Creating Blush and Rose

 

Blush and Rose are the first two dolls in my new Watercolor Series, a group of dolls based around a soft watercolor color scheme, with hand-dyed bodies and outfits. In addition to these two pink girls, I’ll also be making a blue girl called Skye and a purple girl called Lavender.

After creating my September doll (who is too special to me to sell), I got a lot of requests from fans interested in purchasing a similar jointed Paperclay doll of their own. I decided to use my Watercolor Series to create a new group of dolls made similarly to September. Rose and Blush have cloth bodies and upper limbs, with Paperclay heads and hing-jointed Paperclay lower limbs, hands, and feet.

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Rose’s body

When making dolls, I often struggle with finding a balance between creating the handstitched cloth dolls which first got me involved in doll-making, and using Paperclay, which is a newer and exciting medium for me, as well as between creating a piece of art and staying true to the idea of making a “doll” which can be manipulated and dressed/undressed/played with. These were two issues that I really wanted to take on in my Watercolor Series, and I think I was able to find an interesting balance.

When looking through the work of other doll artists I admire for inspiration, I hit upon the idea of creating cloth upper limbs which can be joined in the same way as Paperclay limbs, and of using non-traditional patterned and colored cloth for the dolls’ bodies.

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Hard at work on Rose and Blush’s cloth bodies!

Rose and Blush each have one upper arm and one upper leg stitched from rose-patterned velvet, while their bodies (which I stitched, for the first time, from two pieces, for a more realistic look) and opposite limbs are painted with pink watercolors and covered in free hand-embroidery done in rose silk thread. Their Paperclay body parts have been sculpted, sanded and carved, and painted with more watercolors before being sealed. When their bodies were finished, I used pink ribbon and more of the rose silk thread to join them.

For this series, I decided to create removable outfits and shoes, so that the posable dolls can be dressed and undressed and gently played with. Each of Blush and Rose’s dresses snap in the back to easily be taken on and off, and were tea stained and dyed with pink watercolors after being sewn. Underneath their dresses, Blush wears a bralette and panties made from pink ribbon and tea stained lace, and Rose wears floral-print bloomers. I hadn’t tried making removable shoes since I was a little girl, so these were really a challenge. Each pair of slippers has red leather soles and pink ribbons which tie around the doll’s ankles.

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Dresses and shoes

Blush and Rose will be available in my Etsy shop by the beginning of next week, and I’ll soon begin work on Lavender and Skye! These two will be dark-skinned girls, and I believe will be a little smaller than Blush and Rose, who, at approx. 24 inches a piece, are two of the biggest dolls I’ve ever made!

 

My Etsy Shop has Reopened!

I’m still getting settled into my new home (sometimes the unpacking and the boxed furniture that needs to be put together feels as if it will never end!), but my Etsy shop is now up online and my finished items are available to purchase. During my time away, Etsy rolled out a new shop format which I’m still tinkering with. Take a look and tell me what you think (and if you’re a fellow Etsy seller, let me know what you think of the changes)!

I have yet to unpack my art supplies or set up my workspace, so it may be a little while before I’m able to continue my progress on Blush and Rose. I’m so close to being finished with them, though, and I can’t wait to show you the final product when I’m able!

There and Back Again

As I mentioned in previous posts, I’ve spent the past two week on the road with my hubby and pup, driving cross-country and back through most of the US! During this time my art and Etsy shop have been on hold. We’re still settling in to our new home, but I’ll be ramping everything back up within the week. Here are some photos I shot of our amazing trip, from Wyoming to Colorado to Utah to Oregon to Arizona and New Mexico!

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Camping outside of Denver, Colorado
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Wyoming
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The Rockies
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The Rockies
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Near Crater Lake in the Cascades, Oregon
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Outside of Pheonix, Arizona
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The Arizona desert

The Free Folk is Going on a Road Trip!

At the end of March, my husband and I will be leaving New York to move cross-country to the Pacific Northwest. During this time, The Free Folk will be on a break, returning in mid-late April. My Etsy shop will be temporarily closed starting today, and I’ll need to take a month off of posting.

While I will attempt to reply to Etsy conversations and Facebook messages during this time, please be aware that I will be spending a week or more on the road and may not always have access to an internet connection.

When I return, I’ll share some photos of our trip, along with a very special project which I’ve been working on and is almost complete!

See you soon!

Introducing Tinkerbell

I’ve been holding onto my Peter Pan and Tinkerbell dolls for a while now, but I think it’s finally time to introduce them to the world! Making dolls inspired by Peter Pan has been a project that’s very close to my heart – I devoured this book almost weekly at a certain age – and one that I hadn’t wanted to undertake until I was sure that I could get them right. After many, many sketches, and a lot of practice with Paperclay, Peter Pan and Tinkerbell were finally born.

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It was a girl called Tinkerbell, exquisitely gowned in a skeleton leaf…

Tinkerbell is made in the style of my jointed Paperclay miniature dolls, but at six inches tall is a little bit bigger. I wanted Tinkerbell to be pretty (she’s described as terribly vain!) while still retaining some of the rough, gnomish character of traditional English folktales about pixies and sprites. Tinkerbell is skinny with a pointed nose and chin, and her long feet and hands are proportionately very large for her body. She has windswept strawberry blonde mohair curls, and two large butterfly fairy wings.

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Tinkerbell wears an “exquisite” fairy gown of leaves and magic and mist. Fabric leaves cover a bodice and skirt of hand-dyed silk and sparkling tulle. Pearl seed bead “dew drops” form a line of tiny buttons on her bodice and are sprinkled over her skirt. A belt of golden thread and red berries pulls her dress together.

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Both Tinkerbell and Peter Pan will be available in my Etsy shop on Tuesday the 16th, but feel free to reach out with any questions about reserve, layaway, and pricing.

Introducing Peter Pan

I have a special Valentine’s Day treat! I’ve been holding onto Peter Pan and Tinkerbell for a while now, but I think it’s finally time to introduce them to the world! Making dolls inspired by Peter Pan has been a project that’s very close to my heart – I devoured this book almost weekly at a certain age – and one that I hadn’t wanted to undertake until I was sure that I could get them right. After many, many sketches, and a lot of practice with Paperclay, Peter Pan and Tinkerbell were finally born.

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Wendy, Wendy, when you are sleeping in your silly bed, you might be flying about with me saying funny things to the stars.

Peter has a large Paperclay head with a jointed cloth body. Even his hair is made from Paperclay, with sculpted leaves and red berries tumbling through his auburn curls. Peter’s proportions and wide, curling smile were inspired by drawings of pixies done by Arthur Rackham and Tony Diterlizzi. I loved the way the combination spoke of an exuberant and cunning mischievousness.  I had so much fun painting Peter’s bright green eyes, red cheeks, and many freckles!

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Detail of Peter’s head

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After many concept sketches, I decided to give Peter green tights, felt upturned slippers, and a tunic of leaves and mist. Dozens of paper and velvet leaves and seed bead “seeds” cover Peter’s hand-dyed silk tunic, while his slippers are embroidered with silver thread and more leaves and beads.

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Detail of Peter’s shoes

Peter’s photos turned out even better than I’d dreamed – I was able to set the scene with a blue tablecloth, sparkling painted wooden stars, and the rest of the silk I’d used for his tunic!

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Tomorrow I’ll share my finished Tinkerbell, so stay tuned! Both dolls will be available in my Etsy shop on Tuesday the 16th, but feel free to reach out with any questions about reserve, layaway, and pricing.

 

Magical Miniatures now in my Etsy Shop!

I’ve been playing with these little one inch scale fantasy miniatures for quite some time now, and have finally decided to list some of them in my shop! I can just imagine them as part of a wizard’s library or a witch’s secret cottage.

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Included in the set I’m selling are a magical mirror made from a hand mirror and a vintage unicorn brooch, a little gazing ball made from a clear glass marble and a gold button, two little weathered paper envelopes, one filled with glitter “fairy dust,” two glass vials, one containing “dreams” (white feathers) and the other “desire” (sparkling red thread), a tiny wishbone on red thread, and two miniature parchment maps painted with watercolors and gilt.

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glass vials
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tiny envelopes
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“A Map of the Outer Continents”
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“Greater Fairyland”

I had so much fun using my watercolors and pens to create the tiny paper objects and little tags and labels, and I’m really excited to finally share some of these! If you’re interested in taking them home, they are available in my Etsy shop here.