Sunday, 21 March 2010

One Doll Down....

And two more dolls to go! I'm really pleased with how they are going.

I revisited the doll on an armature, redid the wadding, and used paperclay to create some very simple hands, feet and a neck. This has all been done completely the wrong way round, in the 'Jules patent, never follow instructions manner', but it seems to be working ok. Andy says she looks like the Bride of Frankenstein - with her 'real' head and weird padded body. I want to try and dress her before I post a picture! Next time I will do it properly. I've bought the correct wires etc now, rather than improvising with cheap garden stuff, well, she was a trial version!

My clay doll is semi naked at the moment. She has had her face painted twice, as I was so eager to get on with her that I tried to do it one evening. Bad idea! The light was much too poor and she came out looking sunburnt! She looks much better now, but I am not really happy with the sculpt. I could have done much better. In hindsight I should have followed my own thinking instead of following the workshop - but, you live and learn. It was still a very useful thing to do, and I would recommend it for anyone like me, who is branching into clay for the first time.

Despite this I'm getting quite fond of her, and as Andy pointed out "look at your first cloth doll, compared to what you are making now". I think I have too high expectations of myself sometimes, hee hee.

I'm also so contrary - alongside these high expectations I really used to be bad (or good, however you view it), at making do. For example, I've always used whatever came to hand, like old sheets or garden wire. All my (unnamed) threads came from a job lot on the net. I think this had a lot to do with not having any confidence about what I was creating, and thinking it would never be any good. Now though, I am buying the best materials I possibly can, and what a difference it has made to how I feel about my work. I still enjoy recycling things, but not because I have to!

So here is my latest cloth doll, very aptly on 21st March - Prima Vera, Herald of the Spring.

She's been finished really simply, as a complete contrast to my normal work, which comprises of a lot of costuming and beading. She just looked me in the eye, and said "I am a free spirit, Jules", and so that is how she appears. Although some could say that her expression is just "Away with the fairies".......

I tried to make her appear very organic. The silk strips were dyed by me. As far as her actual creation goes she is by far and away the best "made" cloth doll I have done. I worked out the pattern and the stitching went well, and the hands are good, and poseable! As I am not really a "sewer", I was really pleased and that is another reason I wanted to show off the body, usually I am trying to hide something! The body painting came out a lot better than I expected too.I love her hair so much I wish it was mine! It's the softest Blue Leicester fleece which I bought from a lady in Germany on Ebay.

I don't have any other piccies for this post, although it's been a lovely sunny day today and we did attempt to go to a National Trust property. Ooops. Being members we hadn't realised it is a "free entry" promotional weekend. I have never seen so many cars, and all parked along the lane leading to the property, never mind in the car park. We swiftly decided not to bother, as there would be no pleasure in it.

I hope the Trust get lots of new memberships from the event, but suspect many people are just freeloading. We're happy to pay our subscription and go whenever we wish. I did buy two gorgeous hellebores on the way home from outside a little cottage, so it wasn't all a wasted journey, and we have marked a new walk to try. So hopefully we will be able to begin our "travels" soon, and I'll have some good photos to post.

I'm off to Cheltenham for work tomorrow, I learnt last week that my team is getting a new manager from 1st April, so that's more change to deal with. Still, it is the way of things these days. I still have my dream of spending all my time being creative, and it will happen.

It will be great to catch up with a few of my old friends tomorrow, I so miss seeing them regularly now, and I have a lunch date with my friend Kate. I'm looking forward to hearing about her recent trip to my beloved New Zealand.

Have a great week!


  1. Jules!
    Prima Vera is just divine! You have done an amazing job of painting her face and her hair IS to die for! I love that she is free and has a positive self body image! Can't wait to see photos of the other doll you are making too.

    I think sometimes we do expect too much when we try a new technique. I try to tell myself to enjoy the process and that it doesn't matter if every piece (or any piece for that matter) is not a masterpiece!

    Are you a Kiwi?! I lived in NZ for 10 years....

  2. What a wonderful informative blogpost! Where do I begin. Well, first of all, your new spring doll is extraordinary! How can you possibly not think so? She rivals any cloth doll I've seen in the magazines. And, to think you only do this 'part time.' I can only imagine what you would come up with if you had 8 hours a day to work on your dolls. But, you know, it doesn't work that way. If you are at home working, people think you don't work and thus rely upon you for doing a whole array of things for them. LOL
    What I love about your posts is the fact that you intersperse them with all sorts of English sayings and doings. I love hearing about your dountry-hey, I'll be there soon!

  3. What a wonderful beautiful and inspiring post. Prima is awesome! One of these days I am going to attempt to make a doll like yours, you are a talent indeed! Oh how I wish I could meet my blogging friends, we would have so much fun together:)
    As I tell my students, creation is not about is about pleasing you the artist. No matter what journey you take to make your project, please your heart and the rest will shine on it's own. I also tell them fabric is made everyday, if something happens you can always purchase a little more fabric and to me that is fun:)
    Looking forward to more dolls! Thanks for posting them they are so beautiful!
    Jenna Louise

  4. Hi Jules,
    Beautiful doll!:)
    I love her blue eyes and I love the expression on her face, as if she is away with the fairies... Hee hee!
    She looks like a lovely free spirit doll to me, as well. Just perfect!
    Thank you for your kind comment on my post. I enjoyed hearing about your family too. Wow, Blackmore and 'Lorna Doone'. Family trees are really interesting.
    Have a wonderful creative week.
    Best wishes, Jo.x

  5. Jules, you should be very pleased! Prima Vera is gorgeous! And you are so right that it is kismet she should be "born" on the first day of spring!

  6. She's amazingly beautiful! I also want her hair.


  7. Prima Vera really has captured the essence of Spring-she is lovely. I can tell you are proud of her-and so you should be.
    We remembered at the last minute it was NT free weekend and went somewhere else. But it was very quiet at Lacock Abbey on Monday morning-I was first through the door!

  8. Your sdoll is stunning. Very mermaid like :)


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