Saturday, February 15, 2020

Lover’s Eyes

Okay so I have been embracing my affinity to chase everything artistically shiny down the rabbit hole again.  Ever since I saw a few antique lover’s eyes on the internet I have been fascinated with them.
Lover's Eye from Metropolitan  Museum of Art
According to what I read about them, Prince George of Wales, madly in love with the widowed Maria Anne Fitzherbert, sent her a miniature painting of his eye along with a written letter which included a marriage proposal.
They were then married and shortly afterwards a miniature painting of Maria Anne Fitzherbert’s eyes were painted and both paintings were placed into a locket. 
Lover's Eye from Metropolitan Museum of Art
The marriage was doomed from the start (since it didn’t have the monarch’s blessing), but the trend of having miniature paintings of eyes being encased in lockets, rings, and broaches to give to your lover began. It was a way to keep something of your lover close without letting others know who exactly your lover was!
Eye Miniature from Metropolitan Museum of Art
Lover’s eye jewelry was quite popular during the 1700s and 1800s until the advent of the photograph at which time they went out of fashion.  They were often painted with watercolors over ivory.  A lock of the lover’s hair was often found enclosed behind the painting.
Eye Miniature from Metropolitan Museum of Art
So inspired by these beautiful gems I decided to create some of my own.
Lover's Eye Necklace by Marla L. Niederer
The Lover’s eyes I created are hand painted needle sculpted cloth eyes.  I then hand beaded them with silver lined Japanese beads and made them to be worn as necklaces.
Lover's Eye Necklace by Marla L. Niederer

I will be bringing some of my Lover’s Eyes Necklaces to the Quinlan Art Doll and Teddy Bear show in Philadelphia this April for sale.
Hope to see you there.
Lover's Eye Necklaces by Marla L. Niederer
Until next time…….

Warm hugs,

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Making Watercolor Paint boxes

I love to surround myself with pretty little things and I love to paint with watercolors.   
Travel Watercolor Paint Tin by Marla L. Niederer
So I decided to make some pretty little watercolor paint travel boxes from some hinged tin boxes.
Travel Watercolor Paint Tin by Marla L. Niederer
I filled my first paint box with the Holbein Antique colors that I had (Unfortunately they don’t make the antique colors any longer).
Travel Watercolor Paint Tin by Marla L. Niederer
Of course I couldn’t stop after making just one!
Travel Watercolor Paint Tins by Marla L. Niederer

Travel Watercolor Paint Tins by Marla L. Niederer

After I made them I had to try one of them out and used it to add watercolors to this sketch I made.  The sketch started out with just graphite and then I added a bit of Stabilo pencil for shading.  I really liked the sketch at this phase.
Sketch by Marla L. Niederer
I then started to add watercolors from the first paint box I made.  I am still experimenting with colors and added too much blue violet to it and tried to correct it with adding warmer browns.  
Watercolor painting by Marla L. Niederer

So, I do believe I overworked the painting.  It’s just in one of my journals which are made for experimenting. So even though I’m not quite happy with the painting, I have learned something, enjoyed the process, and have some new pretty little paint boxes to play with.

Until next time……..

warm hugs,

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Getting Ready for Texas

The Goddess by Marla L. Niederer

I have been busily working away preparing to teach a class in Texas this spring.  I will teaching the Goddess for the Material Girls Cloth Doll Club in Houston this March.
The Goddess by Marla  L. Niederer
Right now I am working on sewing needle books to put in the class kits.  I had no idea they would take me so long!  But I am having fun with the project. 
sewing needle books for class kits
I have also been working on a watercolor painting of a dragon for my beloved husband.
Watercolor painting by Marla L. Niederer
We are getting quite a bit of snow right now so its nice to work in my studio where it is cozy and warm.
My painting studio
Until next time……

Warm hugs,
Self-Study Doll Making Classes

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Saying Goodbye to the Old and Bringing in the New

The New Year brings with it a time of endings and new beginnings.  Many of us use this time of year as a period of reflection.  Some of us, upon reflection, attempt to set new goals to aid our journey into new directions.

I have been working on a few different projects than I usually do.  I have started working on anthropomorphic dolls.  My first being this little lion that I created for a challenge last year at the Artistic Figures in Cloth and Clay conference that I taught at last spring.  He was so much fun to create, I couldn’t stop at one!
Little Lion by Marla L. Niederer
I am also in the process of setting up more of a routine to paint with my watercolors on paper. I took a watercolors class this past fall presented by Lian Quan Zhen.  He is such a sharing teacher and presented a multitude of techniques that I will continue to play with during this coming year.
Watercolor painting by Marla L. Niederer
I also signed up for an online mixed media class focusing on the face and figure called Let’s Face it 2020 on Kara Bullock’s website.  I’m hoping it will help me continue my 40 portrait challenge that I started on Gritty Jane’s Facebook page.
Watercolor journal cover by Marla L. Niederer inspired by Toni Burt  Woodland Faery class
I believe that every time you practice and improve your skills in an area of art it enhances your skills in all areas of art that you engage in.  So I have decided to embrace fully my propensity towards chasing everything shiny down the artistic rabbit hole this past year and will continue to embrace this concept into the New Year.
Hand painted Sugar Skulls by Marla L. Niederer
I wish all of you a wonderful New Year filled with lots of love, good health, good food, and time to embrace your creativity.

Until next time…..

Self Study Doll Making classes
warm hugs,

About Me

Thursday, December 12, 2019

2019 Art Doll Christmas Tree

If you have seen the video I posted on my OrsinisAngels Facebook page I wanted to give you a little back story to some of the ornaments on my 2019 Art Doll Christmas Tree.
Angel by Christine Shively Benjamin
This is an angel that NIADA artist Christine Shively Benjamin made.  I have admired her dolls for a very long time and was able to purchase this one from her last spring.  Her dolls are so delightful and I am so happy to be a proud owner of one!   Since I met her at the Quinlan show in Philadelphia years ago, she has been such a good mentor and friend.  She is always willing to share her knowledge and support other doll makers along the way.
Santa ornament  by Peggy Wilson
This is a Santa ornament that Peggy Wilson made and I was the lucky one to receive it at the All Dolled Up cloth doll makers club in Ottawa at an ornament exchange. Speaking of mentors and friends, Peggy Wilson, was the first person to teach me how to needle sculpt.  I met her at a doll makers retreat quite a long time ago.  I had gone to the retreat bound and determined I was going to teach myself how to needle sculpt.  I had never taken an art doll class and had been a self-taught artist since my days as a tot.  The only thing is needle sculpting isn’t quite as easy as it may look and Peggy saw me struggling, took pity on my soul, pulled two cloth doll heads out of her bag, sat me down and taught me how to needle sculpt side by side.  I took two classes from her afterwards which was the beginning of my needle sculpting journey.  She was always willing to share her knowledge and help along any other doll maker in her path.  She will always be missed but never forgotten.
Art doll ornament by Marla L. Niederer
This is one of the first art doll needle sculpted ornaments I made.  It is made with “doe suede” cloth that Peggy used to use.  It is a stretchy and forgiving cloth and I used it for quite some time before I started to use woven cotton for my dolls.
Art Doll by Tamara Pivnyuk
This is a doll created by NIADA artist Tamara Pivnyuk.  I received it as a souvenir doll when I attended the NIADA conference in 2018.  I didn’t have the good fortune of meeting Tamara but absolutely love this doll and all of her work!
Little Lion  by Marla L. Niederer
This is one of my Little Lions that I have created.  I taught my Moulin Rouge Dancers class at the last Artistic Figures in Cloth and Clay conference last spring.  There was an anthropomorphic doll challenge for the conference so I created my first Little Lion for the challenge.  It quickly was sold and went to a good home as the next two that I created.  I thought I would hold onto this one for a bit and add him to my tree.
Ribbon embroidered ornament  project from Mary Jo Hiney's book called "Victorian Ribbon & Lacecraft Designs".  The ornament was embroidered by Marla L. Niederer
This is an older ornament that I made when I was fascinated with ribbon embroidery years ago.  It is a project from the book,  "Victorian Ribbon & Lacecraft Designs" by Mary Jo Hiney.   I love sipping tea in pretty tea cups from pretty little teapots so thought it would be fitting to add to my tree.
Ornament by Marla L. Niederer, inspired by Edith Flack Ackley's dolls.
This doll was created by myself, inspired by Edith Flack Ackley’s dolls.  I am lucky to have a pristine 25th edition of her book, “Dolls to make for fun and profit.”  Her dolls are so sweet.
Kitty ornament  by Marla L. Niederer.  Inspired by Arnold Printworks fabric panel animals.
Kitty ornament by Marla L. Niederer. Inspired by Arnold Printworks  fabric panel animals.
These are two Kitty ornaments that I made inspired by Arnold Palmer Printworks animal cloth doll fabric panels.  They were quite fun to create!
Sea Spirit ornament by Marla L. Niederer
This was created for the first online class that I taught on AforArtistic called, “Sea Spirit.”  She is needle sculpted woven cloth hand painted with watercolors.

I hope you enjoyed learning the stories behind some of the ornaments on my 2019 Art Doll Christmas tree.
Beloved husband Bob, Marla, and Jason Awesome Niederer
Wishing you the best this holiday season

warm hugs,

Sunday, September 15, 2019

One of my paintings was accepted!

I have been known to go off on watercolor painting jaunts as of the past three years and having quite fun with it I may add.
Fountain on the Square by Marla L. Niederer
Just for fun I entered three of my watercolor fountain paintings into a juried exhibit at the local museum and was happily surprised that one of them was accepted for the exhibit!
If you are nearby and would like to join me at the exhibit, the opening  is Saturday September 21st from 2:00PM to 4:00PM at the Remington Museum in Ogdensburg NY.

Hope to see you there….
The Goddess by Marla L. Niederer
There are still some spots available if you would like to take my Goddess cloth ball jointed doll online class.   It begins September 23, 2019.  You can find out more about the class on AforArtistic here:

Until next time……..

warm hugs,

Friday, August 30, 2019

Goddess Online Class

The Goddess by Marla L. Niederer

I’m very pleased to announce that I will be teaching the Goddess as an online class for the first time for AforArtistic September 23 2019!
The Goddess by Marla L. Niederer
The Goddess was inspired by Kuan Yin, a Goddess of Compassion, one who hears the cries of all beings.  Others know her as a Bodhisattva, one who puts off Nirvana in order to liberate all sentient beings. Many representations of Kuan Yin depict her as a beautiful oriental woman in flowing gowns carrying a vessel filled with the waters of compassion.  She is often depicted standing or sitting upon a lotus blossom. 
The Goddess by Marla L. Niederer
In this interpretation of Kuan Yin, I chose to place a hand crafted and hand painted lotus blossom upon her head as a headdress.  She wears a skirt and shawl of hand painted cheesecloth which represent the waters of compassion.  Her costume is hand beaded with silver lined glass beads. 
The Goddess by Marla L. Niederer
The Goddess is a 19” tall needle sculpted, hand painted art doll with ball joints and a facial cloth overlay.  The head has very unique sculpted eyes utilizing an advanced technique that gives the appearance of inset eyes.  In this class you will learn a variety of unique needle sculpting techniques such as how to attach a cloth overlay on the face, creating a swivel neck, creating ball joints at the hips, knees, ankles, elbows and wrist. In addition, the class presents instruction on how to utilize tube and pencil watercolors for skin tone and facial coloration.  Unique costuming design is included in instruction along with how to needle felt a hairdo. This workshop is designed to stretch your cloth art doll making skills to a whole new level!
The Goddess by Marla L. Niederer
I can’t wait for the class to begin and hope to see you there!
You can find more information about the class and how to sign up by clicking on this link to AforArtistic.

Until next time…..

warm hugs,