Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to everyone. The old year ended for me with a lot of extra-curricular work putting the Cult of Doll Mini Almanac together. Go take a peak here :o) Hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Snow lay all around... deep and crisp and... flipping slippery

Drove over to my Mum's for Boxing Day lunch and was supposed to stay there until late evening as other visitors were coming too. We all go there... then after and hour or so we all had to leave as in the meantime it began to snow heavily... REALLY heavily. It had been on the weather forecast but as Christmas day had been mild enough for T-Shirts... well, we took it all with a pinch of salt...

Sadly, the county Council had done no such thing and hadn't bothered to grit the roads (hhhmmm, this is North Wales after all, it's not like we have any steep narrow bendy roads with stone walls either side is it?) so after about 20 minutes of my tiny, light Ka sliding all over the roads and going backward when it tried to go up the steep hill, I turned round and went back to my Mum's Non-central heated house planning to sleep on the sofa. :o(

Eventually my Brother appeared with his trusty Volkswagen and took me back to Caerwys up in the hills, we had a few slidey moments and passed quite a few abandoned cars, but at least I did get to sleep in my warm own bed. I also got to see my little 2 and a half year old cat, George, overcome his terror of snow. As we used to live by the coast in Rhuddlan he'd never seen it before to be fair and now his very first experience of snow was at several inches deep and still coming down strong. Every time I'd open the front or back door for him to venture out he would back up and look at me as if to say "What the hell did you do to my world?" It took several false starts but eventually a big round furry belly full of Turkey got him to venture out into the whiteness. Bless.

Needless to say, despite snowing all night, it's since rained and now all we have to show for it is slush everywhere!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Closed for the holidays

My etsy shop is now closed for the holidays... and I decided... New Year, New Shop. I have decided to give Folksy a try out. I had a "freaky Little Things" shop on there many years ago but no one in the UK listed dolls back then and I never got any custom. Their doll listings are still few and far between but maybe this will be a better fit for UK sales anyway... You never know, so see you there as well come January 12th 2015 :o)

Merry Xmas!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Poster to share

Here is a smaller version of the poster for you to share on your blogs, Facebook... any place you think people have an interest in Art Dolls and story telling :o) Hugs from me! x

Friday, December 12, 2014

Cult of Doll is a pretty unique collaborative project that I dreamed up a few years back and roped poor Grace Garton of Little Black Crow Studios into helping me with. I can barely believe that all of that work will finally lead to our very first Almanac, to be published in Autumn of next year. It's also quite hard to believe (but absolutely TRUE) that on January the 1st we will be publishing a Teaser version of the main project. The mini Almanac will give everyone a taste of what to expect from all of the talented collaborators who have not only all committed to creating a unique Art Doll each, but have also written original stories to go with them!

I almost forgot, you can also get a sneak peak at a comic book serialisation that I have written and drawn about the main character of the project, Miss Araminta. So if any of that piques your interest, check the Cult of Doll blog on New Years Day for a link to the publication. PS: Feel free to share this poster for the project with all your blog readers, share it on Facebook, Twitter, etc... please help us get the message out there. Merry Christmas everyone! :o)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sylvie Perricone dolls

Some really lovely new dolls over at Sylvie Perricone's shop today, go take a look :0) I have been absent with computer woes and lots of design work to catch up on but hope I will have a new set of BJD hats to show you this weekend.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The human cost of recast dolls

As some of you know I love ball jointed dolls. Until not so long ago they were known as Asian Ball Jointed Dolls because they were mainly sculpted and cast by Japanese and Korean artists and later by some Chinese companies. Only 8 years ago it was very difficult to get these dolls outside of Asia, then the Asian artists began to sell to the West through their own websites and the hobby opened up. Now the whole scene has blossomed and artists the world over are creating stunning dolls and producing them in their tiny studios and selling direct to the public through their own websites too. It is a wonderful way for an artist to create and express themselves and sell direct to those who love their work and cut out the middle man.

These beautiful and expensive dolls cost a lot of money to produce as the artist has to perfect and experiment with each new sculpt (sometimes for several years) before they can even get to the casting stage. As someone who has dabbled with trying to learn to make one of my own, let me tell you it is a time consuming and exacting process. One I have yet to master! BJD are sold at a high cost perhaps but at a very low profit margin. That cost makes wanting to own a particular doll something you think carefully about and then scrimp and save for. They should not be a whim purchase unless you are seriously well off. I am not well off and have always thought long and hard before buying any doll.

The hobby has changed almost beyond recognition in the last 2 years or so and not for the better. Take a look on Ebay right now, type in BJD in the Dolls and Bears section and you will find a flood of people openly selling 'recast' dolls. In case you don't know, recasting is theft, plain and simple. Someone takes one of these beautiful legitimate high cost dolls and takes a cast from it and then reproduces it. As they have had to put in very little time, effort or expense to get that copy, they sell it  on undercutting the original artists price. Sometimes the cost of a recast can be a mere fraction of the original, sometimes I am guessing the thief expects to get handsomely rewarded for their minimal effort and charges almost as much as the legitimate artist does. I am just guessing there because some of the recast secondary sellers on Ebay are asking not much less than the price of the legitimate doll.

When this issue first came to light it seemed as though it would just be a small blip, and that recasters would target only the most popular sculpts. A few years on, the sheer number of people willing to knowingly buy recasts has grown to a frightening proportion. They have face-book clubs and are very vocal and aggressive at asserting their RIGHT to own recasts and to not give a damn about the artists who create them. Their tastes are changing and they are requesting specific sculpts be recast. They seem to exist in this topsy-turvey world where those of us who support the original artist are greedy and aggressive for not accepting them into our forums, for speaking out against "their hobby" which they incredulously claim is harming no-one. We are all elitist rich snobs because we are trying to keep these poor 'art lovers' from being able to have a beautiful doll that they simply cannot afford to buy legitimately, where is the harm?

For anyone out there still sat on the fence, for anyone who thinks there are no victims in this crime or that all BJDs are created by vast Asian companies who can write off the dip in their profits (completely false, a lot of Asian BJD companies are just 1 or 2 people)... read this and put a human face to the story. If you support recasts then read that statement and think long and hard about what you are doing Here is just one of the many people you are hurting; she happens to be French, but could just as easily be Korean or Japanese, that still wouldn't make it OK to crush her dreams. The vast majority of artists are ordinary people trying to scratch a living from their talents.

This is a link to Lillycat's (Rachelle) shop where you can see her stunning work. 

Please support artists like Rachelle and say no to recast dolls. The pic above is Ellana, I think the recast doll was Constantine.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Heads up for Hats

Just a 'heads up' that there will be new hats for BJDs coming later this week :o)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Doll Classes - an apology

Earlier in the year I mentioned that I hoped to do doll classes in the Autumn at a location somewhere in North Wales... well, this year has not gone to plan (do they ever?) and I have been working much longer hours than I had expected and also had a few health issues which have made me decide to mend my ways. I am trying to break that habit of a lifetime and no longer push myself to exhaustion trying to multi-task to the point of insanity.

That's a round about way of saying, sorry, something had to give (actually, several things!) and I am afraid it was the classes. If you were hoping to come and make lovely art dollies with me this Autumn I am afraid it isn't going to happen and I am not going to make any promises that it will in the near future. I would have really enjoyed doing them and it would have been a lot of fun meeting new people, but a lot of planning goes into doing those kinds of things and I simply have not had the time. I continue to dabble with doll making when I have a bit of down time, but it has been very scare in the last 10 months and so I haven't finished a single art doll this year.... I will get there though, I am no longer going to beat myself up about these things... all in good time ;o)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Mermaids ahoy!

Before my back went this morning (where did it go you ask?) I managed to print out 2 of my new Mermaid paper art dolls ad put them in the etsy shop. They have been cut out (how flipping fiddly - why do I always make them so intricate???) and assembled and look lovely in their packaging. Sadly my rather ambitious use of 350gsm sating card in a domestic printer resulted in a cr*p-tacular paper jam and as I can't bend down anymore....well, you will have to wait a while longer to see the other 2 fishy gals I have finished drawing up ;o)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Mermaids, swimming into the shop

I am just waiting for some more card to arrive and then my latest Paper Art Dolls will go into the etsy shop, probably at the weekend. This time I have for you an entire shoal of Rococo mermaids wearing corsets and opera gloves, one has a ship in her wig and all are festooned with pearls... well, I know I would be if I was a mermaid ;o) Once these are printed out I am going to finish one of my cloth and clay art dolls in just time for Halloween (fingers crossed!)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

My new favourite artist

A few weekends ago I went to Plas Teg. Back in the early 80's when it was still a ruin, I used to pass it on the coach every morning and evening to-ing and fro-ing to art college in Wrexham. I always loved the place, but this was the first time I got to see the interior and wonderful renovations carried out over the intervening years by it's marvelously eccentric owner Cornelia Bayley. The house, and everything in it, are fantastic and theatrical and I was particularly taken by all the grand old oil paintings hanging in every room... except they aren't "old" at all. It seems Cornelia commissioned some amazingly talented contemporary artists to copy works that are hanging in museums and galleries the world over (some I recognised, Reuben's for instance). Those artists did an amazing job and it got me thinking...

Back when I used to pass Plas Teg as a ruin, I was having my life-long (well, all of 17 years at that point) dream of becoming a portrait painter well and truly kicked out of me by some of my college tutors. One in particular (let's refer to him as Albert Bumface) attacked my work - plus my views, my character, my looks and just generally my very existence - to the point of bullying and it was because of him that I pretty much gave up painting and changed from Fine Art to Design. I certainly lost all the joy  of painting that I had enjoyed since a small child and was filled with self-doubt whenever I picked up a paint brush after that. The odd part was that I was easily one of the better students in my year as far as natural talent went. That might sound egotistical but is just a fact. Other tutors praised and encouraged my draughtsmanship and my already quite well established painting style, but as I was young and really lacking in confidence back then, Bumface's loudly disparaging comments drowned out the weaker voices of encouragement for me. Now I just wonder how many of my fellow students went on to make their living day to day solely by using their artistic talents? I did, of course, but it was only because a strong streak of defiance rose up from somewhere a few years down the line.

The problem for Bumface (who wasn't all acidic malevolence, he had a lot of 'favourites' whom he showered with praise, and was very popular with a certain section of the student body... he spent a lot of time with them down the pub, anyway) seemed to boil down to the fact that I loved the old masters. I also failed to sneer when I saw the work of the Pre-Raphaelites and once bought a postcard of one of Joseph Farquharson's many snowy landscapes with sheep to give to my Grandma while we were on a college trip to The Walker Gallery in Liverpool. "Lowbrow" art was yet to have it's day and I guess to the likes of Bumface, an eclectic  girl who could appreciate not just the work of Cy Twombly but also of the likes of Sir Frederick Leighton clearly had no place in HIS art college. Bumface and his little clique held very rigid, narrow-minded opinions what was ART and what was not - in short he was a Total D*ck! (I am not suggesting that he quacked there, in case you are wondering)

Anyhoo, my visit to Plas Teg set cogs whirring and I have begun sketching and even gotten out the oils for pretty much the first time in 40 years. I don't buy all of the Haunted House talk at Plas Teg but maybe the place has finally laid to rest the horrible specter of Albert Bumface for me. I have in mind a series of oils of fictional sitters with odd companions seated or standing in front of those lovely pastoral landscapes favoured by Gainsborough and the likes. So with all of that swirling around in my head I was pretty excited to discover the work of Stephen Mackey earlier today... my new favourite artist in fact. I can't believe I have never seen his work before, maybe he has been to Plas Teg too? Albert Bumface would absolutely hate Stephen Mackey's paintings, but then Albert Bumface's work isn't hanging in galleries and isn't collected the world over is it? So, who cares what he thinks anymore! ;o)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fabulous Queen Anne style Lady Skeleton doll

Take a look at this wonderfully spooky Queen Anne skeleton lady doll made by the talented Alena Sinel of The Old Wooden Sisters. She is a really creepy treat, you can see more pictures of her here and stay a while and take in the rest of Alena's amazing reproduction "Old Pretender" style Jacobean wooden dolls. Needless to say that skeleton lady is my favourite! ;o)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Broomhilda and the Baroque Witch prints now in shop

I have some different sized prints of Broomhilda and The Baroque Witch available in the shop. These images were created at high resolution at A4 size (210mm x 297mm) and that is the size that will give the best crisp detail. If you would like this larger size please message me at the shop and I will do a custom listing for you. Please remember that some of the vintage scraps used are not of the same quality  due to their age and/or the way in which they were digitized.

Today I am working on a new creepy paper doll character, Frogatha Batwick, a strange little girl with many exotic pets. Unlike the two altered art witches, the doll herself was created from my original drawings, then her clothing and accessories were assembled from vintage scraps. She will come with a background scene and a change of outfit/pets. She should be ready by the weekend.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Vampire Cabaret Postcards

I have turned my glamourous - if slightly bonkers - Vampire Showgirls into a 5 postcard set. They look great framed or maybe send to a friend as a Halloween gift! In the shop today :o)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Welcome home Scotland!

I am so relieved that Scotland has decided to stay in the United Kingdom. I am sure this is an issue that is very hard for anyone outside the British Isles to understand but it's a really emotive one for us. I am Welsh, that means that genetically I have more in common with the Scots and Irish than I do with the English. There are plenty of 'Celts' in the British Isles who still see the English as Saxon (Saesnegg/Sassenach) invaders!

A large part of Ireland left us a long time ago, but for the rest of us Welsh, Irish and Scots there is always this dual identity, we are also British. It can rankle that to a certain extent we still get told what we can and can't do by the "English" government.

The English, on the other hand, seem to view 'English' and 'British' as one and the same thing. Or at least they do when the Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland team is doing well at a sporting event England already crashed out of ;o) I figure the easiest way to describe it is to say we are like warring siblings. All said and done, I think we are better, stronger, together. I hope we always stay that way, but also that we always remember to celebrate our differences.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

New things in the shop

Yay, I feel like the United Nations of Computer hardware, I finally got my warring Mac and Printer to speak to each other... as a result lots of new items will be trickling into the shop over the next few weeks. Fist I have added to new Showgirls to the Vampire Cabaret Paper Art Doll set... don't they look cute all packaged up together?

First we have Seraphime, whose face is based on an old photo of silent movie siren Theda Bara, totally redrawn by me...

and then we also have cheeky Lola to bring the chorus line up to 5 lovely, slightly bonkers, ladies. In the next few weeks they will be joined by my first male Paper Doll, the great Suprendo... unless I can figure out a better name for him in the mean time.

I have just printed out the Baroque Witch and Broomhilda too, you can meet them properly tomorrow :o)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Slight delay!

OK, there will be a slight delay in getting the new Paper Dolls into the shop. Firstly, my newly changed around work room caused there to an unforeseen Printer Power Lead Shortage…. mainly because I put it 'somewhere safe' while moving the furniture last week and couldn't find it. I turned the whole house upside down over the weekend, even the attic, looking for the d*mn thing only to find it at the back of the Kitchen cutlery drawer! Why???

So, once it was located at around 7pm last night (when I went to make dinner) I headed over to print out the new dolls only to discover that my Mac has been sulking about the sudden absence of the Printer and is now refusing to recognise it's existence.

This could take a while… will keep you posted on developments.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sneak peek at Broomhilda

Here is another sneak peek at one of my new Glam Witch images: Broomhilda. If everything goes to plan, she and The Baroque Witch I featured in the last post should both be available in the shop tomorrow as both prints and paper dolls :o)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Paper Dolls and Prints with a Halloween flavour on the way

Gosh, who is this glamorous looking soul, I hear you ask? Non other than the Baroque Witch, that's who!

You can get a better look at her later in the week when I have battled printer problems and gotten her all gussied up and ready for my etsy shop. She will be available as a Paper Doll and also prints and postcards. Then I am hoping to finish her equally entertaining friends. More soon :o)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

dust scuppers plans

Don't you just hate it when you have a free day to craft & create and then the sun comes out and reveals that actually, dusting is probably more essential right now? :o(

Friday, August 8, 2014

Creative Confessions No 1...

So I kind of work in chaos, it has always been my way. I am self employed and so have to drop whatever I am doing when work comes up and sometimes won't have time to return to the project for days or weeks on end.  Having a dedicated work room obviously helps me form going completely insane on that score. At the end of the working day I can close the door and walk away from the mess and reminders of what I left half done. But sometimes the mess encroaches on my design workspace or just  has a habit of distracting me… and so I do my patented "Instant Fix Tidy Up".

The "Instant Fix Tidy Up" is possibly one of my worst habits… it involves finding out you have a visitor coming round and making the house look tidy and "myopically" spotless (i.e.: don't look too closely) in under an hour and then dashing off for a shower so I can look all calm and "yes, it's always this tidy" on said visitors arrival. This was much easier to achieve in my youth as I had boundless energy, no surplus weight and sound knee joints: I once carried a huge vintage leather sofa from a room at the front of my London flat across a very narrow landing and down a barely sofa width corridor all by myself to a smaller living room at the back while my flatmates were away for the weekend because I got fed up of asking for help to rearrange the furniture (yes, correct, I WAS a nightmare to live with).  These days I am slower and more flustered and so needed to learn lots of sneaky tricks to achieve that "tidy to the untrained eye" look in under an hour.

One of those tricks has backfired. Whenever I am happily hat making or perhaps creating an outfit for an almost finished doll and I hear that perky ping of an email summoning me to actual paid work, I grab all the bits on my desk, shove them in a carrier bag and push that into the general confusion of the dresser cupboard and forget about it. I do that every time. The result after 14 months of living here is that my work room might look a haven of craftiness to a visitor but actually it's a mess. When I open that cupboard door a matted, tangled and often surprisingly sharp edged growing profusion of arts and craft supplies burst onto the floor. Yesterday I spent the whole day untangling, dematting and SORTING everything out. I actually started this project in the Spring but work beckoned and things have kind of returned to the previous mess. Somethings even got thrown away because they were too tangled! But now the rows of glass coffee and jam jars on the dresser shelves are all full and colour coded with buttons, beads and other tiny things. Everything else is grouped into little labelled boxes and neatly stacked away in the base.

I promise, I promise, I promise to keep it this way, because now if I even have just an hour free to do my own thing, I can come in here and find what I need to hand and actually achieve something. We will see how well I do with this new resolution.

PS: Dear Kirstie, I love your Jolly Hockey-sticks approach to the world and very much enjoyed your show about how we can all fill our houses for free (provided we have a few hundred pounds set aside for bits and bobs, know a few handy craftsmen with power tools who will volunteer their time for peanuts and most importantly; manage to get to all those Argas, Butler Sinks and French Armoires before the Salvage/Reclamation and Vintage/Antique dealers sniff them out). I have always furnished my many homes this way and can safely say that in the last 10/20 years it has become a lot harder to do on a budget (mine is usually about 50p and a few mismatched buttons) as the whole Shabby Chic look went mainstream and all sorts of pre-loved stuff became very sort after by people who want to make money from it. So the timing of your show is very interesting… do you think maybe people give you such good stuff for free just because you are Kirstie and are making a TV show???

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Vintage Cloth Doll pattern - prototype

I have been working very long hours so far this year and so my time for Nightshade Dolls is pretty limited but I have been working away at lots of little projects in the wee small hours... hence the fact that I often come stumbling into the morning sunlight next day with tiny blinky eyes like a mole!

I am still hoping to do some doll making classes later in the Autumn and so I am currently working on a printed pattern. It is to be an original doll, Hortense, who has a very vintage vibe. I will sell the basic pattern in my etsy shop, it will be suitable for adventurous beginners. The classes will take the same basic pattern and add plenty of twists and techniques so that each class member will take home an OOAK truly original art doll at the end. I hope to teach more advanced techniques for sculpting, using gesso and paperclay and how to antique your dolls with various paint and crackle techniques. All that and thinking about how to incorporate vintage and recycled scraps to make for more interesting vintage outfits for your dolls.

That's the plan anyway, just hope I have enough time to get all this together. I have finished the pattern, made my 2nd prototype doll (pictured before tea dying) and am now tweaking the step by step instructions to make everything as easy as possible to follow. Phew... keep watching this space! ;o)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

New hats in my shop

I listed some new hats in my etsy shop last evening and have another batch in various stages of finish, mainly Top Hats... so expect another shop update in the next week or two depending on my work schedule :o)

Also, I have been putting the finishing touches to patterns and instructions for cloth doll making. I am just in the process of road testing the first pattern to make sure everything is clear and easy to follow. Then I need to get round how to list PDF downloads on Esty and Bob's yer uncle! Watch this space.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Funny history video

The cause of World War One as a rap battle... very funny ;o)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tea Dying disaster

 have been ill in bed for the last few days (as soon as I put it in writing that I hardly ever get migraines anymore, wouldn't you know it?) so finally feeling a little more human this evening, I decided to do a spot of tea dying. I want to make an new outfit for my BJDs, they need to do some hat modelling and also I want to take photos for the Mad Tea Party blog event hosted by Fanciful Twist on the 12th of July. So I figured I would just tea dye lots of different fabrics, new and vintage and see what turned out best...

Good idea, except 20 minutes into my dying session with a flotilla tea bags floating blythely around in the sink, refusing to cause more than the slightest colour change in the fabrics, I decided to try something else. I mixed up some gravy stock cubes and poured those in on top. Bad idea. My mum has always sworn that during the war British women dyed their legs with "gravy browning" and drew lines up the back to imitate nylon stockings... that is as maybe but it had very little visible effect on my fabrics. It had rather a strong effect on their smell though!

So much so that George, my young fluffy chap, was very interested indeed when I went to peg it all on the line. So much of the fabric remnants are now extra-distressed and full of cat claw holes from someone who got a bit over excited by the beefy aroma. Lord!

The end result... no change there then!

Captain Beef-nostrils

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Fever Ray

Can't stop playing this: Fever Ray, if I had a heart.

Love the creepy video too... it reminds me a little of Night of the Hunter (old B/W Robert Mitchum film), the surreal sequence where the children escape in the boat.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Getting so tired of all this soft-core wishy washy 'girls love to be throttled' cr*p that seems to flood Tumblr these days. Pictures like this one below reblogged by lots of teenage (I presume?) girls who really ought to know better.

I would just like to state for the record that any guy who puts his hand round my throat better be prepared for a swift sharp implement up the jacksie and the fact that I will shortly after be wearing his no-good testicles as earrings. Is this the legacy of all that "90 shades of beige" twaddle?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

7th Annual Mad Tea Party

I have decided to give the Fanciful Twist "Mad Tea Party" another go this year. I am up to my eyes in design work a lot of the time and don't get to play dollies much so this will be a good excuse to get something going in the evenings :o) I have put a link in my sidebar if you want to find out more.

This Bank holiday I had a bit of time to myself and decided to tackle my chaotic work room... to be fair, I actually started that mammoth task way back in January. Anyway, I was so pleased with the long awaited tidiness I took some pictures. It will probably NEVER be this tidy again!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Lola Rose

Lola-Rose is the second in my Circus series of Paper Art Dolls. They will start to appear in the etsy shop from this weekend :o)

Monday, May 12, 2014

New in the Shop

...and a new era (exactly like the old era) begins!

Skiya Paper Dress up Doll in the shop from today... more later ;o)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

End of an era

Hi, congrats to Virginia for being the only entrant to my competition and therefor the WINNER of the giveaway! Yay!!! Unfortunately, Google won't give me your email address so I need you to contact me through my etsy shop please:

Then I can get your address and send off the doll.

So, this has kind of confirmed what I have suspected for quite some time, that either no-one reads my blog anymore OR no-one actually cares about my work... so, as blogging takes up time I could put to better use, there is no point in continuing. It has been really good fun and I met some lovely people along the way, some of you I will still chat to elsewhere but mostly they were "brief bloggy encounters" and that's fine too. So I guess this has run it's course....

'bye to anyone who reads this and enjoy life... it's my Birthday tomorrow and so that is what I am off to do right now... Yve xxx :o)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

May Madness Give Away!!!

To celebrate the long awaited arrival of Spring... and the fact that I have been going drawing crazy lately creating lots of paper dolls... I am going to do a Paper Art Doll  free giveaway!

The doll you can win is pictured below and is called Skiya, she was hand drawn by me in pencil and then coloured in photoshop. The model was my lovely Asian BJD, Skiya by the Korean doll company Peakswoods. She comes in 3 135 mm x 200mm sheets. The doll and background are printed on heavy duty 300 gsm smooth white card, with 4 lovely costumes for her on a separate 250 gsm card sheet. Simply frame all 3 sheets as they come or carefully cut them out and dress up your Paper Art Doll.

The print you will receive is of my final prototype, a version of the doll in the photo below. I have since made some small adjustments, mainly to the background for the version I will list in my etsy shop, so the doll you win will be a one of a kind.

So, how do you enter? Well, simply leave a comment below and follow this blog, make sure there is some way I can contact you through Blogger. I will give each person who leaves a comment a number and use a random number generator to pick the winner on Thursday May the 8th (day before my Birthday!). Good Luck :o)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Alice 'Cut out and dress up' paper art doll now in the shop

I finally managed to finish my "Alice in Absinthia" cut out and dress up Paper Art Doll and she is available in my etsy shop now. Take a peek :o)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

New Paper Art Doll

I will have a new "Cut-out & Dress" paper art doll in the shop at the weekend. I say NEW, but actually did most of the illustration work 3 years ago, before the mythical Mac Meltdown which meant I lost a lot of my work. I luckily found this unfinished version on a back-up disc a few weeks ago and have just tweaked it back into life. Yay!

Sunday, March 30, 2014


Arrrggghhhh, got it wrong! I pt my clocks back an hour instead of forward. DOH.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Just experimenting in how to make work done mainly in photoshop look as messy and spontaneous as that done on paper with inks and pencils. Some doll inspired prints coming to the shop soon :o)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Brian Blacknick Sculpture

Hop on over to the Cult of Doll website to see Brian Blacknick's story teaser and some more of his wonderful work :o)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Number crunching

If anyone is thinking it has been a long time since I commented on your blogs... well, it's not through lack of trying (or interest). It's just that Blogger, in their wisdom, have changed to entirely numerical catchpa's, which means it can take me 3 or 4 attempts before I can successfully copy the catchpa code and prove I am not a robot, just a human being with faulty number recognition software in my head!

Let's face it, after the first unsuccessful attempt, I usually give up and go away. Dyscalculia rarely gives me that many problems in everyday life these days, I am pretty confident with small sequences of numbers but a big string of them still baffles me and causes slight panic. So please don't be offended if I don't comment for a while :o)

Monday, February 24, 2014


Wow, this is a truly awesome (remember I'm British, we don't use that word often!) performance of ACDC's Thunderstruck by two classical cellists, enjoy:

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Cult of Doll story teasers

Today we started to feature teasers for the stories which will feature in the Cult of Doll Almanac. Our first contribution, Nefarious Nelle, is from talented doll maker Hally Levesque. Hop on over to the blog to read more, here is some of Hally's other work:

Friday, February 14, 2014

Cult of Doll update

Cult of Doll is an exciting collaborative project by a diverse group of artists who make dolls that have a story to tell. We are working toward the publication of our very first Cult of Doll Almanac later this year, have a new tumblr to set the scene here and from this weekend we will be starting to release little "teaser" excerpts from each artist's contribution.

So if you would like to see more work from this talented group of individuals and get a flavour of what you might expect from the Almanac, hop on over to our blog at the weekend, where  Hally Levesque will be allowing us to peek into her imagination!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Doll making classes update

Wow, I think I got a bit carried away with all my plans before Christmas and have royally over booked myself! I sat down this evening and worked out a schedule for all the little projects I have committed to for the first 6 months of this year and realised I need to put a few things on the back burner.

So I am now thinking I will push any ideas for doll making classes back to the Summer. I won't try and pin down any definite dates now but need to give myself a bit more planning time, to create and road test a new pattern and also find a suitable venue. Anyway, one thing less to worry about during the next few months! I will keep the email list of those who have expressed interest and be in touch later on :o)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

...and pigs might swim!

I always love to read the comments people leave on my blog, and it comes naturally that I always want to reply to what they say. Often (but not always) when I leave a comment on someone else's blog I go back a week or so later and always enjoy their replies, even if they are not specific to my comments (some people get dozens of comments!), it's kind of an extended dialogue.

A lot of my blog posts, the rambling ones where I am talking about anything other than doll making... that's kind of me thinking out loud if you like. Maybe no-one in my immediate circle has any thoughts on that subject, so I come here to sound it out, comments are particularly cool on those posts!

Just before Christmas I read quite a long post by a fellow UK doll maker who sounded as though she felt quite down and isolated. Questioning why she feels the need to keep making and filling up her shop with dolls that don't sell. I was moved to make what I hoped was a reassuring comment, or one that showed she was not alone anyway. She has never replied and this intrigued me, I have read a lot of her posts now, almost all very long and wordy, very much about her intense working process and if she gets replies she never answers, never enters any kind of dialogue. So for her I guess the blog is just a sounding post, an online notebook for her to write down her thoughts, but she is not interested in making connections through it.

It has made me think about my own blog and the conclusion I came to is that I am so thankful for those of you who read my often incoherent doodlings and very, very grateful for those precious replies. I live alone (don't pity me, after 2 decades of very fun filled house sharing I finally decided it was time to go it alone and am loving every minute of it!) but never feel isolated because even on those days where I stay here and don't do any real-world socialising, I get lots of emails and Skype and the lovely surprise of snippets and comments and simple Hellos from people across the globe. It feels like a privilege to be honest! So thanks for your support and keep them coming please... :o)

And if anyone is still feeling the January Blues, I have found spending a little on-line time with those adorable Bahamian Swimming Pigs does the trick! ;o)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Carry on Sherlock? actually, please don't!

AND the fact that my favourite TV show has just descended into a Farce, quite literally, isn't helping lift my mood...

I LOVE Sherlock, but I have a horrible feeling our affair is over, after The Wedding episode. It should have been called Carry On Sherlock or Sherlock, Actually or 4 Weddings and an attempted Murder (a case so stiflingly stupid a 7 year old solved it for our distracted Consulting Detective, who had filled his brain so full of napkin folding trivia and place settings that couldn't even remember his own character as a result). I presume the fact that he kept mentioning that he was a "High Functioning Sociopath" and not a very nice person throughout the episode (and the interminably long Best Man's speech) was to try and remind Cumberbatch how the hell he was supposed to play this suddenly very altered personality?

What a huge pile of absolute twaddle! So sad to see such an enjoyable show go down the toilet in the space of 90 minutes. It's as though the writers have started to believe all the hype and assume they could throw boring old Conan Doyle out of the window and recreate the great detective as a comedy character, the sad sack side-kick of clever Doctor Watson who can actually manage to get a woman pregnant. We only get 3 episodes a series, I enjoyed the return but this final episode on Sunday has got to be spectacular to redeem itself for me now. Sadly I might be just sticking with my 2 series box set and crying my eyes out when Sherlock commits suicide at the end, because I will just have to wipe series 3 from my mind.

I might have to rewind to this moment. The phrase "No Sh*t, Sherlock" came to mind watching the wedding fiasco, what a shame!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Year Blues, anyone?

The lead up to Christmas was so intensive, trying to get so much made and finished, juggling freelance work  and the inevitable present buying frenzy. Then it all stopped abruptly, Christmas itself was a disorienting change of pace - and to be honest dragged on way too long  - I don't think I am a fan of mid-week Christmas!

Anyway, the decorations have been packed away and the New Year begun... except where is my sparkle? When am I going to start all those projects I have been planning? I forced myself to do book-keeping for the last few days and as ever dealing with numbers, and the tension they cause in my head (I have written about Dyscalculia before) has robbed me of all my get up and go. Either that or the insanely stormy weather.

I so need 2014 to be a better year, and yet I cannot find the enthusiasm for it right now. I just want to crawl back under the duvet and doze there until April.