Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Goings on.........

Firstly, it is mid-winter here which means short days and some quite cold nights followed by frosty mornings. So far this year we have had a few colder nights than we have had for many years.......and inevitably, last weekend one of my external water pipes burst from the water inside it freezing. I did what one does in such a situation - I turned off the water at the main and phoned around for a local plumber to come and fix it (it looked like a fairly simple job to me, but one requiring skills and tools I do not possess) After all the phoning around, the soonest I could get a plumber here was Tuesday morning THREE WHOLE DAYS without water on tap. I could have wussed out and gone to a hotel, but I thought that was pretty pathetic, so I confronted the problem of no water head on and stuck it out, carting drinking, cooking and washing water and saving the used water in a bucket to flush the loo...........and because I have a large property with lots of trees and bushes and a trusty spade, I was able to do what bears do in the forest for more serious calls of nature! Please don't ask for more explanation than that! I did sneak out for a shower at my mother's house, I must admit - there are limits!

Well, I survived, but it did bring home to me the fact that for many millions of people in the world, this situation is not just a temporary inconvenience, but a permanent situation and unlike me, they don't have a car to go and fetch water when they need it, but often have to walk great distances and carry it back on their heads. Proper sanitation is also a big issue, I found out, and the death rate from water-borne diseases and disasters numbers in the millions annually. It really made me think and to be thankful for what we take for granted flowing freely and usually cleanly from our taps.

Secondly, because I am known quite well locally as a doll-maker, people often ask if I am able to do repairs on old dolls. This is something I approach carefully, because bad repairs or re-paints can decrease the value of an antique or vintage doll considerably. But sometimes I am able to do it and I even quite enjoy it if I can restore a loved childhood doll to some semblance of its former glory. So when a large Japanese celluloid doll came into my hands a few weeks ago, I was fairly dismayed by its condition and I didn't think I'd be able to do much. It needed re-stringing - that was straightforward, but the worst damage was the chewed off nose and fingers of one hand. This doll needed major reconstruction surgery! I mulled it over for a while and eventually decided to tackle the job. Well, it turned out much better than I could have hoped......I reconstructed a new nose and fingers from two part epoxy sculpting compound and painted the additions with a number of layers of matched paint. It's almost impossible to pick the repaired parts. The face paint had mostly been rubbed off this sad and sorry doll over the years, so I gave her a new face as well. I forgot to get "before" pictures, unfortunately, but this is how the doll looked after her makeover. I hope her owner, who is 88 years old, will be pleased with how she now looks. She's being delivered tomorrow.

The doll came in the clothes she's wearing - it seems to be a vintage crocheted baby's outfit.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Wild Child!

Just finished this wild-haired kid......she's been packed up and sent off. She was made using my "Moxie" pattern and face-mask. Now I'm busy pre-making the little rabbit child heads for my class in Tooradin next week.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Finding Poetry.......

In a chat with a friend over coffee this week, I happened to say that I wrote the odd did she. But my poems are all over the place - written on scraps, on the backs of envelopes, in recipe books and in various old sketchbooks.......all kinds of places.
      Well, one thing tends to lead to another and as I was looking through my pile of sketchbooks in order to find an old sketch for an entirely different reason, I found a few of the "lost" poems. Encouraged, I delved deeper and I managed to find quite a few. Not wanting to "misplace" them again, I copied them into a dedicated book: 

                         Poems.....In No Particular Order. 

I'll keep adding to it as more come to light.

I'm a bit self-conscious about my word-morsels (aka poems) and I'm not quite ready to share them, but here are some of the sketches I came across in my search for lost poems.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


I've just been working on the next piece in my "Imagined Poet" series for my exhibition in August. This kind of looks finished, but it's not - I haven't painted the back!

This piece is called "Smallwings". It's about 60 cms all up.

Friday, May 8, 2015

A Little Brown Rabbit........

Here's my little brown rabbit child - the second doll I've made using this pattern, which I have devised for an up-coming class. I thought I'd better make sure there were no bugs in the design (I don't think there are). It is quite an easy pattern using my "small child head" with a flange at the neck for jointing (the head turns). The most difficult part is painting the head, because it is quite small - this doll is only 23 cms tall to the tips of the ears.

 I decided to use the same cotton print fabric that I used for the dress, to make the paw pads and the ear linings and I used thinned down brown acrylic paint to stain the fabric. I really like this simple blue and white spotted cotton fabric. The body fabric is a viscose pile fabric with a woven (non-stretchy) backing.

 I love that very worried, serious expression that small children get on their faces when they are really trying to understand something that baffles them - I tried to replicate that expression in this doll's face.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Imagined Poet Series - Second Piece

This piece, entitled "Lost Love Poems 1" is the second in a series I am working on: the "Imagined Poet" series. Third and fourth pieces are in planning. Here is what I have done so far for the next piece....... "Smallwings"

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