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
can find out more information about the class by clicking here
Some artists will
sketch out their ideas as part of the process of designing an art doll. They will explore and develop a theme for the
doll, a color scheme, decide on the materials and techniques they will use all before
they begin. This method works very well
for many artists.
I never was able to
work that way. My art dolls almost
happen by themselves. I put a lot of
time into practicing, developing, and refining techniques but when it comes to
the actual design it feels like it just happens as I engage in the process of
creating the art doll. I thought I would
share with you the process of how I design an art doll during the creation of
She started with a
new eye technique that I wanted to experiment with. After I used the new needle-sculpting
technique I wanted to see how she looked painted so I used watercolors for skin
tone and facial coloration. I was pretty
pleased with how she looked but couldn’t figure out “who she wanted to
be.” So I let her sit for a few days.
While she was sitting I engaged in one of my most time zapping past-times, surfing the internet to explore what other artists are up
to. Art often inspires more art. I have
always been fascinated with watercolors which is why I use watercolors for skin
tone and facial coloration. I am also
fascinated by jewelry and all that is shiny.
So it is no surprise while surfing the internet that I would be
fascinated by the beautiful watercolor jewelry that Ross Barbera creates. I had found his website and free tutorials
quite some time ago with the plan that someday I would follow his tutorials and
create some watercolor jewelry of my own. You can see his tutorials by clicking
on the link to his site here: http://watercolorjewelry.com/blog/
Since I was working
on my art doll I decided to follow one of Ross Barbera’s free tutorials on how
to make rice paper earrings and use the techniques he shared to create a
waterlily headdress for her. Since I am
not new to wire jewelry fabrication I designed the waterlily headdress to
attach the rice paper to. I love the
translucent nature of the watercolor painted rice paper coated with varnish. I experimented with a few sizes of the
waterlily headdresses along with a few pairs of earrings while I was
Now what does she
want to wear? Well, with her headdress
inspired by translucent waterlilies she seemed to be asking to become a Faerie
Princess, Queen, or Goddess.
She needed clothing
that would lend to an ethereal look so I started playing with cheesecloth. I know some artists hand dye cheesecloth to
use in costuming but I had watercolors still on my palette from the rice paper
part of the headdress. So I just painted
some cheesecloth to use for her skirt.
As I was drapping the
cheesecloth on her as a skirt we had an ice storm. The picture of the trees don’t do justice to
the beauty that surrounded my home and studio but it gives you an idea.
As a result of the
ice storm I decided to use silver lined rainbow silver glass seed beads to
embellish her skirt and bodice.
I usually take
pictures of my progress when working on a doll and took some pictures of her
seated on a pedestal. As I looked at the
pictures I noticed that the way the cheesecloth was draped it looked like the
foam from the sea. She now had an
identity. There is a Goddess, or Bodhisattva,
known as Kuan Yin. She is filled with compassion, peace, and is strongly
associated with water.
embellishing her costume until she felt complete but wanted to exhibit her in a
way that further conveyed the essence of water.
I also decided to give her “Henna” tattoos to further convey her
After the doll was complete
I asked my husband to create a turned and carved pedestal that I antiqued with blue
paint to give the finishing touch to her presentation.
I hope you enjoyed
following the process I used in creating the Goddess.
If you wish to
learn how to make your own Goddess in a live class I will be teaching a three
day class at Artistic Figures in Cloth and Clay April 20 – 23, 2017 in Columbus
Ohio. If you would like more information
on the class and how to sign up click on the following link
If you don’t want
to wait that long to take an art doll class, I am teaching how to create your
own Fire Goddess on AforArtistic this month.
If you would like more information on the class and how to sign up click
on the following link.