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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.

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Circles

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

Circles
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.

 

Little Faces

After a few false starts I finally got some pin dolls made.

Pin dolls

Pin dolls

 

They are made of cloth and painted with pastel pencils.  I “made” some of the hair, the rest is made from various trims, a piece of lambs skin and some fur.

Whatever Lola Wants…

Lola wants to dance.

This is what Lola looked like a few weeks ago.

Lola in progress

Lola: Work in Progress

Since then I have had to make several versions of some of her body parts before I could get them to look the way I wanted.

Lola detail

Lola

Lola profile

Lola: Detail Profile

I usually have a standard order in which I sew the different parts of a doll together.  I sew the legs to the torso first.  I sew the arms on after the clothes.   I usually sew the head on before I put on the hair and then paint the face.  This time I put the hair on first.  Big mistake!  The hair kept getting in the way as I was sewing on the head.

Painting the face comes last.

Lola: Face Painting 1

Lola: Outlining features with air erasable pen

The first thing I do  is draw in the features with an air erasable pen.  I cover her hair with a piece of cloth to keep it out of the way and to protect it when I spray the face with fixative.

Lola: Face Painting 2

Lola: Outlining features with permanent ink

Once I get the features correct, I go over some of it with a Pigma Micron 005 brown pen.  This is permanent ink.

Except for the high light in the eye, the face is painted with pastel pencils.

Lola: Face Painting with chalk pastels

Lola: Adding colour with chalk pastels

I use 2- 3 colours for the eyes and eyeshadow and 2 colours for the lips. The top lip is always darker than the bottom, which catches more light.  I add the highlight to the eye last.  I use acrylic paint applied with the tip of a needle.

Lola: Face painting shadows and blush

Lola: More colour

Lola: Finished Face

Lola: Face

I also paint the fingernails.

Lola: Painted fingernails

Lola: Painted Fingernails

So here she is, practicing her routine to be  ready for her audition for So You Think You Can Dance.

Lola

Prudence

Prudence is another doll whose shape was inspired by a bottle. (See Making a Pattern from a Bottle here.)

I used the same pattern as for Portia and Passion ( see here and here)  except that I made the pattern slightly smaller.

Sewing Embroidered Parts together

The front and one side are sewn together half way

I used the sewing machine to make  the hair.  Using the same  green thread  I used in the body, I sewed straight lines on water soluble stabilizer and then sewed over it with a decorative stitch that caught both straight lines.

Sewing hair by machine

Sewing decorative stitch over the two lines of straight stitch

After washing out the stabilizer and letting it dry, I cut it up and used Fray Check to seal the ends before sewing it on the doll’s head.  I marked dots on the head with a pencil as a guide.

Sewing on the hair

Sewing on the hair

The face was painted with pastel pencils.

Here is the completed doll.

Art doll made from bottle pattern

Prudence

Detail of art doll

Detail – Prudence

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