Sunday, December 20, 2009

caped holiday spirit dolls

this group of spirit dolls was created for harrison gallery in key west. it's challenging trying to sell my art in a tropical place when i'm in the mood to adorn them with capes, fur, cashmere... but we'll see how they do. i love the capes, and have Art Dolls Only to thank for motivating me to create something new. my caped doll in october got me inspired to try it with these ladies. they're glamorous and fun!

holiday show at barn hill studio

the past couple weekends i've had my dolls on display at a wonderful old barn in monroe, ct. i also mixed in a few of the "naughty & nice" clay figures for fun.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

NaughtyNice, & not a spirit doll!

i'm a new member of an online group called Art Dolls Only. i agreed to take part in an "ornament swap" with the theme Naughty or Nice. i got paired with a dollmaker from Argentina. i was inspired to create something other than a spirit doll, so i started playing with fimo clay. my current dolls are all getting dazzling capes (i liked the look on my halloween doll, see previous post) this little figure is a few inches high, and her tiny red velvet cape hides some bodacious little boobs, complete with glittery nipples! she will be a very funny addition to the holiday tree.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

halloween spirit doll

TA-DA! after what seemed like a long stretch of interrupted creativity, this dazzling autumn beauty was inspired by an online challenge through a group i belong to, called Art Dolls Only. she's about 20 inches tall, made from blouses belonging to my niece, my friend francine, and even one of my own. the toile lining of her cape is fabric from my french fairygodmother sylvie. for the first time i've added a mask (made of sculpey), and i like the mystery it adds to her face.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

my trusty assistant

this is neiman, a big orange cat who came into my life about 8 years ago when i lived in key west. we're all in connecticut now, but he is a typical kitty who craves the sunshine. in this shot he's arranged himself in the middle of my work area, surrounded by clippings of cashmere that i've been using lately. my next post will be of a completed halloween spirit doll, which i created for the art dolls only challenge online.

Monday, October 5, 2009

botanical #14: morning glory

every morning glory i planted this year came up purple. the ones in my veggie garden are the happiest, as they get a full dose of delicious morning sun. there is a fleeting quality to this season. we're definitely done with summer, but the full splendor of fall is maybe another week away, so in between are these dreamy days - time to be outside raking without mittens, time to appreciate the cycle of nature, and to imagine what next year will be like when it all comes back to life. my early spirit dolls always had their eyes closed. the faces have evolved a bit, some with eyes open, to my latest simplified style which can be seen on the post titled "obedient plant". i'd love to get some comments on the various facial styles...

Monday, September 21, 2009

botanical #13: hyacinth bean

this is another late summer/early autumn treasure. i first saw these vines with their glossy purple bean pods in new york city, where i belonged to a community garden. a friend of mine who still lives in the city sent me seeds from the same plant, and for the past two years i've grown the vine here in connecticut. the bean pods are not edible, just pretty to look at. the purply flowers are a nice compliment to this creamy white bridal spirit doll.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

botanical #12: goldenrod

AHHH-CHOOO! people with allergies hate goldenrod. i love it. bees love it. and as far as complimenting the shiny autumn disco dress on this spirit doll, it can't be beat! goldenrod rocks!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

botanical #11: obedient plant

i associate this plant with two things: back-to-school, and bees. this is my 4th autumn here in connecticut; i am more connected with my garden and yard each year. i know when the obedient plants are blooming there will be mornings of freedom like i have now that my daughter is in school. i also know there will be packs of bees all around these flowers, gathering pollen in one last mad dash before it gets chilly. i chose this golden spirit doll as a contrast to the rich purple flowers around her.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

botanical #10: day lily

summer was over in a flash this year. i took this photo when the lilies were at their peak, and before the deer nibbled them. now it's september, and my early autumn flowers are putting on their show, so stay tuned for those posts coming soon.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

botanical #9: snow on the mountain

i'm not sure what the real name of this plant is. some call it snow on the mountain. you either love it or hate it, because like the loose strife plant, it spreads. i appreciate low-maintenance gardening so for me it's great. i also think the leaves make a nice background for this juicy hot pink spirit doll !

Saturday, August 22, 2009

botanical #8: loose strife

for those who don't know about loose strife, it's a perennial plant that can overtake a garden in a very short amount of time. it is beautiful when it blooms in late july - the flowers are often referred to as goosenecks. i photographed one of my bridal spirit dolls amidst my patch of loose strife last month, and this was the graceful result.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

botanical theme spirit dolls, part 7

i planted two sunflowers this year, and both survived. many times the seeds are found and eaten by squirrels before they even get a chance to sprout. this time i got lucky! here is my first beautiful sunflower, as backdrop to a silky spirit doll. i took this photo before 8am this morning, and enjoyed watching the bees visiting the numerous squash blossoms around me.

Monday, August 10, 2009

botanical theme spirit dolls, part 6

this summer has been all about raspberries. i have bushes everywhere in my yard, so in addition to being a pretty backdrop for this spirit doll, i have also managed to pick bowl after bowl of luscious berries. i end up freezing what we don't eat, so i will have the luxury of plucking a ziploc from my freezer in january, remembering the bounty of summer.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

botanical theme spirit dolls, part 5

recently i was standing at my kitchen window (doing dishes, as usual), and noticed the plethora of flowers out in the back yard. i saw everything as a potential backdrop for my botanical spirit doll series, so i rushed out with a camera and took the latest shots. this yellow spirit doll is surrounded by the last of my hosta blossoms not eaten by the deer!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

ADO "Elements" challenge

i was excited to find the Art Dolls Only blog, as well as their Facebook page. here is my offering in their "Elements" challenge - a spirit doll that i feel represents the element of Air. her white chenille dress is complemented by a cloudlike feather boa. the feathers are light as air and flutter in the slightest breeze. today the sky was cloudy; not the easiest backdrop for my photo, so i draped some sheer blue fabric over my front door, which is a juicy benjamin moore color called aqua marina. i hope viewers will enjoy taking a look at the rest of my blog...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

botanical theme spirit dolls, part 4

it's now july, and my lovely blue hydrangea bush is in full bloom. i nestled in this floral spirit doll for a beautiful photo. the doll is enhanced and complimented by nature... i am finding so much to be thankful for in my garden. for an upcoming exhibit i will probably combine a grouping of the floral dolls along with my "botanical" shots.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

botanical theme spirit dolls, part 3

despite all the rain we are having in the northeast, my ferns are happier than ever.  this particular one caught my eye and seems to make the perfect spiral cradle for a spirit doll.  her linen dress is imprinted with a bold pink dahlia.  stay tuned for more in the botanical series!

Monday, June 15, 2009

botanical theme spirit dolls, part 2

an artist in san francisco sent me some beautiful hankies from chinatown, knowing they would be transformed into spirit doll dresses.  thank you gary!  i've got this doll posing on the edge of my little fish pond, with a glimpse of pink waterlily behind her.  there are two bullfrogs living in this pond as well, but they chose not to be photographed.

botanical theme spirit dolls, part 1

this time of year my garden is irresistible, full of color and changing every day.  this spirit doll is photographed in front of some rue blossoms, right outside my back door.

4th spirit doll story (i think)

This spirit doll's dress reminds me of looking down from an airplane window at landscapes.  it could be urban rooftops or a field of tulips in holland.  the purple "scarf" was clipped from a cherished item that no longer functions in its original form.  i found the blue button in a relative's sewing box.  i am so lucky to have a bountiful garden, and this spirit doll is posing in front of some lovely peonies.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

spirit doll video!

this was made with i-movie, and i am really pleased with it.  take a look.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

another spirit doll story

this doll reminds me of someone i know and admire greatly.  she's tall and elegant with a touch of sparkle.  most of the elements used to create this doll came from connecticut.  i've photographed her in front of my dazzling purple clematis vine which is in bloom right now.  the rhinestones were found by a friend at a yard sale in key west, then kindly passed on to me.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

what i saw on the ceiling

last night as i put my daughter to sleep, i noticed this beautiful shadow being made on the ceiling by the nightlight.  it's very a full-figured woman dancer.  it got me thinking about my current spirit doll shape, and even further about why i feel "stuck" and not entirely inspired to make my next batch of dolls.  maybe i need to go in a new direction with their form.  rounder heads?  curvier arms? more flowing dresses?  something is going to change, i can feel it.

the goddess

this spirit doll is definitely a goddess.  her crimson velvet dress fabric came from a historic home on my town's main street.  the sparkly hat is from a costume designer and former ballerina i met in key west.  my french fairy godmother sylvie, who lives in nyc, sent the mesh fabric i used to overlay the velvet.  she is posing in front of a bloodroot leaf.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


women and their undeniable attraction.  something i love as much as dollmaking is illustration, and this fabric reminds me of something i would draw.  the glamorous faux fur collar is snipped from a hat i found at a yard sale one weekend.  the bright red button is from a collection i have that seems to magically replenish itself.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

soon-to-be bride dolls

this looks like a party dress and robe, right? right.  but before long my scissors will snip, snip, snip and a bunch of new bridal spirit dolls will emerge.  stay tuned.  

Saturday, April 25, 2009

finished batch of bride dolls

i feel like i'm working slower lately, but i allow for phases like this.  here is a completed group of bridal spirit dolls.  some are on display in a group show at barn hill studio in monroe, ct.  others i plan to take to local bridal shops and see if i can tap into some customers that way.  these are not the average bridal gift, but for certain brides they are perfect.

Monday, April 20, 2009

"cardinal" spirit doll

 one of the dipped spirit dolls was getting some cracks from being outside all winter, so my daughter had the honor of giving her a new paint job.  from afar this doll looks like a cardinal perched on top of the bird house.

Monday, April 13, 2009

iPhoto spirit doll

the mac is just too much fun.  so many ways to create, recreate, and re-recreate!  this is a shot of a spirit doll using "infrared effects" in the photo booth feature.  it may appear a little scary to the uninitiated, and will then have people asking me again if these are voodoo dolls.  sorry folks, they're not.  i'm just having fun.

Monday, April 6, 2009

here's my card

i like my business cards.  they get attached to the dolls when they leave my studio for the real world.    i did everything by hand and then got help putting the elements together on the computer. did a nice job for a good price...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

reinvented spirit dolls

these 3 dolls were created a few years ago.  my style has evolved since then, so i decided to recycle/reinvent by dipping in exterior latex paint to preserve them for outdoor display.  there is an exhibit of such work going on this month at mocha coffeehouse, a cool local place overlooking a river.  the dolls shown here were freshly coated in acrylic paint with a bit of metallic sheen.  i hung them outside yesterday at the coffeehouse, and will be interested to see how they do during the rainy month of april.

Monday, March 30, 2009

healing doll for kathy

a good friend of mine just underwent major surgery.  this spirit doll was created especially for her.  the toile fabric came from a historic home in my town, and the sparkly embellishment is an earring saved from my nana's jewelry box. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

the big mystery

i participated in a craft show last fall.  on my table, along with a nice display of spirit dolls, was a small framed sign which read, "AMUSE.  INSPIRE.  EMPOWER."  a woman walked by, chomping a hot dog.  she paused,  then said, "what do they do?" 

bridal spirit dolls in progress

right now i'm in bridal mode.  i love working with all the different tones and textures of white.  my studio table is piled with fabric and pearls and all sorts of pretty things for making bridal spirit dolls.  stay tuned....

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

HOLY Spirit Doll!

I created this little beauty for my goddaughter's first communion.  I love finding stuff for my dolls when I'm at estate sales.  I think the overlay on this dress was a crocheted doily, and the lace headpiece was from a great house sale where I picked up a whole box of  trim and buttons.   This doll is in the "mini" category...I don't relish working this small even though everyone thinks the minis are sooooo cute.  They take just as much time as the regular size dolls, and they make me scrunch over and have to wear my reading glasses!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

almost springtime

i just sent these spirit dolls down to harrison gallery in key west for "walk on white", which happens each month on the 3rd thursday.  open galleries, snacks, and if you're lucky, free wine.  the photo was taken outside on a patch of winter-crispy leaves. before long the whole yard will be coming alive again.  i can't wait!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

key west brides

i just got back from a wonderful visit to key west and the harrison gallery, where my spirit dolls are still shown.  any of these beautiful brides (on coral bases) would make a unique wedding gift.

Friday, February 13, 2009

queen of spirit dolls

this particular doll attracted people like magnets.   she really stood out wherever she was placed.  i wish i had the kind of life where i could go around in a fluffy dress and wild crown like this more often.  

Saturday, January 31, 2009

bridal spirit dolls in the snow

white on white on white on white.  gorgeous!

spirit doll bods!

headless dolls!  oh no!  i tend to work like a little assembly line - here in the process all the bodies are awaiting the perfectly matched faces.  this group of dolls was for a floral-themed show last spring.  

memory doll for judy

a close friend asked me to create this spirit doll using one of her mother's scarves.  it is adorned with one of her mother's pins as well.  a very elegant doll indeed...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

madame joyce

the purple quilted fabric used for this dress came from the costume workshop of a wild and wacky woman in key west.  she invited me in and let me loose like a kid in a candy store.  the fur collar is salvaged from my mother's closet, circa 1950.

dipped doll

a couple summers ago i started dipping my "retired" dolls in exterior latex house paint.  they become outdoor sculptures, and i've been watching their progress through the seasons.   i have a few in my backyard, and i will be observing one that has been outdoors since last year in a key west garden.  it's an art experiment!

Monday, January 26, 2009

the mini ones

these dolls are about 7 inches high.  very cute, but not as easy to make as i'd like.  


i've always handpainted my doll's faces.  they've gone from having eyes closed (dreaming) to eyes open, and this latest style is one that i am trying for now.  it's a bit less detailed, and also the haircolor is lighter than earlier dolls.  i work best when i have all my "ingredients" ready to go - all the dresses, all the faces, all the elements needed to put together a doll.  i'm always happy when the trusty glue gun is hot and ready to go!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

this shot was taken at harrison gallery in key west, june 2006.  my work is still there, even though i have left the tropical sunshine.  i miss being able to ride my bike over to the gallery, with spirit dolls in the basket and my daughter in the bike seat.   i'm grateful to have those memories!


this one has a plush furry collar to keep her cozy all winter.

glam bride

i love this doll with her feather boa.  she's bigger than most dolls i make...usually they're about 10 inches high; she's double that size.  her dress fabric is chenille and makes me think of old fashioned bedspreads.  

Thursday, January 22, 2009

brides galore

here's a bunch o brides.  

angel bride dolls

i've been making these dolls since last winter.  the first ones were photographed on a snowy background.  i have a gorgeous tree in my yard that serves as a frequent backdrop.

angel bride dolls