Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ideas are Brewing...


Monday, January 28, 2008

Ode to a Master

Carl Larsson has long been a favorite artist of mine. The colors are just amazing, but I also had a coloring book as a child, obviously in black and white, and it was fascinating. So what is it? The glimpse into his world? The incredibly wonderful detail in each piece? I don't know. I love it all.

Flower Window

Carpenter Hellberg's Children

And if you like those, check out this one - what would you do for those shoes? (slipper?) And the headscarf! And the apron! Those colors! And check out this pinafore! When I have children, I have a strong premonition that Carl Larsson will be highly referenced...

And bedrooms. For years, a certain amazing cupboard bed (of which I cannot find a photo - I just spent a good half hour searching people - where can it be?) was my idea of the absolutely perfect place to dream, but I just saw this one and I have to say, those curtains...? embroidered canopy? Built in benches? (having fun with the links? oh dear!)

I think I figured it out. The reason I love Carl Larsson so much is that his paintings are so inviting. I feel that I could just move in. And I have a feeling that I would not regret it.

It seems that more and more, the art I love somehow relates to how I want to live. As I grow older, I begin to think more about why it is that certain artwork speaks to me. Pieces that I have loved for years, I begin to look at again and more closely, trying to discern what these preferences tell me - about the choices I make in my own artwork, my surroundings, and other, unexpected, aspects of my life.

Carl Larsson's world is something for which I will continue to strive.

Images from Scandinavian Treasures

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

And a Boy!

My very first needle felted boy doll is dressed and ready to meet the world! I think he is very sweet, he has a pensive face but looks like he could kick a soccer ball with the best of them!

This was also my first attempt at a wire armature, which turned out to be a bit of a hassle. Three felting needles were broken, effectively halting my needle felting evenings until the emergency refill pack arrived from Ewetopia. It is good to have friends with connections.

My favorite part of this little man are his ears.

I am tempted to go back and add ears to all the other dolls I have around.

Visit my shop for more pictures!

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Coming out of the Fog

This picture pretty much sums up my week. I had been feeling so smug that the cold going around my office was passing me by, and then it turned right around and got me good. Youch! But I think its on its way out now, knock on wood, and I am not in the least bit sorry to say goodbye!

More fun artsy things soon, there are projects galore in the works!!

(and in world news, I am so sad that Dennis Kucinich has dropped out of the presidential race. Sure, he didn't have a fighting chance, but every now and again its nice to see a candidate with some morals. So long Dennis, and Good Luck!)


Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Covered Bridge and Cold, Cold Water

And the pup. She sure does love the snow!


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Miniature Bliss

If I can't live in Corey's house someday, I will settle for one of these (click on the right arrow in the upper right corner of the page to see more and more and more... believe me, you will be glad you did).

Of course, I would have to get my hands on some of Alice's shrinking potion, since these wonderful rooms are built on a 1"=1' scale. Oh well. But, aren't they perfect? Find them at the Art Institute of Chicago.

My little etsy shop has been featured today on "Quirky'n'Berkeley" Fun!

Photo from Art Institute website.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Abstract amazement

I would like to share with you the work of one of my new favorite artists: Sarah Amos creates the most incredible prints and murals, all huge (although I have yet to see them in person - another reason to go to New York I guess!). She is also the nicest person, to work with and to meet. I have been working on her website - her design, my translation to web - and it went live a few days ago. An archive will be coming soon, so I suggest you check back!

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Am I Missing Something?

I usually try to keep some semblance of "art" in my posts here, but this just has me so confounded that I need to share it. And the dog could care less, so...

What is with people?

Am I missing something, or is it being suggested that a sustainable future lies with ethanol, um, hummers? Shall we starve our country and rape our land so that a few imbecilic chauvinists can drive around in absurdly over-sized - not to mention incredibly unattractive - army vehicles?

If I could channel the anger I feel over this - and all the other little things like this that occur ever so frequently - into an artistic statement of some sort, believe me when I wholeheartedly tell you I would. The frustration at not knowing what to do with the frustration I feel over the state of the world is sometimes so overpowering that there is no way a canvas could hold it; by putting pen to paper it would be diminished and inconsequented. I do not feel strong enough as an artist to channel the energy of what I experience.

There are so many colossal tragedies happening everyday that I, for one, often feel that I have conditioned myself to tune them out, ignoring for the sake of sanity really. I make dolls and search out the good things that people are doing. And for the most part this works. For the sanity thing at least. But then some small occurrence, and everything comes rushing back. By power of association the waves of tragedy, violence, senselessness, greed, etc etc come crashing in. Isn't this why there are so many horribly unhappy people? I am an inherently happy person - almost disgustingly optimistic - and I am often overwhelmed! The little reminders are so sneaky, the hummers (ok, not so little), the politicians snide underhand comments, the disgustingly patronizing commercials... ay!

Thanks for bearing with me as I rant. Actually, thank you for visiting anytime; you really and truly make my day with your comments and shared thoughts! Joining in to this online worldwide community of bloggers has been a wonderful experience for me.

photo from


They say the neon lights are bright...

...on Broadway!

For Christmas this year, C and I decided to go to Broadway. We chose Phantom of the Opera, the longest running show on Broadway, and am I ever glad we did. It was magic, pure magic. That music!

photo from Sarah Brightman: A Biography

This was my favorite part, when the lights rise slowly out of the mist. It actually brought tears to my eyes.

I can't wait to go back - Les Miserables (is it closing? I think so and am so disappointed), La Boheme, The Lion King, Spamalot... anyone want to sponsor me?!

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Summer Sweetheart

Now available in my shop! She is not a Lenci, I still have some practicing to do to get to that level, but she is very sweet. If I do say so myself! I think she can be a wonderful dollhouse inhabitant, or a sweet little friend to stick in your pocket. Or she can decorate a desk or nature table, as others of her compatriots now do!!

I have been having some dilemmas on the pricing front. If I priced these dolls so that my time was actually worth, well, something, they would be way to expensive for anyone to buy. Conundrum. I am working on ways to cut down on production time while keeping to my meticulous standards of quality, we will have to see how that works out.

The part of making these dolls that takes up the time is felting the body. It takes an astonishing amount of wool to make each one, and compacting it in layers and layers is time consuming. The really fun part is when the basic body shape is together, and I can start to individualize it. Extra layers are added on to make bumps and curves, the legs must be rounded out and the tummy plumped up. Then the face, for sure the most fun part. It is amazing how the dolls come to life once they have eyes. Actually, I usually try to leave the eyes until the very end, it is hard to stab the needle into it when it has eyes. (Just to clarify, for those of you who are unfamiliar with needle felting, it is a process in which barbed needles - often recycled from industrial felting machines - are poked and jabbed at the wool, causing it to felt).

Two of my dolls have so far headed off to new homes. I know that this one is looking forward to traveling too!

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Time's a-wastin'

I have had quite a lot of home computer work to get done recently, which means that my procrastination time has been spent in obsessively re-checking favorite blogs for new posts, equally obsessively surfing around Etsy in hopes of new favorites, and creating useless things in Illustrator. And perhaps some not so useless, such as this colorful logo for my (procrastination-hobbled) freelance work:

Logos are fun, although quite a challenge. I realized exactly what a challenge they really are when a client once deferred to my professional knowledge, according me a highly trained expert's knowledge of what makes a logo really work, when in fact I am pretty much entirely self-trained in this respect and basically go with my gut instinct + a bit of common sense. I have a lot of respect for the highly trained professionals who understand the philosophy and the psychology behind a good logo. But I also like to make them myself and see what happens.

Since I probably should make an effort to accomplish the work for which I sat down here, I will leave you now. Happy Tuesday to all!

(p.s. There is a new doll just about ready to face the world. I just wasn't quite ready to have her in such close proximity to those darn Lenci treasures!)

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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

What I would do for a Lenci

Actually, I have no idea what I would do for a Lenci doll, probably not too much. But I would love to see some of these in person. Perhaps hold them and try to discern how they were created. Marvel at the intricacy and attention to detail. These dolls are just so lovely.

I think the one in orange is my current favorite. These images are from a 1990 copy of "Dolls: The Collectors Magazine" that I have had since probably sometime around 1990. The Lenci dolls have been a constant source of inspiration and fascination
since I first saw them, and I have carried the magazine around in my stash of sewing books for years. Every now and again I come across it and examine the photographs again, hoping for some clue as to how they can look so lifelike and full of attitude.

This one was my favorite as a child, if I remember correctly. She is so bad-ass.

Apparently they think that several of these dolls were modeled after glamorous film actresses such as Marlene Dietrich, Clara Bow, and Lillian Gish. Most Lenci dolls that I have found online are much more childlike than these. Perhaps the children's versions were more common? I don't know, and other than in the magazine - which actually has avery interesting if not overly informative article - most of what I have found written about Lenci dolls and their history is so poorly written it hurts my brain. Oh well.

I just got the magazine out again last night because it occurred to me that with needle felting, I could actually achieve something similar to the Lenci ladies. I have a long way to go, but the soft scultpural quality that I admire is definitely a quality achievable with needle felting. It is very exciting.

The costumes on these last ones are so incredible. This is what I am striving for. Someday.

Photos from Dolls: The Collectors Magazine, May 1990


And back again!

hello there! Happy New Year to you!

I have been suffering from what I like to call "procrastination". Not an original term, I admit, but I am strikingly good at embodying it. In this case, I actually have something upon which to lay the blame... Scrubs has taken over my life and resistance has been futile.

But that's really no excuse. Quite honestly, I recalled on my plane trip home - overnight across pretty much most of this very large country - that I had promised a special Christmas end to my little Advent Calendar. Does anyone else remember that? I realize that perhaps no one else does, but I suffer from horrible guilt when I say anything and do not carry it out. So, if anyone perchance remembered that incident, I humbly apologize.

I hope you all had really and truly wonderful Holidays! I will be back with more soon!

photo: Christmas Morning in the Catalina Mountains, Tucson AZ