Monday, February 22, 2016

It's doll season...redux

Bringing back this post with a rewrite - more upbeat because I'm feeling better and sewing more :-) I get very uncomfortable with myself when I get distracted and then write about it. I don't want to read it - it means I need a good shake! So...


Around mid-February, I decided to vary my craft work a bit and work on my art dolls, something I haven't done for a couple years.  I love fabric art dolls, and I'm very humbled by the incredibly talented doll artists out there (you can google art dolls to see some - they're amazing). My favorites, and a continuing source of inspiration, are Julie McCullough and Patti Medaris Culea.

Cecilia - a Summer doll

My own doll journey began about ten years ago, when I succumbed to a fabric doll in a small shop in Paris. I was enchanted - of course I had to try to sew my own.

Eventually I developed four 'signature' dolls, and I made dozens of them.

The most articulated dolls I've designed are the ones I call my Summer Dolls. At 18" tall, they have cute figures, limbs that are jointed with wood beads, wired fingers and hands, and ears! Since they're Florida girls, they wear sandals, little bloomers, and sundresses.

This go-round, I'm working on a couple new dolls. I've been intrigued by the Tilda dolls, designed by Tone Finnanger - they're somewhat primitive and very appealing. So I've been sketching patterns, sewing, stuffing, and discarding (it's a process).

Here's my first version - she's about 16.5" tall and has simple grey curls.

Cute, but I want to joint her arms and legs, so still in progress.

The next girl, from the first photo, is fairly tall at 20" and has experimental hands and feet. I like her feet, because they will handles shoes and sandals, even toe nail polish once I shape the toes. But I don't care for her hands. I make 20" dolls quite often, so she's a good fit model, and her arms don't really matter. Purpose-built!

I'm also refining my Summer Doll, slimming her limbs and improving her joints and hands. I've been studying hand construction and technique for fabric dolls, so this is quite fun. All her parts...

Those little hands are about 2" long, wrist to fingertip - the thumb is only 1/2" long - and they're articulated with pipe cleaners. 

Plans for today include putting her together while watching 'House' and the Indian Wells tennis tournament on TV.  Retirement is so demanding. 

At the age of 3, my niece complained to her mom, 'you make me so busy' - we were all laughing like crazy...

Ciao! Coco


  1. Wow, what an intensive artistic endeavor! I have to admit though commercial dolls, art dolls, or porcelain dolls to me are all a bit ..creepy. I have never liked dolls not even as a kid much to my Grandmother's dismay. Now stuffed animals and Breyer horses I couldn't get enough of. I do appreciate the work and artistry. That summer doll with her articulated arms and sandals is awesome. The body parts in the hat box though might give me nightmares if it was in my house! ;-)

    1. A note: the first version of this post showed a hat box full of stuffed body parts :-)

  2. LOL! I know what you mean about body parts :-) but I don't personify them quite that much!

  3. When I see your post come with all my emails, it is the first one to be opened. I am never disappointed and today is no exception...
    I too love making dolls although they have been more of the craftsie kind. Seeing yours makes me want to try this type. When in Ottawa a few years ago I bought a pattern for the articulated doll and I think it is now time to try her out, thanks for this post Coco...

    1. Sandra, what a nice compliment - and I love hearing from you. I'm enjoying the dolls, and I just ordered some new fabrics and tools from Doll Makers Journey and Joggles. There's something about getting packages in the mail...Hope I get to see your doll when you get to it. Don't be discouraged! I've messed my up soooo many times and have a box of discarded part that I use for practice and dress forms. BTW, I get stuff like my colored pencils, spray varnish, pipe cleaners and wood beads at A.C. Moore. Close by...


I love it that you came by...and thank you for your comments! Coco