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Friday, 29 January 2010

Free Dollmaking Resource - Adele Sciortino's Newsletter

Adele Sciortino is a dollmaker originally from the US who now resides in Canada. Her work is completely stunning - she is well known for her very detailed costuming and embellishment. Her dolls are always presented properly posed with suitable props and a base upon which it is displayed.
(Image 1: Music by Candlelight - (c) Adele Sciortino - used with permission)

Journey Woman's Fish Tale (c) Adele Sciortino - used with permission.
Ming - Origami Gypsy (c) Adele Sciortino - used with permission.

Adele has a fabulous quarterly newsletter which she offers free to readers - all that is required is a quick registration - according to the latest newsletter there are over 3000 subscribers for her newsletter. It's not hard to see why! They are PDFs with wonderful colour photography and in depth articles about the various topics which to date have included Santas, Mermaids, 18th Century Fashions, Elizabethan costumes, the Art Deco period and so much more. It's an essential read for those who are serious about creating art that's "a cut above".

Neptune's Daughter (c) Adele Sciortino - used with permission
Adele's gorgeous creations don't stop at figurative sculptures. She also creates stunning beaded pieces such as beaded cuffs, necklaces and so on.

(All images (c) Adele Sciortino - used with permission)

I caught up with Adele's latest news via email. She is working on two new classes, is planning a workshop in Italy and launching a new online class "A is for Artistic" in March. The workshop in the Tuscany area of Cortona, Italy will be May 25 to June 1 of this year. The trip includes workshops with Adele but  apart from that there is a wonderful list of things to do including a Renaissance Festival, Tuscan Cooking Class, visits to local Etruscan Museums, a day trip to Florence, a farewell wine-tasting dinner and all meals, accommodation and more. To find out more or (better still) to book your spot - you can go here .

Australian readers will be happy to know that Adele is also scoping out a possible visit to Australia to teach her workshops. If you have a doll making group who would like Adele to come and teach, or you are an individual who like to attend a workshop you can contact Adele to let her know you are interested. I know I am!

Apart from all that activity Adele also runs the Figurative Art Consortium Conference on a bi-annual basis. 2009 saw the last one with a wonderful line up of teachers including Adele, Marilyn Halcomb, Pearl Moon, Barbara Schoenhoff, Wendy Rinehart, Edwina Sutherland and Peggy Wilson. Apart from the workshops, there was also a Shoe-Delicious Challenge,  a Vendor's Market, Pin-doll swap and Auction, hands on workshops and a whole lot more! The next Conference will be June 9 -12, 2011 at the Algonquin College in Otowa, Canada. with a theme of time-travel, hot air balloons and starships.

Adele has also produced a beautiful Figurative Art Calendar which is available from her website. She is currently working on the 2011 Calendar which is her fourth. This very busy lady has also just started blogging too - you will find her blog at be sure to bookmark her blog - it will surely be worth reading!

Thanks to Adele for sharing her plans for 2010 and beyond and for her permission to use her images. Be sure to subscribe to her wonderful newsletter - it is chock full of information for doll artists.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Cloth Doll Making Books - Patti Culea

Good books about dollmaking are not overly common occurrances. Some of my absolutely favourite ones are by Patti Medaris Culea. The books provide wonderful "eye-candy" and inspirational "galleries" where different dollmakers have interpreted the patterns in their own, unique way. There are also interchangeable patterns (from Book 1 through Book 4) and wonderful step-by-step instructions - particularly for that challenge for all doll-makers - the face.
Book 1 is still my all time favourite - many's the night it has come to bed with me for a bit of late night inspiration! The patterns range from a simple pancake face and single piece arm and leg doll (which can still look stunning - it is the pattern used on the front cover!) through to a pieced head with multiple piece arms and legs. The face instructions in book one are excellent and then expanded upon further in Book 2 - Creative Cloth Doll Faces.
Patti's background was in portraiture and her doll's faces are instantly recogniseable as "hers". Despite this talent, Patti has a wonderful way of breaking down the construction of the face so that even a novice can create a well proportioned and detailed face on their dolls. Instructions for colouring the faces covers not only pens and watercolour pencils but also crayons, dyes and other media which gives different looks to the doll.
Book 3 - Creative Cloth doll Couture, expands upon the great role costuming plays in contributing to the interpretation of a character. The constuming ranges from tailored clothing through to "illusion clothing" and once again the gallery sections are full of inspirational dolls - all made from Patti's patterns but interpreted in so many different ways.
Book 4, which was done in conjunction with Annie Mayer Hesse, looks at beading as a way of providing embellishment to the doll. This is not just simply beading here and there - the instructions are easy to follow, but the effect is to add a level of complexity to the surface of the doll which is beautifully done. The section by Annie on beaded faces provides an amazing alternative to face colouring. Patti has more recently been exploring flat dolls in a series of workshops with her good friends Barbara Willis, elinor peace bailey and Betts Vidal. This new direction led to her 5th book, Creative Cloth Explorations. The wonderful thing about this book is the layering of different textile media to build up the page. A lot of the concepts can be added to as an adjunct to Patti's Stargaze Arca and Tome patterns.


Welcome to my new blog which is entirely dedicated to art doll making.

Art dolls encompasses dolls made from all types of materials - from cloth to clay to felting, found objects and mixed media - art dolls encompass the sweet, the weird, the fantastic, realistic, faerie, fantasy and even occasionally the grotesque. Needless to say it is not antique porcelain or rag dolls (or teddy bears)  - but hey - in the world of Art Dolls - never say never!

The art doll world is (in my mind) in a bit of a state of flux at the moment. I am hoping to create a space that you will want to come back to for inspiration, news, techniques, freebies, interesting links, interviews with dollmakers and more.

So welcome - leave a comment, tell me what you want to know more about.