Work of Heart in Progres Day Five – whew!

Things went well today and I got her finished!

I finished the base last night.  I really love it when it gets to this stage and I can stop being careful and constructive.  I can start really being creative, draping fabrics, letting seams show and adding found objects.

wire for the vine
wrapping the wire in fabric

Okay, I got the wire wrapped and used embroidery thread to secure it and then I really got into it and stopped taking pictures.  I added hand painted fabric leaves.  I repeated the motif of the butterfly heart and added a butterfly broach I found at a thrift shop.    I sewed and tacked down things.  I used big visible stitches and thought about how much it helped me, as a young girl, when kind people helped me stitch together the various parts of my broken life.  The kindness people did for me kept me from despair and helped me blossom.  I hope that sense of repair and renewal comes through in this piece — Spring From The Heart.

Spring from the Heart
Growth starts in the heart
The base
Heart side
spring from the side
growth close-up

I took the following photo on my husband’s dresser.  It’s the last thing I see every night when I go to sleep.  Do you think my dreams influenced this piece?

among the plants
Joy and her Art Doll

Tomorrow off she goes from Portland to Memphis to be part of the 19th Annual Works of Heart Art Auction on February 12th.  I miss her already!  For more information on the auction please follow this link:

Work of Heart in Progress Day Three

I made some great progress on my Work of Heart Doll today.  But first I wanted to share this link to an article about the Memphis Child Advocacy Center’s important work.

I’ve stitched and stuffed all but one leg of the doll I’m making for the Works of Heart Art Auction at the Memphis College of Art on February 12.  The last leg will be placed over a stanchion attached to the original wooden heart so the doll will stand up forever.  My husband is drilling it into place for his contribution to the project.

My favorite needle

I use a carbon steel curved needle that was given to me by a German doll maker some 10 years ago.  It’s just the right size for stitching the limbs and hair.

Silk brocade for the heart

I love both the red front and the gold back of this gorgeous butterfly print fabric.  I decided to make the dolls heart showing both.  You’ll only be able to see a little slice of the gold from the side view, but it’s a nice warm little detail.

The silk butterfly heart

I’ve made the limbs and fingers out of proportion to give the piece a gangly, tree-like appearance.  I haven’t quite decided how to do her hair, but I’ve got a bit of embroidery embellishment planned for her body, plus I’ll have some vines and leaves surrounding her.  I’m looking forward to what comes forth in the studio tomorrow.

Doll in waiting

And wait till you see her big rooty feet!

Here’s the link for the Works of Heart Auction

A New Work of Heart In Progress

Each year, the Memphis Child Advocacy Center has a wonderful Valentine’s  fundraiser called “Works of Heart.”  It’s a juried show and each artist is given a wooden heart to turn into an original work of art.  It’s pretty cool because these works are made specifically for the show.  You can’t get much more unique than that.  And generally, since it’s an auction, you get to buy great art for a great price.  I love that it happens at Valentine’s Day.  It’s a great way to honor love.

The Memphis Child Advocacy Center is dear to my heart, since I grew up in a fractured family in Memphis and witnessed many of the harsh realities children face in our society.   The MCAC has helped heal many children’s hearts and minds.  They keep child safety at the forefront of Memphis political and cultural dialog.   I lived most of my life in Memphis, so while I love my home in Portland, Oregon, Memphis owns a large piece of my heart.

Here’s the MCAC mission statement:

“Helping victims become children again. That’s why we’re here.

The mission of the Memphis Child Advocacy Center is to serve children who are victims of sexual and severe physical abuse through prevention, education and intervention.

Our vision is a community where children are safe, families are strong and victims become children again.”

I love that – they do a great job.  One of the charming and insightful things they do is give each child who comes through the center a new teddy bear.  A soft, touchable gift — a toy that lets them know they are loved and valued by the community.


I’ve been fortunate enough to donate art work to this event several times.  Here are two of my past Works of Heart.

Warrior Girl

It’s been several years since I’ve been able to contribute, but this year, I’m in.  I just started this new piece.  I have this great wood pattern print fabric.  I may make the doll’s heart from this lovely silk butterfly brocade.  I have some ideas of spring and renewal being rooted in the heart.  I’ve been pondering these things during the past chaotic month of moving, holidays and other art deadlines.

I have the week-end dedicated to this piece.  I have made some plans but I’ll be letting the piece speak to me as I work on it.  It will be all hand-stitched and crafted from an original design.  I thought I’d post the beginnings and make some regular posts on its progress over the next few days.

Wooden heart, wood fabric & perhaps heart material
Rooted heart sketch

For more information on the 19th Annual Works of Heart Auction, please follow this link.  You can also explore the website for more information on the Memphis Child Advocacy Center.

And do something nice for a child this Valentine’s day!