Friday, 15 January 2016

Steampunk Crows

The crow is really a magical bird as is known in many cultures as a shape shifter.  Crows are highly intelligent, fascinating creatures and this is part of the reason that I love to use them in my creative process.

Since this is the beginning of 2016, I started my year with a set of three steampunk crows.  I used the basic pattern from Frowning Frances and then adapted, added, shifted, as we all do in the creative process.

My first crow is called "The Traveller".  He has travelled the world over and settled on the beautiful shores of Vancouver Island on a path full of shells and bits of ocean debris.

He carries a wee bird nest with his buddy on board and is ready to settle down.

Next, I decided that the crow is the ideal bird for Valentine's day as he has a great sense of family and co-operation.  This second piece is entitled "I Give you My Heart" and depicts the crow holding the key to his heart.  he carries many locks and keys and sports a felt top hat complete with side feather.  I decided that for his base he needed a "heart" themed stand.  I used a plain wooden faux spool (available at Michaels) and gessoed it before giving it a coat of paint. Next I built a heart on the top of the spool using my stash of red buttons.  I then decorated the spool with velvet wired ribbon, hand-crocheted flowers, silk and velvet flowers, and paper flowers.  I glued him to his stand and added a final large key at his feet.  I just love him.

He stands proudly offering his heart and the key to his heart.

A close up of the button heart and the spool decoration that I made.

This shows his chest with the assortment of locks and keys.

Another look at the spool decoration.
Finally, I made one last crow to represent the creative process.  This crow is all about the "journey of the imagination".  He is adorned with tape measures, fabric and a thimble on his back.  A zipper on his back, time pieces, keys and sports a leather cap with fine feathers.  Of course, when one creates, one stops for a tea break as represented by the tea caddy he holds!

I hope you enjoyed my January creative journey.  The crows will be for sale at the Coast Collective Art Centre (Wale Rd) in Victoria, BC.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Last Doll of 2015

I started this doll during the Christmas holiday.  Our doll club, the Clothadollics have a new challenge called "Royalty" for Feb 2016.  I knew I had to make the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland so I started by gathering inspirational pictures of the queen. Here are just a sampling of my inspirational pictures:

 All the queens seemed so angry and haughty that I decided that my queen would have a more gentle expression before Wonderland changed her!

Next I started gathering my fabrics and trims.  I knew that the colour palette would be red, black, white and gold.  I wanted hearts and a "Queen of Hearts" card and a crown.  Luckily, I have a huge selection of fabrics and trims that I have been gathering for over 15 years so I had all I needed in my stash:

I forgot to show you the gold dupioni silk I added to my stash as well.

Now the next step was deciding on a basic pattern template and then adapting it to create my Queen.  I choose Arley Berryhill's Candlestick Diva (from a workshop I took with Arley a few years ago, sponsored by our doll club).  I love Arley's dolls and costuming.  For the queen I enlarged the pattern and started with the face.  I also choose a candle stick from the 5 or 6 I had in my stash.

I tried out a few until I found the perfect one.  The only problem was that it was a blond wood, not what I had in mind for the queen.  No matter, I painted it a bright red and then added gold highlights. The last step was giving the candlestick a coat of gloss.

Now on to the fun stuff, the doll!

I was so excited as the face emerged that I only took photos in the end so here she is:

I was very happy with her face.  I think she has a gentle quality.  I used orange mohair locks for her hair that I needle felted in.  Her hat is made from a red jersey and has red and black embellishments that I sewed by hand.  The trim along the edge is a european pearl beaded trim that I found in Toronto a couple of years ago!  It finally came in handy.

Here you can clearly see the candlestick that I used, painted and glossed.

She stands about 28" tall.
Her flamingo is all felt and sewn by hand.  She holds a Queen of Hearts playing card in her left hand as well as a feather fan.

Side view showing her lace collar, red sequinned cape and crushed velvet heart shoulder pieces.

I made her sleeves in sections.  I first made fabric, by sewing duping silks together and then made a tube for her upper sleeves.
A close up of her hand showing the crocheted half gloves I made.
The crown I made using wire and pale silver and black pearls.

There are so many more details I added but I will let the photos do the talking.  I hope you enjoy my more gentle, kindly Red Queen.
I coloured her face using art Prismacolour pencils, Pigma markers, acrylic paint (mouth and white of the eyes) and chalk.

28" tall and full of fun, here is the proud gentle queen of hearts before she became haughty!


  As you all know if you follow me, I am thralled with Frida Kahlo and never tire of making dolls in her image.  Here are the latest two mad...