Friday, September 19, 2014

Can I Take Your Order? Custom Jewelry Fun...

I recently sold a bunch of repurposed vintage jewelry to a somewhat local retail shop owner. She was so intrigued by the unique way I was able to take unusual objects and upcycle them into something wearable... that she entrusted me to create a few pieces from her own personal mementos. I was touched and honored, but when I got her box of goodies... Wow! It was filled with the most unique heirlooms I had ever seen! Here's what happened after that...

I tackled the easy one first. My client had a vintage strand of pearls she wanted to convert to a double strand, and paired with a pearl pin. The biggest hurdle was that the pin had an open area in the center which exposed the pin backing.

There were several solutions I could have gone with, and eventually chose the understated elegance of a vintage pearl button set behind the pin. Good thing I have such a large button collection! Current inventory: 2,846 white and off white buttons, now minus... 1!

Next I took on the task of upcycling a few of her favorite pieces —a trio of gold heirlooms — which included her mother's baby pin, her own birth charm, and the letter M from a monogram pin she had. The design of the piece is a challenge for my imagination, but I love putting disparate items together to make them look as if it were perfectly planned from the start. The engineering of the piece as I turn my vision into an actual wearable necklace... well, that's another story. And I have to confess that taking apart and drilling holes in people's one-of-a-kind mementos is a bit nerve wracking. But everything went smoothly!

After all that intensity, my mind needed a little break and I worked on my client's charm bracelet. Filled with tons of mementos from a vintage charm bracelet that belonged to her mom, then paired with a bunch of goodies I found from her own stash... this was lots of fun to work on. I do love a good charm bracelet. Made my want to make one for myself!

Then it was back to the most difficult but also the most intriguing piece of them all. With this perfectly patina'd necklace I incorporated a very unique carved, enameled pin with the letter P on it. I paired that with a vintage silver rattle that belonged to her mom. And the piece de resistance... her mom's carved, embossed silver birth bell. I had never seen heirlooms like this in my life. And the greatest part? They'll no longer be tucked quietly away in the jewelry box. They'll be the start of many, many interesting and touching conversations!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I'm Stuffed!

I'm so very excited to announce that... I'm Stuffed! No... I'm not full from too much yummy food... I'm actually featured in the Autumn issue of Stuffed Magazine! A trio of my Modern Vintage Rag Dolls was chosen for their publication earlier this year, and my copy just arrived!

I was beyond giddy when I realized that my dolls were the first feature article in the magazine. How cool is that? And what an amazingly adorable job they did with the opening spread. Those paper lanterns are just too cute... and the perfect accent for my Geisha Girl!

Cloud E. with Raindrop and Dottie the Cupcake got full page exposure... what a thrill! The layout really highlights each doll and details much of the heart and soul (and stitching) that went into them. So awesome!

To get a peek into the Autumn issue of Stuffed magazine — or to purchase a copy online — visit Stampington & Company's sneak preview page. And to see more of my Modern Vintage Rag Dolls, check them out here. The issue will be on newsstands August 1st.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Dolls on Exhibit... a Torche' Galerie Opening Nite! Saturday, July 12th...

After the great success at their Anniversary Show, I am thrilled to announce that 9 of my newest Folk Art Dolls have been selected for exhibition at Torche' Galerie in Belmar, NJ. In fact... I'm squealing with delight!

Their Summer Exhibition features a whole host of talented artists in all genres including sculpture, photography, charcoal, watercolor, acrylic, collage, mosaic, mixed-media and so many more categories of intriguing contemporary art. Torche' Galerie is like a little slice of an upscale New York City gallery with a friendly and inviting atmosphere... right here in NJ! And the opening night reception will knock your socks off. Good thing it's Summer!

Torche' Galerie Summer Exhibition
Opening Reception 
Saturday, July 12, 2014
7pm - 10pm
500 Main Street, Belmar, NJ 07719
So come join me at the opening reception and view my latest selection of whimsical Art Dolls as well as the work of more than 50 artists! If you can't make it to the Opening Reception, the show is up for two months, and you can also get a sneak peek of my dolls in the Artist section of the Torche Galerie website.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

No Clowning Around This Time!

So... right after my last big project — creating 30 custom Knock Down Dolls — I had to go right into a marathon of Art Doll making! With only 17 days until a gallery submission deadline, there was no clowning around for this girl. I had to accomplish what had previously taken me more than 3 times that to do! So... I neglected housecleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, the beach (that one hurt a little!), and I worked night and day, sleeping a lot less than usual... for more than two weeks! But I did it. I created 9 dolls from start to finish in that amount of time. It was a whirlwind of art making, but at the same time it was an incredible journey...

I'm not a big fan of being on an extremely tight deadline. I'm definitely more from the camp that "art takes as long as it takes." Because... well... it does!

However... needing to create quickly helped to keep me from overthinking things. Bonus! I'm definitely an overthinker... pondering the many, many facets for each stage of dollmaking. But I didn't have that luxury this time, and it kind of turned out to be a blessing. I committed to my decisions more quickly... and without much regret. Double bonus!

At times I felt like I was possessed... or that I had sold my soul to the devil. But that was okay, because My Devil Is Da Bomb! Not only do I love making these dolls, but I enjoy coming up with whimsically clever names for them as well. From a design standpoint, don't ask my why my devil has glitter star pasties and a feather boa skirt. That's just my very odd brain hard at work!

Have you ever made a Snow Angel? Yeah... me too! I couldn't very well have a devil without an angel.... so I thought I'd make her white as snow. For good contrast. With a recycled blouse as her gown, some vintage jewelry to keep her afro in check, a repurposed bow, and pearls from my stash... she really is angelic.

For a long time I didn't like my Tooth Fairy. She was a toughie. But I gave her a tulle shawl to match her tutu, a vintage jewel for her halter top and a couple of adorable blue bows for her hair buns... and I fell in love. I actually won't stop — on any of my dolls — until I fall in love. This just took a bit more falling until the love part.

Having grown up near the boardwalks — and knowing that the gallery show would be for two summer months — I had to include some circus-carnival-inspired pieces. Welcome To The Big Top was one of my favorite ideas and I really enjoyed making her a circus tent style dress! Oh, and that hair! Totally over the top.... just how I like it.

And sticking with the circus theme, Dottie The Clown might just be my favorite doll from this group. This tender heart touched my heart the most. So much emotion from that face!

And from the whimsical — and more delicious — memories of my boardwalk days... came Candy Apple. I actually used to eat those things until I felt like I was going to break my teeth one day. So I switched to caramel. That art doll will be next!

And of course, no boardwalk, carnival or circus visit would be complete without an Oops! I Dropped My Ice Cream moment! I can say that I have dropped my ice cream before. And yes... I scooped up the part not touching the ground and resumed eating — without so much as skipping a beat!

So that's a sneak peek at some of the dolls I created for this series. And I am so excited to share with you that Torche' Galerie in Belmar, NJ has accepted all 9 of my dolls for their summer show! I am thrilled beyond words!! You can see the dolls in person at the exhibit opening on Saturday, July 12th, from 7-10. I'll let you know all the details as we get closer!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Well, Knock Me Over! A Happy Camper Story...

For the last few months, I've been working on a set of 30 custom Knock-Down Dolls. The request came from an event planner that I had worked with 2 years ago, on another set of dolls. These clients had requested a full arcade-style setup with Knock-Downs that went with their party theme. This latest job was centered around two girls who were having a Double Bat Mitzvah. They were camp buddies and so they wanted two dolls that looked like the guests of honor, and the rest would be "Happy Campers".

The design process begins on the computer, and I work with my client to create the right kind of art for their particular theme. It was tons of fun designing the happy campers and making Knock-Down Doll art of the girls in their party dresses.

Once the client approves, I send it out to Spoonflower to create custom fabric from my illustrations.

For the Happy Campers, I got to create blonde, brunette and redheaded girls in their camp uniforms. I even made backs for the dolls, that looked like each girl from behind!

Making faux fur sandwiches — pinning each doll inside out with very thick 2-1/2" long fur fabric — is a challenge. But one of the highlights of this job was that I got to match the fur to the hair color of the Happy Campers!

Once the dolls are sewn and stuffed, I add wooden bases — silkscreened with my logo — to the bottom of each one. Because these Knock-Down Dolls are a throwback to the old boardwalk days, I love using vintage hardware to finish them with.

Once they were all together, the smiles on their faces said it all. Yup... we have some Happy Campers!

The Party Girls were pretty adorable as well. Their dresses were designed from original photos of their party outfits. Lots and lots and lots of rhinestones...

...which I mimicked on the back for their names and Bat Mitzvah date! Mazel Tov!

All-in-all, this had to be one of the most fun jobs I've worked on in a very long time. And my client is a breeze to work with. Our co-collaboration resulted in some pretty cute Knock-Down Dolls. All the little details really make them "out standing". There's only one thing left to do... knock 'em down!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Dolls on Exhibit... a Torche' Galerie Opening Nite! Saturday, April 12th...

I am beyond excited to announce that seven of my new Folk Art Dolls have been chosen for exhibition at Torche' Galerie in Belmar, NJ. In fact... I'm over the moon!

The exhibit is to mark the gallery's First Anniversary and a whole host of talented artists in all genres were selected for this very special occasion.

Torche' Galerie Anniversary Exhibition
Opening Reception 
Saturday, April 12, 2014
7pm - 10pm
500 Main Street, Belmar, NJ 07719

So come join me at the opening reception and view the work of more than 50 contemporary artists! And if you can't make it, the show is up until May 10th. Check it out... you won't be disappointed.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Ain't She A Doll...

Well, it took a little longer than I anticpated... but I finally finished my first official collection of folk art style dolls for 2014. With 10 little babies to create from paper clay, I ended up letting them discover who they wanted to be as I sculpted away. I did have some very specific ideas for personalities in mind before beginning... but the creative thoughts that came during the process made it that much more exciting. They just came to life in my very hands. I'm such a proud momma.

From bunnies in tutus, to moons orbiting earth, to cotton candy personified, to an underwater sea creature, and more... they were such fun to watch unfold before my eyes! I loved getting lost in the process and finding myself again in the tiniest of details. It was fun. It was frustrating at times. It was even a little scary. But mostly... I enjoyed the unpredictability of this journey.

So, let's take a look at some of my new art dolls...

This is Hope. No matter where she goes, she always feels at home. She's kind of a homebody.

Here is Mother Earth, with the orbiting moon as her head. She's got the whole world in her hands. The scarf was a last minute addition, but it does get cold up there at the North Pole!

Leonardo — a.k.a. The King of Cats — is a real sweetheart and a romantic. I actually used my kitties' naturally shed whiskers for this doll. And yes, I've been collecting those whiskers for years for just such a purpose.

Ain't she sweet? This is Miss Cotton Candy in all her pink glory. With an inverted cone as her off-the-shoulder ball gown, she's ready for a night on... the boardwalk.

Crustacea is Queen of the Lobsters. But it wasn't easy. She had to pinch her way to the top, one arthropod at a time! She's all dressed up for the Coral Cotillion, aboard the sunken pirate Ship Destiny. I wonder what great treasures await her.

And this little angel is Aspen. Made from parts of an old teddy bear (yes, that awesome bow belonged to the bear), she won my heart and will become part of my own personal collection. Now to carve out some time for the next round of dolls. Hmmmm.... where shall I go from here?

You can check out my entire collection of folk art style dolls in more detail in my Etsy shop.