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Friday, August 27, 2010

Welcome Back! Monika Shedden

Monika Shedden is one of two instructors brought back from the first Artistic Figures in Cloth in 2003. Seems she has been sewing round the clock, getting ready for a studio tour. Samples of her wonderful work like this Woodland Fairy are art pieces she is working on non stop. A group of 10 artists get together each year and open up their studios for the weekend. There is lots of food involved and hundreds of people come. Monika is so lucky she lives in a very artsy town. She has been doing this for twelve years now.

Dumas Valley School of Art has asked Monika to teach this fall. This is a dream come true come true for her. A twelve week workshop will be geared to students wanting to learn cloth doll making from beginner to advance with lots of costuming, exploring fibres and so much more. I was so excited for her when she said “I can't wait because i can do whatever I like in this class and we have twelve wonderful weeks to get creative and explore so different techniques.” The Fish Merchant is only a sample of the type of dolls and techiques Monika has to offer.

One of Monika's well known dolls is the Story teller, seen here. Monika talks about how she got started. “People always want to know how I got started. When I think back on my very first class in Erie Pa with eleanor and the subsequent doll camps in Meadville, then Wee Folk, I feel as if I am witnessing someone else's life. I could never have believed I would end up at AFIC. I remember sitting at the Faculty Table in 2003 and looking around, wondering how I came to be up here sitting with all these incredible people. I almost feel sometimes I'm just following blindly along these roads. I’ve been published in Soft Dolls and Art Doll quarterly. Teaching is the thing I love the most. Once I get started I get so excited about walking students through the steps to create their own version of the doll I designed. I always hope students feel the same sense of excitement and anticipation I felt in all the workshops I took.”

Monika will be teaching classes at AFIC get for more details and a closer view go to: Artistic Figures In Cloth Web site

Jenny is a doll I look forward to sharing. I love creating whole pieces of cloth with snippets of fabrics and fibers, adding collages, paints and creating a truly one of a kind piece. Draping this finished cloth around the doll in endless ways will produce some amazing pieces. I look forward to having students at all skill levels but especially beginner doll makers because I know they will be astonished what a few bits of fabric and threads will create. As there is no right or wrong with this doll, students will be free to unleash the artist within. I design my classes so everyone leaves with a finished doll.

Rose of the Wood is a doll I can't wait to teach. I have so many wonderful costuming techniques to share. From simple gathering, to making bubbles on painted cheesecloth with elastic thread in the bobbin. There is free motion embroidery, drape over the bodice, painting dryer sheets, stitching with decorative threads and beading. The techniques are simple but I have pages of them, so of course, no doll will be the same. These also become great head wraps for any student who wants to take a simple doll and add lots of pizzazz; I hope this is the class for them. All costuming techniques can be applied to any other project. This doll was designed to be finished in two days - no problem. My workshops are definitely not designed to just follow a pattern. But more so to get the basic figure sewn so we can get on with the good stuff.

I have already thought of a few more ideas for my workshops - By the time next April rolls around, I will have so many more things to share.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ohio State Fair & Dolls

I can not encourage you enough to get involved with your State and Locale Fairs. It is so rewarding and you can show off your work to thousands of people. Just call the administration office up and tell them you or your group wants to volunteer in the Arts & Craft section. Do demos, work on projects or Make-it-take-it interaction are all ideas that have worked for us in the past. They will jump at the chance to have you. They are always looking for ways to punch up their fair. It is a opportunity to raise awareness in your part of the world about Art Dolls.

This year The Guilded Lilies, The Doll Gatherers and the River City Artisian Group sponsored prize money for the "Hand Made Doll Competition" The showing was superb. My only regret is my picture of the cases have too much reflection so you can not see the dolls very well. However, I got some great pictures of our Make-it-Take-it project.

As you can see we use stamps and round circles of cotton fabric. Then lay a thin layer of fiber over a piece of cardboard. Just as you would make a YoYo. Run a gathering stitch around the outside edge of the fabric, pull and whala a Face pin. We made them in sets of 25. Every month we would turned them in to the OSF committee before you knew it we had over 1400 of these little Face Pins. We talked to thousands of children and adults. We dispersed information on Ohio clubs, how they could join up and find out more about Art Dolls. We show off a few dolls at our table to attract attention. Some of us worked on projects. It is great fun!

Charity Dolls for Good Deed Doers

I just have to share with you the outstanding job The Guilded Lilies Doll Artist Guild did on their charity project this year. They pulled together and put their heart and soul into the project. The clubs one rule is that you must make a charity doll every year. This year I made the pattern so we did not have to worry about copy right issues. The pattern is very basic and simple to make. You can use scraps and mix match colors. In fact the more you mix match the more fun Scribbles and friends turn out. The group went to town! They donated fabrics, time and talent. We had 98 dolls finished by the deadline in July. All donated to Children's Service here in Columbus, Ohio. We think there is probably an additional 20 or so still out with members on vacation. When they come in those are going to the Children's Radiation Cancer center. I decided why just keep the pattern for ourselves so I posted a PDF file on my web site. I set up a special page for this pattern and would love to post the other groups that make the dolls for charity. Free Pattern

Here is a close up of some of the Charity dolls created by the members. We have a couple of artist that did most of the faces for us. As you can see they went crazy and had a blast drawing fun silly faces. Scribbles and Friends pattern is open to all ages and genders. We had the best time making them. In fact we have adopted Scribbles and friends as our official Charity doll for next year.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Fashion - A Book Worth It's Weight in Gold

The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute
Author: Akiko Fukai
ISBN 978-0-7607-8202-6

Find this book at your local library now. Buy it used or new, just get your hands on one. This is a history of the original fashion from the 18th to the 20th Century. I have many outstanding reference books on fashion. None have the visual reference to detail or are as inspirational. For over all visual reference and eye candy his book is my favorite. Maybe it is because I am such a geek when it comes to amazing designers. I just drool over every picture. The collection has been photographed with such detail that you can see every bead, pleat, rushing and each embroidery stitch. It is a must have for anyone that is interested in fashion, how to emulate, reproductions, or wants inspiration to create their own spin on fashion for your Art Dolls. Most all of the collection is photographed with a detailed close up along with the over all look. Kyoto Costume Institute has held exhibitions around the world. This book consists of five hundred of those fashions. It is a reference book worth it's weight in gold.