SFM Cloth Dolls with Attitude! NZ

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Queen Of Hearts Marionette

Just completed this Queen of Hearts Marionette in time for the Victorian Fete, here in Oamaru, where the theme this year is Alice in Wonderland!  If she's good, she might even make it to the Strawberry Fare later in December!

She has just been strun with a very simple controller and only five strings - three on her head and one on each hand 

Off with her head!  The Staff is made from gold aluminium wire wrapped around a red glass bead, threaded with fine copper wire, and wound down the stem. 

Based on the Character played by Helen Bonham -Carter, in Tim Burton's movie, Alice in Wonderland, I have made six video's of making this head on my Facebook page, if you want to check them out!  Just put in SFM Cloth Dolls With Attitude and you will find it!

I made the skirt in three panels made form curtain fabric.  The hearts were cut from black calico frames over gold fabric and pressed on with Steam a Seam.

Putting the body together.  Here she is strung from an anchor in the shoulders and up through the head.  I kept her legs and feet simple as they will not be seen.  I quite like the shape of them.

I made simple little shoes.  The feet are weighted.

Pantaloon petticoat!

Simple arms attached to shoulders so they will move well.  Padded shoulders for the puffed sleeve.

the sleeves finished.

All finished with Lace crown, Bodice and other embellishments. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

White Rabbit Herald

Inspiration comes from different sources, in this case, the cover of the Victorian Week Celebrations booklet!  I was really attracted to the avocado green of the tunic, but ended up with the only colour I had on hand!    I stripped a yellow ribbon for the edge of the banner. melted a crayon for the seal on the scroll, used a bamboo skewer and card for the trumpet.  Found some fuse-able tape and discovered no sew glue!  A purple piece of satin ribbon I have had for years and Vialene for the ruffle.  

The Rabbit is made from ancient baby stretch-n-grow terry-towelling and has a wire armature going up through the stand!

I used Paint on the Computer to print the paper for the stand, which is backed with faux leather. 
The whole thing is only 8 inches tall and is quite light!  
An enjoyable project, but I would have liked that avocado colour!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Commissioned to write a pattern for Sheryl D'Ath's new doll - "All About Eve!"

I just wanted to share my experience with you!
My long time friend and fellow doll-maker Sheryl D'ath, who is a talented bear maker,
has this year been developing her own doll!  The more she made it, the more excited she became -and so did we, who were watching it happen!  She very generously shared lots of her process with us all on Cloth Doll Artistry, on Facebook!

She made a series of dolls and dressed them beautifully, as you can see here with this dispplay she put together recently for an exhibition!   These little dolls have become important to her and she can't bear to part with them, so they sit and watch her creating more and more!

The more she made, the more people began to ask her for the pattern, but Sheryl had never done that before and was very uncertain, so I jumped in and said we could collaborate! To my delight, she commissioned me to write it with her. This beautifully proportioned needle sculpted beauty is the result with all techniques fully explained in the pattern.

It has been a fabulous experience for me and Sheryl is wonderful to work with!  She took great photo's of her process and after I wrote, she reviewed and sent back the corrections and additions! I was surprised it only took three weeks to write it!  But that was because Sheryl had already done a lot of the work herself with photo's  and some writing etc.  

 While writing it, I had to test it  myself to make sure it was all correct and it was! 

This is my version. I changed the mouth on mine, but the rest is much the same.  Now I am playing around with clothing patterns for it!

It has been a great pleasure to write this with Sheryl and to my great pleasure, we are both going to teach it together in a workshop in Wellington, in November 2015!

This pattern is now available through Sheryl herself, at bellestuff@xtra.co.nz
 and soon it will be available through other pattern sellers.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Medieval Family - St Dominic De Guzman

I was given a brief - to design and make St Dominic's family to celebrate 800 years if the Dominican Order of Preachers & Teachers. 

The only picture of the family I was given was a Mosaic!  Various other pictures of St Dominic are also other artists versions of how he looked, but there has been  a reconstruction of his face - reference here. https://thepracticingcatholic.wordpress.com/2008/08/09/portrait-of-st-dominic/

So I began to make some heads and was delighted to accidentally design a new head shape! 
I used the same head shape for all the figures

This is Dominic's mother Joanna of Aza.
Her husband Felix DeGuzman was a knight and they were an influential Spanish family in the 13th Century. "According to tradition, Jane had a dream before her son’s conception in which she saw a hound racing through the world igniting everything with a flaming torch. Troubled by this dream, she went to pray at the Benedictine abbey of San Domingo de Silos, located in a pleasant valley about twenty miles north of Caleruega. This dream was indeed prophetic. Dominic did ignite the world with sacred truth through preaching and teaching born from a life of dedicated prayer, love for the Word of God, and a burning desire to gain souls for Christ. It is widely believed that Dominic’s keen sensitivity to the sufferings of others, which he displayed from childhood on, was acquired from his mother, who, although from a noble family, was known for her compassion toward the poor and needy. From her Dominic also acquired the habit of prayer."

 Dominics two older brothers were also Priests.  Antonio was a Canon and Manes later became a Fominican Friar.
I have tried to portray them as close to an ordinary family as possible.

As usual, the robes took longer to make than the figures, which are stump dolls.

I have kept the bodies to a very simple style, as the focus is mostly on their individuality as a group of people.

Felix has raw wool needlefelted hair and drawn features.  he has a beaten Earring collar!

Friday, May 15, 2015

More Wonderland characters!

I finished my Mad Hatter Marionette and have got the strings working well now.  There is a video on my Facebook page SFM Cloth Dolls with Attitude, if you want to see it!

This is another attempt to capture the cuteness of the Cheshire Cat!  I am finding it hard to capture something that keeps disappearing! LOL! The hat works!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

ANZAC Commemorations.

 My ANZAC tribute to all people who have been captured, fallen, wounded or sick, alone, despairing, 
 that they will find the offer of comfort, of human touch, aid, 
 a care parcel from someone in the world who cares and a letter from home!
 Lest we forget.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Mad Hatter Marionette!

Here he stands - all  34 inches of him!

 Costuming all finished!
 Details, like scissors, odd socks, hat pin, ribbons and reels!  Not a bad profile either, considering I didn't like his face at first and didn't know how it would go.
 The jacket took longer to make than the hat, believe it or not!  I broke all the sewing rules with this one and felt I had almost moved into abstract art!
Because he is so tall, he is also quite heavy, so it will be interesting to see how it goes when he is strung and working!

What do you think?

Published in Soft Doll Magazine!

 I recieved my complimentary copy of  SDA Magazine,today, with my Sole Mates pattern beautifully done , inside!   Very exciting! I was blown away by the heading! Thank you Soft Dolls & Animals Magazine!  

 You may recall my original doll? 

 This pic is a test doll, made by Jane Boyd, who said she enjoyed making it - even though she was under pressure to do other major things in her life at the time!  I appreciated her taking the time to do this for me and to do it so well!

Even Ma & Pa are happy about this!