Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Big Doll Returns

I'm reading CREATING by Robert Fritz with lots of interesting idea generating. One being that it helps to know where you want to go when you set out to create...not the total finished product in all its glory, but some idea of what the product might be.

I've returned to the Big Doll Project...not thinking that I will then progress to renting a bigger studio and making humongous sculptures, although that idea did seem to have a lot of appeal last year when Eric Swangstu told me seriously that I could become a nationally-known sculptor if I would just go for SIZE.

I could tell that my excitement was matched by ambivalence as the project lanquished in the garage over winter. My constant lesson to myself is to listen to my instincts, because my intuition is often smarter than my intellect. Over the years I learn a little better how to manage my energy cycles, match my aspirations with my energy. I know that deadlines are helpful to my motivation, so I entered the unfinished piece in the Fiberarts Festival in Sequim in October, and moved her inside, where there is less excuse not to work. I solved a structural problem of how to build her top...I am doing it the same way I do the 14" Sentinals, with wrapped and stitched batting (shown in last year's blog). I'm not sure yet if I will paint her or add the examples of Women's Work that I had planned (tatting, hand-made lace) or use up my collection of mother-of-pearl buttons. When she is finally finished, she will have thousands of stitches in her. Now that she is in the center of the house...just barely fitting in the peak of the ceiling...I am also motivated to keep working, knowing that anyone who comes to the house will see her and want to see my progress.

HOW do YOU get yourselves motivated to finish...or start projects???

Speaking of projects, my brother, David, just sent me this picture taken in October 2005, of me standing right about where I'm sitting now, on my leveled house lot, before the building began.

Now there was a HUGE project, but I was lucky enough to have lots of very capable people helping me, so once I started, the momentum carried me along. Often the biggest projects are like that...all you have to do is have the courage to begin, and then just keep taking one step at a time.

New opportunities keep presenting themselves. Sunday I met with Brenda Beeley about teaching a THREE-DIMENSIONAL DOLL DESIGN class in person in Tuscon, AZ, in January or Februay. I also received an inquiry about teaching in Corvalis, OR, and maybe Vancouer Island...Being open to possibilities, more and more present themselves to me. Life is Good!!!

What Secrets? One of the examples of dolls that can be created in the Three-Dimensional Doll Design class.

My other ongoing project these days is re-doing my DESIGNING A DOLL AND MAKING FACES book, which will include the online 3-D doll design class, and Color pictures! It's hard to find time to go to my job, with all these fun projects going on, but I love my patients and learn so much from them every day, I wouldn't give up that part of my life, either.

Then there's my rock yard and the ongoing battle with weeds. I just got 7 yards of gravel delivered and bought a few more sedums and ground covers--all planted now in time for the rain tonight, but the gravel will take time to distribute--by the bucketload.

I could go on and on, but must get busy and make more things to show you.

Freshwater Bay is one of my local beaches with wonderful rocks and hardly any people, even on a gorgeous sunny summer Saturday.

Inspiration Abounds!

PS: so sorry I didn't get to spend time with ALL my friends in the northeast when I was there. Plan a class and I will be happy to come on back.


Monday, August 04, 2008

Doll Making with Found Objects

The dollar store and hardware store...with the addition of Aves Apoxie Sculpt and Fixit, provide fertile ground for Doll Making with Found Objects. The trick is to look at "ordinary" objects in Extraordinary ways.

The Hunter-Gatherer returns to her studio with a treasure trove of Possibilities...the whole palette for under $10...and no sewing machine!

The tiny Tripod Doll was obvious, standing sturdily on

its three legs, and poseable
in the upper body through the built-in angular adjustments. The head is one of the red vine balls set into Apoxie Sculpt, the arms two of the glass globs from the dollar bag...perhaps the leftovers will go out into my stone-covered yard. Yes, I'm growing stones, or rather collecting them, wherever I go...enough to smother all the eager weeds. The tripod doll's eyes are black plastic knitting counters, the pupils silver heart-shaped paper fasteners. The wig is a hank of antique beads, all wired on with thin red wire...Never, Never throw Anything away!

Boxes make great bodies...or stage settings! This one's a play within a play, with an abstract coral figure with a shell head and polished stone base, dancing in front of a sheet of patined copper inside a copper-painted box.

The head is a chipped spark plug Apoxie Sculpted onto a set of bronze U's, painted copper.

The U's become feet below, on a drawer pull, on the lid of a tin box that was used as a stage set for a 911 doll...recycling at its most Artistic!

The arms are copper elbows set into silver metal washers, with beads strung onto waxed thread. Apoxie Fixit holds it all in place. A Curious Cabinet!

Last, but not least, my DaDa Dolly--collaged and painted baby, with a funnel hat and evil eye bead eyes...ohhhh what is she/he thinking???

Acrylic paints and gel medium to attach the thin collage pieces of paper with additional embellishment by Fabrico brush pen--Plan your own Found Doll Making Party Today!


Friday, August 01, 2008

Vacation III

Except for small local classes and my international teaching online, the class I taught in Ottawa on Doll Making with Found Objects was the first travel class since teaching on a cruise ship in the Carribean for Soft Dolls and Animals in 2005, just before I moved West.

I LOVE mixed media! This is a sample piece I made for the class, using a found plastic part, one of Teesha Moore's faces, beads, buttons, an ornamental disc, lace, and lots of 3-D forms, all assembled with sewing.

Here's a flat sample using the Aves Apoxie Sculpt and stuff I've been collecting forever: a squashed ceramic face, a metal triangle, wire, beads, a buckle, a skull, a vertebra, cup hooks, the technique of quilting onto heavy interfacing you've seen before in my Famous Faces series, and sticky-back copper foil (normally used in stained glass) to cover the cut fabric edges.

Assemblage is good fun and the impetus for never-ending collecting, so watch out! you could get hooked.

I had mailed the samples and some supplies to myself at Annie's house, and after we had too little shared studio time...and a few more great meals, I headed for Ottawa on July 4th. Wonderful clouds above the little yellow car!

Being with friends and sharing each other's studios is GOOD FUN!!! Thank Heaven for the Internet, so we can stay in touch daily, if we want to. Now sending pictures back and forth is easy, too. I find that seeing my friends' creativity really pushes my own!

The ladies in the Ottawa class were very, very stimulating! Go back through my blogs to see more of their work.

Today (8/1/08) I'm working on a set of non-sewn dolls (challenging for me not to sew) for a new book Linda and Opie O'brien are putting together. I started by going to the dollar store and the hardware store for parts, and I'll show you the results soon.

My gracious hostess, Roberta Russell, took me in to downtown Ottawa the day after class, and that is Certainly a Beautiful City, with superb pie!!!

Monday morning I drove east across the top end of NY and entered my beloved Vermont again at Alburgh. It was 90 degrees and humid. Even though the winters are frigid and white, the summers are green and sweaty. I kept the windows open to inhale as much of VT as I could.

I drove south through the Lake Champlain islands, with a brief stop at Isle La Motte to pick up some stones to bring home. The shrine was one of the memorable scenes of Tim's departure into the Peace Corps with David and me as witnesses.

My mom's brother, Bill, in the center. A sumptuous dinner with the Bickford clan. Aunt Arlene is always taking the pictures, so she's never in them. Some day my brothers, their families, and I will get to VT as a group for a larger and longer reunion. In the meantime we welcome any family members and friends who make it to the Northwest.

Lots of conversations about the concept of HOME during my trip. Vermont, especially the Northeast Kingdom, will always be my standard of a beautiful and homey landscape...although there are places here on the way to Joyce in the West End that remind me some of my home state.

David and Anne's colorfully-decorated farmhouse in central VT was my last overnight, after a cookout by the pond in Groton State Forest....all those miles of dirt roads!!! I took a quick trip around the Northeast Kingdom--St. J looks a lot cuter, taking advantage of the Victorian architecture, and East Ryegate is pretty much the same, except some of the houses have been spruced up. The old schoolhouse where I used to live is surrounded by trees I planted as sprouts in the Seventies that are now taller than the building. At a farmers market way up in Danville, there were already ripe cherry tomatoes--we're still waiting for them locally.

Back to Burlington--a city that has grown tremendously since I last lived there in the Eighties. Lunch at Skinny Pancakes by the lake with David and Tim...so many good old times to celebrate!

HOME AGAIN! I love my adopted home in the Northwest, where it's always temperate, and I can see salt water from my desk. My rock back yard with lavender, sedums, and creeping thyme had filled in, meaning lots of weeding for me.

My VT rocks will find a home here, and gathering yet more smooth stones is an ever-present excuse to visit the beaches. The worn edges remind me of the effects of time on all of us.

Summer is a time when I receive visitors, too. Doug and Amal sans children for a few weeks, at the Port Angeles farmers' market. Notice the Olympic mountains in the background. There are still patches of snow in evidence--drinking water for our summer.

More company has followed, and I'm back at work in the hand clinic. I the timing of my trip back East was excellent, in allowing me to enjoy my good, good friends, the scenes of my earlier life, and also to appreciate the roots I've put down here and the good friends I've mad here, who were happy to hear that I'm staying.

My meditation practice helped me to enjoy each sight, taste, conversation, hug as I traveled so it seemed as if everything worked perfectly and that I was able to savor each moment away, but have no regrets about where I am now. As all the projects and possibilities flood in, I need to remember to do one thing at a time and enjoy the process...taking time for biking and all the other delights of summer on the Peninsula. Come and Visit!