Saturday, November 27, 2010

Closer to Christmas.

To state the obvious, Christmas is closer than you think! Each day, the diary and the "to do" list must be consulted to make sure we don't miss a Christmas party, a Rotary event, a grandchild's school presentation or concert,  a family gathering and all the "jobs" which  need to be done before Christmas.
However, this last week, I have been making dolls. I would love to show you the photo of the art doll I finished during the week  for the Doll Holiday Ball Swap, but I would like my swap partner, Deirdra  to see it before I post it here.  I have also made dolls to be donated to a local charity, Centacare. Each Year, Hello Dollies members make and donate dolls to Centacare to be given as gifts at Christmas. I made a few sock dolls, and little hand stitched felt dolls tucked into a sock ( photo above). The other sock is inside the toe, so the gift is a little doll and a pair of new socks! The original pattern for the felt dolls, Pocket Petunias  by Simone Gooding, had these dolls in a knitted pocket, but I thought this sock idea was a neat little arrangement?

This Christmas ornament (above) is inspired by a Sherry Goshon internet pattern Lil Christmas Ornament . I made quite a few modifications. I used larger polystyrene eggs rather than papier mache, and made polymer clay heads, and instead of  fabric wrapped around the shape, I used one layer of a paper serviette and gel medium to apply it. I have many polystrene shapes prepared, just waiting for heads ... I'll make those tomorrow  from polymer clay as it will be the second in the Crafternoon Tea Series - Clay Play.  We'll play with PMC (Precious Metal Clay -  Silver) and polymer clay .
Next Saturday is my annual Handmade Treasures Christmas Sale. This year, profits will be donated to Jenny's Place , Children's and Women's Refuge and Domesitc Violence Resource Centre. Already, some wonderful handmade treasures are materialising ready for the sale. Hope you wil come along and not only enjoy stress free Christmas shopping and support local "hand made" artists, but also help alleviate the dreadful impact of domestic violence in our community.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Unapologetic Alterations

Recently I have been working on quite a few dolls for various swaps and blog challenges, but especially the samples for the Creative Retreat 2011  where I will be offering a workshop "It's A Wrap" - wrapped armatures made from discarded and found objects. Candy Flossie ( pictured above) is the result of wrapping a polystyrene ball and timber armature with a sample piece of wet felting , some fabric, recycled paper ribbon from a present, adding a polymer clay face, and swirly beads, toothpicks and some bright pink paint. This doll started from a bargain box reject snowman like this one below. I didn't like them at all and had no intention of "fixing" them , but somehow gave into the temptation and bought two.  Honestly, who could resist this for $1? I am unapologetic about the alterations to the first one -  off went the hat, scarf, buttons and shoes and voila- snowman to fairy floss girl!
 Candy Flossie is now ready for the Blog Party at Papillon Bleu's birthday party - amazingly early!
 Most of you probably know that I also like to 'collect' quotations and wise sayings, and I write them down in a book whenever I hear or read something a bit poetic or inspiring. I have for a while included them mostly as inspiration in my doll making, but here are a few of my "discard" message stick dolls - made from sticks and wrapped with discarded bits of fabric, yarn, knitting, felting - whatever finds its way to my 'throw away" bag.  These sticks are also altered without apology. On each message stick doll I have written a quotation which  I felt was appropriate... Can you match the three quotations to these doll message sticks?
1. " Nature does not hurry, but everything is accomplished" - Lao Tzu
2. "Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air" - Ralph Waldo Emerson
3. "Autumn is a second spring where every lead is a flower" - Albert Camus

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Summer Crafternoon Tea - Felting Fun

 Today was the first of the summer "crafternoon teas" I am hosting on Sunday afternoons.  Crafternoon teas are Sunday afternoons spent with wonderfully spirited people, who enjoy being creative, learning new techniques or brushing up on previously learnt skills and  love sharing a scrumptious afternoon tea. Today was felting fun when we used plastic resist templates to create dimensional seamless pieces. I demonstrated the way I made the series of nature bowls. You can see them here. Above is one of  my most recent blue bowls, one of a pair. The first one has already found a home during a DUST craft swap ( Down Under Street Team - Etsy)
Here are some of the pieces that the felting crafternoon tea participants made this afternoon - a felt "forest" bowl, a needle book cover, a glasses pouch and a very 'organic" sculptured bowl.

 While we enjoyed felting and its results, somehow we "forced" ourselves to enjoy the afternoon tea.

 The next crafternoon tea will be in two weeks on 28 November - a clay play day with polymer clay and/or PMC (precious metal clay-silver) . Please contact me if you would like to join in the fun (there are a couple of places left).  
And to finish a great week - I am so excited about being accepted as a member of  Art Dolls Only. I am looking foward to participating in the challenges, learning from fantastic artists and making a small and humble contribution to doll making.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Miss Wu Is Ready For The Christmas Ball

Last month, I signed up to the Holiday Doll Ball Swap hosted by Zan Asha of Vagabond Creations.
What a wonderful surprise this week, well before the deadline, I received the wonderful Miss Wu, created by a well known artist and art doll maker, Deirdra Doan. Many doll makers worldwide will already be familiar with Deirdra’s work which has been featured often in Art Doll Quarterly, and you can see more of her amazing art on her blog in her Etsy shop.

Here is Deridra’s description of this beautiful doll:
Miss Wu.(I tried to make her look like Wilma...)is all excited and patiently waiting for the "Christmas Ball/ Sock Hop" to begin. She thought her berry crown, candy cane, and snowman necklace would look so to chic and bring lots of beaux to fill her dance card. She also wore her icicle finish off her ball attire. Since it is very hot on Christmas in Aussie land her arms are bare of course...
PS...She has ivy on her "The Holly and the Ivy" is one of her favorite songs for Christmas. She first heard it as a little girl in England so she was sure that they sang it in Australia as it was a English Colony.
And here is Miss Wu patiently waiting in our garden for the Christmas Ball…

Thank you Deirdra. Unfortunately, I can’t show you what I am creating for Deridra as 1) it’s not yet finished and 2) I want Deridra to be the first to see it ... another week or so....

It’s been a lovely quiet and creative week – I had my second last life drawing class in this series of lessons. I also spent a couple of days (nights) doing some beading and some sculpting. Last night, we went to see the preview performance of Henri Szep’s one man show “Wish I’d Said That”. I really enjoyed his performance based on speeches of leading characters in various plays. I loved the “Marlon Brando” excerpts from “Tea House of the August Moon”. ( That play was the first theatrical performance I had ever been in – my sister was about 5 years old and I was 10 – we had very small "walk on" parts. Actually we didn’t "walk on" much – we had to climb on the bonnet of a vehicle and it was driven off the stage.) However, last night, my favourite speech in Henri Szep’s show was the one from the musical, “South Pacific” … - a great reminder that people are not born prejudiced.

You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear
You’ve got to be taught from year to year
It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made
And people whose skin is a different shade
You’ve got to be carefully taught.            by Oscar Hammerstein

Monday, November 1, 2010

Card Crazy and Crafternoon Teas

I am determined this year to be better prepared for Christmas. I decided to give cards as gifts for a few people this year, so this meant having them made and sent, ready for them to use as Christmas greeting cards. This last week was devoted to card making. I went crazy and spent almost every spare moment making cards. I was also very happy that I used only paper and card which I already had. Some are in traditional colours and others are just using leftover bits and pieces.

Having sworn that I would not take up yet another creative interest, I started some life drawing classes last month - only of course, to help me improve my doll making. Tonight will be the fourth week of a six week course and I am really enjoying it. Ann, my teacher is great and  has classes for beginners and the more experienced. Look on  Facebook the drawing room . These are some of my drawings from last week's lessons.
And, I almost forgot - Happy Halloween to blog friends particularly in the northern hemisphere. Having said that, Halloween seems to becoming more popular here is Australia. My grandchildren had a party - complete with costumes, spooky party games and a ghostly pinata. Alas I forgot to take my camera Perhaps some photos next week from the family.  

Reminder about my Summer "Crafternoon Teas" on Sundays - happening soon. A crafternoon tea is an afternoon where like minded people get together to create and enjoy a scrumptious afternoon tea. The first is on 14 Novermber, and it will be one of the Felt Fun Days... learning new ways with plastic templates. Contact me is you're interested.