I come from a family full of teachers, so today I am thrilled to present retired teacher Donna Sims. Sims came to doll art after trying just about every other media and even working as a professional ceramist. Her work has been featured in various magazines and exhibited all over the southwest. She works in both clay and cloth, and she uses an interesting technique called cuir bouilli to make leather clothes for her figures.
Sims’ work is colorful and packed with texture. She says her work is inspired by nature, but there’s a healthy does of imagination in there, too. Most of the pieces on her website are elves and forest folk, but she has also made some more realistic characters and some abstract figures. I’ve selected some of my favorites for you here
Cuir Bouilli seems to involve soaking leather and then forming it into a hardened shape. Sims then paints the leather with brushed-on dyes. If you want to know the nitty-gritty, including the historical uses for cuir bouilli, You can read an article by historical costumer Marc Carlson here.