Saturday, December 12, 2015

3-D and dollmaking

Before I became a quilter I worked in 3-D in fabric – I was a cloth dollmaker and soft toy maker and designer.  For 15 years I worked in this field, doing a lot of teaching, making dolls mostly for collectors, and writing several books on dolls and teddy bears which were published world-wide.  The books are out of print now but they can still be traced in the web, and purchased in Amazon Market Place.  Just enter my name and a page will pop out.

Book cover

It was a combination of a trip to USA (my first ever) to attend a Doll Convention in Provo, Utah, in 1993, and seeing an exhibition of American Contemporary Quilts in London, that made me decide to change fields and become an art quilter (I was never a traditional quilter). It was a conscious decision to move from 3D to 2D, but to remain within the textile field.

Book opening pages: on the left hand page, my 'signature' dolls - made with a technique of making a latex face mask in a mould, then covering it in stockinette, building the back of the head, and painting the features. The arms and legs are articulated with teddy bear joints.

Probably the most relevant book I wrote, and the one that led more directly to quiltmaking, is The Book of Dollmaking, which was published in 1998.  I very much enjoyed writing it, and it was a very popular one. Two other dollmaker friends collaborated in a few of the projects.

The Angel in the middle, above, was made by my friend Hilary.

Pierrot also has a moulded face.

So what can I do for the 3-D challenge? I’ve toyed with the idea of attaching my witch doll to a background quilt – if I can find her among the boxes in the attic. That will just about fit with my theme of Magic and Science. Or maybe I should do something different, work out a dimensional surface design.  I don’t know – I’m still pondering.

Hepzibah the Witch has articulated limbs made with buttons.