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December 8th, 2016

12:42 pm - Green fuzz
So, for a filler (and finally getting around to doing it) project, I started making a sloth plush last night.  He's from a pattern, not OOAK; I'm using this "Spencer Sloth" pattern purchased from

Isn't he cute?

The fur I have is very similar to the one shown, or if anything a little bit shaggier. Yes, real sloths can appear green or at least greenish in the wild--as mold will grow on their fur. When I visited my sister in CA last year, we went shopping over in SanFrancisco, and one of the places was a  fabulous fabric store (blanking on the name of the place). they had all kinds of cool fabrics and faux furs. I mentioned that the shaggy green would make a wonderful sloth, and later on my sister sent me a yard of it. Which, has of course, just been sitting in my stash until now.

lol. It made a bit of a mess cutting the fur; even though I was careful and tried to not shear off any of the pile length, it still left some amount of residual fuzz. I can also guess I'm going to have some fun picking the seams after sewing as well.

There is enough fur left over to either make another smaller sloth or perhaps make an anthopomoprphic sloth wearing clothes. Inspiration for that was an odd little gif on the "All Monsters are Human" FB page, a blip of stop motion animation of various eerrie odd-combination dolls and animals walking jerkily in a parade. There was one upright slothlike crtitter, wearing a waistcoat and boots.

This first time, I'm going to follow the Spencer Sloth pattern instructions fairly close and only change things up slightly. I did enlarge the pattern from 14" to 28" (because I like things bigger). I may make his three-toed claws more spearate. The pattern head is jointed, but if I can't find the correct size doll joint, I may just stitch and sew to attach it. Same thing with seeing what I can find for doll eyes.  If there is nothing at JoAnn's, Hobby Lobby or Michael's will work, I'll just paint and color the face and add a bit more soft sculpting to the features. (note to self: find some good online supply sorurces for future projects)

While I'm at Joann's (planned trip later this afternoon), I'll find something (hopefully doeskin) to use for the face and claws, and I need to pick up some flesh toned cotton for (next in line) male doll bodies as well.

Bought three cheap used books from Amazon. Two on art dolls of the Deco Era, and one on an interesting Cloth Doll proect (where the dolls were passed between artists around the country and evolved along their journey). The Oroyan book has some patterns for crafting, but the others are more just inspirational. Think I'll consider these my annual new-year's nonfiction purchase, to learn something new in the new year.


I'm really thinking 2017 will be my "Year of the Doll". Plan to focus my creative efforts on dollmaking. (Dollmaking really does utilize most of my major areas of creative interests- fabric and fugurative work, embellishment, costuming, etc) As a goal, I'd like to complete at least one doll or plushie every 2 months (including completing Paisley). I'd like to say a doll a month, for a dozen in a year, but knowing the pace I work at, committing to actually finishing somewhere between six and ten is more reasonableand less daunting. Would also like, as a directly related project, to make a tutorial to accompany one of the male dolls I create. I think I could market something like that to fill a niche. Same thing for a life sized doll, theire aren't too many such patterns available; I really  think I have or could modify the large size patterns I've worked with enough to call them unique and my own. Will look more into how much one does have to alter something to make it non-plagarizing? Ideas so far, besides Paisley, could include: male Krampus doll;  contemporary Guy doll,  pin-up girl doll; anthro-sloth; carousel centaur; anatomical venus, conjoined twins; monkey-girl, or sphynx plush.

Maybe I'll try to find some contests or challenges to inspire me and to enter work in later in the year. Or, when I have enough pieces, 6 or so, actually done, i could apply for an exhibit space at the Flying Monkey. See, checking out the local doll club, working on pattern turtorials, and contests are all ways to get my work seen and out beyond my own hobbyist household shelves. Another option would be stting up an etsy shop; I could do that right now, but it would be mostly bottle trees and ribbon flower work. Could add doll work later on.

Oh, while it comes to mind, here is a link to an interesting online article about "strange dolls": http://weburbanist.com/2009/11/02/amazingly-strange-handmade-dolls-puppets-sculpture/ I happened across that during my web search yesterday.  Also spent a good amount of time going through all the blog enties for the Tulsa Dolling Dames blog http://tulsadollingdames.blogspot.com/ and friended their FB as well; they are a specificially cloth doll club. Closer to home, I messaged the local Twickingham Dolls Club to see when their meetings are (think I will go check them out); I believe they are more a collector's club than an artist's one (judging from the times they used our library cases for a display). Also seem to more geared toward non-cloth dolls, but again a different point of view may be welcome; at least I'm hoping so.  Lol, I remember the time years ago in Havre Mt, I got a table at a local doll show to show off my odd little cloth dolls, and felt very out of the loop as everyone else had Barbie type or porcelian dolls; felt a little snubbed and think some of the ladies were a little surprised by my anatomically corrrect dollwork. As I recall though, I did make one sale to a kind and kindred spirit.

Tangent--what do you call a male doll (lol,besides just a doll)? "Manikin" of course works, but's been used in another pattern title already. Dude dolls is another descriptor, but meh not feeling that one so much. "Guy" could be a name for a single pattern, or "Manny". Desmond referes to his action figures as his "Mens"; I want to work on my mens too.

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December 7th, 2016

01:01 pm - more patterns

I got a small bonus/holiday gift from the Friends of the Library, and promptly spent most it on doll patterns from http://dollmakersjourney.com/opatterns.html Am still on my guy doll tangent of interest, so bought a couple more standard body patterns and two costume patterns as well (for a matadore's outfit and a victorian suit). That last pattern, as you can see, is an anthropomorphic cat-man, but doesn't he look dapper in his frock coat?

Also orderd an instructional DVD on using watercolor pencils to draw/paint doll faces. (used this technique with Suzie-Rose, but thought I could learn more.) I wonder if there will be any male faces used as samples?

note aside: I browsed all the patterns on the Dollmakers' Journey site and, while I didnot keep actual track of the numbers, I would guess there are at least 3 or 4 female doll patterns for any one male pattern. And that is being generous counting the fantasy elves and santa figures. Most of the other male dolls also seem to be charicature heads with exaggerated features. With girl dolls, you get a lot of "pretty" faces, but it's much harder to find "handsome" ones for guys. (am wondering if my guys will as a result turnout more androgynous or have to have beards and 'staches to make them appear more manly?

Which reminds me, I did websurf across some adorable 3-d molded "gay" guy dolls.http://marymagpie.com/firstlove. Cuter and cooler than  Ken aren't they? I wonder if they'll make dyke dolls too? :)  Later: yes, the artist also does female dolls, in standard 11" Barbie size, or he also offers a  small sized 6"  doll but with  (squee!) 12 different wigs!

So, why are there so many more lady dolls and doll patterns available? Does "doll" first mean girl and then " toy representation of a person-either-sex"? You could say its because more girls play with dolls as children and so want to identify with who they are playing with, but girls play some with boy dolls too? Don't you need Ken to Barbie and a Father for the doll house family sometimes, or just because you like G.I Joe. But anyway, I am making art dolls now not children's toys. But there really isn't any more equity there.  Even with male doll artists and adult collectors, it still seems like female figures predominate. (Even with the dolls I've made myself in the past, I've only made one or maybe two male dolls, fit right into that 1/5 sort of statistic). As art dolls, part of the meaning is questioning the gender roles of dolls and playing with dolls. On another related aspect, is it harder to make cloth/ "rag" dolls that read as "art dolls" rather than "play dolls"? The tactile textile surface invites touch and so invites "Play"? (My dolls wouldn't stand up to hard play, but can be manipulated, moved, cuddled.) Though its not necesarrily so (see the work of Lisa Lechenfels or Antionette Cely), are cloth dolls thought to be simpler and more primitive/homey craft than fine art dolls scuplted from other media? I like skirting the edges of these dichotomies, either of gender or function.

Ok, I really Do think I've carried my guy doll craze as far as I should or want to without actually making something.(Heh, like that's ever stopped my further researching or planning; I'm so much better at this phase of creation rather then procrastination slowed productivity) Thinking, rather than just doing a fantasy figure, I'm going to make a guy doll (from one of the basic body patterns), but then with a Krampus costume suit and mask for him to wear. So, he will be both Krampus and one of the costumerd "runners" from the Kranpuslaufs. May keep it easier and make the body already(nonremovable) suited, but at least the mask will be removable--I like the idea of doing this because the mask will be more like the exaggerated over the top doll features one expects of male figure dolls, but with the more realistic head underneath. Kind of a seasonal doll project as well, got Krampus on my mind too.

I know, shouldn't I be working on Paisley and her life size parts? I should be but am mulling over fabrics and such. Also got a bit of procrastination going because of her size--where am I going to put another lifesized doll here around the house? I sort of feel like I want to do a smaller and quicker to complete project and then go back to Paisley. And I got pulled off iinto being interested in male dolls, and so, well you see where I'm going. Business as usual for my creative process...around in circles we go.

Definitions: Human beings of all ages, circumstances, and cultures understand and respond to dolls/figurative sculptures as objects of personal meaning and artistry.  Doll Artists make personalized objects for self-expression, to mark occasions, to release or contain emotion, for play, power and performance.Art dolls production demand a wide range of skills and technologies, including sculpting, painting, and costuming. They are often multimedia objects made from materials such as fabric, paperclay, polymer clay, wax, wood, porcelain, natural or synthetic hair, yarn, wool, and felt. Art dolls are OOAK- one of a kind or When the original or first doll is sculpted, assembled, costumed and finished by the artist and this doll is never made again, it is called a one-of-a-kind doll. One-of-a-kind dolls are almost always entirely designed and handcrafted by the creating artist Craft that turns the corner into art.

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December 6th, 2016

11:15 am - Not having much luck
on the doll front.

I recieved another of the patterns I'd ordered, only to find out they'd included the Making Memories 36" girl doll not the the 39" guy doll pattern. Differences are in the torso shape and head pattern pieces. Going to have to return and reorder. Or maybe I'll just keep the girl doll pattern so I'll have a pair.

Did get the "Wally the woodchopper" pattern as well, it looks fun. I may even try it at the size provided, 16". or I may emlarge the pattern. (Later: I did enlarge the pattern to 24" size) lol..includes a "secret package" with a penis and balls pattern.

Haven't received the "Bloke" pattern yet, and of course that was the one I was really looking forward to. Hope it's not out of print. Acchh, all this pattern stress--I could and may well end up designing my own,

Finished reading the Krampus book. Have another non-fic book now, on Juliana jewlery.

Went to bed too early last night, before 8 pm, and slept fitfully.

https://www.pinterest.com/heatherawhitesi/guy-dolls/ My pinterest board for guy doll images and inspiration. I'm looking more for cloth doll images, rather than sculpted or bjd molds. Looking for semi-realistic, not generic doll, nor charicature faces with outsized and over emphasized features.. It's taken me a while to turn these up, but have gotten a fair amount now.

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December 5th, 2016

01:36 pm - not much
by way of having a productive weekend, but I guess it was all right anyway.

I did finish stitching on the emblellishments to Paisley's torso. (still need to get some floss and do a bit of embroidery before I call it all done--and note to self, do rest of embellishments on flat fabric pattern pieces BEFORE sewiing and stuffing other body parts rather than after the fact.) Do think it looks pretty good. But I then stalled out on getting any further doll work done, other than getting out the ironing board and looking at the pattern pieces. Waiting til I get some fabric I ordered, to see if it's what I want to use for the face and hands or not. Procrasrtinating on deciding on if I want to joint the doll limbs or not. Did join a couple doll groups on FaceBook, for more inpiration and social networking. Posted pics of Faintheart that got some good compliments, and some likes on Suzie-Rose.

Recieved one of the male doll patterns I'd ordered, Life-size Henry was a bust; the body is just made from a stuffed set of longjohns and turtleneck sweater. Maybe the head pattern will be useful at some point. Hope the other patterns are better.

I made another trip to the bookstore this weekend and picked up a copy of Art Doll Quarterly to browse though, mostly so I would have the submissions information. There used to be a couple other doll art magazines as well, but this is the only one left in publication.

Bought myself a nonfiction book to read, Krampus: The Old, Dark Christmas by Al Ridenour. Sort of a sociological/anthropological look at Krampus.mostly about the European folklore and continuing folk traditions in Austria, and a bit about the revivial of Krampus interest in America. It's an nteresting book with great illustrationsof folk art masks and costumes.

Also finished reading a good novel over the weekend, Frog Music by Emma Donoghue. My father had suggested it to me. It was a piece of historical fiction about an actual murder in Victorian San Francisco. Interesting strong but flawed women characters.

Spent too much time napping. dreary weather and a new heated matress pad will do that to a person. Feel SAD coming on to, really going to have to push against the urge to hibernate the season away.

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December 2nd, 2016

12:14 pm - guy dolls
Recently, I ordered these male doll patterns. I think I can work between to come up with a guy doll pattern I like. Characterwise, I am thinking carny barker, or circus strongman for my sideshow set, or a Krampus or faun. Probably won't try to do a life size, I'm pretty sure Paisley will be my last doll of that scale for a while. (Although you never know) I'm not quite as inclined to make guy dolls, prefering female figures (I would guess that's the self portrait aspect of the dollmaking). However, I did think some variety might be fun.

Added a few pins to my doll board of male characters. it's harder to find interesting men dolls, in my opinion. especially in cloth.
pics behind cut. See More:Collapse )

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December 1st, 2016

11:42 am - still obsessing about dolls

 some vintage large dolls, I love how the first is a look-a-like!

I have all kinds of thoughts about dolls.

 I wonder if there was anything about dolls as a child that made me want to create them as an adult? I remember having a Mrs. Beasley doll, and still have my bedraggled and beloved stuffed tiger, both were large enough to cuddle.  I also recall Coleen having a Raggedy Ann and I had Raggedy Andy. I know I had my share of plastic little kiddles, and trolls, while my sister had Barbies to play with and our father built us a simple dollhouse for them. I know there were lots of stuffed animals too. Just a hodgepodge of the regular sorts childhood toys. Nope, can't really spot any particular doll or starting point there; so much for childhood psychological bridges (other than being a girl and growing up with dolls and toys in a general sort of way).

I  also wonder if perhaps my being a twin has anything to do with my dollmaking? Dolls as surrogate for my twin when she isn't with me. Also, being a twin, I'm already comfortable with the idea of having a doppleganger. Someday I'll make a conjoined twin doll for my sideshow set.

I'm drawn to dolls of a certain size, larger size.  I started off making smaller ones years ago. but they seemed to "grow" on me, making larger dolls until I finally decided to try making a life sized doll or two. Is it because the closer to lifesize, the more likely they trip that uncanny feeling? Does making them life size make them more life-like? For me, that's an attraction not an unpleasant sense of unease.

Even when I'm making morbid themed dolls (which I do from time to time), I don't find dolls "creepy", but they do have a presence. I also like doll themed horror stories and films and stories about robots and cyborgs. And I've done some research into the historical Anatomical Venus and Sleeping Beauty mannequins; these are all part of the same thing. So, I guess I do like the "creep" factor afterall!  I know I do sometimes have dreams where I am sewing a doll and suddenly realize I'm sewing actual human body parts. How's that for creepy?

What kind of dolls do I like to create? Cloth dolls. I like to work with textiles. For dolls, I like the feel of cloth over hard plastic or cold clays.(although I do have a vinyl "reborn" animal sphynx cat set to try making and painting) I don't do baby dolls, but moslty adult female forms. Fantasy characters and some anthrpomoprhic or at least figures with some fantastical elements, mostly but Semi realistic,  anatomically suggestive (as in having breasts and sometimes even sculpted vulvas). I don't make sex dolls, just sexed ones. These aren't children's toys but art dolls, not really made to be played with but as artistic expression.

Guess I did really start crafting dolls and doing fandom costuming at about the same time. I think this come form the same sort of creative impulses, to create characters and avatars. Dollmaking is also a way to do costuming, but perhaps at a smaller easier to fit size. Lol, odd that my current Paisley project is an embellished doll without any additional clothing. her embellishment/tatoos are her outfit.

I have almost 100 pins on my "Doll Project" Pinterest board. Mostly they are inspirational photos, but some are for technique reference, some are of my own portfolio doll work on Suzie-Rose and Paisley.

Is it odd that I've already personalized/anthropomophized Paisley when she is just a torso with no limbs or head at the moment? Her backstory is that she is a tattooed lady, She is also a self portrait of sorts, more of personality than appearance, although I do think I'll give her wild colored hair and catseye glasses akin to my own.

With all the embellishments just about sewn on the torso; I'll go back to working on the construction other body parts for Paisley.(Still ponering adding some embridery to the torso, ala crazy quilting or os enough enough?)  Not quite sure yet if I want to work on her limbs or her head next. Thinking about it, will probably will at least start with and do a mock up of the new head pattern I have to see what it looks like and then decide if I want to work with it for Paisley. (I have a feeling it's not going to be quite large enough working with the pattern as is. Still, doinf a trial  on the construction and face sculpting could be useful practice anyway)  Am also contemplaing whether to use paisley printed fabric for her face (and hands and feet) or just a solid plain cotton as untattooed skin; Would have to be a real subtle print, like white on beige. But if the idea is that the paisley patterns are tattoos, then plain fabric for untouched skin makes more sense.

You know, i used to be able to write a coherent essay. This is more just chain of thought or a very rough first draft of something. My journal is wordy but not all that literate.

jump--I also think I may rework my last bonsia bottle tree a bit. I'm not happy with the orangish bark, was trying something different but it didn't really work. I need to repaint it to a more brown-grey naturalistic tone. Also think I may add  paper or silk flowers around the bottles, thinking sort of like white magnolia blossoms, petals furling out with the bottles in the center. Don't know when I'll get back to this, it's  just an idea. hmm...small trees and large dolls.

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November 29th, 2016

10:16 am - Creative mood
https://www.pinterest.com/heatherawhitesi/doll-project/ Link to my "board" of collected doll images to help along my Paisley life size doll project.

I'm in one of those "too many ideas and too little time" moods. I want to be working on something (dollmaking) but have several ideas that keep floating around in my head.

One is to work on Paisley, and I did for a bit this morning, working on stitching down some of the embellishments on the crazy patchwork on the torso.

Two is to try out  the new head shape patttern I downloaded yesterday (Cyber Monday) to see how I like it as a possibility for Paisley.
Three to sew up the cute sloth plush pattern I also got; it looks fairly quick and easy to sew together. (especially so if I can manage to just do the pattern as it is and not try to change it up any--other than I already enlarged the pieces to have a somewhat bigger plush, 28" instead of 14").
Four to make a Krampus doll for the holidays. Probably put off til next year, to get it done in time for the winter season.
Five is a sphynx cat doll I've started on but not finished.
Six is the strongman doll I mentioned in passing.

Last night was suppossed to be the 5K run through the Galaxy of Lights, but the weather decided to whip up a storm and I decided to wuss out. Pout.

Made a contribution today GivingTuesday to METAvivor (breast cancer research and support) in memory of Angela Ivory. She was a running friend of mine and an inspiration.

And no, I didn't go shopping on Black Friday either. And was traveling so missed out on Small Business Saturday, And there we have all the "Days"  tagged commercial and otherwise.

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November 28th, 2016

09:58 am - doll history and thoughts
I walked over to Barnes & Noble yesterday and spent a while browsing. I leafed through the current edition of Art Doll Quarterly; that's always inspiring. Noticed that in their upcoming submission categories was "Self Portrait Dolls.  I think my life-sized crazy quilted tattooed Paisley doll would fit in that category. Of course, I need to finish her first. (deadline isn't until this summer, so plenty of time)

So, I then also spent some time websurfing for more inspiration and ideas. Below are links to some of my internet search results: keywords: Life size doll







I weeded out the Real Doll and Japanese sex doll sites, even if there are some interesting articles about the dolls and their construction, there's also a bunch of porn I don't want to get into.

Speaking of porn, that made me remember when I owned a plushie anthropomorphic bat girl who was "Functionally equipped". That wasn't why I bought her, I just thought she was cool.. But also heavy and unwieldly and in need of repair. At some point I sold her to another furry. But here are a couple photos from when we played "dress up": Dress up...I really think a couple of my furry costumes, in particular Bunnidoll and Tazzell were as much doll avatars as outfits for me.

http://kids.nunodoll.com/lifesize/ best DIY site for dollmaking. I used the pattern as a starting point for Paisley and Suzie-Rose.

I also eventually want to make a couple male dolls--a krampus figure and a circus strongman (who would be B to my Paisley).

Found a couple doll patterns on Etsy that I ordered, two of them were for digital downlaod, so I gotthem right away--an adorable plush sloth and a head pattern to use with a dressmaker's dummy. I also ordered a lifesize guy pattern and another male doll from another company. So much for my Cyber-Monday purchases.

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November 21st, 2016

10:51 am - devil dance
Vintage and retro burlesque of a half/half routine Dancing with the Devil. What if I did a costume with a Christmas/Winter theme and made it Krampus dancing with Belle Snickle instead?

In a bit of synchronicity, the above image was used on a poster for a local band's upcoming gig.

And here are a couple videos, one vintage one neoburlesque, of a half/half routine:


belle and a krampus doll

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November 20th, 2016

03:46 pm - warmth
After I had mentioned wanting a new eclectric blanket, B went out and bought us a heated mattress pad for the bed (which is even better than a blanket!). I'm always cold, and Gaz loves to stay warm as well, so we are thrilled by this. It even has dual controls to regulate each individual side of the bed.  I may want to hibernate til Spring.

But I did get out of bed this morning and into the kitchen for cooking. So, I  got the sweet potato and coconut milk soup cooked up, blended down, and in the freezer.

Treated myself to a peppermint mocha and a new book from Barnes & Noble. With the library all in disarray with the carpeting project, couldn't really find anything to check out to read, and I needed something to have while on vacation next week. PIcked out "Orphans of the Carnival" by  Carol Birch, a piece of historical fiction about Victorian "freak" performer Julia Pastrana.  Also went to Walmart to pick up a couple more t-day grocery items and a new pair of exercise tights and another long sleeved shirt. While crafting, I'd managed to get spray glue over a large parch of one leg of my old leggings; I can still wear them but they look fuzzy.

Bought this upcycled tunic sweater from a local friend with an Etsy shop, Up Tick Chic; wore it out to dinner last night and got compliments first thing! I liked all the bright colours and think I have several brooches that will show off nicely on the sweater. It'll also look nice over those new black tights I bought. I'm thinking I may try to resell a couple of my pinup dresses (the ones where the bust is a bit large and don't really fit me), to kind of  balance out and make up for my recent shopping binges.

Last meds appt upped my vyvanse prescript; think I can feel the boost. (wonder why it's a controlled substance; can only get one month's presription at a time) Stopping the nalttrxone; it's not really helping as much as it initially did with the BED and it makes me tired. Gods know I can sleep enough already without any assist.

If I hadn't been working at the library this weekend, I could have gone to help out at the Flying Monkey Marathon. It's one of my favorite races, I've done it 6 previous years, but I don't kow if I'll ever get in shape to do it again. Mona was running this year.

There's a new Facebook group for runners interested in Fixed Time events. And Ragen Chastain was soliciting essays about being a slow athlete to be reposted on her blog. Those things go together hand in hand (or foot) for me right now. The only way I can do marathons or ultras is to do long timed events (of at least 12 hours), or events like the Pistol where the cut off times are very generous. I'm looking forward to doing a 50K there for the new year; wish I could find the wherewithall to do the 100k but think I might fall a little short (and slow) even with 30 hours. Hoping to be in shape to get to 50k at Delano in 12 hours in March then.

Oh, and I neeed to have B take a couple high resolution pics of my "Bequest" tattoo; it got picked to be included in a photo art book of Anatomical tattoos! I'm kind of jazzed about that.

Well, another hour on the clock here at the library, and then I'm on vacation for a whole week. Am going up to Hannah's tomorrow to babysit for her, so she can attend an ICAN meeting in the evening; then on Tuesday we head  out to Illinois to visit Dad. Will be there Tues-Fri, and then I'll still have a weekend back at home before having to be back to work. I feel  really bad that I don't see Dad more often, just once or twice a year. The distance between here and St. Louis is just long enough to be too long.

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