Saturday, August 19, 2006

A few more beads

I have less than a week to complete the beaded doll for the CPS swap! I've been beading every night, and I'm still not done! I bought beautiful doll blanks from Monica Magness on ebay, and of course I had to choose the *largest* one to bead for this swap. I have the front pretty well finished, the back is about 2/3 done, and then I still want to add some beaded fringing, as well as the face, and bead hair. Here's what the back looks like now:

I don't think the front looks much different right now than last time I posted, but just in case, here's that one:

Also, I was excited today to receive Patti Culea's email newsletter, and to find that her next book is on beaded dolls. I love Patti's patterns and her books, and to find that she's also giving a chapter to two other doll artists who bead, Anne Hesse in particular, makes me very happy! I have made several of Anne's no rules faces, and I love them.

Back to the doll at hand...I have several face choices for this doll, and none of the three or four has yet announced that it's the chosen face. I hope I find out soon!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Heart of Magic

Since last November, I've been one of five in a group for a round robin on the Wildartdolls list. Like many RR's, this one has been fraught with set-backs and delays, but ultimately, my group of five has nearly completed. Only one participant is waiting for her doll, but she knows where it is, and why it's delayed.

I started with a basic "wild angel" from a pattern I received when I took Li Hertzi's online class a couple years ago. I made the shape and decided it might not work, as I used a totally inappropriate fabric -- one of those slinky jersey-like knits with the coat of liquid silver patterning. After sewing the doll body, and turning it right side out, stuffing distorted and stretched and filled the body amazingly. Since my other RR doll on this list has been missing for years, I decided it was ok to send a doll that didn't have as much emotional investment. While my rationale for sending this doll may have been faulty, my decision to do so certainly was a good one! I received one of the most magnificent dolls, with work by doll artists I really respect.

Here's what the blank doll looked like when she left my hands:

She started first with Judi Reimer, who did the fabulous beading, and the gorgeous face.

Next in line was Ellen Mechling, who added the fur and cape. Next came Brenda Butler, who gave her a crystal ball on a table. Next, Kathy White, who beaded the cape and added fish line in case I wanted to suspend her.

And finally, Terri Moison, who added to the facial features, and gave the feathery aspect to her feet and hands, to enhance the feeling of motion and flying.

Aren't the results amazing? (Note the journal that traveled with her!)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Fabric for Wearable Art

I'm a member of several online groups that touch on many of my interests, and encourage me to expand and try new things. One of those is a Yahoo group called ClothPaperStudio. For whatever reason, I participate in, and help host, a lot more swaps there than most of my other groups.

Right now, six of us are signed up to make a piece of embellished or altered fabric, which will then be swapped with our two partners, and we're (hopefully) to use the decorated panels to make ourselves some wearable art. The thought behind it all is that an 18 X 30 panel is large enough to make one of the two front sides of a vest.

I have a couple of nice pieces of batik that I thought I would alter, each of which suits the preferences of my two swap partners. However, I started doing some practice techniques on other fabrics, and I already love this one -- it may become the panel for one of the swap partners!

The fabric is a two-tone red, almost on the salmon side of red, with a print that is like a modified paisley. I've been working with Bo Nash bonding powder and Angelina fibers and stuck decorative fibers between the Angelina and the fabric. I know what I want to do next, which involves more of the same fabric, torn black fabric, stamping and bonding. Luckily, I don' thave to have this done till October, because I'm running way behind! PS -- got the angelina and the bo at Joggles -- http://

Thursday, August 10, 2006


So I talked about feet, and then didn't show them! Not my feet, the doll's feet. We don't even want to *think* about talking about my poor feet. Definitely a design flaw in human feet, in my opinion.

As I said in my earlier post, I thought Starchild's feet turned out a little bulky, a little froggy looking. I only managed to take one photo that shows them at all and I've posted that here, but I'll try to get others. I like the way the pattern has you sculpt the toes, but I think I overpadded the feet. I'll take more as I go.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Never wig during a full moon.

Oh my. My working with Tibetan lamb most closely resembles a lady wrestler with an octopus. I don't fare well. I had enough sense to leave work early today, rather than having a cat fight with a co-worker, so I should have had enough sense to continue sleeping on the lounge chair on the deck, rather than trying to play in the treehouse.

Go Gently Starchild needed her limbs attached and since I managed to do that in relatively short order, I thought I could wig, too. know that visual thing I told you about? It didn't work for helping me find my Exacto knife. Well, it worked, but not till the fourth or fifth visualization! I took a break and checked mail, and Cosmo checked out Starchild...and approves. See?

When I decided to pose her after wigging, Cosmo continued to inspect...

For the most part, I'm done with the construction. I still have to style her hair, but now I get to start dressing and accessorizing her. I'm a little disappointed with her feet, as they are a little bulkier than I anticipated. I think I'm going to make her sandals and paint her toenails, rather than the shoes that are part of the pattern.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Other DIPs

I have other dolls in progress. Actually, many of them get to near-completion and then wait. My Oracle doll from several years ago still needs shoes. Right now, one of the dolls in progress is the second Ancient Icon doll from a Pearl Moon class. This is what I have done so far:

The kit for the class included two faces, and we were supposed to make the third. It didn't work well for me, and rather than give up entirely, I decided to alter this face that I bought from Joggles.

And the other doll that is sitting on my table so I don't yank my hair in frustration is this "Medusa" doll. Originally, I bought the pattern to help "test" it. I had a lot of trouble with the instructions and decided that since the only way I would complete it was to go my own way with it, mine wouldn't be a very good example for her. (I thought testing included proofreading the instructions, but I was wrong.) As you can see, so far I've made two heads, one needle sculpted, one not. Both of them have had the rudimentary features painted out with gesso, and I have to start over. Faces...oh, do I have trouble with faces! Also, this doll is made with knit fabrics, and I don't do as well with knits in cloth dolls...and then, there's the problem of giving up and using glue to attach the torso to the lower section -- as I said, probably not a good example. Anyway, here's Medusa, to date:

You have to admit, that's a pretty fun fabric for the lower portion, although I did consider giving it away in one of the ugly fabric swaps on the CPS list. Some day I'll finish her, because I think she'll be a lot of fun (and you should see the fabulous Tibetan lamb plate I bought for her hair!) but right now...she makes me a little crazy, LOL!

I have lots of things I want to work on in the treehouse, beyond dolls. I have everything to make the valances for my kitchen windows, I am altering a couple pieces of fabric for a swap, and I have bunches of unusual "fabrics" and neat imported papers, to put together kits to sell. And then....there's the lure of the soaproom (and orders to ship!) and tending the garden, and books to read, and magazines to view... and back to work tomorrow. Some days I really wonder about people who say they are bored. I wonder what that feels like.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Does this scare you?

There have been a lot of online discussions, in one group in particular, about organizing our creative spaces, cleaning up, how we arrange things, etc. One of my art friends gets a load of new goodies, and promptly organizes it all by color and weight and everything...I mean everything...has a place.

I can't do it.

Every time I commit a neatness, I can't find a doggone thing. It's crazy in my treehouse, I don't deny it. And sometimes I have to dig through layers of things to get to what I want. Sometimes, when I haven't been able to get to the treehouse for a while, I just take my creative time and sit in the room and reintroduce myself to all my goodies. There have actually been times when I just sit and run my hands through the *shoebox* full of glass beads. But when I put things away, I mean, really away, and orderly and sensibly, it just doesn't work. I remember that the green silk looked really nice next to the embroidered teal piece I had nearby, and I kept them together, because they were under the baggie of beads that I can't bear to break up because someone sent them to me just like that...even though normal people would sort them by color. If I move one thing, my visualization is shot, and all is lost. My little bit of stolen creative time is spent in frustration, looking through the drawers for what I might have thought was logical at the time.

So the question remains...should I be scared? Doesn't it look as though all the stuff on the shelves is tipping forward? What if it all decides to let go someday? (Probably on a day I should have come to admire it all and didn't, and now there's pouting going on amongst the goodies.)

Wanna see my fabric closet?? You should see behind that door draped in ribbons....

Thursday, August 03, 2006

To ear or not to ear...

Or, "A Doll Just for Me"

Dolls, cloth dolls, significant dolls have been on my mind for many years. It seems it was seven years or more, starting with my ugly divorce, when I started thinking about making dolls, and not knowing how to go about it. During that time, I researched and joined several groups on the internet about women's spirtuality and soapmaking and any number of other things, but never even gave it a thought that there could be doll groups. Now I'm a member of a couple of online doll message boards, as well as a mixed media art board, and my beloved soap groups.

With all the waiting and dreaming and thinking of the kinds of dolls I wanted to make, you would think that they would all be just for me. It didn't take long, though, to get caught up in swaps, challenges, and other similar things, in which I was making to a purpose that was beyond something for myself (even though I've kept all of those, too!). So now, I'm working on this one...and she is only to satisfy myself.

Made from a Barbara Schoenoff pattern (Shar Lillia), she is, so far, constructed of a favorite piece of batik, will have blue hair, and has suggested from the beginning that her name is "Go Gently Starchild." Barbara's delightful pattern comes with ears...but I just can't decide if she needs them or not! The pic above shows the parts as they are now, with beaded joints, and hands that had to be sewn three times! Never have I had hands give me such fits, and it was just the way things were going for me, because the pattern is fine. It's a real treat to work a little here and a little there, and do this just for me.

Coming in the next few days...all the other DIPs and the altered fabric panel and the mess in my treehouse!
It seems so odd...trying to find a name for my blog. I was hell-bent and determined that I would be able to use the same name as the website I did a few years ago (and have since pulled down) with my personal, spiritual name -- Windwhisper. Apparently, someone else is using that, and I couldn't get to use it no matter how I tried! Why I didn't think to use the business name, especially since I plan to post some soap pix eventually, I don't know. So as I sat on the creation page, trying to come up with a name, I thought of the little mini business I planned to start a year ago -- and used my mother's old nickname. So odd -- also just about a year ago, I finished some therapy which peaked with the journaling and realization that "mama doesn't live here any more...." It was such an important break through for me, and now I've reverted to being her child? Matters not...maybe this was another break through!

I've used a photo for my profile that is the most recent of just me, except for those where I'm working and sweaty in the garden, or some rump shot that I'd rather not publish right now. Of course, if this bout of dieting is successful, I could always do a before and after rump shot...

So here I am, joining the blog world, and thinking more and more that it will be about the art projects and the critters and my egg-beater brain...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Time to start...

I guess it's my turn to jump on the blog bandwagon. I need a place to show works in progress, a place to show quick photos of the soaps I have in stock, and maybe, just maybe, a place to do the occasional brain dump.
I'm starting with a photo of the beaded doll that's in the works. She's going to be my submission for the beaded doll swap on the CPS list, where I host the occasional swap. I have lots of other works in progress....and lots of soap pix to post, too, but right now, I better go to work!