Sunday, November 29, 2009

100% needle felted Santa

I recently finished a Santa. It is 100% needle felted--a technique wherein one uses un-spun fibers and a barbed needle to create fabric and/or sculptures.

I used wool fibers and angora fibers. I used good old fashioned pipe cleaners to make a wire armature and then needle-felted his body and head forms. Once the head and body were sculpted, I needle felted the wool to create the fabric to make his suit. The pieces of his costume were needle felted together, not sewn and then attached to his body using the felting needles. Even the tints in his face and the color of his eyes were done by needle felting.Here are photos.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

working --too late

Seems like I always think I have more time than I do. then all of the sudden reality hits when I look at the calendar and realize I have only two weeks to get what I should have worked on for months. That is where I am today.
I am taking a break from sculpting faces using DAS clay. I really like what I am creating little gourds with gnome-like, or are they country Santa, faces. The small ones, which are actually artificial gourds, will be just faces and become ornaments. A little larger, are real dried gourds. I have given them a base of huge feet, crafted from the DAS as well as the faces. I most likely will add clay arms and hands as well.
While the clay dries, I will use Bendi dolls and create holiday fairies. While the dolls paint dries I will create beautiful bows from glittering Holiday ribbon.
All this will be done after work and perhaps also before work. And--YIKES!--it needs to be finished tagged and ready to drop off to the Rome Art and Community Center for the annual Holiday House sale by Nov. 1.
I will post photos of my creations here after all is done.But for now the clay is calling me. There are gourds that need faces!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

autumn colors

This time of year in central New York state nature exclaims it's beauty in vibrant and rich colors. Before moving here I never knew that the leaves on trees could turn so many colors. Where I grew up fall leaves would turn basically two, three colors at the most: yellow and brown and a little orange here and there. Still I thought of it as very pretty. I honestly thought that all the colors I saw in fall decorations were probably done with artistic license and the leaves really did not turn those colors.
As I lived in new locations I saw more colors in autumn but nothing as beautiful as the colors here. They are breath-taking. I do believe that the hillsides full of a variety of trees, each with leaves of it's own hue, must be the inspiration for the calico prints. This time of year each bend of the road gives view to a new and wonderful patchwork of vibrant and earthy tones,
I have joined a postcard exchange in one of my favorite online groups. We are each to make one postcard for all the other members of the group that signed up for the exchange. The theme is autumn colors. I have worked on mine a few hours here and there for the past week or so. tonight I have them almost finished. I still need to tweak them a little but for the most part they are done.
I had them drying on the table a few minutes ago. How surprised I was when I realized that I have not used the vibrant hues that I see here every day. Instead, the colors on my card are of the autumns I knew as a child. I find that so odd. I have lived in central New York longer than I have lived anywhere in my life, yet it is through what I knew in my growing years that has come through my creations.

An afterthought--It is now the next morning. After writing this post, I wondered if I should go back and add some vibrant colors. This morning I studied the cards. Although they are darker, hues, I like them. I will not change the colors. They are colors I know and love.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sept 20, 2009

I don't have a theme today. It has just been so long since I have posted that I thought I should post something.
I started my blog with every intention of posting a few times a week, with thoughts, insights or new work. It seeems I get busy with work, and just don't feel like posting. Sometimes I wonder if I have anything of interest anyway. Sometimes I write a "wonderful essay" in my mind. "OH", I think, "This would be great on my blog." But it never makes it out of my mind to my blog.
It seems I have been on a roller coaster of feelings about my "artwork." Is it relevant? Should I continue or should I just clear everything out and sit and watch TV? Then I see a new product or get an idea for a new project and I get that "creative high."
I know I have to create. When I go too long without creating I get very moody and unhappy. It is a drive, a need, to create something. I can't say I am expressing or trying to convey anything. I am just creating because I "have to" and because it gives me joy.
I have a few unfinished pieces right now. No pictures to add to this page, nothing of substance to share. But again I renew my intention to create a blog with current posts, posts that perhaps will be of interest to someone.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My first ever canvas

For some strange reason I had the urge to try "my hand " at painting a face on canvas. Using a brush I base-coated the canvas with some exterior latex paint I had left over from the flower pot I created (picture a few posts down). Then I picked up a brush and using more of the leftover exterior paint I began to paint the face. but then I found I just could not get the effect I wanted. I set down the brush and stuck my finger in the paint. Presto! I was creating the face I saw in my mind. I continued to finger-paint the rest of the face. I did use a brush for the hair, eyebrows and to line the eyes. Everything else was finger-painted. (That is why I put the my hand in quotations in the first line of this post.) So what do you think?

Friday, June 19, 2009

My interview

I recently joined in an interview game that was posted by Carol McKenna from
I would love to have you join in the game. The rules and instructions for the interview game are below my interview.
Here are the questions Carol asked me and my replies.

1. When did you begin to make Art Dolls?
When I quit doing craft shows and got a "regular" job, I promised myself I would make items to express myself and challenge me to grow creatively.. I beleive that is when I began to create art dolls. When" the winter of 2002-2003.

2. What material(s) do you use to make your doll faces and how do these faces evolve?
The materials vary from doll to doll. I began doing needle-sculpture, then branched out to polymer clay, next paper clays and papier mache. Most recently I have created needle-felted faces. Oh and this last week I painted a face on canvas (first painting ever!) But I guess because of my sculpting, I did not like what a brush did so i ended up painting with my fingers!. Yep! I finger-painted on canvas. I did use a brush for the hair, eyebrows and to line the eyes.

This was a double question. How do the faces evolve. I always start with the nose. Then the mouth and then the eyes. The fun begins when I get to add all the wrinkles. That is when the character becomes "alive" to me!

3. Explain how living in different states and countries has influenced your creative life.
When I began making items for craft shows here in central New York State, a rural-state-of-mind area, I was oft advised to tone it down. I love glitz and glitter (could it be from growing up in Las Vegas?). I am not crazy about pastels. Instead I love warm to hot earth tones and jewel tones (California's influence?) Greens in all shades except light and pastel greens, are one of my most favorite colors (perhaps influenced by the thick, vigorous vegetation in Okinawa, the Oregon and Virginian coasts?)
I have always loved studying faces. the ones that interest me the most have weathered skin with lots of lines. I find myself studying peoples faces wherever I am. The different ethnic characteristics of the faces of people wherever I have lived turns up in my work. I do not create from photos or models but from the faces of my eyes' memories.
Some of the costumes I create for my dolls and the combinations of colors and prints are influenced by what I have seen where I have lived.

4. "Going Green" ~ is that something new to you? And how has recycling effected your creativity?
I have always used what I had on hand whenever possible. I never thought of it as recycling,I was just finding a way to create without having to buy anything. People have often shook their heads and grinned when learning the components of what I have made. I think it stems from having little (if any) funds for crafting. My Mom would always say "Find something you can use instead."
It has however created a problem of not knowing what to throw away. After all I might be able to use almost anything for something someday. My poor walls now are ready to burst at the seams due to my saving what might be useful someday."

5. What do you most want people to know about your chosen methods of creativity?
That they can do it too! I beleive that everyone is creative. Sometimes people just have not given themselves permission to try something new to themselves. I do not feel I necessarily have a chsen method of creativity. I just have a lack of fear to try. One should just go for it. Perhaps because I have not taken formal art training and do not know "art rules" I have more freedom. I do what I like and what makes me happy. I use what I can find to use. If I do not have a certain product or medium on hand I try to figure out how to acheive what I want with what I have. sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But I have tried--and through the process have learned and grown.

interview game for bloggers


* leave me a comment with your email address saying: “interview me”
* I will e-mail you five questions of my choice
* you can then answer the questions on your blog {with a link back to
my blog}
* you should also post these rules, along with an offer to interview
anyone else who emails you, wanting to be interviewed
* anyone who asks to be interviewed should be sent 5 questions to
answer on their blog
* it would be nice if the questions were individualized for each

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

3 Potted Ladies

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I created 3 Potted Ladies for the Rome Main Street Alliance( Rome, NY). 12 artists were selected to create a work of art upon a resin 18 inch planter. The pots will be offered through a silent auction during the summer of 2009.
There are 3 separated and distinct faces on the pot. The above cllage shows them from many different angles.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Triara Protecting the Present

Triara protecting the Present was created for the Rome Art and Community Center's Recycled Art Exhibit. Her base was made of coffee canisters. Her head and hands are air dry clay.
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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Labeling my work

On the doll-makers discussion groups I belong to, the question of whether or not to call our work dolls is brought up again and again.
I think of my work as dolls. Why? I am not sure, Perhaps that word has been a step in my journey. I started out making dolls and stuffed animals for my daughters. Then I made baby puppets to sell. Then one of my customers at a craft show asked me to join a doll guild. So I guessed I was a doll-maker. I have joined an art association and have been told by many members that I sculpt and that they do not consider my work dolls.
Oh my how we struggle with labels from crafter to doll-maker to artist or sculptor!
You know what? The pieces I make do not care about a label. Yet sometimes it seems that the viewers want work to be labeled. Does it make a work have different values in their view if I tell them it is art, or sculpture or a doll?
Even the New York State Fair has issues with it. If the item that is submitted does not have arms and legs, a traditional doll form, it cannot be put in the doll category.
So should I conform? Should I change what I call my work? Will it be taken more seriously if I do? (But then look , if you will, at my work. I do not think it is made to be viewed in a serious tone.)
Is the change in terms another step in my creative journey?

Monday, May 25, 2009

R.T. and the Cadigbra

The 2009 Central New York Doll Is Art Guild challenge was to make a doll using recycled items. I made R. T. and the Cadigbra to meet the challenge.
R.T.'s head and hands are needle-felted. His clothes are fashioned from brown packaging paper (used to fill empty space in a box for shipping.) His boots are from paper clay.
The Cadigbra was constructed with papier Mache'.I had originally planned to make a horse , but decided instead to make a fantasy creature, a mix on a Cat (Ca), dog (d), pig(ig), and zebra (bra).

Monday, March 16, 2009

March 16,2009

Well it has been awhile since my last post. I have been busy creating new characters. Why? Because a wonderful thing has happened. I am being asked to exhibit my "art".

The past two weeks I had 11 pieces at the Rome Community Theatre. This is the second year I have been asked to have my work there.They ask various artists to have a solo exhibit in the lobby of the theatre during the run of their performances. This is really a great arrangement. It gives the artist another venue to show their work and it decorates the lobby of the theatre.

From that exhibit I have been asked to participate in another one. these are little mini-shows, but little by little my working is getting out there. and one can lead to another. and that one can lead to another , and....

A few years ago I was so afraid to call what I do art. I was also afraid to enter "art exhibits". I did juried fine art and craft shows, but that is a different area all together. Once I stepped out, ignoring the fear, it became an amazing journey.

One of the best things I did was to join the local art association. I love the meetings. I am the different one there, but I am learning so very much. And oh! the networking is fantastic. If you do not belong to such a group, I urge you to find one in your area. You will be glad you did!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


A new act is to be enforced in February. This law was made to protect American consumers from harmful products targeted at children. The creation of this act was due to the imported items containing lead that have been found on store shelves.
That is an important issue and it is imperative that we protect our children from uncaring manufacturers.

The act calls for all items marketed to children 12 and under be tested for lead and other safety issues by accredited third party.

The problem with this act is that it makes no provisions for the cottage industry.
For decades I made and sold delightful little puppets at craft shows. I researched all the materials I used, making sure they were non-toxic, hypo-allergenic items, When I assembled the puppet I used carpet and button thread which is extremely strong. I sewed the parts on at least three times each and then tugged and tugged to make sure the pieces were secure. I used no small embellishments. Then when selling the item, I told the buyer that since the puppet was made of cloth that I did not recommend it for anyone under three or that would chew, bite or suck on the puppet because if they should put whole in the cloth they might get the fiber-fil in their mouth which could be a choking hazard.

I loved making selling the puppets. I always thought that somewhere in the future I would again sell them. But if there are no provisions made in the CPSIA to waive the 3rd party testing for the cottage industry, I will no longer be able to make and sell the puppet.There will be no way I can afford to pay for the testing.

Not only will I not be able to sell those puppets, but my art dolls might be at risk as well. I use the term doll. That word alone can cause the CPSIA inspectors to require that they be tested too.

The intent of the act is admirable, but there definitely needs to be some amendments made to protect the conscious, caring "little guys" caught in the rhetoric of restrictions aimed at over-seas manufacturers.

To read more about how this act will affect many, many Americans please go to this link

And please join me in writing to your congressman, senator, local newspaper editor, television station............ about the changes that are needed to this act.

My Gypsy Doll

Well my Gypsy returned home to me. She did not win any prizes, but I was happy to have taken part in THE TREASURES OF THE GYPSY CHALLENGE. I enjoy challenges because they cause me to use themes, materials, etc. that I might not ordinarily use. Such fun!
I named my Gypsy THE TRAVEL PLANNER. I wanted her to convey a since of shock as she is finished consulting the crystal ball that she holds in her lap. She has a cloth body (over a wire armature. Her face is paper-clay over cloth.

A long time between posts

In a whirl, like the snowflakes dancing in the wind outside, the days from Thanksgiving to now have swiftly pasted. If you have been looking now and then for a post, thank you. Now that the busy-ness of December has gone, I hope to be more deligent here and post much more often. I have written many many posts in my head but have never taken the time to record them here. I have many thoughts I want to share. I will post each topic under its' own heading.