Sunday, December 4, 2011

Enter the 2012 Hoffman Challenge!

The fabrics for the 2012 challenge have been announced; and, they capture all the old time romance you may find during beautiful Spring walks with fancy umbrellas or on hot Summer picnic days.

I have to admit I haven't entered these past two years; although, I had every intention to do so.  I'm already starting to prepare now to make sure I have enough time to get everything finished.  I strongly suggest you give it a try, if you haven't already.  What I love about this challenge is it gives everyone the opportunity to have their work exhibit in a traveling show, which is exciting - nationally or internationally. 

A couple of things to remember if you enter:
  • Your work cannot be delicately made because it will be traveling with everyone else's dolls.  The dolls are packaged in a few big bins; but, there is really no room to give special treatment to any one of them. 
  • The stand needs to be strong.  Use a really strong dowel because you don't want it to snap. I've heard many people have had a lot of success with this...Otherwise, try break line from an auto parts store. It's a strong, but very light, piece of metal that comes in different diameters, just like the dowels. You'll need something to cut it down to size.  There is a bolt (male end) at one end of the break line which gets inserted into the 7" wooden base.  You'll  need to drill a larger hole through so you can insert a lock nut (female end) at the bottom and attach the two.  Put a lock nut in the bottom of the wooden base. Then, screw the two together. 
  • Label your doll with your name and address on the bottom of the base so they know who to send it back to and make sure you include the check for return s/h. I always forget this step and have to reopen the box again right before it gets shipped.
  • There are other rules you can read, not too many, by going to their site; but, these are the ones that really stand out in my mind. I have a "Challenges" tab at the top of this blog that you can refer to for easy reference any time. 
Here is a picture of all the fabrics in this year's collection.  The one above is the main fabric that needs to be used for the challenge.  You can buy these fabrics at Quilt Kits Online.  Type in "Hoffman 2012 Challenge" in their search bar.  Hope to see your entries!

Lavender - J8671 70

Lavender - J8672 70

Lavender - J8673 70

Lavender - J8674 70

Lavender - J8675 70

Lavender Pearl - J9000 70P

White Pearl - J9000 3P

Pink Pearl - J9000 12P

Sand Pearl - J9000 62P

Purple Pearl - J9000 14P

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Announcement: Moving Craft Blogs Over to Sweet Emergencies Gallery

Just so you know, I'm moving the crafting blogs and ideas over to my other blog, Sweet Emergencies Gallery.  I've been finding more art doll blogs that I wanted to share here, on Mrs. Art Doll Maker, but needed to make more room for them.  So when you don't see them here, check on the other site. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Pattern Making: Creating Outlandish Figures

Photo by Glo von Gesslein

This is my favorite way of designing patterns, which I have done for many years and have found to be very successful.  Little did I realize at the time, it was very avante-garde.  My self-esteem felt knocked as I couldn't seem to really "fit in" with how patterns were normally made.  Some experienced artists weren't as supportive as I would have liked them to be and corrected my approach many times.  Thinking and trusting that they knew better because of their achievements, I discarded my "natural" way of doing things to follow their "correct" way.  In light of this, I didn't have enough self-confidence as an artist to listen to my own voice and follow my own path, which you really must do as an artist, at all levels. 

At the time when I first started, I didn't know anyone who was making patterns this way.  Everyone was making dolls or art dolls the "traditional" way, of drawing all the body parts that actually looked like what they were supposed to.  Although I gave it my best effort, they never came out the way I wanted them to.  The "traditional" way always felt very restrictive and confining to me.  I prefer freedom, loose lines, off settings, things that didn't look "quite right" but worked never-the-less. 

This is a method I discovered after many failed attempts at trying the "traditional" methods of pattern making.

First, get a big sketch pad, as big as you want.  Mine is half my body size because I like working on a large scale.

Take a big black marker and close your eyes.  Scribble all over the page like this.

Photo by Glo von Gesslein

Place the drawing on the floor and take a look at it.  Do you see any images that "pop" out at you?  It doesn't matter what shapes they are.  It just has to catch your attention. 

Walk around to the side.  Look at it again.  Do you see anything images that seem to come forth, almost rising from the rest of the lines?

Walk around to the third side. Do the same thing again.  Just let your eyes relax and look for more images.

Once again, do it for the 4th side.

Decide what image or images you want to "lift" and "sculpt" out from one of the 4 sides.

I decided to go with the 4th side which you can see in the picture above.

When you know what you want, take a highlighter, crayon, or colored marker and section out your body pieces.

Photo by Glo von Gesslein

Since I wasn't sure if I wanted to use these additional sections as arms or hands, I highlighted them in blue anyway and will see how they play out later on as this piece is being put together.

Photo by Glo von Gesslein

Cut out your sections.  Now, you have the pattern for your art doll.

Photo by Glo von Gesslein

Lesson Learned:  Follow your own inner voice.  You may be the avante-garde of your time.  Like Mom said, "listen to someone's advice.  Then, make your own decision. " Their way isn't your way, which is why you weren't joined at the hip.  You were given different bodies to travel through this life on different paths.  Find your path and take it.  Their way is not necessarily the right way for you; but, certainly may be the right way for them and vice versa.

Next week: 
  1. These pieces will be sewn and stuffed, ready to begin the designing stage, which is really the most fun.  
  2. I'll also show you the easiest way of finding your face, even if you have all these shapes cut out that don't seem to make any sense. 
  3. If I can get all the pics taken, I'll share pics of a new series I've been working on for quite some time using this form of pattern making.  You'll see the basic scribble shapes come alive in the patterns, colors and techniques you choose as an artist. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

New Art Doll: Rosanna - Doll of Love and Following Your Dreams

13" x 5"
Art Doll and Photo by Glo von Gesslein

Rosanna was created mostly from an Icon Doll class and kit I purchased a few years ago by Art Alchemy Studio.   This kit was the second one purchased and was safely stored away all this time until I had a hunger to pull it out.  She was created in a couple of days because I had a strong, clear vision for how I wanted her to come out.

When I first saw the kit, the colors and textures immediately reminded me of "love". 

After Rosanna was completed, there was something about her that reminded me of the Italian Renaissance.  There is a gracious warmth about her, as well.

She sat before me.  We stared at each other for the longest time, deciding what name to bestow on her.  Since I couldn't think of anything that was befitting, I asked her.  "Rosanna" immediately came to mind. Later, I found out its meaning is "Rose" or "Gracious Rose".

Here are some close up shots of her. My apologizes for the one that came out blurry.  This is the best one I could get.  Think it's time for a new digital camera, too.

Close Up of Rosanna
13" x 5"
Art Doll and Photo by Glo von Gesslein

Here she holds a small painting of the Mona Lisa.  The painting can be found in the Memory Making aisles of craft stores. 

Close Up of Rosanna
13" x 5"
Art Doll and Photo by Glo von Gesslein

A velvet leaf and two silver charms titled, "Love" and "Follow Your Heart" adorn her bodice. 

Close Up of Rosanna
13" x 5"
Art Doll and Photo by Glo von Gesslein

She holds 2 staffs that were created from the plastic shoe inserts of new shoes.  I cut them down to size with regular scissors and wrapped beaded trim around them, using a glue gun to secure them together at the top and bottom.  Her arms are brass chains that hold onto the staff and wrap around her body.

Close Up of Rosanna
13" x 5"
Art Doll and Photo by Glo von Gesslein

A close up shot of the Mona Lisa and a little heart placed in the general area where it would normally be found.  The Mona Lisa adds a bit of mystery, which I see in her, as well. 

Next week: Pattern Designing and Coming Up with Outlandish Figures

* Name meaning derived from Baby Names and Baby Names World.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

New Icicle Doll Series: Tropical Beauties and Paradise Pooch

Carmel (meaning: Woodland)
Tropical Beauty 1
8"x 5"
by Glo von Gesslein

This series started out from an Icicle Doll pattern that I embellished from Christmas ornaments I was making. I completely changed direction and turned them into a summer series.  Although I don't have the original template, you can refer to this pattern from Bel's Nook because it is very similar to what I used. Just adjust the size to your preference.

  • I used craft felt to make the doll body and whipped stitched around it.
  • Mini fur boas or fibers were wrapped around the body and adhered with glue.
  • The face was made from a push mold using air dry paper clay and painted.
  • Several flower bouquets for 0.99 cents were purchased from Michaels.  The mini flowers were snipped individually and in bunches.  Then, attached to the doll.
  • Feathers and blue flower ribbon trim were added as adornments in some instances.

Alani (meaning: Orange Tree)
Tropical Beauty 2
8" x 5.5" at head x 2.5" at base
by Glo von Gesslein

Here are some other examples of the variety of Icicle Dolls made by other artists:

Aolani (meaning: Heavenly Cloud)
Tropical Beauty 3
8" x 4" at head x 3" at base
by Glo von Gesslein

Mei (meaning: Great)
Tropical Beauty 4
8" x 5" at head x 4" at base
by Glo von Gesslein

Wainani (meaning: Beautiful Water)
Tropical Beauty 5
8" x 4" at head x 3" at base
by Glo von Gesslein

LeiLani (meaning: Heavenly Flower)
Paradise Pooch
9" x 4" at left x 3" center x 5" by right
by Glo von Gesslein

Paradise Pooch originated as butterfly wings for Meadow Sundancer that didn't turn out well.  It really is a compilation of layers and layers of failed attempts at trying a bunch of different techniques. In the end, I just played and wanted to use up some supplies to see what I would come up with. 

Close up of Paradise Pooch: LeiLani
by Glo von Gesslein
  • What you see is a blend of orange and yellow sponge painting with lots of dabs of gold Pearlx Powder.
  • Faux flowers were adhered with E6000 glue all over the body. (However, I wouldn't recommend that step since E6000 has been shown to cause cancer. Use a glue gun instead.  I discovered this after getting severe headaches and having eye problems. Then, I read the back of the label. It said it right there. It didn't help working outside with it. After I stopped using it, these side effects went away. I'm more cautious with what I use now.)
  • Two very large googly eyes with eyelids made from felt and false human eye lashes were attached at the ends.
I would like to add on a tiara to her little head but haven't been able to find one yet. I might also add some touches of paint to the eyelids with crystal rhinestones; but, we'll have to see how it looks first.

Back of Paradise Pooch: LeiLani

by Glo von Gesslein

* All Hawaiian names have been chosen from and Our Baby Names.

Next Week: New art doll entitled Rosanna. A doll about love and following your dreams

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Created by Glo von Gesslein
12" x 12"

Okay, a little late in the day; but, I wanted to wish everyone a very Happy Mom's Day. 

This is a bouquet I put together for my Mom-in-law.  I laid out a selection of different ideas and had my husband choose what he liked for her.  Everything was bought at Michaels. 

1. Ceramic cup attached to plate
2. (2) bouquet of flowers
3. Trim around cup
4. Small green styrofoam cone
5. Lots of double sided taped wrapped around the inside and on bottom of inside cup to secure bouquet

  1. I rounded the green cone off on the bottom edges with scissors until it fit better inside the cup.
  2. Then, I cut it down to size so it peeked out a few inches above the cup. 
  3. I cut each of the flower stems off from the bouquet with wire cutters and stuck them into the cone. 
  4. I made double sided tape and secured the cone to the inside of the cup so its more secure.  This way, she can always remove the flowers if she wants to and use the cup for something else.
  5. Lastly, I used E6000 to adhere the trim around the top edge of the cup.
Next week's post: 
My new series of dolls called Tropical Beauties and Paradise Pooch.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tutorial: Fairy Art Schools

What fun! Take a look! The ideas of endless! I'm picturing rainforests, galaxies, deep ocean realms, tall grass retreats...All scenes I wanted to do in a shadow box, cigar box, jar, birdhouse, fish tank, a box I built myself, anyplace I could create a little inner world. 

I first came along this tutorial via A Magical Whimsy.  She recently started her blog and shared this tutorial with us.  I like it because it shows how to create that slanted roof, which is very easy to do, and gave me a few other pointers along the way that I didn't think of.  Thank you!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

1,000,000 eArtists on 1 Canvas

I came across this site today called, "MONA - Museum of Neverending Art".   It's a place where you can create your own piece or add to someone else's work, right there at your own PC.  It looked like it could be fun or interesting nevertheless.  After a few seconds, I already created something light-hearted and fun...something that reminded me of Spring-filled days at a picnic while flying kites.   Before I could share what I did, I must have accidentally closed out the tab because my session ended. 

You can click on the link though to see it and begin your session in a different place or add to anyone else's piece:

happiness by me

Once the picture comes up, if you click on the minus sign in the upper left hand corner, you'll begin to see all the works of art added by everyone around the galaxy.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Letting Go

Juliette Crane is my favorite artist; and, I’m so honored to be taking an online class with her, "How To Paint an Owl".  Her work is very inspiring; and, for some reason, these owl paintings speak to me on a very deep level.

The major lesson I picked up from last week was about letting go. Our first assignment had to do with creating backgrounds for our canvasses.  I can’t tell you how difficult I found it to just let go and get lost in the creative process. I feared messing up. I feared ruining what I made already. I feared doing it wrong, although I wasn’t exactly sure what I was doing all the long. This is no reflection to Juliette’s teaching skills but something I realized I dealt with quite often as an artist, which is very stifling because if you're bound by this fear, there is no progression in your work. If you’re afraid to proceed, you might end up staying put where you are when you should step out and take that risk.

Big deal! We screw up. It doesn’t come out right. We mess something up. Go back and cover it up…with paint, cloth, fiber threads or whatever medium you’re using. It doesn’t matter. You can keep going over that same surface time and time and time again, which I did, until you get to a point that you’re happy with the results or you feel its right.

She strongly recommends listening to your intuition and relying on what feels right to you. Use what you’re drawn to. You don’t have to understand why. In the end, it will all work out and on some level, it will make sense.

There is no such thing as a mess up.  Remember, mess ups are only new gateways to paths yet to be discovered. Take a deep breath, let go and enjoy the journey of the creative process.  No thinking allowed. As Nike says, “Just do it”. It’s okay. You can’t go wrong.

After thought posted later that evening:
Regarding art dolls, if you don't want to redo an actual surface by painting it, tear off anything you can or add something on top of it.  For example, in the post below, Meadow Sundancer, I kept removing all of the embellishments and outfits several times and reattached new ones. She was completely redone more than several times over a course of a couple of months. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

New Doll: Meadow Sundancer

8" Art Doll and Photo by Gloria von Gesslein

Meadow Sundancer

Loves sunbathing and dancing in the fields where wildflowers and poppies grow.
She's a light-hearted, carefree spirit who brings peace and harmony wherever she goes.
 She loves laughing and is only seen when bees swarm and the crickets chirp.
She likes sitting on the edge of leaf boats and dipping her toes into soft flowing creeks.
She wears a skirt made from lavender petals and iridescent pale pink wings.
With each flutter, waves of love are spread across the meadows
And new butterflies take flight to continue spreading The Song of Meadow Sundancer.

The doll's name and description were created by entering key words that defined this piece into The Fairy Name Generator.  Then, changes to the generated name and description were made to fit what I felt this piece expressed.

8" Art Doll and Photo by Gloria von Gesslein

Meadow Sundancer was created for my swap partner, Marti Kinkor, in one of the art doll clubs I belong to, Glitter Town Dollys.  This was not the original design.  I went through more than several versions.  The final piece is vastly different from what I originally had intended but am much more pleased with how she turned out.

8" Art Doll and Photo by Gloria von Gesslein

Interpretation of pattern by The Bird House - Butterfly Belle - Free Pattern
Instructions to Butterfly Belle

Wings: Store bought butterfly from Michaels.  Wings and antennas were removed and reattached to doll.

Purple skirt and headpiece: Store bought flower from Michaels.  Petals and flower head were taken apart.  Then, reattached to the doll.

Crown:  Handcrafted paper flowers and pearl bracelet toggle from Michaels.

Face: Handpainted with acrylics, colored pencils, blush

Embellishments: baby butterflies, fiber wrapped wire (hand-done), crystals

Sunday, February 27, 2011

New Doll: Prayer

Art Doll and Photo By: Gloria von Gesslein

"Prayer" emerged from a challenge issued by one of my doll clubs: Self-Portrait Doll.

Originally, my vision for this piece was much simpler than the one that originated.  That's usually the case with me.  I'll envision one thing; but, something transitions during the process.  It's at that point, I'll push it into a different direction.  For instance,

                                   Vision: Very Simple
                                   End Result: Much More Detailed 

                                   Vision: Very Detailed and Encrusted
                                   End Result: Simple

Art Doll and Photo by Glo von Gesslein

This particular art doll is a very spiritual piece for me.  She is grounding and represents everything I do in my life to have peace, serenity, calmness and simplicity.

  • The white fabric represents simplicity and purity.
  • The brown patterns on the white fabric reminded me of the chaos and upsetment that occurred in 2010. I painted it using 3 different browns and accented it with Sparkling Copper Pearl X Powder.
  • The soft green and gold organza were healing and seamed to envelope the doll like warm, comforting energy from God.
  • The gold nest is a vintage brooch.  It is about 1.5"; and, if I recall correctly, it is a Coro.  It has 3 little pearl beads with a golden bird tending to its eggs.  
  • The tear is a green bead. I've cried over deaths that have occurred last year...during, before and after my prayers. They say crying can be healing. Green represents healing and love.
  • The beads around her neck remind me of prayer beads.
  • Don't know what the red feather and beads represents on the side of her face.
  • Originally, since this was a Self-Portrait Doll Challenge, I wanted to make her face using the same fabric as I did her body.  However, I opted for a clay face representing another race, which I didn't really know why until later.  Then, I surrounded it with multiple layers of cording I made from the same fabric as her body.  At first, I thought the darker color of the face added to the overall piece and added to its warmth.  Two weeks later, I realized it actually represents my background.  I was raised in a multi-cultural, multi-racial environment.  My neighborhood and schools had people of all races, nationalities, backgrounds, from all walks of life, who immigrated to that area from all over the world.  The cording reminds of the energy, the soul or spirit, that emits, almost in a pulsatingg way, from that person. 
In light of the end result of this piece, I came to realize that a Self-Portrait Doll doesn't have to actually look like the physical appearance of the individual making it but can represent the symbolic nature of that person instead.  In order to really see someone, we can't rely on our eyes but instead on our hearts.  After all, our physical appearances don't really tell any of us what we're really all about anyway.

(I'll try posting better pictures of this piece.)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here's some Martha Washington's from me to you!  Sorry they're not already made; but, I did include a link to the recipe!

There are many recipes online; but, I like how Celebrate Creativity in All Its Forms shared her Grandmother's recipe with us.  Go ahead and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Life Explained by Graphs

Someone sent me these recently; and, I couldn't help but to laugh.  Can you relate to any of them?