Since childhood, I’ve loved to sew – so naturally, my dolls are mainly textile-based. While I enjoy the challenge of designing patterns and manipulating fabric, I also love art in general. I am fascinated by drawing, painting, and traditional sculpture. As a doll artist, I strive to incorporate these things into my process. I make a hybrid of three different types of dolls: cloth, clay, and mixed media.
I’ve also got some favorite art supplies and general recommendations, which I’ll happily share with you.
Visit my Dollightful Blog for in-depth tutorials and demonstrations.
I like to think of cloth dolls as “soft sculpture.” Like a serious fashion designer, a cloth doll artist develops patterns and uses textiles in unexpected ways. Cloth dolls can be truly amazing because they’re 3D; I make the model and the dress. Sometimes, I build the bodies on wire armature – or I might make them with joints. Some have “skin,” and the face is always the funnest part! I never get tired of pushing the seams to find out what I can do with fabric.
In a clay doll, the head, hands, arms, legs, and feet are sculpted from clay. I always make the bodies out of fabric and build them on wire armature – some people call this an “Art Doll.” I like air-dry clay, but I sometimes dabble with polymer clay. I enjoy the feel of clay in my hands.
Mixed Media Dolls
Generally, this is a combination of various materials that are assembled or combined to create a doll. Examples could be pieces of metal, found objects, or things from nature. To me, mixed media means taking a cloth doll (which is usually my starting point) and altering its composition. The fabric takes on the appearance of something else because it has been heavily painted, varnished, etc.
Because I’m an accountant, I’m very exact and I record everything. That makes me naturally want to take pictures of my artwork as I go, and write down the process. Sometimes I do things randomly and come up with techniques or ideas that are new to me – then I know I’ve got the workings of a good blog post. If it’s an entire doll, I can create a replicable pattern.
One Of A Kind dolls happen when I don’t make a pattern first and just go with the flow. Sometimes I get into a zone where it’s just me and my art; the doll takes on a life of her own, and there’s never another one quite like her.