Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hoffman Fabric Challenge Doll

Hoffman Fabric Challenge Doll for 2010 - "The Fae Nurturer"

UFDC Workshop "Peppermint Annie" dolls

May has just about come to an end and I have been busy completing a couple of dolls for a challenge and an exhibit and finishing up workshop doll kits.

My entry for the 2010 Hoffman Fabrics Challenge is, "The Fae Nurturer." I have been entering a doll in this challenge for the past 10 or 12 years and sometimes it can be quite challenging due to the scale of the print. This year is no exception. My dolls are normally 17-18" and the rules say you must use a recognizable amount of the challenge fabric, so I had to be creative about how to use it and not overpower the doll.

The beautiful fabric this year has cool blues, teals and greens with touches of gold and I was inspired to make a fairy using the challenge fabric along with other compatible prints and a bright solid green. I decided she should be a nurturer when I found the little watering can in my stash that states, "All things grow with love." Her wings are quilted with Sulky gold thread and tiny gold beads. The wired edges were first over stitched with teal thread and then glittery varnish was added. Beading accents the neckline and the fabric petals of her dress. Her slippers are painted gold and her white hair is mohair accented with green and blue beads. The stand is also covered with more of the challenge fabric accented with beads.

May has also been busy with completing kits for the "Peppermint Annie" dolls for the UFDC workshop and while I was at it, I made 10 finished dolls to put in my sales booth. You'll notice I have also given some of the dolls and kits an ethnic brown skin for my African-American patrons and friends.

One down note for this month, as the weather heats up here on the Texas Gulf Coast, is I have had to turn on the air-conditioning and to my dismay it is not working in my little barn studio. I'm anxiously waiting for the FedEx man to deliver a new ac unit to make my work area much more comfortable! The nonworking unit will stay, though, as it also provides heat in the wintertime and thankfully that part is still working fine. The new unit will have to go in the one small window in my little barn, so I will have to sacrifice the little bit of outside light to be able to work comfortably through the long summer.

I look forward to sharing my new "fantasy" exhibit doll and its story soon.

Enjoy the day!


Monday, May 3, 2010

Completed Commission Piece

Here it is already May and the year is almost half over! Where does the time go!!? I mentioned in a previous entry that I had completed a special commission piece and would post photos soon. Well, I'm happy to report that the doll (a 65th birthday gift from wife to husband) was a success......he loved it! Whew.....I'm always anxious once a commission has been shipped to hear any feedback and I was delighted to hear that this surprise gift was a hit! : )

First of all I want to thank my friend, Lilin Tseng, for referring this commission request to me. She was asked about the possibility of making a doll for a surprise gift, but was unable to help her with it. Lilin recommended me and sent her to my web site for some examples of my work. Thanks again, Lilin!

The commission was an enjoyable collaboration with his wife who gave me lots of suggestions for details to personalize the doll along with several photos. I made a checklist of her suggestions and added a couple of my own ideas based on the information she gave me. Then I got to work searching for accessories and props and researching the internet. I was able to find quite a few items in my "stash" and made the doll to scale as much as possible using these items. I was satisfied with what I had on hand and some of the things I didn't have or couldn't find, I made.
One item you will notice that is a bit too large is the bottle of "Bailey's Irish Cream" on the table. After searching for a little bottle similar in shape and color to a bottle of Bailey's, I had to settle on a mini bottle of Drambui from a personal collection of mini liquor bottles (my husband and I had collected these years ago on various trips). Some people collect postcards or T-shirts on their trips but we somehow ended up collecting these tiny bottles of liquor that have never been opened. The tax stamp on the Drambui was dated 1969 and I didn't have the heart to pour it out, so I left it sealed in the bottle and changed the label to Bailey's. It looks like a 2-liter bottle of his favorite, but sometimes you just have to go with what's available......and by the way, nothing is sacred when it comes to my dolls. : )

From the beginning I told her the doll would be a characterization, not a portrait.....and she agreed to this. She gave me information about the types of clothes and shoes he likes, hair style, eye color, general build, etc., which I used to complete the doll. Since there were going to be quite a few accessories used to personalize the piece, I decided to seat him at a table so that I could place most of them on it. I even had to place a few under the table as you can see in the photo. Each of these items represents something very personal to him and that's what makes it very special.
This was a challenging and fun project and although I have never met them, I felt like I knew them both as friends when I completed the commission and shipped it. The doll was presented to him yesterday and I'm very happy that he and his wife were pleased and excited!

Now it's back to working on the Peppermint Annie kits for my workshop at UFDC in Chicago. Although I prefer one-of-a-kind and commission pieces, sometimes repetition such as these little dolls and kits can be a relaxing project. However, as I look at the list of dolls that I've committed to make, I need to complete these little dolls and get busy on my next OOAK!

Enjoy the day!