SFM Cloth Dolls with Attitude! NZ

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

ANZAC DAY 25th April 2014

 Anzac Day is on Friday 25th of April, here in NZ.  At The Oamaru Textile Exchange, here in Oamaru, we have put together a display to honour and remember those who sacrificed lives and lost so much in the 100 years since the First World War.  My father was a returned serviceman, thankfully, but so many of his compatriots did not return and so many were imprisoned.
 The quilts were made by my friend Tracey Shepherd, who is a Quilt Artist.  Many hours were put into this painstaking task of putting the quilts together for this exhibition, by Tracey and other members of TOTE who contributed time and made many poppies, wall hangings and even a Stalag Cake!
This quilt Tracey made in honour of a local serviceman Jesse Rogers, who is an uncle of her husbands and had a memorial Oak tree planted with a cross beneath it.  This is depicted on the quilt and the story is told through the quilt.  Sorry thie picture is not clear here..
Sandwiched between the quilts is my display of the Soldier and nurse, in honour of the services rendered by the Red Cross, to military Prisoners of War whoever they were.  The nurse was able to offer a care parcel delivered from Geneva and packed by someone in the world who leant their support by way of showing their care in putting together a parcel with specific items as outlined by the authorities.  This had to be checked and a special label stuck on it, to be deemed fit to send to captives and prisoners of war.  Above is the ANZAC Symbol, a poppy, with the Red Cross Colours in a circle, made from thin old woollen blankets.  It is flanked by the Australian and New Zealand flags.
While the flags indicate Australian and New Zealand Forces, these figures represent any soldier, from any war, at home or abroad, anyone suffering pain, fatigue, disillusionment, battered about, injured, deafened by noise, wet and cold.

 Somewhere, somehow, there is a pocket of peace where compassion is present in the form of a human touch, a word from a loved one in the form of a letter and a parcel from a stranger who cares.
This is what helps the human spirit to carry on.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

City Girls

I needed a change, so I have been making up Jill Maas's pattern of City Girls!  

You can't just make one!  There has to be two, so they can conspire together and gossip!  Not to mention go shopping and having coffee at all the latest café's!

Oops!  They have discovered a Tilda Angel on her break!

Had great fun making these!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A different doll

 This is a departure from what I normally make, but I wanted to try out a different style and stretch myself.  I am not delighted with it, but I have learned quite a bit making it.
 By raising the eyes, normal eyelashes attach very well.  Of course she had to be somewhat sombre of expression to go with her dramatic looks.
 I decided to make her ball jointed for posing
 But found her head was too big to pose well, even with a rod inserted to keep it help up.  there are many things \i could have done, but stayed with this way of doing it.
 Here she is with other dolls of average size, that |I normally make.  You can see her waist is tucked in as I thought of making her a Marionette, but her new owner didn;t want that in the end.
 Here she is trying on clothing styles and hair.
 She hangs nicely
 Arms can be posed
 Here she has a wig of wool, looped to make it look fuller.
I have called her Asphyxia after the character in a puppet play.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Some of my drawings. Practice for dollmaking!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Pin Happy Pig!

This delightful Pinchshion was made from my pattern by Becke, who said she made three before she was happy with it!  Becke says she is not an accomplished sewer, so I was thrilled with her perseverance at making this project!  Well done Becke!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Saucy Sal!

Saucy Sal is my latest Saloon Gal doll.  I was trying out some different techniques to see if I could get a pose that would work, i.e. legs that would stand, a body shape and arms.

 Using silk worked really well as her dress.  Pleasing gathers to scale. 
 I liked the way her legs fit on her hips while giving the impression one hip is raised.  The dress hitched up helps this illusion too!
 The beading was some a friend made for me to use on dolls, but it only goes as far as you can see, so looks more like a collar to frame her ...um...assets!
 All clothing is stitched on.  I liked the roundness of her rump, so didn't want to hide it.
 All the proportions on this doll are exaggerated, i.e. the head is too big for the body, the legs are too small, the waist too narrow, but it adds to the characterisation of the doll.
On the good side - she stands unaided on her booted feet!

Her arms have no hands to give the illusion of fists on hips.

  What do you think?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Problem solving details.

 Here are a few more details of how I resolved some things. I did a lot of research while doing this piece of work.  I want it to look like any soldier, not a specific nationality.  Also with the nurse.  I took my inspiration from a pamphlet I found on the net. 

For his head, I didn't want to create ears, so made some wadding and wound the gauze around it, with the fur fabric hair scrap (I only had a little bit of this) tufting out of it.

The nurses uniform needed to be made from lightweight fabrics which polyester worked quite well.  Her cape was a problem and I spent ages making one from cotton, but it was stiff and just stuck out.  then luckily, I spied a scrap of red lycra poking out form under something!  Just the thing as it falls so naturally.  So not everything can be cotton as I prefer.

 I made a last to make the boots, which are constructed from black calico with buckram underneath, and leather soles. Painted with matt ModPodge to harden, then touched up with watercolour paint and mud!

The nurses shoes, I didn't want to go to too much bother with as they will hardly be seen, so I used a stretch fabric over her foot shape and a cardboard sole, slightly longer than her foot so it would give a good shape. 
The parcel has a printed out label glued on it for some sort of authenticity, and crinkled brown paper wrapping, tied with linen thread, which was also used as laces on the boots.

With doll making it's about what it looks like, rather than what it actually is! The important thing that people look at is the general posture to convey the story without words and the faces.

Thank you all for looking and I welcome opinions and critiques as this will go on display for ANZAC week and I want to convey the right message!

Un-named Soldier WW1 Commemoration Figures.

Finished! These are initial photo's of my unnamed soldier, being offered a care parcel from an attentive nurse. 

With this work, I am thinking about what was important to the men and women in wartime, away from home and loved ones, injured, not knowing their fate, living with ever present danger, then receiving word that somewhere , someone was thinking about them. 

I was thinking about the contribution made by people in active service, about disillusionment, fear and exhaustion, but pockets where compassion is present in the form of a small parcel from an unknown person to prisoners and captives, whomever they were.