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.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

If you want to boost your creativity, try this….

 
Transformation by Marla L. Niederer, close up
It is really easy to chase everything shiny down the rabbit hole when you are trying to focus on developing your skills as an artist.  When I first started working as a figurative fiber artist full time it took unbelievable self-control to remain focused on figurative fiber art.  I wanted to work on my art but also make journals, learn how to watercolor, create jewelry, and everything else that caught my attention for the moment.
Transformation by Marla L. Niederer
 If I were to chase all of those interests down the rabbit hole I would not have been able to continue to develop my skills and techniques as a figurative fiber artist because the focus wouldn’t be there.  
Fire Goddess by Marla L. Niederer
But sometimes it is okay to chase all things shiny in the name of artistic cross training. Sometimes your creativity just needs a little boost. If you find yourself in a creative rut and haven’t been feeling very inspired it sometimes helps to work in a different medium than you are accustomed to.  It lets you stretch your artistic skills and gives you a different perspective. 
Hand beaded earrings by Marla L. Niederer
So, I recently rewarded myself for being so focused the past two years by taking a jewelry making and watercolor painting break.  Playing with the two mediums has resulted in several new creative sparks for my figurative fiber art. 
Reflections by Marla Niederer 
Mission accomplished!
Winter Sky by Marla L. Niederer
It’s not too late to sign up for my online class Fire Goddess that is currently being presented on AforArtistic. 
If you would like to learn more about the class and to sign up and join in on the fun just click on the following link to the AforArtistic website.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Beauty of a Needle Sculpted Art Doll

What I love the most about needle sculpting my cloth art dolls is that they never come out identical.  Even though I can use the same exact pattern, fabric, etc, each doll seems to have its own personality and never looks quite like the first one I created.  I love this aspect of the needle sculpting process because it makes each doll unique. 
I just completed a second Goddess while in the process of preparing materials to teach her as a class next spring at the Artistic Figures in Cloth and Clay Conference.  Don’t they look so serene sitting together?


If you are interested in joining me in a class I will be teaching an online class which starts soon on AforArtistic 
You can find out more information about the class by clicking here

If you would like to join me in the live class the Goddess at Artistic Figures in Cloth and Clay you can click here to find out more information.