Sunday, January 18, 2015

Art Doll Workshops

Still finalising the patterns and prototypes for my doll workshops but here is the kind of doll we would be working towards. She has a cloth body (great for sewing clothes and her hairstyle to) with long spindly paper clay limbs. She has a bit of antiquing and lots of crackle glaze too. This particular doll has an outfit made from some vintage scraps, vintage embroidered hankies and doilies. Workshop dolls would not have the vintage elements supplied  and the dress would be more straightforward, but if anyone wanted to bring along their own vintage scraps then we could look at ways of incorporating them. I hope these work shops will lead to everyone going away with a doll quite unique to them.... more soon (and a better photo  - it's snowing again!)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Reasons to be cheerful... 3rd place!

I am a bit giddy and very happy right now as I just found I won a 3rd place prize for my entry in the Popovy Sisters Art Competition. It's snowing outside, it's warm in here and I am so dizzy from getting so far. I have literally never won anything before in my life apart from being automatically entered into a draw for a goldfish when I bought a ticket to enter a Garden Fete that I had a stall at, I left after packing up my stall with a goldfish in a plastic bag like a kid after a fun fair!

You can see all the winners here

PS: check back over the weekend as I will be posting WIPs of the doll we will be making at the Coach House workshop.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Drawing from the past

The point of putting together the Mini Almanac for our Cult of Doll project (published here on New Years Day) was that we needed something tangible to better explain this new and unusual project to Art Doll makers who might want to join us, and also to begin building an audience for when we have finished all the dolls and publish the Main Almanac in October. I have been talking and writing so much about Miss Araminta (the project is loosely based around her Victorian Curiosity Shop and the strange stories that the objects within it's walls can tell) but she still didn't exist in either Doll or drawn form really. So I thought it was about time people got a look at her and her strange little shop...

Of course I needed to find reference and as the shop is supposedly based in Whitechapel I spent  ages trawling through old photos and got to know way more about the streets Jack The Ripper brought to notoriety than I cared to really. Oddly, the image that finally became the basis of Miss Araminta's shop is a wonderful old picture of a Victorian Fishing Tackle shop, not even in London, but hundreds of miles away in Shrewsbury! The image belongs to the Shropshire Council archives and they very kindly allowed me to use it without the usual fee as my drawing is not an exact representation. Take a look through their archive, there are many interesting photos of Shropshire businesses before the turn of the last century when Photography was still "the latest thing".

PS: I had to keep that sneaky young boy almost out of sight in the shadowy alleyway to the left, I wonder what HIS story was? ;o)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Reasons to be cheerful... Doll workshop!

Big news: I will be taking Art Doll workshops in a few months time! Yay! Also a big "Yay" for any local arts & crafters because Flintshire has a fab new venue, right here in my little village of Caerwys :o)

Check out the website for The Coach House, newly opened by the lovely Sarah Wilson. It is a bright and cosy space with enough room for up to 9 artists to sit around a big central table and work away, with all the amenities we could need at hand. There is plenty of parking a short walk away in the village square and information on the website about local places to stay if you are from further afield. I believe that cookies and muffins were also mentioned but my fevered imagination inserts those words into many a conversation, so will keep you posted ;o)

The Coach House is brand new but workshops and demonstrations are starting to fill up the diary really quickly and I am just ironing out the fine details of my doll projects and will get back to you all about that before the end of January. Anyone who wants to stay informed can email me at: You can also keep an eye on The Coach House website for lots of other interesting things to do...

and again YAY!!!

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year, New Look, New Dolls!

January, often the hardest month of the year for me, it has always seemed such a long, dark, depressing month. THIS year, however, I feel wildly optimistic so far (for no apparent reason!) despite starting 2015 by battling a stomach bug. This could be just an early refusal to submit to the inevitable: will the expected rain, sleet, fog and seemingly endless darkness of sodden, stubbornly dour Late Winter North Wales yet batter me into submission? Check back with me around the 20th to see if my buoyant mood remains.

And yet this year the hills and mountains are still green. The bracken has turned brown but patches of bright heather remain. Late summer flowers, usually long gone, still bloom here and there, blossoms are bursting from the trees early in patches of unbowed glee. Last night I drove home noticing patches of frosted grass on the verges twinkling like glass glitter despite the warmish early evening air and saw a huge yellow moon rising over the hedgerows. It was quite breathtaking and as ever at such moments, I didn't have my camera. It seems I'm not alone in my refusal to wallow in depression under January's usual cloak of bone-achingly damp gloom. Nature has also decided enough is enough.

My good mood may have something to do with the fact that I have managed to disentangle myself from a number of thankless commitments and finished some projects which had dragged on well beyond the death of my enthusiasm for them. I am free to work on dolls again and for now, at least, the bills are paid and I am refusing to indulge in my worst old habit: "future worry". The future comes and is what it is, my worrying has never altered it's shape and so I am finally done with it. Freedom indeed :o)