Archive for July, 2010

In-house workshop results

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

I have to share photo's I received today from two of the people who flew here to take my final in-house workshop.  Sydneysclass dollThe doll to the right was done by Sydney, a 13-year old, talented young lady.

Sydney had her doll almost finished by the end of the 3 days.  She did an amazing job dyeing the silks, painting the cottons, creating the collage work on the corset and shoes, and especially the face.  Such a beautiful face and she does it all on her own.

Sydneyscollage2                                                                                                                                 Don't you love the way they framed their photo's and also the way they put them together to share with us?  The collage photo's to the left are close-ups of Sydney's doll.

Donnasclassdoll The photo to the left is Donna's doll.  Donna is Sydney's mom.  It is wonderful having mothers and daughters who love the same thing.  Both Donna and Sydney have their own style.  Even though they used my pattern, they have made Golendrial their own unique doll.

Donna had sent me photo's of her dolls and I was truly sorry I hadn't known about her before I wrote my books.  But, one never knows.  There may be another book down the road.

Donnascollagedolls                                                                                      As soon as the other two who were in the workshop send their photo's I'll post them here.  I can't wait to see their finished dolls. 

I love what Donna and Sydney did and know you'll join me in your admiration of their work.                                                                

Goldendrial2010 This is my doll.  You can see the unique way the others interpreted the design.

This is the pattern from my book  "Creative Cloth Doll Couture".  This doll, actually a different sample doll, is in the last chapter of the book.  A fun doll to make.


Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Today was the only day we could get tickets to go to ComicCon, but sometimes it is the best day.  It isn't as crowded as the other days.AvatarSmall

Avatar was there is full force with many new figures of the various characters from the movie.  Avatar and Alice in Wonderland are two of my favorite movies that have come out over the past several months.  I loved being able to see details up close.  You can't see the one wrist cuff in the photo, but I think it is made from Tyvek.  The wrist cuff on her left arm is all beads. 

ComicCon2010WhiteQueen Alice in Wonderland was also represented, but mostly with attendees.  I was able to catch the White Queen and one of her attendants in one area of ComicCon.  They were both brilliant.

One thing about ComicCon, many people come in full costume and play the part.  I found out that there are organizations for every film that help people develop their own characters from the film.  Many do events as fund raisers for charities such as Make A Wish Foundation.  

I go to ComicCon for several reasons – inspiration, finding out what the trends in toys are, and for pure entertainment.

PadmeStarWarsCostume I attended one lecture on costuming.  I wasn't sure what the 501st Legion was, which was the host of the lecture.  I inadvertently walked into a lecture that thrilled me to the core.  I'm a huge Star Wars fan.  The lecture was about the rules for the 501st Legion, which is an organization similar to the Society for Creative Anachronism, or the Ren Fairs. 

During the lecture they explained the limited budget George Lucas had for his early Star Wars films and how much of the costumes were made from things people would toss.  Like baby wipe containers, hamburger patty stackers, Boy Scout backpack frames, etc.

We were greeted by a couple Storm Troopers, and they stood around the perimeter as the lecture was conducted.  Very authentic.

Next year, 2011, the dates for ComicCon are July 21-24.  I highly recommend attending.

Oh, and Dawn Schiller was there with her dolls.  Dawn does fabulous dolls and does very well at the show.  There were all kinds of dolls at the show.  Many in cloth, clay and porcelain.  Tonner was there with all of their character dolls.  So, it is a show that caters to everyone in the fantasy, syfy, cartoon world.

I didn't get anymore pictures of our doll clubs exhibit as they had it packed up by noon.  You'll be able to see photo's of the dolls on the IOLCC blog.

Happy doll making!


Comic Convention

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

When July rolls around there is so much to do here in southern California.  My favorite is ComicCon.  This is a San Diego home grown convention that started out as a place to trade comic books over 50 years ago and has turned into a major media event.

Our doll club, IOLCC (Imitation of Life Construction Company) has had a doll exhibit titled Dimensions in Dollmaking for 19 years.  We generally have it in conjunction with the San Diego Quilt Show, but this year it didn't work out that we could.  Rosemary Hernandez, our president, and Lois Boncer, the VP hustled and got the exhibit into ComiCon.  This is major!
ComicConDIDComplete   About 126,000 people attend ComicCon.  They come from all over the world.  Today I saw people from Japan, Korea, Switzerland, Norway, Brazil, just to name a few standing outside waiting for the preview night.  The convention opens officially tomorrow, but like most places they have a preview night.

ComicConDID1 The theme for the doll exhibit was pretty easy for we doll makers.  We had to make dolls that fit into fantasy, SciFi, comic book characters, movie characters and the fairy realm.  In the past doll makers such as Brian and Wendy Froud, Gail Lackey, Dawn Schiller, and many others exhibit here.  I've met many artists that I admire, plus talking with the various people who attend is well worth coming.  People dress up as their favorite characters and the costumes are all hand made.  So, it is a convention that is well worth attending for those of us in the doll world.

ComicConDID2 Lois Boncer and her daughter Kristine set up most of the exhibit.  I was to help, but was late as a 91 year old friend had fallen and broken her hip and I was at the hospital with her.  I finally arrived at the convention center around 11:30am and helped a bit. 

As you can see, the dolls were all in the theme set by the ComicCon organizers.  Everyone made dolls reflecting some type of fantasy character.  There were dolls made from the Harry Potter books;  dolls from Alice in Wonderland;  Dolls from Lord of the Rings, and many other books, movies and comic books.

We all agreed that the doll made from the Hell Boy movies and comic books was the most true to that character.  All of the dolls were outstanding.  We only wish everyone who sent a doll could attend the conference.  If you ever find yourself coming to San Diego towards the end of July check out ComicCon and find out when the conference will be held.  I highly recommend attending.  But, do buy your tickets early.  Most of the tickets were sold out by the middle of March this year.  Here's the website info:                                                                                                                                                             


July Dazzling Daze

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Four very brave doll makers arrived in San Diego July 14 for another of my rare, true "in-house" workshops.  They came from 3 different areas – Lana from the Los Angeles area, Donna & Sydney from Illinois and Celeste from Puerto Rico.DazDaze710Finished

Because I have 5 Bernina sewing machines I can have up to 5 people in a workshop.  This makes it so much easier for those flying in from other areas.  They didn't have to bring a machine.

DazDazeJulyPainting Everyone came with body parts sewn, but not put together.  I showed them how I do a simple wire armature then fill up the body parts around the wires.  Pipe cleaners are used to wire the fingers then the doll is ready to have her face done.  This takes up the first day.

The second and third days are the embellishing days.  Various fabrics are painted and dyed.  Again, everything is provided so no one has to bring bottles of paint and dye that might leak on an airplane. We used Jacquard's Dye Na Flow, Lumiere and Pearl EX for the corset, shoes and silk cocoons.  We used Colorhue Silk Dyes for the silk that creates the skirt and also for silk ribbons to add as embellishments.

The legs of the doll were colored with CraftyNotions new glittery sprays.  They are the most beautiful sprays with all kinds of sparkle in them.  Easy to use, too.
DazDazeJulySewing  After the dyeing and painting it was on to free motion sewing edging on the corset and shoes, creating wings and over skirt with organza, and attaching the hair.  Simple beadwork was also done.

We used Tibetan goat hair and I showed how to score then tear the skins so one doesn't lose the hair. 
DazDazeJulySydney I prefer using fur that is on the skin as it doesn't felt.  Many of my older dolls need new hair as the mohair has gotten felted due to traveling and touching.  I encourage people touching my dolls and with the hair being replaced with Tibetan, or other furs on the skin, their hair will hold up nicely.

Sydney, Donna's 13-year old daughter, was using my older Bernina 1230.  I love that machine, but it doesn't like free motion work all that much.  I had her go up to my new sewing room and use my Bernina 200e, which loves free motion work.

Those attending my workshop got to see the old room, still full of stuff, and the new room getting filled up.  I had hoped that by providing all the supplies I'd get rid of more stuff.  Afraid Golendrial doesn't use a lot of fabric and they barely made a dent in my stash.

DazDaz710WAPFlamingoes Since Donna, Sydney & Celeste had not been to our Wild Animal Park, part of the famous San Diego Zoo, we spent Friday evening at the park.  It was the hottest day of the week, but we managed to see most of what is left of the park.  They have torn out the tram so you don't get to see the largest part of the park anymore.  Really disappointing.  We did get to see my favorites – the meerkats and gorillas.  The park is still very beautiful to walk around, but if you want to see animals, go to the zoo.

Saturday evening John and I hosted a small barbeque as a farewell to the group.  It was a fun 3 days for me.  The dolls that were almost finished are spectacular.  They have promised to send me pictures when they get their dolls finished.  Donna and Sydney had theirs almost finished when I picked them up at the hotel Sunday morning to take them to the airport.  As soon as I receive the photo's I'll post them here.

This was my last in-house workshop here in San Diego.  I will be teaching one more time in the San Diego area.  Nov. 12-14 our doll club is having Doll Camp in Julian and Rosemary Hernandez and I are the teachers.  Next year I'll be teaching on the cruise, in Florida, Australia, Ohio, Oregon, Arizona, England and possibly Russia.  Life is good!

Doll classes and exhibits

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Tomorrow, July 11, our doll club – IOLCC (Imitation of Life Construction Company) is celebrating it's 20th anniversary.  We are having a Mad Hatter Tea Party to celebrate.  Very appropriate since I've been working on Ms. Maddie Hatter for the 2011 doll making cruise.
MsMaddieHatterwShoes                                                                  I finally got one of her hats finished, and one pair of shoes.  You can see both in the photo.         Since our doll exhibit – Dimensions in Dollmaking – will be at Comic-Con International this year I quickly made her shoes and hat so I could put her in the exhibit.  Her shoes will be a bit more elaborate for the cruise, but this pair is certainly adequate for the exhibit.
Golendrial3wWand                                                                                                                You'll notice that she now has wrist cuffs.  That is just one pair.  During the cruise I'll be showing how to make other types of wrist cuffs, along with hats, shoes and purses.   I still have to make her purse.  That will be coming soon.

The other doll is Golendrial.  She will be in the exhibit, but first I'll be teaching her this next week at my final in-house workshop.  I don't do too many actual in-house workshops as our house doesn't really have room for a proper studio.  But, we make room in our dining room and the 4 people who attend get my undivided attention. 

The beauty of an in-house workshop is I let people who attend run amok in my studio and they can use anything they want.  I provide all the supplies so all they have to bring is their personal items.  It has been a fun event for me.

With our upcoming move I'm not sure when I'll be able to have another in-house.  Certainly no more here in San Diego.

You may recognize Golendrial.  She's a smaller version of the doll in the last chapter of my book "Creative Cloth Doll Couture". 

During the workshop we'll paint, dye, do some free motion machine work on water soluble stabilizer, use my embelllishing machine, work with silk cocoons, mangle organza, create a whimsical face, and do some simple beadwork.  Those are just a few of the techniques we'll be working with.

Don't forget to go to my website and sign up for my eNewsletter.  That is where you can find out the latest with PMC Designs.

Happy doll making!                                                                                                                                  

July 4th clean-up

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Before I tell you what John and I have been up to this weekend, I want to thank those of you who sent your words of encouragement regarding the copyright infringement in the new issue of Soft Dolls & Animals.  All will be taken care of by my publishers attorneys. 

This past week, and during the long weekend, John and I started moving my studio from a 13 x 12 foot bedroom to a 10 x 9 bedroom.  It is amazing what a few feet can do.  I am purging like crazy!
SewingRoom   The photo here is my old studio.  A bit crowded, but functional.  I generally have 3 to 4 machines up at one time as I hate switching bobbins and feet so often.

YarnWall Because I'm a yarn fanatic, I've had several cubbies full of yarns.  And, I have dolls made my myself and other favorite doll makers on shelves along the walls.  This is all having to change.  Moving to a smaller area means half of the yarn has to go, plus half of the fabric, threads, beads.  Actually, basically everything needs to be reduced by at least half.  Not an easy thing to do when you love shopping for all of the above as I do.  But, it must be reduced.

Another thing that has to go are all the calendars I love hanging around.  Not sure you can see it, but I generally have the Quilting Arts & Craft Paper Scissors calendars on one wall.  On another, which you can't see here, I have one by Stampington and Adele's Sciortino's.  I like having a current month showing, plus two months in the future so I know where I need to be at any given time.  This keeps me pretty much on track as far as who needs what when. 

StudioMove1b                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This next photo is the beginnings of the smaller studio.  John put up the thread pegboard and as you can see I've started filling it up.  He bought two new office drawers and we placed a couple shelves across the two creating a new sewing table for one of my machines.  You can see my drafting board in the foreground.  It is going to have to go somewhere else as it won't fit in this little room.  But we'll find a place for it.  When I draw, I need the angle you get with a drafting board.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The next photo show the piles of supplies that still need to find a new home in the new place.  It will happen, but it is taking far more than a couple days.  I've got my in-house workshop coming up next week and promise I'll have it all sorted about before everyone arrives.  In the meantime, look for an announcement of a huge garage sale.  There's a bunch of things that simply will not fit in the new space.  Purging every once-in-awhile is good.  I think.