The graceful proportions of Angela Jarecki

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Today’s featured artist is Angela Jarecki. According to her blog, she seems to be living in Texas these days, but she used to work at Hallmark and live here in the Kansas City area, so I am fairly sure that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her at some point, during my early days of fangirling all the doll artists in town. I’m sure she doesn’t remember me at all, though.

In any case, what I remember about her was that she made the most beautiful cloth mermaid I’d ever seen. There’s just something about the tail proportions that she gets right and hardly anybody else does, or at least did at that time. All of her cloth dolls are characterized by an unerring sense of proportion and fantastic fabric choices. I love the color choices and the textures of her Abundance, shown below in the orange coat.

Her sense of proportion spills over into her hard medium sculpts too, which have the most delightful faces. The fairy pictured above is such an unusual scale. I love how she fits right in the palm of your hand.

I must confess, though, that her bears and bunnies are my favorite pieces. They don’t have the same kind of faces as traditional teddies; instead they seem to be patterned after modern plushies. Again, we see her fabulous grasp of proportion in the size and placement of the eyes and other facial features. It amazes me that many of these bears are crocheted. I neither knit nor crochet, but if I’d known you could do this kind of thing with it, I might have learned. Even her bears have gorgeous little costumes, and most of them come with an even tinier friend. If you go to her website, you can read their little biographies, which often include their best friends’ names and favorite snacks.

Jarecki teaches online classes at DollStreetDreamers, so go and check them out. I love to see an artist with such varied interests — it gives me hope for myself!


Update — Butterfly wings, ball joints

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Hi, just a couple of things for you to check out.

I have a confession to make. I found out about Adele Sciortino’s doll costume newsletter way back when it first started up last summer, but I never really got around to reading it until this week. Boy, was I missing out! Each issue takes a specific topic in dollmaking costume, whether it’s a genre like fairies or clowns or a historical period, and gives you specific instructions for making such a costume, illustrated with the work of other professional artists, like Marianne Reitsma and Martha Boers or Charie Wilson.

The first issue, Summer 2007, included general instructions and patterns for no fewer than eleven types of doll wings, including flower-petal angel wings like the ones seen in my report on Sleetwealth Studios. So, for those of you who are following my search for fairy wing tutorials, go and sign up for the newsletter.

The newsletter is free; you just have to sign up. Go take a look, it’s worth the trouble of signing up just for the fabulous pictures of Reitsma and Boer’s work. There are also book reviews, articles about organizing a studio, using silk flower petals in doll costumes, and more.

Finally, while surfing today, looking for the next doll artist to feature, I discovered a pattern on CD for what seems to be a ball-jointed cloth doll. The artist is Allison Marano and the link is here — scroll down to Henley the House Gnome. The description says his hips and shoulders are button joints but his elbows, knees, wrists and ankles are “bead joints.” I’m not sure if bead joints are the same as the ball joints I’ve been working on, but it sure looks like it. If anyone has made this pattern, can you leave us a comment about how the joints work?


Happy Fourth!

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Hello and Happy Fourth of July to all of my American readers, even if you’re not actually in America today. In fact, even if you’re not an American and you’ve never heard of the Fourth of July, I hope you’re having a great day anyway.

In honor of our country’s birthday, today I’m going to post some patriotic dolls from Etsy:

A hilarious pair of red, white and blue sock monkeys from Hoffeeandanuffin, who seems to specialize in hosiery primates.

These wonderful Americana sculpts were done by Middleburg Folk Art Studio. These aren’t even my favorite pieces out of this shop (check out their bluebird wedding cake toppers and flying pigs) but I love the patterned paper in Betsy Ross’s skirt and the windswept look of Uncle Sam’s beard.

PolkaDotToadstool has a shop full of dollhouse minis and very creative sculpted dolls, including a toadstool art doll, a little old lady surrounded by her carniverous plants ( Is that a piece of bacon she’s feeding them???) and this Punch-and-Judylike Uncle Sam.

Parkerart offers a bunch of these joyful, poseable Uncle Sams. I love the way they dance and hop around on their skinny legs.

I hope you enjoyed all of theses pieces, and I hope you’ll have a great weekend!


Update — wonder if he’ll do my back yard?

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Check out this terra cotta art by Aussie Bruno Torfs. It’s got me trying to think of statues to make for my own garden… hmmm….

See more art at his website, and this Flickr set.

Oh, and for the record, polymer clay really can’t stand up to being outside, but there’s a new product that’s supposed to seal it so it can. It’s called Paverpol, and you can get it at ClayAlley.com. I’m very interested in trying it, but haven’t scraped up the money or time yet.


Du Buh Du Designs — Christine Alvarado

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Today’s featured doll artist is proof that you don’t need genius technical skills or phenomenal attention to detail to be successful. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying that Christine Alvarado doesn’t have those qualities — but the charm of her dolls is their sketchlike simplicity. I would call them folksy or primitive, except for their luscious, urban-styled costumes. I want to pick them up and play with them.

I haven’t discovered yet what they’re made of, but Alvarado’s dolls are simply sculpted (or maybe cast from molds) and heavily painted with dreamy, cartoon-like faces. They have simple shoulder joints, and some have bent arms. The legs seem to be jointed too, although the leg joints are firm enough to stand, at least when propped against something. The dolls have costumes that range from simple print dresses to luxurious velvet coats.

The costumes are half of the charm of these pieces. I love how Alvarado uses graphical prints, just the right amount of texture, and unexpected trimmings. Some of the pieces have crocheted lace for scarves or fancy braid for necklaces. Many of them come with extras, like little cats to hold in their laps, masks that actually fit them, or painted portraits of themselves. And then there are her equally lovely mermaids, which have less costume but more embellishment.

You can see Alvarado’s work on her blog, her Flickr site, or her Etsy store. Her pieces are very reasonably priced, for art dolls.

By the way, I’m not exactly sure (and I’m too lazy to look it up) but this blog is about a year old now, and I want to thank everybody who reads regularly. Please leave me a comment — I love your feedback!



Sleetwealth Studios — Beauty with an edge

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Today’s featured artist, Anita R. Collins, isn’t just another eBay fairy sculptor. Her work is certainly above average in its realism, beauty and detail, but beyond that, shes creates a sense of mood in her work that is really something special. Her pieces have a distinctly adult edge, displaying their anatomical correctness and sometimes showing evidence of violence, tattoos or scarification, but there is still a haunting beauty that shows through in each piece.

One thing I love about her work is her unflinching use of media. Many artists are wedded to either sewn costumes or sculpted ones (and I have long maintained that the popularity of fairies as subjects is partly because sculptors who don’t like to sew can wind a little cheesecloth around them and call it costume), but Collins’ figures wear either medium equally well, depending on what the artist is trying to accomplish. Their costumes, hair and accessories often display a careful attention to details and their effect on the work as a whole.

Everything about Collins’ work is fresh and reexamined. Her mermaids don’t have scaly tails. She makes crowns out of polymer clay and microbeads. Her angels have wings instead of arms. She makes animal-human hybrids that go beyond the usual centaurs and fauns to include seals, octopi, cats and — I swear to you — coral. Really. See the picture at the top of this entry?

Visit DeviantArt account for more of her work — I haven’t even mentioned her cool dragon-head beads or her adorable netsuke sculptures.


Yikes — Sharmanka Automata

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What’s the difference between kinetic sculpture and automata? I’m not sure where the line is. Either way, though, this studio’s work is creepy and amazing at the same time. Visit the first, second and third YouTube videos from Sharmanka to get a better idea of her pieces’ kinetic action. How do you build something so huge? Goodness.

Sharmanka is actually a collaboration between sculptor/engineer Eduard Bersudsky and theater director Tatyana Jakovskaya and based in Glasgow, Scotland. Apparently their work is exhibited as theater, which makes sense, I suppose, given how large and complex it is. Check out their website for more pictures. Sorry, I’m not going to copy any here; it’s too late at night.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Update– Scott Radke and UTEE

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Scott Radke

Susan Lomuto blogs about previously-featured artist Scott Radke on her Polymer Clay Notes blog. I like her observation that the widely-spaced eyes of his creatures make them seem vulnerable despite their creepiness.

So that’s what UTEE is for!

Here’s a neat uTube video showing how to cast pirate skull jewelry in UTEE, in case anyone (like me) has been trying to figure out what that stuff was for.

Happy Birthday to mee….

I’ll give you a real post tomorrow, which is my birthday. Well, I don’t actually celebrate my birthday anymore. Actually, I celebrate the anniversary of my 25th birthday. Makes me feel much better.


Kat Soto — elegance and awkwardness

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It seems like a contradiction in terms, but Kat Soto’s beautiful dolls are somehow elegant and awkward at the same time. They have dreamy, long-nosed faces reminiscent of Dutch Renaissance paintings, but at the same time, their overlarge feet and stiff fingers give them an endearing awkwardness, like a teenager just growing into her beauty. Add to that delicate costumes and accessories and complicated settings, and you have dolls who are beautiful but also full of personality.

So far, I have been unable to discover a biography on this artist. What I do know about her is that she works in the U.S. and she seems to work as a sculptor and moldmaker in her day job. Her dolls are poseable, at least in the arms and knees, and probably in the necks as well. They may be cast from resin. I love the way the fingers are posed — check out the hand holding the cigarette in the doll above. I’d love to know how she makes her fairy wings; they’re shiny and highly textured, with gold edges, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen any done like these before.


My eyes were bigger than my blog post, apparently, and I snagged more pictures than I should have. Here’s the link to her website, where there are even more gorgeous pictures, not to mention a really cool interface. Go take a peek, it’s totally worth it.