So now the real reason I've been MIA for the past few months: I'm pregnant! Mr. L and I are so happy and come November our little family will be one being larger. I've thought long and hard about how to share this news. Obviously, it's the most important thing in my life right now, and so it would feel strange not to at least mention here. At the same time, I've had a few letters recently from people who read my blog and seem to want to know more about me than I'm prepared to share. While of course I talk about my life on my blog, its real focus has always been my craft and artwork and that's how I plan to keep it. I know that the vast majority of people who read it read for that very reason and don't want or expect anything more. However, for the few who seek more personal information, I think it's worth mentioning that that's not why I'm here. Every blogger must decide how much information to share about their private lives, and make I these decisions quite deliberately. This includes pictures of myself and my family members; while I know it's fun to see photos of bloggers, I've decided I prefer not to have them here. So, if you don't see it here, there's a reason!
Having said all that, the vast majority of emails I get are about doll-making. Lately, I've been getting several a day and trying to answer them all has become quite time-consuming, so I thought I'd round up the most common ones here. I'm including them in this post, and will also be adding them as a sidebar item as soon as my poor, hormone-addled brain can remember how to do it. I'll most likely add to these answers over time, but I hope these help for now.
I also make dolls; where do you get your doll eyes/ hair/ other supplies?
One of the fun things about what I do is finding different sources for materials, and almost all have been found using Google searches, then browsing through dozens of suppliers until I find something I like. Ebay is a great place for vintage glass doll eyes; they often come in lots of mismatched sizes, so you have to be a little adventurous. You also find some on Etsy (under ‘supplies’). Contemporary doll eye manufacturer’s also sell on Ebay, if you’re prepared to wade through their many listings, you can find beautiful eyes. Dolls eyes are pretty expensive, however (often from $10 - $30 per pair) so I often make my own, using different techniques I’ve gleaned over time from a lot of trial and error. At this time, I’m not able to offer any tutorials, but I encourage you to experiment with different techniques – corny though it might sound, there is no better way to learn.
What kind of clay do
These days, I use almost exclusively Creative Paperclay, which is an air-dry clay. It’s very time-consuming to work with, and requires multiple layers, dryings and sandings. Polymer clays can be direct-sculpted and oven-baked, so is less time-consuming to work with, but I prefer the finish and texture of paperclay.
How do you make your dolls?
This question would literally require an entire book to answer, as I make dolls of different sizes, with varying degrees of detail and complexity and these all require different techniques. Even more specific questions, such as how to attach heads or limbs, are difficult to answer without lengthy instructions and photos. I really encourage people who are new to dollmaking (or anything, really) to do some research, invest in a few good books (see the following question) and Google until you think your eyes might cross. It’s amazing what you can find out there but entering the simplest search terms (e.g. dollmaking, tutorial, how to make a doll, etc.) and I promised that this is how I also learned.
Can you suggest any good books or online resources?
Oh, yes! I highly recommend the four bibles of
dollmaking by the master, Susana Oroyan.
While sadly Susana is no longer with us, her books have taught me the
most about dollmaking. They can be
found online at Powells and Amazon, among other places. There are many great books on sewing
and sculpting, some my favourites being The
Complete Guide to Sewing and Making Life-like Figures from Polymer Clay.
When it comes to tutorials, Google is your friend and I really encourage you to explore in order to find what’s right for you. But here are a few of my favourites:
How to sculpt a head — Hannie Sarris
Doll Designs (links to a bazillion different tutorials)
Antonette Cely (Various Tutorials)
NIADA (sells how-to books and dvds)
I’m new to doll-making and would like to learn more. Will you ever be offering any tutorials or teaching an online class?
Tutorials are a great way to learn, and it’s possible that I might be able to offer some in the future. At this time, however, I’m pretty swamped; I’m running my Etsy store, completing a Master’s Degree and finishing a novel. There literally aren’t enough hours in the day for me to get everything I need to done (never mind the many more things I’d like to!)
And while I’d never rule anything out, I have no immediate plans to teach an online class. But of course, should that change, my blog remains the best place to keep up to date on such things.
I like your dolls, but I can’t afford one. Will you ever consider making less expensive dolls?
While I know my dolls aren’t affordable for everyone, I have made an effort in the past few months to offer a range of prices. I now make pendants and ornaments, as well as smaller and more simply-jointed dolls, so that prices for my handmade items start at $42. I also offer payment plans, although I ask that you contact me to arrange the details before purchasing. You can read more about my layaway policies here.
I also sell prints, which start at $20, so I hope my shop contains something for everyone!
How can I place a custom order?
At this time, I’m not taking any custom orders. For now, I’m making the dolls I want/ am able to and selling those. If you’d like to receive a notice when I list new dolls, you can always sign up for my newsletter (in the right sidebar, just under my banner).