New Miniature Art Dolls!

miniature fairy doll

 

I absolutely love making these jointed miniature art dolls, because they’re so tiny I can sculpt several of them in an afternoon! The sculpting stage is a great rainy afternoon project for when I feel like getting out my Paperclay.

I spent a few afternoons this past week sculpting, painting, and dressing two new little dolls, Sprout and Peony. I’d been wanting to make a fairy this size for some time, and so I had a lot of fun with Sprout! She has tiny antennae made from curls of wire, and I used the top wings of small plastic butterfly to give her translucent fairy wings.

fairy wings

 

Her little green cap is topped by a leaf charm I’d had laying around for a long time, just waiting for the right project. I imagine Sprout living hidden in someone’s garden, happily chatting with bumblebees and working away in the flower beds!

Miniature Fairy

 

Peony, on the other hand, is a refined lady who kept telling me how she couldn’t wait to move into someone’s Victorian dollhouse.

Victorian dollhouse doll

 

I’d held onto the scraps of floral cotton that I used for her bodice for years, after dismantling on older doll dress that was coming apart at the seams. I’d never before had a project small enough for the tiny pieces that were left, so I was very excited to be able to use them for Peony! A tiny bit of gathered lace was perfect for Peony’s skirt, and I topped off her dress with two tiny seed bead buttons.

miniature doll

 

Peony takes her name from the two huge flowers in her hair – I tried giving her just one, but she demanded a flower for each side!

Peony is already hosting tea parties and baking tiny cupcakes in her new home, but Sprout is available in my Etsy shop.

Posted in Art, Art Dolls, Handmade | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DIY – Miniature Spell Bottles

magic miniatures bottles

I had so much fun making these miniature magic spell bottles for my own project, that I thought I would share with all of you! These are very simple to make, and would be a great Halloween addition to the doll house!

Supplies:

  • miniature glass bottles with corks (found in most craft stores)
  • loose glitter and/or glitter craft paint
  • white printer paper
  • scissors
  • pen
  • small paintbrush and water jar
  • tacky glue
  • items for filling your bottles – get creative! I used loose glitter for fairy dust, a fluffy white feather for dreams, miniature watch parts for time, red thread for desire, wishbone pendants for wishes, and fake craft snow for Christmas snow

Steps:

You’ll probably want to first cover your workplace – glitter likes to go everywhere!

Fill your bottles however you like, then use your small paintbrush to paint around the rims of the bottles with tacky glue. Replace the corks. When the glue dries, the bottles will be sealed.

Create tiny labels on printer paper to paste on your bottles. I wrote on the paper with a gel pen first, before cutting out the labels. You could also type the labels up on the computer in small decorative font, if you don’t trust your handwriting! I also outlined some of my labels in gold paint.

Use the paintbrush and tacky glue to paste the labels to the bottles. I also painted over some of them with “magic” glitter craft paint, or you could paint over them with more tacky glue and sprinkle on some loose glitter.

Once your bottles are dry, they’re ready for use in making a miniature scene or as an addition to your doll house!

Posted in Art, Handmade, Tutorial | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Magical Minis

I’ve started a new art project that I’ve been having a lot of fun with! I’m calling it “The Dreamseller’s Cart,” and have in mind to create a traveling seller of magical goods and his cart of treasures. After buying a collection of tiny bottles, I was inspired to create a collection of magical miniatures, and spent all week a couple of weeks ago working on them! After debating what to do with the miniatures, I hit upon the idea of creating a tiny traveling shop of magical treasures.

What do you need from the Dreamseller’s cart? A wish, a dream, a magical mirror? A recipe for love or a spell of protection? What about vial of fairy dust or a magical key? A map of lost lands?

magical minis

magical minis

My magic mirror is made from an old hand mirror and a vintage costume brooch, and the gazing ball is made from a marble and button, dusted with gold glitter.

magic miniatures bottles

Each mini bottle contains something magical: wispy white dreams (white feather down), magical red thread, wishbones, golden fairy dust (glitter), Christmas snow (white plastic flakes and gold glitter), and an extra few hours of time, in the form of tiny clock parts.

magic minis

mini maps

My miniature maps are painted in watercolors on linen, and one is edged in gold pen.

miniature spell books

Each miniature spell book is hand-bound in leather, and each tiny spell card is handwritten and decorated with a gold or black border. The pages of spells I also “aged” with watercolors.

I can’t wait to create the little “world” these miniatures will live in! This week I’ll start planning out how to build the Dreamseller’s wooden cart, and shopping for parts!

Posted in Art, Handmade, Works in Progress | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

There is a willow grows askant the brook…

ophelia

I spent my free time this week putting the finishing touches on my Ophelia art doll, and she is finally finished! Ophelia’s body is hand-sewn and covered in Paperclay, and painted with watercolors. I spent a long day knotting her mohair wig! She wears a watercolor blue silk slip with silver threads sewn into it, intended to mimic water in sunlight. Her over-dress is sewn from emerald green floral damask silk, something a young girl of medieval Denmark might not have actually had access to, but the colors were so lovely I just couldn’t resist.

Ophelia's face

Ophelia’s face

My art doll is intended to represent the moment in Hamlet of Ophelia’s drowning in the brook: “There is a willow grows askant the brook (and) therewith fantastic garlands she did make, of crowflowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples… There on the pendant boughs her crownet weeds clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke, when down her weedy trophies and herself fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide, and mermaid like awhile they bore her up, which time she chanted snatches of old lauds, as one incapable of her own distress, or like a creature native and endued of that element.”

Therefore, I wrapped my Ophelia in garlands of fake flowers, weaving them into her hair and her clothes, and even creating her a sort of bier of flowers. I used white paint to give them highlights, so that they would look more realistic. Ophelia’s skirts are spread out around her, and she still wears a single beaded slipper.

Ophelia's slipper

Ophelia’s slipper

More photos of Ophelia can be found on my Flickr page.

She will be available for sale in my Etsy shop soon, or you can contact me here for more information!

ophelia

Posted in Art, Art Dolls, Handmade | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Painting Ophelia

After sculpting and sanding Ophelia a few weeks ago, I was able to move on to my favorite part of the doll-making process – painting! It’s in this stage that an art doll really seems to come alive to me.

I am creating Ophelia in her moment of drowning in the stream, taking a lot of my inspiration from John Everett Millais’ Pre-Raphealite painting. My Ophelia is meant to be already drowned, her mouth open, her eyes wide, and her fingers and toes turning blue at the tips.

Ophelia is sculpted in Paperclay over cloth, and I painted her in watercolors. After she’s fully dried and been sealed, I’ll move on to creating her long blonde wig, which will be tangled with flowers.

drowned ophelia

 

ophelia art doll

Ophelia's face

Posted in Art, Art Dolls, Handmade, Works in Progress | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ophelia

Ophelia, MillaisOphelia has always fascinated me most of all of Shakespeare’s characters. It’s so hard for me to reconcile her snarky answers to Hamlet’s teasing with her tragic and beautifully-described death. “Why kill herself?” I’m always wondering. What made her go mad, and then end it this way? When writing a paper about her for a British lit class, I decided that this was her search for freedom, and that her madness and suicide were the conscious choices of a young woman in search of her identity. Yet these decisions, for me, took away none of the mystery and eerie beauty of Ophelia’s story.

Over the past few weeks, I began work on an art doll version of drowned Ophelia. My main source of inspiration is John Everett Millais’ famous painting (shown above), which has a fascinating back story of its own. I want to capture in my own work the same color pallet of rich green and the gentle curved pose of Millais’ Ophelia. Also inspirational for me was This Year’s Girl’s more modern digital work “Sleep to Dream” (shown below).

ophelia

I decided to create my Ophelia art doll by sewing her basic “skeleton,” and then covering the parts of her that will be visible with Paperclay. It was very important to me to give her body a natural, elegant curve – the kind of weightless curve that the body has when suspended in water. Here are a couple of shots of what I have so far -her stuffed “skeleton” on some wonderful gauze-thin hand-dyed silk I’ll be using for part of her dress and for water.

in progress

work in progress

Posted in Art, Art Dolls, Handmade, Works in Progress | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Doll House Miniatures

I’ve always been fascinated by miniatures. As a child, I read Mary Norton’s “The Borrowers” series over and over again, and kept a huge bookcase “doll house” of miniature rooms that I had designed and mostly handmade myself. Recently, I got the itch to start creating miniatures again!

fairy table

Fairy’s tea table

I looked through some of my old things, and ended up finding enough of my old miniatures to create a little fairy’s tea table and a tiny baker’s cabinet. For the tea table, I sewed a tiny rose-print table cloth, and filled the seat of the miniature chair and decorated the table with natural moss. I used tiny ceramic tea cups and a miniature skeleton key to decorate the table, and sculpted and painted a tiny fairy cake, which I decorated with “sugar” glitter.

tea party

My favorite miniature I created for the tea table is a tiny bottle of “dew drops” – a miniature corked glass bottle filled with seed pearls and rhinestones. It’s tag is handwritten and decorated with glitter. I imagine the little fairies sweetening their cups of tea with a drop of dew!

fairy tea

For my little baker’s cabinet, I used a lot of miniature kitchen items that I already had. The cabinet was originally unfinished, and I stained it green with watercolors and sealed it with matte varnish. Scraps of fine white lace decorate the top and middle shelf. I absolutely love all of the teeny tiny dishes, pots, and baking pans! Another miniature skeleton key hangs from the top door, and a few tiny white shells are used for extra soup bowls.

dollhouse cabinet

Baker’s cabinet

I used clay to sculpt a tiny loaf of bread and platter of cookies. My “loaf” has salt worked into the clay so that it looks more realistic, and each cookie has a sesame seed pressed into the center. Like my bottle of “dew drops,” I created a little container of cinnamon with brown and gold seed beads for my cabinet!


baker's cabinet

Posted in Art, Handmade | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment