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The  individual parts of this figure had been lying around my studio for a couple of years. They happened to be sitting on my desk when I came across the original sketch I had done for the figure.  I had stopped working on it because the way I wanted to do it wouldn’t work with the pieces I had created. Having the parts and the sketch together reminded me of why I wanted to do this piece. So I rearranged my thinking and the pieces and came up with a more abstract approach.

Dance: Front View

It is made with thread machine embroidered onto water soluble stabilizer.


Dance: Right Side

Dance: Left Side

Dance: Back View

Earth Goddess

My latest fabric sculpture is an Earth Goddess. She is inspired by the colours and shapes of the ochre quarries of Rousillon, France which I visited several years ago. There is no mining of the ochre now but you can visit an old quarry.

Fabric sculpture of an Earth Goddess

Poly: Earth Goddess – Fabric Sculpture by Nancy Leigh-Smith

I took this doll to the NIADA Conference in Asilomar, Pacific Grove, California, where I had a great time and met some wonderful doll artists.

In order to facilitate packing and transportation I used magnets to join the legs to the torso.

Cloth sculpture

Back view of Poly: Earth Goddess – Fabric Sculpture by Nancy Leigh-Smith






I painted her with watercolours before adding the face features with  pastel pencils. I painted absorbant ground on the base before painting it with the same watercolours.


Face detail of Art Doll

Face Detail of Poly: Earth Goddess – Fabric Sculpture by Nancy Leigh-Smith





I spun the yarn for the hair on a drop spindle before sewing it to the head.








I randomly beaded the light parts of her torso, arms and legs.

Beading detail on Cloth Art Doll

Beading Detail on Poly: Earth Goddess – Fabric Sculpture by Nancy Leigh-Smith

She is named Poly because she has 6 fingers on each of her hands.


I finished this doll a little while ago.  She is a version of the Tea Bags doll you can see here.  I didn’t post it as I was busy working on things for the Almonte Fibrefest which was last weekend and Calabogie Artsfest which is coming up on October 15 & 16.


Circles Cloth doll

Cloth doll


I named her Circles because her jacket is  a circle and because of the pattern in her dress.  I didn’t have any lace for the bottom of the dress so instead of making an 80 Km round trip to the nearest store I made some using free-motion embroidery and built-in stitches on my sewing machine on water soluble stabilizer. It took longer than the trip to the store but I’m pleased with the result.

Detail of Face

Detail of Face

The face is needle sculpted and painted with chalk pastels.


Tea Bags

This is a cloth doll made from recycled components.

Art doll recycled components

Her clothing contains two different brands of tea bags (three different kinds of tea), parts of old jeans (they once were my favourite pair), a kilt and dental floss.  The dental floss was dyed using Bombay Pigmented India Ink and is used for the hair.

Face of TeaBag Art Doll

The skin was painted with watercolours and the face was done with pastel pencils.

The doll was made in response to a challenge  presented by All Dolled Up  doll club.


Two Forest Sprites

Two new dolls.  These are forest sprites made from the same pattern as the fairy from last week (see here).

Wood sprite with butterfly

Forest Sprite with Butterfly




Wood Sprite with Butterfly

Forest Sprite with Butterfly





Blue Fairy with Butterfly

I just finished a new doll. I thought it would be quick as she is only 4 1/2 inches sitting. However  the doll was a challenge as the parts were so small  the stuffing kept escaping from the openings.

Blue failry art dollShe is made of cloth and her wings are wired. The butterfly is made of card stock and painted with Sharpie pens.

She hasn’t told me her name yet.

Off with Their Heads

I’ve been working on a new doll.  I haven’t gotten very far as I’ve been trying to get a certain head shape in cloth.  I’ve done several versions making little changes to each successive model.



Off with Their Heads


I partially needle sculpted one – it helps to round out the pointy chin.




I have one more ready to stuff.  I’m hoping it’s the one!

Elfalfa the Shelf Elf

I’m getting ready for Calabogie Artsfest next weekend and have made some elves.


Elfalfa the Shelf Elf

Elfalfa the Shelf Elf



Two elves waiting to get into mischief

Two elves waiting to get into mischief






These  little imps add a little colour and whimsy to any decor  and provide a cheerful atmosphere as the days get shorter and we get closer to winter.

Little Miss Muffet – The True Story

All Dolled Up issued a summer challenge to its members: to make a doll inspired by a nursery rhyme.  I chose “Little Miss Muffet” as the nursery rhyme, but I did not choose to do Little Miss Muffet as my doll.  Instead, I did the spider, Miss Aranea Arachnid, and her lawyer Magnus Pie (a magpie).  I wrote a little story to accompany the dolls.

The Case of LIttle Miss Muffet Versus Miss Aranea Arachnid

Miss Aranea Arachnid

Miss Aranea Arachnid




Miss Aranea Arachnid is on trial for assault of Miss Muffet which Miss Muffet alleges resulted in her suffering psychological trauma.

Miss Muffet claims that she is too traumatized to testify.

The only witness a M. Goose had this to say

“Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet
Eating her curds and whey
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.”


The defence counsel Magnus Pie, Esquire’s summation to the jury was as follows:

Magnus Pie, Esquire

Magnus Pie, Esquire

Esteemed members of the jury, I hope that you will put aside your prejudices against the much maligned Arachnid family and judge this case solely on its merits.

This is clearly a case of racial profiling. Miss Aranea Arachnid was simply minding her own business and clearly not engaging in any confrontational or threatening activities when the so-called assault occurred. The scene of the alleged crime – the tuffet – belongs to the defendant, Miss Arachnid and she was in residence when Miss Muffet invaded her territory, clumped herself down, and proceeded to eat her curds and whey.  In so doing she narrowly missed murdering my client. Miss Arachnid in fact suffered a concussion when Miss Muffet’s skirts thundered down on top of her.  Barely conscious, she crawled out from under Miss Muffet’s petticoats and proceeded towards what she thought was her web.  At this point she was seen by Miss Muffet who dropped her curds and whey, narrowly missing bludgeoning my client again and left the scene of the crime.

Aranea, that is, Miss Arachnid, still suffers from headaches, a lingering symptom of her injuries.

magnus-closeup spider-doll-closeup



The prosecution has not been able to present any evidence that Miss Arachnid displayed any threatening behaviour towards Miss Muffet or anyone else for that matter.  Miss Muffet clearly had no business being anywhere near Miss Arachnid’s tuffet and any psychological trauma she may have suffered from this incident is not the fault of my client but due entirely to Miss Muffet’s own actions and to her extreme prejudice against members of my client’s family.

The evidence presented clearly exonerates Miss Aranea Arachnid and I believe that you, venerable members of the jury, after careful consideration of the facts can only find Miss Aranea Arachnid NOT Guilty of all charges.

lawyer-fibre-art-doll spider-fibre-art











The nursery rhyme, Little Miss Muffet, is quoted from I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd ed, 1997), pp 323-4 via

Almost There

I have been working on  a couple of dolls since June. Both started out as prototypes in muslin and then various parts were redone a couple more times because they just didn’t look the way I wanted them to.


M. Pie in progress

M. Pie in progress

This one has all the pieces done, they just have to be sewn together. Then I ‘ll paint the face and do the hair.

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