Total Pageviews

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Frankenstein Art Dolls

Frankenstein Art Dolls
The head is a upper arm, body
is a head attached to some leftover legs!

What to do with all
 those body parts?

Just when I thought I had used up all my creative juices after getting ready for several art exhibits,  I turned around and surprised myself.  I had been working for months on One of a Kind pieces.  Pouring everything I had it to my art work.  When I was done I felt, empty.  Not empty like I had nothing left empty. More sad and lonely because my work was done.  I had nothing left to work on unless I wanted to start new pieces. 

The head is a body are bodies. 
Ideal Hands!

To fill the void and to keep my hands busy I pulled out the box. All soft sculpture artist have this box.  The box with left over bits and pieces.  In the box are dozens of heads, hands, feet and ears. discarded bodies, shoes, arms, legs.  When every I make anything I always make extra parts.  It is easier to exchange extra long arms with short ones, bird feet with human feet and such when the parts and pieces are already made.  It gives me the ability to work on the fly without going back to the drawing board.  When I am done with my creation the extra pieces to in the box.  Why?  I just can't seem to throw good sculpture pieces out.

Left over head on a left over head
with feet attached.
Are the Devils Play Things.

I set the challenge,  I was going to make as many creatures from all these excess body parts as time allowed.  I had a blast.  Thighs became heads, Crowns became hands, heads were used as bodies.  I called these my Frankenstein Dolls because they were made out of so many body parts. 
  ( I made a story up about this one....I decided she was a School teacher with a Hatchet.  She never talked about her hatchet, she never mentioned her hatchet to the children.  She never used the hatchet, she would only walk around the room while teaching with the hatchet in her hands. When she told the children to sit down they sat down, When she said turn your book to page 36, they all did so.  Know one punched there neighbor, talked out of turn or kicked the child in front of them. Know one in the classroom bullied another and the story goes.)  

Ideal hands are the Devils Play things. That is why my Frankenstein Dolls were invented.....and the stories that go with them.

I had a blast making them, not thought process, no planning no puzzlement.  I just put body parts together and ran with it......I see more Frankenstein Dolls in my future.

I plan on making a One Eye Purple People Eater next.

To the right is a creature from I do not know, but the hat is an ear, the head is made from two heads the body is a head and the crazy long claw was once part of a crown.  Pretty in paint now is a purple something that is adorably funny.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Beyond the Stars

Beyond the Stars
Cyndy Sieving

Since April 2013 you may have thought I have been sleeping!  No not hardly. I took a brief absents from my blog, however the brief absents extended much longer than I had planned.  After the Artistic Figures in Cloth and Clay convention my thought was to keep up on Face book, my Blog, and to stay in touch with the world out side my home town.   Intentions were good but my heart wandered off to my garden in the spring, and a studio in the summer then into the fall.  The next thing I knew the holidays were here.

Mostly I feature other artist on this blog. but this time I am going to share with you my talents and what I am up to when I slither away into the abyss.

  I don't take my work far from home. I really do not have the time or ability to travel or to keep up with mass production in sculpting.  I work a full time job.  Then there is the convention So I keep my work close to home and rarely sell my work out side of the city.    I do one art show and one gallery  show a year in November and sell out with an exception of a few pieces. 

My Gallery Work is currently showing in a local Arts & Crafts Museum here in Grandview Ohio.  Beyond the Stars is a perfect example of me pushing the boundaries as to what is possible in fabric sculpting.  The art piece looks like a wood carving but in truth it is fabric, stuffing and wire armatures.  Beyond the Stars not only pushes the boundaries in fabric manipulation it challenges conventional thinking. 

Beyond the starts is 26 inches tall - Fabric sculpture

Here are some other Gallery Art works that I have completed in 201.  Alien King was completely built around a Deer Antler (Deer's shed there antlers every year)  the antler became the spine and tail of the Alien.  The coloring was to mimic the antler.


Working with fabric and taking it beyond what people expect just thrills me to know end.  I was able to complete several larger gallery art works.  These pieces take a long time so I worked on them over a stretch of time


 I guess you might say I have a very serious side when working on the art work like the Alien King, and Beyond the Stars.  Taking my skills beyond what I think is possible is a challenge for me.  The gratifications comes in seeing a complex piece of work completed. 

Monkey Business

Then something happens, Girls just want to have fun I guess because my funny bone gets turned on. I just can not wait to get started on some truly light hearted ideas I think up. I is time fro Monkey Business!

Knight Hawk
 Knight Hawk is complete with his own Night Light head gear, fight scarf and compass. 

In the evening, after work I would create smaller pieces.  I love play on works for example. Night Hawk became Knight Hawk and a funny Knight Hawk at that.  He has a lamp-hat complete with pull chain. 

I began writing this and I found myself saying my favorite is Crocodile Tears, I could hardly wait to finish Mice-Tro, One of my favorite was the Eggplant into adulthood.  I soon found out all of these were my favorites when I was working on them.  They gave me a great amount of joy working on them. . So I am going to allow you to view them without my input instead I will tell you the method to my madness.

Crocodile Tears
When I was young and didn't get my way I would pretend to cry.  My father would say....boohoo let me cry a bucket of Crocodile Tears.  I am sure you have heard the phrase at one time or another....this is my funny on that old saying.. The only non-fabric items are the crystal tear drop beads and bucket.


  Complete with Singing Mice and of course the rat in the hat.

I love sculpting, fabric and painting.  I love it so much I can't stop myself from creating One of a Kind pieces.  I don't want to own them personally, I enjoy the creative process.  I take pictures and send them on their way to new homes.  If I kept every piece I loved I would stop creating.  My home would be full and my heart would be empty.  So many years ago I realized in order to create I needed to learn how to release my work.  With that being said I evolved and created not only hundreds of One of a Kind art works, I developed a method of fabrication I have called Face and Body building.

Eggplant into adulthood

I am a master at pattern maker.  I can see about any image in my head and realize what the flat design need to be before it can become 3-dementional.  I am not sure if this is a gift or a learned art.  I have been able to do this from a young age, however my grandmother worked for a tailor and I was always in her sewing room.  My thought is I picked it up from watching her. Regardless learned or natural it became my base which I took a craft into art.

Loukatan (Loo- ka-tan)
I made this creature up.  It wanders through the night recovering Broken Dreams and lost wishes.  Repairs, replaces and restructures them.  Returns them to their owners sparking a new flame in the owners soul.

My method of work is by build my fabric sculptures with a combination of tailoring, fabric sculpture, fabric manipulation then building the existing form with more fabric shapes and sculpting. Gesso and painting, sanding and painting some more.  Depending on the piece I polish it off with details or distress it with more sanding.  In the end all my work is durable, non-breakable, water resistant.  It really does not matter if I am working on something foolish or serious.  I work with the same zest and desire.  I love fabric, I love creating and I love making something that makes people think

Next week I would like to share with you my Frankenstein Art.  All made from different parts and pieces of disregarded body parts!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

"Over the Top" with Barbara Schoenoff

The Use of Design, Mixing of Prints 
and Color with 

Barbara Schoenoff

a Designer that knows how to take it "Over the Top" 
with Style and Sophistication

Barbara Schoenoff is a costume and art doll designer that expresses a great deal of enthusiasm through the use of style, posture and color.  

Barbara's art work is very powerful in both fashion and figurative design.  She has earned her Master of Fine Arts from Northwestern University in Costume Design and her work shows off her extensive skills. Put together the century old fashion designs with current fabrics, products and techniques her work is quite unique. Barbara’s figures often express the fashions of the past centuries with a twist. When she designs she doesn’t leave any process on the cutting room floor.  Barbara goes all out; every little detail is “Over the Top”. 

She is detailed from top to bottom.  Her teaching expertise in face sculpting and painting will give you hands on experience learning how to inject a personality.  When it comes to clothing she can match any plaid with a print, stripe, bold colors and adding trims to really give her fashions a fun feel.  The amazing part of Barbara’s fabrication it is just right, not too much and that is saying a lot because there is a bunch of techniques and color going on in Barbara’s work.  I love surprises and her work fills the air with amazing work.

If you are interested in her classes, visit the conference website at
Barbara Schoenoff has taught and/or designed at universities in the East and Midwest as well as Interlochen Arts Camp. Adding to these impressive credits she has done costume design for over one hundred theatrical production.  You can get a sense of her design strengths when you realize some of the many stages her work has graced; A Christmas Carol, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Oliver. 

It is no surprise that her detailed Steampunk class Amanda Cogsley-Smyth offered at Artistic Figures In Cloth and Clay filled up with in the first months of the convention application process.  She still has room in a one day class offering Bon Bon’s a workshop full of technique and whimsy.  If you are interested in seeing these class offerings and more on 
Barbara visit the convention site at CLICK HERE

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Christine Shively - Benjamin - Teacher Feature

Marie Antoinette
Shively - Benjamin
A process of an extraordinary
Art Doll  Artist in her own Words.
 Exploring the possibilities of creating a character with fabric is an extension of a life time fascination with three dimensional forms. My characters emerge from familiar tales of childhood and from stories of the heart and soul. Fabric, color texture and pattern all play intricate parts in creating interesting figures that tell their own stories to the viewers who meet them.  
   Most recently creating figures with high fashion, high heel shoes, and the elements of Steampunk have been really fun to explore begin by drawing the body shape and structure I wish to use for my fabric figures. Basically I transfer the drawing into a 3 dimensional form.
  I use a template to create the basic silhouette of the drawings. The shape is transferred to the fabric. Sewing on the line gives a great deal of control over the shape I am envisioning. Some of the body shapes are an abstraction or somewhat stylized. Most of my figures have an economy of line, a simplified structure.
 The costuming and embellishment are the key elements. I use paint, pigma pen and colored pencil to create the faces on the cloth figures. An extreme light and dark technique is employed to give the illusion of depth in the face. An example of using the inspiration of period clothing of Marie Antoinette and then changing the color and proportion on the clothing adding the gears, zippers to the edge of the skirt the look was completely changed to Steampunk

     I purchased a very small antique lamb made from cotton fleece and wood for one of my sisters.  It just screamed to be a pull toy.   I made a platform for the lamb, since then I  have been making animals sitting on wheeled platform.  It is easy to see how I translated the Whimsical Birds and put them on platforms and also create pull toys out of them.
    I have been creating my Whimsical Birds using floral oasis, tissue paper, glue, kabob skewers, file folders, and paint.  This is a great example of how everyday items can be turned into something fun and whimsical.
   See more on Christine's Classes Coming to Artistic Figures in Cloth & Clay this April 25-28, 2013 - Click Here.
Manipulating basic shapes in new and different ways plays an important role in the creation of my characters. This doll uses my basic Dress Rehearsal pattern. I have added a jacket, skirt, sleeves and narrowed the pants of the basic pattern and a new character emerges.

Here is an example of looking at one thing…..the baby shoe….but seeing something else. Like the corset for a Steampunk character.


An  Idea  is a point of departure  and no more.

    As soon as you elaborate it,  it becomes transformed by thought.”


The high heel shoes are an example of the Picasso quote above. When I began embarking on the high heel I was in a Home Depot store.  I saw a wire door stop that had a tapered end. It reminded me of a high heel. Since I lived in Kansas for many years, I also thought it would be cool to have a tornado reference. The construction dilemma was the mechanism to create the heel. My long time doll friend Brenda Gehl created a darling fairy years ago that had a dressmakers pin for the heel. I asked her about using the basic mechanism that was her brain child, and building upon that. She was curious about what I could come up with using her basic idea. She was very pleased with my adaptation. I do believe that you can begin with a basic idea…….but you have to elaborate on it and transform it with your thought….as Picasso advise

An ancient connection to doll making and storytelling is ever present in my work. Experimenting with new techniques in drawing, painting, bead work, embroidery, problem solving structural and aesthetic  problems, and educating myself on historical and cultural heritages, contributes to the continual growth and change in my figures.
See more about Christine's workshops on:
Rainbow Chaos and Whimsical Birds

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Jean Bernard - Artist Extraordinaire

Artist Jean Bernard combines 
an artistic flair
 and a unique look to 
Art Dolls.

Creating has been a part of Jean’s life as far back as she can remember. Art is a passion she has explored in great depth, reading anything that peaked her interest.  

She has dove into techniques which has brought her to a three dimensional art form which is uniquely her own.  Her work is a calibration of many mediums and techniques.  As a result Jean’s work is always a collage of interesting elements, forms and ideas.  Please take a few minutes to enjoy yer web site.

 Jean has adapted techniques and the leaned the use of materials such as clays, plasters, paints and art mediums to create a few of her master pieces.  Her work is a collage of her combine experiences.  She says “I consider myself a mixed media artist exploring new techniques and products. Forever pushing the envelope”  

Join Jean on a journey; explore your untold stories through mixed media art.  Follow her lead or venture off into your own direction to create this 14 inch fantasy figure.  Jean encourages self expression so “Unleash Your Muse”  and step outside of the box.  Explore all the possibilities that are waiting to come out of you.

This workshop is overflowing with ideas, techniques and the use of simple products.  Jean promises the techniques learned from this class will be incorporated into your future projects. You will build an elaborate base and torso from scratch, coated with various plaster techniques.  The plaster is a great alternative to other popular compounds that dry hard and fast. So much to learn so little time. 

At Artistic Figures in Cloth & Clay Jean Bernard is teaching this dramatic art sculpture using compounds and techniques guaranteed to make the artist in you stretch your creative soul, and embrace new you a new  journey.  

To review more of this class click here.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Collection of Designers 2013

Asking for your Help!  I would like to share one of my projects and hope you can help get the word out to Art doll Artist.  Past this blog site on to the designers you think would love to be a part of this assemblage.  The time for this book to be completed is closing fast and I would love for everyone to have a chance to be apart of this fun project.  This booklet will never be sold and never be assembled again!

One page pattern by:
Susan Barmore
Collection of Designers 2013

Artistic Figures In Cloth Presents:  A Collection of Designers 2013.
I am really excited about this collection.  Here is what we did in 2011 and it was a hit!  My hope is you or you know of someone that wants to be part of the 2013 collection. In 2011 I was able to collect 30 designers.  I bound all the artist one page patterns into one Booklet. Everyone  received one in the Gift bags. 
The deadline March 15, 2013 
and here is how it works.
This booklet consists of single page patterns or tutorials. Single page can mean both sides of the one page.  On each pattern the designers are able to advertise their own web site, blog or shop. This is incredibly inexpensive way of advertising, plus as a designer you can get your on-line information in the hands of the people who really want to get to know you. The perk to the AFICC attendees is an exclusive insight to designers and their webs sites. Pincushions, or ornaments, book marks, doll pins and small dolls are some suggestions.   

How many copies and who gets the booklets?
I am binding 180 booklets.  Every register student and staff of AFICC gets a copy.  Plus the first 30 doll artist  that drive in to the convention to see the exhibit hall get a copy of the book.  Yes I said the first 30 people that just come to the convention to just enjoy the day with us.

One page Pincushion by
Cyndy Sieving
Collection of Designers 2013
Is there a Cost?
Option 1 - $4.00 -Do it yourself total control
  1. Send all 180 pattern/advertisement copies by mailing them to my home address on regular 8 ½ x 11 plus $4.00 to help cover book binding cost. This can be one side or both sides of the paper. This does give you the option to print in color.
Option 2 - $22.00 or $40.00 - Have me make your copies for you.  It cost me 10 cents per copy plus the $4.00
Send one page pattern or two pages (front and back) to me. I will make the copies for you.  Payment for one sided Pattern $22.00 is only 12 cents per person * Payment for double sided $40.00 is only 22 cents per person. 
  1. You can mail a physical copy to Cyndy Sieving, P.O. Box 44244, Columbus, OH 43204  or email in tiff or jpg format
  2. Make payment by mailing Check or PayPal 
Contact me and let me know you are working on the one page pattern and when to expect it.  We will be happy to add you to the Collection.

One Page doll by
Leslie Molen
Collection of Designers 2013
Some of the Designers already submitted
Kathryn Walmsley
Leslie Molen -  http:/ 
Christine Shively-Benjamin - http:/
Edwina Sutherland - http:/ 
Barbara Schoenoff and more on the way ...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Awesome Art Doll Fashion by Stephen Rausch

What Does 
Art Dolls, Tailoring, Patterning and Style 
have in common?

Stephen Rausch 
That's What!

What an interesting life Stephen has led.   Co-owner of Schenz Theatrical Supply Inc., he and his partner designed dance wear and theatrical costuming. Over the years the company grew, costumed universities, the community and high-school theaters.  In the mid-1980s he spent two seasons as head costume designer for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College in Venice, Florida His work has also included PBS specials for Orchestras, several museums displays.  The list is endless and it goes on to including the Cincinnati Symphony, Opera, and Ballet.

Stephen has a sheer talent when designing fashionable period attire. His extensive real life experience trained him to appreciate the human figure and can design for any body type.  He views his art work as a fiber sculpture.  When dressing his dolls he treats them like mannequins.  In doing such, he can make each outfit and exclusive, intended just for his “Art Doll”.

He has a true love for the late 18th and 19th centuries 
clothing lines and fashion.

Pattern drafting is something he simply loves to do and historical fashion requires a strong use of tailored structure.  For Stephen it is about the pose and the costume. The former complimenting the latter and combining to tell a story capture a snapshot in time or create an attitude. “Attitude” is the word most often used to describe his figures. He pays particular attention to recreating the period cut of the costume, including the appropriate underpinnings, to get an accurate representation of the garments.

After 30 years designing stage & character costumes for every type of production imaginable from opera & ballet to musical theater and yes even clown college, designing and creating Art Dolls seems to be a logical progression of artistic expression. Each figure is unique in both style and costume and, hopefully, will give the viewer as much enjoyment as I have had in the creation.

Stephen is repeating a class from 2011 because it was in such demand, “Designing and Patterning Period Clothing” this is a one day class.  He has also developed a new class that every designer would love to add to their list of techniques “Thoroughly Modern Millinery Period Hats and Head pieces”.  

You can read more about Stephen class. If you are ready for the next step in art doll clothing design, or recreate antique doll clothing this is defiantly a designer you can’t miss taking a class from. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Second time a Charm!

The Bledsoe Sisters
Pansy, Grace and Sue

Teacher Feature 

Lillian Alberti


The Bledsoe Sisters

I like to invite back a teachers from the previous convention. Every convention we have a few teachers from conventions past, mixed with instructors that have not had the chance to teach at AFICC and introduce new up and coming teachers giving new ideas and techniques to an old art form.  Artistic Figures in Cloth and Clay welcomes back two teachers this year one of which is Lillian Alberti. It should be no wonder why we would want her back.  Not only is she a great artist, there seems to be no limit to her imagination and creative use of it.  

Lillian comes to us from a fashion design back ground.  She worked her dream job for a famous clothing design labels and as an illustrator.  After starting a family she desired a less hectic life style and devoted much of her time in raising her girls.  Now the little ones do not need her 24 – 7 she wanted to get back to art….but not back to the hectic corporate America. She chose wisely!  With her extensive fabric design back ground, drawing and painting she added a new element to her work and that was clays.  Paper clay at first and then began to mix and match up combinations of everything together.  

 I met up with Lillian in 2010.  She had taken her new found love and was trying to find a home for it.  Lillian wanted to be an instructor in the worst way.  She tackled the Art doll world with enthusiasm.   Her work was different, and I always have my eye out for different.. She had her own style and there was a complexity about her work.  Lillian had something new to say in her sculptures,  by using familiar faces and fairy tales expressing flamboyant features.  I am always looking to help introduce new talent into the art doll world and Lillian certainly had the talent and ability I love to see in an artist.

If you have not seen or heard of Lillian Alberti, then you have not been reading or checking out the hub-bub lately.  She has been a national sensation. I have seen profiles on her in, magazines, doll clubs, newsletters and blogs.She has a  listing of press releases on her web site you just must check out  Lillian has been popping up everywhere since she dove into the Art doll world head first.  She has lots of pictures and adventures on her own blog  

 Working in paper clay and coupling it using her sewing skills in cloth she fuses the two skills in her figures. The final work speaks volumes about her unlimited talent. Each sculpture depicts characters with defining features that make them endearing, fanciful and fun.

In Lillian's own words from her web site she states: 

Over the last few years I have seen my Art Dolls evolve quite dramatically. The array of new paper clays available to the contemporary doll maker has inspired me to push my imagination even further. In the past I focused on coarsely-textured facial surfaces and larger heads. My pieces now, while no less exaggerated in detail, have smoother surfaces, delicate hands and enormous feet. Throwing caution to the wind, I now favor richer, textured fabrics and layer sumptuous patterns with reckless abandon; the result is elegant opulence. The excitement in discovering a new medium, the thrill in creating, and the joy in sharing has made my doll making journey more fulfilling than ever!

One of her classes at AFICC is "The Heiress"  She is a women of means!  This art piece is to hang on 
the wall.  If you would like to see how you can take a workshop from Lillian Alberti at Artistic Figures in Cloth and Clay go directly to her Profile page.  Click here

Friday, January 11, 2013

Lucy Landry

 Stay in Stitches with Lucy Landry

Lucy Landry can keep you in stitches......I mean she can teach you to stay in stitches. 

As a cloth doll maker I know that it is always about the stitches.  Once you master the basic doll making skills it is the little added items, techniques and yes stitches that turns a doll into an Art doll.

As a young girl, Louisiana artist Lucy Landry learned to sew and it became second nature to her. She grew up in an environment where generations of women cultivated her talent. 

Needlework and embroidery provided a pathway to her artistry.  Lucy’s professional training as an occupational therapist includes anatomy and kinesiology of the human body. Her professional training became an effective resource while creating her artwork.

Landry is meticulous not only to the form but also to the content, the history or back story, of each individual doll. According to Landry, “The body language of the doll creates the mood or story. The face and hands tell who she is and what she can accomplish. Ancient roots of the doll figure provide basic content in my work. Textural bits and pieces of fabrics, fibers, and beads are layered and shaped on the form to complete the story.”

She has created series and titles such as “The Ancient Ones,” “Wise Women,” and “Portrait Series”.   Lucy takes great pains to pay attention to details of the body and mind. She focuses on hand embroidery and stitching to reveal facial details and embellishments

Lucy Landry is a member of the Contemporary Fiber Artists of Louisiana

Her ability to sew so completely without pretense  makes her classes at Artistic figures in cloth very desirable start with a simple “pancake style” pattern and turn it into a shapely, well rounded doll, such as the body type shown here.   In this class, we will learn the different ways volume and shape can be added to particular areas in doll patterns.  The following dolls illustrate some of the methods of adding curves and volume that will be covered in the class.

This workshop Creating Volume/Pattern Design from two dimension to three dimension pattern and Embroidered Faces from Ancient Sources are offered at Artistic Figures in Cloth & Clay. 

To read and see more details Click Here.