since today is the Summer Solstice, it seems like a nice time to mention some magically beautiful dolls. Valerie Bunnell has a series of gorgeous galleries on her website, one of which is called Magic. Her cast porcelain and mixed media figures have an otherworldly, stylized quality. Plus she uses text for embellishment which I always enjoy. Many of her figures hang like marionettes. Be sure to check out the interesting at-work photos under the In The Studio tab. She has shows upcoming in PA, MI and MO, so check that tab too.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Lucy Landry

I love Lucy Landry's meticulous and beautiful dolls, and her smoothly designed website with large scale photographs in the galleries. Her dolls' cloth hands are consistently perfect, but her true genius may well be the gorgeous fully embroidered faces she creates on many of her mixed fiber art figures. Or maybe it's her surface detail and embellishment.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New Online Classes

A whole bunch of new online classes starting in late June (and one in August) have just been announced on the Doll Street Dreamers' website. You don't have to be a member of the club to take a class and play along.

Ink Spillers Attic

One of my new doll friends, Yvonne has just made some beautiful delicate spirit dolls incorporating vintage repurposed fabrics, natural elements and hand painted polymer clay faces. She also makes an intriguing base for mixed media art works, "fabric paper" that looks like something I'd like to try.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Call for Gypsy Treasures

Once again the call is out for the Annual Treasures of the Gypsy Doll Challenge. This year's theme: The Enchanted Gypsy. It's one of the best value challenges around since for the $20 entry fee, you receive a package of wonderful doodads and fabric bits to use in your doll. The dolls are exhibited and the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX in October.

Fanciful Twist

Vanessa Valencia makes beautiful, whimiscal mixed media art dolls with complex histories told as fables. They have a slightly wistful air that contrasts with the candy bright cheeer of Vanessa's charming polymer clay Elves. The (immense amount of) photography on her whole website is gorgeous and lush too.

On her blog she invites folks with blogs to the 2nd Annual Mad Hatters Tea Party on Saturday, June 27th - a blog hopping virtual party with giveaways at some blogs. Seems like quite a few doll makers will be there.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Peruvian knits

Natural Child, a beautiful attachment/gentle parenting site is currently selling knitted Peruvian Mother and Child dolls. Vividly colored of alpaca wool, these are Fair Trade items that support low income artisans. I rather like the rendition of the traditional costumes of the Andes.

Hawaiian Retreat

Marilyn Radzat has announced registration open for her next wonderful Hawaiian retreat, which will be November 1-7, 2009. The event will be limited to seven women, so if you want to "expand yourself into your greater glory" (who wouldn't?) please act fast. The photos from the last retreat look wonderful.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Laugh About It

She probably doesn't need my help promoting this, but still it's doll news....
Marie Osmond has a podcast on her website announcing the very limited edition doll with the same title as her book, "Adora Might as Well Laugh About it Now Belle". She will be available this coming Monday June 15th. With only 100 available on the website (more on QVC), I imagine they will go fast, and it looks like you can pre-order from there already. This 13inch tall pretty doll has big, big eyes, maybe showing the influence of BJD's and manga on her design. She comes with a miniature copy of the Marie's book. Is it readable? Can't tell..possibly.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

BJD's and Tea Parties

Upcoming in August is the Innocent Seraphim (or InnoSera) an Asian BJD and Japanese street fashion convention in Bellevue, Washington. There will be fashion shows, BJD face up and other workshops, cosplay, tea parties, a concert, and apparently some very classy costumed bowling.

August 8-9, 2009. Register before July 18th for a ticket to the Kissing Violet concert to be included in the package.

On the website are details of other smaller events planned by the InnoSera organizers, like sewing classes (and more tea parties).

Forest Rogers

I've posted already today, but I can't resist. Forest Rogers' work is amazing! She makes fantasy figures in polymer clay with really wonderful proportions and surface detail.


Thanks to creeping arthritis, I don't think I have the fine motor acuity any more to work this tiny, but for those that can British online store Buttercup Miniatures is a lovely miniatures site offering knit and crochet patterns, yarns and adorable tiny scale accessories. They have some free patterns just to give it a go, and on their blog list timely and delightful new products for adding versimilitude, like voting cards so your doll house folk can go vote. I would need a magnifying glass to see the detail.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Kismet doll jewelry

I was browsing around the Dolls and Miniatures section of Etsy and I found Kismet1990Designs, a maker in Tuscon creating really beautiful looking miniature scale jewelry equally as fine as any I have seen at conventions. Each very reasonably priced set apparently includes earrings, bracelet and necklace sized for 12 or 16 inch fashion dolls. Only around since last November, I think this store is worth a closer look.

Dimensions in Dollmaking call for entries

The entry forms for 2009 Dimensions in Dollmaking are up on the Imitation of Life Construction Company home page. The theme this year is "Make Me Laugh", although adapting the theme is optional.

Dimensions in Dollmaking is an annual exhibit of cloth dolls within the San Diego Quilt Show, this year to be held September 16-19. Visitors to the show vote on their favorite dolls.

At the website are some wonderful galleries of dolls from past shows. IOLCC is a vibrant doll
club based in San Diego which meets monthly. Many of the members have been featured here in the past. They also maintain a blog for the latest news about upcoming events and workshops.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Paola Zakimi

Paola Zakimi is a doll maker from Argentina showing her evocative and distinctive pale dolls on her bilingual blog. She's currently prepping for a solo show in Australia, exploring themes of yearning, emptiness and lost hopes, the challenges of poverty as expressed in a moving poem translated on the blog.

Who says dolls are a trivial art form? Not me, not me.

(Thanks Mary Ann.)

Collector's Blog

I found a wonderful resource for collectors of BJD's and fashion dolls. The emphasis here tends to be art doll makers, so it's nice to discover this blog, Fashion Doll Review, made by a collector whose interest and attention to detail gives her status close to expert. Self described "fan", Alison, posts about fashion dolls of all sizes and also makes garments for the dolls in her collection. It's worth browsing early posts for useful and informative doll care content. Plus she has a killer list of doll collecting links and blogs, and interviews with doll fashion artists.

Oh and she also quilts (and her list of favorite books include a bunch of mine).

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Whispering sighs

All the primitive and folk art doll makers you might ever need gathered in one dreamy, nostalgic place - Whispered Secrets of a Primitive Past. A name and visual style evocative of faded wall paper and interesting patinas somehow combining great-grandma's lavender and camphorwood. A whole marketplace of different artists with links to their own websites and blogs promising that this is "where the craftmanship of olde is taken to heart and hand." And eye.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Calling Art Doll makers...

Here's a chance to be part of the genesis of something. A new online doll club, Decidedly Different Dolls, has been started by my doll friend Jeanne, with assistance from Gail. The Yahoo group is seeking members, with the mission to support each other in the creation of unique art dolls and learn from each other. I believe the plan is to hold different challenges and share tips and techniques, such as the very first entry, an easy (as in "why didn't I think of that?" smart and easy) accordian journal, on the brand new blog.

Radzat Dazzles

The encrusted details of found object embellishment, the patina of vintage fabrics and laces, the luminous delicacy of the skin tones and features - all are hallmarks of NIADA member Marilyn Radzat's remarkable dolls and fantasy figures. I'm intrigued by the idea of the artists' creativity retreats she and her associate, the equally wonderful Gail Lackey, hold in the serene atmosphere of her home island Oahu, Hawaii. She has many galleries on her website for you inspirational pleasure, and also offers online doll making classes.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hurry! to win a pretty cloth doll

Here's a chance to win a Sophie and Lili handmade doll (so adorable). Just to be clear - follow the link to Sophie and Lili's blog to enter - not here.
But hurry, the random drawing will be June 4th.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Good Gaudy

elinor peace bailey makes dolls as bright, cheerful and colorful as she appears herself. Indeed she describes herself as "altogether into gaudy". She spreads the joy through her website - check out the hints and tips page - and her fiber arts blog. She has recently published a digital book on CD combining patterns, ideas and methods, "The Doll As A Messenger", which joins her DVD, "Doll Making Basics" available from her website.