Saturday, October 1, 2011

Zentangle Projects

Hello to all and Happy Autumn!

"Fairy in the Moonlight".  Her body and wings are done with white ink on black art paper.
 This is my favorite time of year, despite the mold and sinus problems.  I love the cooler weather, the desire to work indoors (I think this is an instinct built in us after years of "starting school" each September).  It makes me crave soup, crayons, good books and pulling out the cool weather clothing.

I recently completed a Zentangle doll challenge for the Dollstreet Dreamers.  This challenge doll was created from my stash of UFO's (unfinished objects).  It started as an attempt to make a color-block doll.  However, after making the body, adding the color block and embellishing with thick black lines between the blocks and gold painted "curlicues", I decided I hated the piece and it became another abandoned project. 

"Fairy in the Midday Sun" - completed in August, 2011.

Detail view.
When I accepted the challenge to make a Zentangle doll for this challenge, we were told that we could work in any medium.  Okay, paper is a medium and paper dolls are valid - right?  No, wrong.  When I asked this question I was told the doll needed to be 3-D.  Hmmmm....what to do?  I racked my brain but could not decide on a pattern (3-D that is) which would work as a canvas for "tangling".  As a last resort, I raided my UFO stash and found that, although I am still not crazy about the body overall, I thought this piece would make an excellent canvas for "tangles".  From there I was off and running. 

Here are some shots from my final 3-D project.  Enjoy and - I wish you all a gouhlishly wonderful Autumn time!

Full Zentangle Color-Block doll - September 2011.

Detail view - I loved being able to add highlights as well as low lights in the color block areas.  I will probably be working on colored paper in the future - or painted paper so that I can add the high- and low-lights at will.

Back side detail view.  I love the pattern created in the purple block. That is an accident of "tangling" - if you haven't tried this process, check out to find out more about the process. 
For those of you interested in seeing all the challenge dolls, please check them out on the Dollstreet Dreamers website.  I cannot wait to see what those talented doll makers have made.  I think they are scheduled to be posted on, or soon after October 1, 2011.  Enjoy.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Blast from the Past

Hello again! So far I have several projects "in progress", but no new items to share with you right now.  Therefore, I am going to start posting some of my older pieces just to keep in the habit of blogging.
The Nursery Tree has an AAMCO push mold face.  The body has a wire armature covered by plaster bandages (like the ones used to repair broken bones)!  She is about 12 inches tall and was made in response to a "Spiderwick Inspired Character" challenge issued by my doll guild several years ago.

The Treasure Keeper - Pattern and Class by Christine Shively.
Christine is a wonderful teacher.  I was lucky to take this class in Northern Kentucky with a group of quilters.  The pattern suggested a solid fabric for the dress.  However, one of my classmates brought in a scrap of patchwork from an old quilt to use as a dress.  I "borrowed" this idea from her and hand-pieced silk and cotton fabrics which I then embellished with beads and ribbon embroidery.  I loved this class and my doll remains a special treasure in my personal collection.  Christine was the first person to teach face painting techniques to me that really "stuck" in my brain.  Every face I have made since then has been improved because of Christine.  I highly recommend her as a teacher and a pattern designer.

"Bird on a Stick" - pattern and class by Cody Goodin.
 I am fortunate to belong to the RiverCity Figurative Artists' Guild.  Several years ago we had a doll camp in which fellow-member, Cody Goodin, shared several different fabric painting techniques with the group while we created some very interesting "heads" on sticks.  Cody is an amazing teacher who increases the knowledge-base of his students with his willingness to share his life-long passion for art.  He seems to know how to "trick" his students into trying new products and techniques with his interesting classes.  If you ever have a chance to take a class from him, I highly recommend that you do so!

My bird lives at work with me.  When someone asks if I'm in the office, I grab the stick and pop the head over the wall of my cubicle.  (This is known as "prairie-dogging in case you didn't know.)  Anyway, I get many chuckles and much interest in all the karacters that live in my office space as well as in my head - okay, it sounds better than saying "I hear voices"!

Face mask from Anne Hesse.  Wire armature wrapped with fabric.  Embroidered yarns make up "wig".
The last time I saw Anne she was selling some wonderful doll masks.  I cannot manage a good shot of the mask (I am NOT a great photographer!).  The mask is a gold metallic finish over a porcelain base.  This was a very relaxing and fun project to do!  I have taken a face beading class from Anne in the past.  If you haven't had the opportunity, Anne is another of our great teachers and I highly recommend her as well!

Olivia Masquerades as an Ostrich - class and pattern by Judy Skeel.
Judy Skeel designed this amazing pattern and a long story to explain Olivia's plight.  It is hard to tell from my photos but her body is shaped like an ostrich.  Judy is an amazing designer, great person, and an wonderful teacher.  The doll designing mechanics I learned in this class have greatly improved my ability to engineer my own projects.  If you have problems with cloth doll hands, Judy teaches a wonderful class on this subject too!

Well, that's all I have for this blog.  Thank you for visiting my blog!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Return from Artistic Figures in Cloth - 2011

Hello everyone - it has been over a year since I posted to this blog!  Shame on me!  I am going to try and do better by promising to update this blog whenever I update the RiverCity Figurative Artists' Guild blog.

I've spent a restful week of "staycation" after spending a few manic days at the Artistic Figures in Cloth conference in Columbus, Ohio last week.  As always, Cyndi Sieving, along with husband Mike and both her sisters did a marvelous job on this event.  I am looking forward to receiving my CD containing photos of all events, which is one of the perks of the meeting.  However, I did go ahead and take a few shots myself that I'll share with those of you unable to attend this marvelous event.

I will admit that the photos below represent a small amount of my favorite dolls at the show...but certainly not all of them!

Unfortunately, I do not remember the names of all the dollmakers, so I ask that you enjoy the shots and if you wish to tell me the name(s) of any of the dollmakers, I'll be happy to add them here.

Isn't she lovely?  The charm around her neck appears to be a rose quartz charm and it is exactly the right size for this lovely little person.

This awesome piece was created by Susie MacMahon, along with several others in the gallery.  My friend, Cody Goodin, took her three-day sculpting class and said it was a wonderful experience.  I hope to be able to take a class from Susie sometime in the future.

Two living dolls - Cyndi's sister is on the left (sorry, I don't know her name) and Cyndi on the right.  This was taken about 10 p.m. on Friday night and shows Cyndi after a long day of managing and running a beautiful conference.  Little sister admitted that she got to take a power nap that afternoon, so she is in better shape than most of us were that night!

This felted rabbit family was too cute to resist! 

This felted dinosaur is also too cute for words!  He makes me smile - how about you?

This doll is by Jodi Miller who is quickly becoming one of my favorite doll artists.  This was her "steampunk" challenge doll.  Jodi usually works in bright colors, but chose the muted pallet to go with the steampunk challenge.  What a great doll!

This little guy is a OOAK by Cyndi Sieving - isn't he fun?  Cyndi makes beautiful patterns for all of us to buy and enjoy.  However, her original art dolls are magnificent.  This little guy is under, 8" tall. 

This is another OOAK by Cyndi Sieving - isn't she special?  She is about 2 feet tall and I love the attitude achieved in this piece.

Well, that is all for now.  I have not had a chance to photograph the doll I made at class last week, so expect a new post from me in the very near future.  Thanks again, Cyndi, for a WONDERFUL time.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

January 19, 2010

Oh dear, I definitely missed my deadline for updating this blog.  However, I have made some progress in the direction I want to take as far as the bead journal project is concerned.  I am going to make a cell phone holder/necklace each month. Yes, I like functional art!  I'm sure my theme will vary as the year rolls on. Right now I'm working on my fourth incarnation of the first phone holder.  January's theme is the dismal grey after the bright lights of December, set off by surprising hits of garnet red to symbolize the berries that were still clinging to trees and bushes at the beginning of the month.  Alas, most have been eaten or fallen to the ground now, but the idea is still there. 

Of course, my reference to "garnets" is the fact that this lovely jewel is the birthstone for January.  I love my limited, but treasured jewelry collection.  Although it isn't worth a great deal in monetary terms, the memories that are attached to the these treasures are priceless to me.  Do you still have a peace sign from the 60's in your collection? I do!  It is still as pretty as the day I got it and evokes childhood memories of those radical and exciting times.

Also, I have added a few photos of past projects that I've covering parts of this blog.  I will update these and add to them as I learn how to hook my old digital camera into a newer computer so that I can share new my new projects with you.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Haiti and relatives still waiting to learn the fate of their loved ones.  I rejoice and give thanks for the fact that Dr. J. Wesley Alexander, and his lovely wife, Maureen, are okay and have returned to Miami, Florida after a frightening week in Haiti.  While volunteering in a medial mission Kings Hospital and Kings Orphanage last week, there were a couple of days when we didn't know what this couple were facing.  Friday morning I learned that although they were very tired, they were unhurt and working hard to help at the hospital and orphanage which is about ten miles outside Port au Prince (that is my understanding of the location anyway).  I worked for this wonderful transplant surgeon for twelve years and I know how lucky the Kings' organization was to have him present to help when the quake hit.  Maureen is a lovely person and I'm sure she was a great comfort to the children during this very disturbing time. Welcome home you two.  I am thankful you are back in the States and pray that the nightmares you endured can be managed and healed once you are safely reunited with family and friends. 

For those of you still waiting for news about your loved ones, I will pray that good news also finds it way to you.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December 2009 – Meanderings of a muddled mind….

A friend mentioned the Bead Journal Project 2010 to me during the summer when I was struggling to summon my creativity and having a difficult time doing so. I love to bead and thought this commitment might be exactly what I needed to force myself into creativity. So I signed up on October 1st…I tried to sign up before that, but they wouldn’t let me!

I am a doll maker first and foremost. I am a proud member of the River City Dollmakers and have been a member of this group since 1997 – a year before we had a name! They are an amazingly talented group of women and men who are giving of their time and talent. Not only have I learned much about doll making and the business side of things in this group, but I consider these wonderful people to be friends as well…it doesn’t get any better than that.

Mid-summer 2009 brought the art of Zentangle into my life ( This art form feels like “home” to me. It has kept me sane and started to rekindle my artistic desires. Sitting with a pen in hand and doodling tangles is a very Zen experience. Does this sound corny? Yes it does, but it feels really wonderful. Are you sure you have no artistic talent? Would you love to be able to create something beautiful? I believe anyone who practices this relaxing, meditative medium can become quite accomplished. Years ago I took a face drawing course from the inestimable elinor peace bailey. I remember she said “practice is everything. If the only thing you can draw is a stick figure, practice them every day. Eventually you will find that you make the best stick figures on your block.” Zentangles are much the same…you get better…and more relaxed. Sounds like a win-win situation to me!

I also love to make wearable art and that seems to be where the majority of my beading has been utilized. In looking through the past bead journal project galleries I saw some techniques that look very interesting to me. In fact, they look like the bead version of Zentangles…so I believe that 2010 will be the year of the bead and the pen for me and am looking forward to expanding and improving my beading skills.

There is much I need to learn about beading. I find the best way for me to learn something new is to decide on a project (or new technique) I want to create and then learn the steps and techniques necessary to achieve that goal…maybe a little backwards…but this is the way I learn with great eagerness and gusto!

I am at odds with my approach to this journal. I live in a small place and do not have room for lots of wall art. I hate the thought of creating a journal in which each page will (hopefully) be worthy of being the front cover…not hiding in the middle or end of the journal. Do I want to use a theme like Carol Lenthal’s triptych or Karen Cohen’s spirals? Should I make pieces that will fit together into a sculptural figure? Should I make each page with a detachable piece of art to be worn as jewelry? Do I want a very sophisticated work…if I go that route what happens to the snowman who is begging to be beaded?

Okay…what do I actually want for 2010? Most importantly, I wish for a year of calm and peace – oh and good health. Don’t we all? Still, I felt the need to say it. Artistically, I’d love to get back to my old creative ways…where I had so many ideas flitting through my head that I could hardly think straight. Things I wish to accomplish in the making of this journal?

1) The study of textures
2) A study of colors
3) 3-D effects (my snowman really wants to have a round belly)!


Handpainted skirt has a diameter of 14".