Sunday, January 8, 2017

Art Doll Creation: Taking Many Paths to One Place

Needle sculpted Figurative Fiber Art Doll by Marla L. Niederer
Okay, so I have mentioned before that I have a propensity for chasing all things shiny down the artistic rabbit hole.  My artistic interests have been varied throughout my life and continue to be so.  That can be very distracting when trying to focus on refining skills in one area but it also can lead to growth in the area of focus.  I have currently been working on a project that has been taking considerable amount of time.  But the more I work on it the more I see all my varied artistic pursuits falling into place.
The project I am working on is a Figurative Fiber Art Doll.  I started it in response to the critique I had on my work at the NAIDA Conference last summer.  I completely revamped my Art Doll patterns to create this doll and this is the latest of many revisions.  If truth be told, it is definitely not the last.  Although I still need to make further revisions in future Art dolls, I wanted to see how things flow together so decided to complete this one.
Needle sculpted Figurative Fiber Art doll by Marla L. Niederer
As I have been working on this doll I have started painting watercolors with a group of watercolor artists.  When I paint with watercolors on paper there are no expectations, no classes to put together to teach, no paintings needed to be painted to sell.  It is just the flow of water, paint, paintbrush, vision, and being in the moment.  It has been a very calming experience for me and one that I plan to continue.
Watercolor painting by Marla L. Niederer
I have been using watercolors to create facial features and skin tone on my art dolls for quite some time but the added practice with watercolors, even though it is not doll related, seems to be impacting my painting of my art dolls.
Needle sculpted Figurative Fiber Art doll by Marla L. Niederer
Before I started working on this project I was going through this renewed interest in crochet.  I hadn’t crocheted in over 20 years but when going for some shopping therapy after my NIADA critique I stopped in a fiber shop and came across some fine silk crochet thread that made its way back home with me.  I didn’t know what I wanted it for when I bought it but it was silk and shiny and soothing to the soul.  I played a little bit with crocheting motifs with the thread thinking I was going to make some earrings with them.  That never happened but………
Needle sculpted Figurative Fiber Art Doll by Marla L. Niederer
Needle sculpted Figurative Fiber Art Doll by Marla L. Niederer
I have been an avid jewelry maker for quite some time.  I typically make jewelry for myself and gifts with an occasional sale here and there.  So I started getting a beading magazine this fall and decided to make this pair of earrings amongst other things.
Hand beaded Maple Leaf Earrings by Marla L. Niederer
Of course I also had to embellish my art doll with some beadwork. 
Needle sculpted Figurative Fiber Art doll by Marla L. Niederer
Needle sculpted Figurative Fiber Art doll by Marla L. Niederer
This work is still in progress.  I’m hoping to have her completed to exhibit at the Quinlan Philadelphia Art Doll and Teddy Bear Conference and the Artistic Figures in Cloth and Clay Conference in Columbus Ohio this spring.  I will be teaching Art Doll classes at both conferences. 
Mardi-Gras Tassel Ornament Doll by Marla L. Niederer
I will be teaching Mardi-Gras  Tassel Ornament Doll at the Philadelphia conference.  You can find out more about the class and how to sign up here.
Goddess by Marla L. Niederer
I will be teaching The Goddess at the Columbus, Ohio conference.  You can find out more about the class and how to sign up here.
Claudette by Marla L. Niederer
And if you don’t want to wait until spring to take a class, I am teaching an online class on AforArtistic that starts this coming week called Claudette: A Cage Doll.  You can find out more about the class and how to sign up here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Claudette A Cage Doll Shrine to Romance

Claudette by Marla L. Niederer
I am so excited to be teaching the online class Claudette starting next week on AforArtistic!
Claudette by Marla L. Niederer
I have always been a bit interested in Cage dolls and when I woke to the words left over from a dream, “Romance is the Music of Life,” I decided to create Claudette. 
Claudette by Marla L. Niederer
Claudette is my own version of a cage doll with a mixed media shrine to romance.  While searching for a picture to place in the mixed media frame I found a portrait of Queen Charlotte painted by Esther Denner in 1761 on Wikipedia.  I fell in love with her costume.  The bodice and choker created for Claudette were inspired by this painting.
Queen Charlotte by Esther Denner
If you wish to join me in the online class Claudette click on the following link to AforArtistic for more information and to sign up if you wish.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

One can never be surrounded by too many Angels

Christmas Fairy Angels by Marla L. Niederer
I was surfing the internet not that long ago (I know productivity buster) and found some really pretty antique Christmas Fairy Angels on Ebay.  They had china doll heads and were just so precious so I decided to make my own inspired version for the holidays.  I thought you might like to see some pictures.
Christmas Fairy Angels by Marla L. Niederer


I still need to decorate their base boxes and add some more embellishments.
Christmas Fairy Angel by Marla L. Niederer
 
Christmas Fairy Angel by Marla L. Niederer
If you are looking for some ornament ideas It’s not too late to sign up for two online ornament classes I am teaching on AforArtistic.
Mermaid Ornament by Marla L. Niederer
You can find out more about the Mermaid Ornament Class and sign up if you wish here

Poinsettia by Marla L. Niederer
You can find out more about the Poinsettia Ornament Class and sign up if you wish here

I am also teaching Claudette, a Cage doll, an online class on AforArtistic in January 2017.  
Claudette by Marla L. Niederer
If you want to whisper in Santa’s ear to buy the class for you more info came be found here

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Gifts to Make for the Holidays

Poinsettia by Marla L. Niederer

We decided to simplify the holidays a bit this year and focus more on the things that really matter like family, friends, love, laughter, and good food.  So instead of rushing off to the mall for Black Friday this year I chose to spend some time hand crafting gifts.
 
Angel Ornament by Marla L. Niederer
We had an abundance of apples this year from our old apple tree and peppers from our garden. I hadn’t made jelly in quite a few years, so I decided to make a few batches of jelly to gift during the holiday season.   I started out making apple jelly.

 That was pretty fun so I made wine jelly too. 

Then I decided to use some of the peppers and make some hot pepper jelly. 

I then decided to make a really hot batch of hot pepper jelly!

Since I wanted to package the jelly gifts in a festive way, I decided to create some ornaments to add along with the jelly.
Mermaid Ornament by Marla L. Niederer
 I always like to make a few new ornaments each year for the holidays.  They make lovely gifts and are a fun way to keep my needle sculpting skills strong.
Sea Spirit Ornament by Marla L. Niederer
If you would like to join me in the fun of ornament making, I am teaching two holiday ornament classes on AforArtistic.  
Mermaid Ornament and Brooch by Marla L. Niederer
You can sign up for the Mermaid Ornament class here
Poinsettia by Marla L. Niederer
You can sign up for the Poinsettia class here
Mardi Gras Tassel Doll Ornament
Or if you wish to join me in a live class I will be teaching the Mardi Gras Tassel Doll Ornament at the Quinlan Philadelphia Artist Doll and Teddy Bear Convention this spring.  You can find out more about it and sign up at the link here.
 The Quinlan Philadelphia Artist Doll and Teddy Bear Convention is really is a sweet deal.  If you are a doll artist you get wined and dined, a sales table, presentations to attend, numerous networking opportunities, all for the small price of $95.00!   There is also an optional day of workshops to attend (one of which is the Tassel Doll Ornament Class I will be teaching).  Hope to see you there!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

How to feed your Artist Soul

Goddess by Marla L. Niederer
There is a myth of the tortured artist that in order to be a great artist, one must suffer tremendously.  There are many great artists throughout history that have creating amazing work despite all the suffering they endured during their lives.  But the question really should be, how much more magnificent could their work have been if they didn’t have all the obstacles placed in front of their art work by the painful life they endured?
Claudette by Marla L. Niederer
I know for a fact that my art flourishes when I am happy, secure, comfortable, warm, and loved.  It really takes a nose dive when I am discontent and/or stressed.  Part of keeping me happy so I can create my art from a happy place is feeding my artist soul.  There are many different ways to feed your artist’s soul.  I thought I would list some of the ways that keep my artist soul happy in case you might wish to try some of them too.
 
Flower Faeries by Marla L. Niederer
1.     Find your tribe.  Art very often occurs within the solitary space of one’s own studio but it doesn’t always have to.  If you are working in your own studio, alone, hours on end, days on end, you need to make time to be social.  What better way to socialize than to find other artists to connect with.  Join an art group in your community.   For years I belonged to an art doll group.  Since that is no longer available, I am now a member of a fiber art group and meet with a group of watercolor artists once a week to paint.   Art flourishes in the warm glow of a good supportive group of other artists.
2.  Read books about art and artists.  This statement dates me for sure but I have learned so many techniques by reading.  This started while I was a child and has continued to this day.  It is also inspiring to read about the lives of other artists.  And it is also enjoyable to read fiction with the art world as its setting.  Two ideas of books to read are , The Painted Kiss by Elizabeth Hickey, and Making Color Sing by Jeanne Dobie.  You can find both on Amazon.
3.   If you don’t like to read about techniques there are so many good videos out there available on sites such as YouTube.  Make yourself a nice cup of tea and watch some of them. Here is a link to my friend Maria Greene's website.  She offers really good art tutorials. http://mariagreene.org/
4.  Visit art museums.  It goes without saying that viewing a work of art in a magazine or on the internet pales in comparison to viewing it in person.  I always find that a trip to an art museum is uplifting, inspiring, and educational.  Viewing amazing art is music to the soul.  One of my favorite art museums to visit is the National Gallery of Canada which you can click on a link to here
5.   Buy new art supplies when you can.  Okay, the secret is out.  I am an art supply hoarder.  I have my first set of pastels that were given to me when I was eight.  If you didn’t know, that was many many weeks ago.  That being said, it still is always exciting to bring home new art supplies just crying out to be tried!
6.  Attend conferences for the field of art you are engaged in.  I have learned so much and made many friends by attending conferences for doll artists through the years. I always leave so inspired and ready to get back to my studio to try out new ideas. There are several really great conferences to attend.  I am teaching at two next spring.  I am teaching at one in Philadelphia and you can click on the link to it here  http://www.quinlanmuseum.com/convention/
      Another I am teaching at is in Columbus Ohio and you can click on the link to it here http://cyndysdolls.com/
     There are also two wonderful doll art orginizations that put on annual conferences 
      ODACA  you can click on a link to here  http://www.odaca.org/
     NIADA  you can click on a link to here http://www.niada.org/
Lissette by Marla L. Niederer
7.   Sometimes it is okay to chase something shiny down the rabbit hole, especially, if it leaves you with a smile as wide as the Cheshire Cat’s grin.  For example, I saw a little antique lamb on eBay.  I had to have it but the price kept going up and up and up.  I could have blown my art supply budget to buy it but then I couldn’t buy more art supplies and frankly I really enjoy buying art supplies.  So I decided to make an inspired one of my own.  It was very off task, very off the focus I have been trying to maintain.  It took time that could have been used for something more “productive.”  But, what fun!  And what a smile it has left on my face.  Now I’m ready to return to my “real” work!
Lissette by Marla L. Niederer
 If you have other ideas about how to feed your artist soul feel free to post them in the comments section.  I would love to hear from you.

Until next week….warm hugs,
Marla

If you are looking for something to create for gift giving during the holidays I am teaching two online classes on AforArtistic that you may be interested in.
 
Mermaid Ornament by Marla L. Niederer
Mermaid Ornament Class begins November 8th  2016
If you wish to find out more about the class click on the following link to AforArtistic
 http://www.aforartistic.com/mermaid-ornament-brooch-with-marla-l-niederer.html
Poinsettia by Marla L. Niederer

Poinsettia Bust Ornament Class begins December 1st 2016.  If you wish to find out more about the class click on the following link to AforArtistic
http://www.aforartistic.com/christmas-in-july-poinsettia-with-marla-niederer-cloth-doll-artist.html

Friday, October 14, 2016

Pretty little gifts to make.

Mermaid Ornament by Marla L. Niederer
I know it isn’t even Halloween yet, but I have been busy making ornaments.  I created a Mermaid ornament which can also be made into a brooch doll.  
Mermaid ornament and Mermaid brooch
I also made a Mardi Gras tassel doll ornament.  
Close up of Mardi Gras tassel doll ornament by Marla L. Niederer
These projects were so much fun and easy to make!  
Mardi Gras Tassel Doll Ornament by Marla L. Niederer
Mardi Gras Tassel Doll Ornament by Marla L. Niederer
 Since I am on an ornament roll, I also thought I would share some pictures of an ornament/bust that I created called Poinsettia.  
Poinsettia by Marla L. Niederer
Hope you enjoy the pictures!

Warm hugs,
Marla

If you would like to join me in on some ornament making fun I am teaching a class on AforArtistic on how to create the Mermaid Ornament/Broach starting November 8th, 2016.  If you would like to find out more about the class or to join me in the fun click on the link to AforArtistic.

I am also teaching a class on how to create the Poinsettia Ornament/bust on AforArtistic starting on December 1st, 2016.  If you would like to find out more about the class or join me in the fun click on the link to AforArtistic here.

If you would like to join me in a live one day workshop in Philadelphia at the Art Doll and Teddy Bear Conference to create the Mardi Gras tassel doll ornament in May 2017 you can find out more about the class by clicking on the link to the conference website. 
http://www.quinlanmuseum.com/convention/agenda-details.html
Mardi Gras Tassel Doll Ornament by Marla L. Niederer
Sign ups for the conference in Philadelphia will start November 1st.