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Friday, 17 February 2017

Marina and Gemma

I often sign up for online classes as I love learning new techniques.  But, I do not always make the doll during the online class, lol!  Recently I decided to tackle an online class that I had signed up for a year ago, a mermaid by Angela Jarecki, called "Enkai Nou", Japanese for deeps or ocean, gift or memory.  My mermaid piece is called Marina, Italian for sea and the child is Gemma, gift or jewel.

First I picked my fabrics:

I loved this colour palette, so bright and lush. I decided to use the back fabric with the circular motif for the tail and the other two for the fins. Next I had to dye some cheesecloth as Angela directed using Rit dye:

I then tacked the head using a batik fabric to add depth to the face.  I needle sculpted the head (eyes, nose and mouth).  I admit that the face looks a bit weird at this point but I know from experience that this will be a good face:

Now I went to town beading the mermaid tail and fin.  I also added real shells to the piece. 

 I then "skinned" the face to cover the needle sculpting and coloured the face using mostly watercolour pencils (some permanent marker and some acrylic paints).  I added a touch of dimensional glaze to the eyes and mouth:

Notice that I made the child mermaid as well.  The eyes on the child are farther apart and the face has less colouring than the mamma mermaid.  I used the same fabrics for both dolls, just in a different order.  I love the way they turned out.

I hope you enjoyed this duo as much as I enjoyed making them.  I love online classes as I always learn so much and it stimulates me to create!

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Frida Kahlo II

2017 has started with a lot of sadness and sorrow.  In the span of two weeks I lost my beloved mom (aged 86) and a dear friend (aged 77).  I took solace in my creative life and I made a second Frida.  I call this new piece, " Embrace the Shadows"

In life to fully appreciate the light, we must embrace the shadows-the sorrowful, the dark can have great power.  But if we embrace the shadows and remember the light and joy that our loved ones brought us, then we can continue to celebrate life and our loved ones by embracing all the rich tapestry of our life and our surroundings.

I started with the candlestick, which I purchased many months ago during the Halloween season.  At the time I was thinking only of Halloween but now the candlestick symbolized so much more:

Time is precious and death is the final call for us all.

I used Arley Berryhill's pattern, "Candlestick Diva" as my starting point.  I wanted a larger head to emphasize the shadowy side of Frida.  I had purchased the fabric a year ago with a Frida doll in mind, and it was perfect for the skirt.  The iconic Mexican folk print celebrates life and brings hope to the piece.

Frida's hair is black yarn, braided in her typical Mexican folk art style.  I added crocheted flowers to the back along with black feathers to symbolize sorrow.  
Back of Frida's head showing flowers and feathers in her hair
Frida stands 25" tall and so has quite the presence.  I am very pleased with the finished piece and it helped bring joy back to this dismal year!  I hope you enjoy her.

The three crows are made from black velvet and her earrings are a nod to the day of the dead.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Frida Kahlo

I love making Frida Kahlo dolls as for me she is an icon.  She was born in 1907 just three years before the Mexican revolution and she has a physically painful life due to an accident that took her right leg when she was just 19.  Due to her accident she could no longer study medicine (she had wanted to become a doctor) but found art as her escape.  

Frida embraced life to the fullest, her pain, her joy, her love of art, her love of Mexico and Mexican folk art and her love of nature and animals.

My inspiration for this piece was  a photo of one of Frida's folkloric Mexican outfits and Frida's red prosthetic leg:

I used the technique that I learned from Shelley Thornton but with a painted face rather than embroidered:

I found the perfect Mexican folk art chair and went from there:

As you can see, I crocheted flowers for her hair and made her a black cat and a Milagro Mexican heart pendant.  I hope you enjoy her.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Christmas Craft Shows

 It has been awhile since my last post as I have been crazy busy getting ready for two craft shows.  The first is just over and it was a success!  I featured my christmas ornaments and my "Wooly Critters" as well as my Owl backpacks at the "Gifts for Myself and Others" show at the Da Vinci Centre in Victoria, BC.  

The "Wooly Critters" were a huge success as were my ornaments.  I sold my three backpacks as well.  It is very rewarding watching people walk by and break into a huge smile.  I knew then that I had done a good job in bringing my whimsy to life.

My Christmas bunnies sold out as did my backpacks. They were so much fun to make and I will make the bunnies again for the next holiday season.  Here are just a sampling:

As you can see they are about 7" or so to the tip of their ears.
Once I finished with the wee bunny girls I decided to alter the jacket pattern and create some bunny boys:

In addition to the bunnies I also made some snowmen and angel ornaments as well as some foxes and raccoons but the bunnies were the favourites, I think due to my "over the top" embroidery on the front and back of the coats and jackets.  Here are a few of the back of the pieces:

Well now on to the next show which starts on Wednesday, November 23rd at the Coast Collective Art Centre in Colwood BC, the "Gift and Wishes" show.  Luckily I saved some special ornaments and critters for this show as well!  

That is all for now and I hope that you remember to support your local artists and buy local this holiday season!  It is not the quantity but the quality of the gift that matters.  Everyone appreciates a special hand made gift from a local artisan, I know I do!