Shoo Rayner, the exuberant British illustrator, did a great lesson on staying inside the box — or getting the box in your head. Draw hundreds of boxes! Draw, draw, draw! I took his advice. I think taking time to draw has made me pace better and not get mover’s hysteria or extreme fatigue and arthritis flare ups. I’ll see how it works moving day — the day after tomorrow!
It hasn’t been all packing and drawing, though. I finally finished Mr. Beardsley, a grandpa doll I’ve been working on for my friend Sara, a graphic & fabric designer at Saraink, and her son little Lincoln. My husband was NOT the model — he just happens to have a beard.
Little Lincoln is only 17 months old and is already almost as tall as him mom. Good thing Mr. Beardsley is rugged.
Now all the sewing supplies are packed (along with a few more unfinished projects). Tomorrow the big journal and colored pencils go into a box and I’ll have just the journal in my purse and the pens and pencils there — a mere half dozen. I think I’ll survive.
I love when I get my cloth dolls to this point and they are a form of potential. I like to sit with them for a while and try to make see what is unique in their gesture. Each doll comes out slightly different because they are hand stitched — the heads have a different angle and shaping, the limbs hang differently. I can’t wait to see what happens when I start to paint features and add hair.
When I left my day job, I promised my friend Paula I’d make her a doll. She has patiently waited these three months while I experimented with forms and got distracted to my heart’s content. This week-end, I was able to finally deliver. I made a 20″ button jointed doll that has a wry smile, an elegant dress and big heart. Paula is one of kindest people I know and full of life. This doll with the crooked little smile I think suits her well.
She let me know yesterday that she named her doll Jazzy JJ. The JJ is for Joy, me, and Jenn, our mutual friend, who joined us for coffee for the unveiling. Jenn has been a big inspiration for us both. Earlier this year, Jenn got a medicine doll commissioned by Paula — a magic wish fish to help her swim through a life-threatening bout of lupus.
It was a wonderful thing to get together and have decadent Autumn coffee drinks and talk about life and play with dolls.
This is a prototype for a doll I want to make for my Etsy shop. If you’re interested in one, let me know. They’ll retail for $75. I’ll be posting them as I make them, although it’s a slow process and you can commission one from this website. Each doll is hand-stitched with unique features, hair and personality. They feature button joints, flexible joints and bendable fingers. They are made from cotton fabric, poly fiberfill, You can choose coloring and collaborate on the creation, if you’d like.
After making a very complex posed doll, it was fun to make this Sassy Heart. She’s 22″ long, 12 1/2 of that is her skinny legs. She’s 9″ at the widest part of her hair. The hair is made of a super soft Italian viscose, nylon, and poly blend. It has silver metallic threads amid the soft chenille. Her face is a hand-painted, needle-sculpted cotton print with metallic gold highlights. The body and legs are made out of a pink cotton ombre.
I read a book years ago by Gloria Steinem that said that in the earliest cave paintings valentine shape represented female power. I’ve always liked hearts and was glad to hear there was a least a rumor that it had some symbolic power besides the obvious. I’ll always see it as the power and whimsy of love. My friend Sara told me that a collection of heart dolls is a good idea because the heart has many seasons. Isn’t that so true?