Hey there Peeps, while Im building a new website, you can still keep in touch by checking out my Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sharon-Matthews-Art-Dolls/159037174254339

Cheers
 Hope to hear from you soon !
 
 

Today I'm trying out the new changes to the mobile ap for weebly. So far so good. It's been a very busy month trying to get 2 dolls finished for the up and coming Craft show in Hobart at the end if this month.

Can't wait to show you Griselda, she's 99% done, just a few small details to finish off. I'm actually excited how she ended up. I struggled for some time trying to find a rhythm that worked, you know....an idea that just flows naturally.

It wasn't until I popped a bird skull on her that I found which direction to go.

It suddenly came to me to create a smaller girl doll in birdacge. Ironic perhaps that Griselda's name means Dark battle. I like that idea. Her revenge for being locked in cage herself left to die, she now captures young innocents and wears them like a fancy accessory....mmm very dark.

We had to use a pattern from our club. I don't know who it is by but it's all cloth. I originally tried to make a polymer clay head which was an epic fail from the very beginning. Cheap brand, so hard to use and the fibrefill stuck to it. I made a hand as well but it drooped in the oven. urgh!!

A change I plan was needed and I had to get over idea I couldn't make a bird skull from cloth.

I painted dyna flo dyes directly on to her after wetting and 'smudged it' a great technical term, over her beak. I kept the stitching visible for a creepy dead look.

Here's a photo I played with in Flickr, I love their new filters. Looking extra creepy!

Patrice is the small doll in the bird cage hat. It was made from florist wire, card board and lace which I painted in black and copper. A top hat base was made with dyed silk and glued to base of the cage. I added some feathers and netting to complete the creepy look.

I used something different for hair this time, raw unspun hemp. Coarse and pale but I loved using it for them both.

Check out these super creepy hands. I'm so happy with them. I made them with wire, cotton wool, PVA glue, acrylic paint and 'messy mix' which is a mixture of gel medium and moulding paste. Love love love!!!

Just a quick note the lace has been painted with dyna flo dyes. The silk has been hand dyed and the feathers collected over summer from our very own chookies, featuring our late and very special rooster Douggie.

Won't be long and she'll be ready to creepy you out!

 
 
So here it is, end of June is looming at me and I really need to get a move on with two dolls I have to do for the club,
Both will be displayed at the up and coming Craft fair to be held at the Derwent Entertainment Center, in Hobart.
The first one is an Asian inspired doll, the other is based loosely on a pattern, handed to me for 'creative embellishment'
More on that one at a later date, I really want to show you my Asian doll.
I am loving her expression


Sometimes it takes awhile for a new doll to take form and show its direction, this is definitely true for this doll.
She is an Oxen princess, I've been inspired by my Chinese astrology sign the Ox.
Still a while to go though. I started her costume today. 
Its funny, I had drawings all ready to go from bits and pieces that I have loved,
some Manchu and Hanfu oh and the amazing Women of Yao with their very long hair but guess what??
I left them all at work and just had to go with the flow. 

This bit of silk I hand painted and sun dyed changed all my plans. It was originally going to be hidden underneath a heavy dress, but it seems a shame to hide it completely. So new plan...I don't really have one any more
and I'll let her tell me how she wants to be dressed

 
 
You may remember earlier this year I mentioned a good friend of mine, looked after our goats during some rather scary bushfires.  Well this is my thank you to her, its also a happy present to her new little bubba who is on its way!!
My friend is a big horse lover and of course making one for her was very obvious.
I bought a few patterns I thought I might like to have a go at but in the end I really wanted to have a go at making my own.
I started with a drawing on paper and then made a rough pattern in cloth, this was then 'tweaked' to get the shape I was after
I'm really happy how it turned out. The reins and straps were  cut out of cloth and glued into place with a gel medium. 
I also used a little air dry clay for the feet and eyes. 
I've recently discovered Messy mix, I didn't know it had a name at the time but I mixed a gel medium and a moulding paste together to get a textured surface to paint on, I love it, I'm really wanting to experiment using this mix more and more.
It was then painted with acrylic paints. I have to remind myself to keep it simple, I have a habit of going overboard and then having to start all over again........oh dear!


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Close up of leg and straps. The little studs are nail tacks
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Close up of the horses head
The horses mane is actually from my girlie goats, Rhonda and Roxy, dyed to match my friend's horse.
Making the saddle was a challenge in patience, it was my first time using polymer clay. I think the stirrups were the most frustrating part, it was warm, my hands were warm and all they wanted to do was sag.....well I don't give up easily and I used a bit of florist wire to get it to hold its shape....whew, it worked!

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Polymer clay saddle
To complete this little horse I bought some gorgeous little wooden blocks on Etsy
 and covered them in scrap booking card my hubby helped me pick out
  He wouldn't want to say that but it was really sweet. He came to shop he hates most and waited patiently while I tried to make up my mind, no easy feat on the best of days!!

I know I've said it a hundred times already but
Thank you Miss Lucy, for all you helped us with xx
 
 
So I'm willing to give Weebly mobile one more shot. I'm not real keen on the size of the photo uploads but i do so much work from my phone these days I feel I should try it again. If you weebly peeps are listening out there.....smaller photos.....pretty please.
Anyways there's been lots to keep this OCD doll maker busy lately, amazing just how much happens on Facebook, so many artists I've connected with and get inspired by my heading spinning at all the different styles.
It's left me wondering what just is my style, Ma Thang... I don't feel like I've found it yet, sometimes I'm my own worst enemy and just want to try a technique I've seen elsewhere, sometimes I think the business manager rears her head and says, make stuff people want.
But what is it people want, that's too big, I need to concentrate on what I want, not spread myself so thin on so many groups and compare myself to such and such....and yes even though I'm a big girl now, there's still a little girl who feels uncertain about the art she does.
Anyway enough if the dribble and more if the pictures, cause thats what we alll love well I know I do.
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Cora is a ribbon jointed cloth doll
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Lana is another one
Lana is very close to being finished. I've always wanted to make something easy and affordable but is still beautiful and artistic. These dolls are my own pattern but based on a ribbon joint. I love the idea of being to pose a doll as well as display them on a wall. I want to continue to develope this pattern and see what I can come up with. I must admit though I haven't settled on a technique for doing the faces. Maybe I'm being to picky maybe there's something waiting for my skills to grow...who knows, all I know is I feel this unsatisfideness ( that's got to be a real word...right?) that makes me want to make them better.
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Sorry about the fuzziness but check out this gorgeous hat.
I really love Lana's hat, I must at some stage show how it's made, too cute and very easy
Here's the girl giving me the irits. In the photo I really like her but face to face, well her face looks murky. She is drawn with pigma pens and prisma colour pencils and then one late night I covered her face in gel medium....mmmmm side note, I've been using chalks and gel to paint the clothing onto calico, which I like, not sure for the face. I thought I did... I just haven't found that ahhhhh feeling yet!

Oh well this is what learning and experimenting is all about.
One more photo to show Lana's lovely legs!
 
 
On Doll Street Dreamers we are having a Mermaid Pin doll swap,
which is very exciting and new to me.
I've managed to make three to swap with someone else, who know's who?? and that's the fun part about it.

They were lots of fun to make and great for using up little bits of scraps, 
which if you're anything like me I can never let go of....just in case

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Sirens


To give you an idea of their size, they sit just on the inside of my hand
Being so small, they were a bit of a challenge to make but I'm really happy how they turned out.

Here's a very quick idea on how to make these Sirens.
First ....start with a drawing and make a pattern
Next choose your fabrics and sew together
Make a face mold from polymer clay and paint
have some fun and play with different fabrics and fibres to make the hair and add whatever embellishments inspire you!
Oops and don't forget to add a brooch pin on the back


I made a practice mermaid before I decided to use a face mold. i didn't end up going with her but I still liked her tail which I made by glueing circles of fabric down using a gel medium and then painting. 
I really like this technique and may use this for another doll later down the track
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I can see my fingerprints on her scales!


Anyway I better get these girls into the post ASAP, as they have to be in the States by the end of April.
Can't wait to find out who they go to, hope they like them.
 
 
I've read that the Santos Doll was created to copy the carvings of priests of the 17th century and 
that its name comes from the Spanish word for Saint
They were made for towns that weren't able to easily access their church,
in  my opion they are very serene beautiful works of art

When Art Doll Quarterly announce it was doing a challenge based on one of these dolls, 
I really wanted to create one in the same sort of spirit. 
 For me a Santos Doll is a focus for peoples faith which items of worship or value can be placed.

I'm not a religious person but there are many things in my life that I value
 I've added things that I have found important in my life that have meaning to me 
like the jesters hat, its was from a painting I did for my son a month before he was born, its kinda my symbol for him, 
the dragonflies represent my home and my family, 
we have so many where I live and they always greet me as I drive up the driveway. 
The love heart her hands make remind me that the love I have in my life have comes the choices I've made,
 that I hold this power in my hands, like having 'fire in the belly' which is also echoed in the garden below .
 The daisies have been with me since I was a small child and remind me of Innocence 
and that even though they look like just one flower they are actually made up of many.

Building the doll was relatively easy, I already had a head that I made a few months back
I just needed a few supplies from the hardware and sew up a cloth body. 
Cover her in air dry clay and......
We have the beginnings of A Santos Doll
I love the little tacks used to nail the timber legs on
She wasn't always smooth sailing though, in fact there were a few times I thought about giving up as she just wasn't flowing and some of the ideas I had weren't working. I wanted the dragonflies on her jester hat but she had other ideas and I popped them down in the garden and ended up drawing three on her chest. One for each of my family.

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My Muse
 
 
These last few months having crazy, spring, xmas, bushfires, busy in the aftermath of bushfires and school holidays. 
But i have managed to get a few dolls happening in amongst all of the chaos.

First up is Misumi, she got published in the Spring edtion of Art Doll quarterly, 
(for us down south on the planet it came out in autumn).
She was for the Topsy Turvy challenge. Im very chuffed!!
Im almost finished my bush to beach doll. I have a few repairs to make plus a few little details to add but Im really happy how she is turning out. Ive really enjoyed making her, especially dyeing all the fabric and having a go at some beadwork.
I also made a cloth doll for a friend, she asked me to make her one for her granddaughter who loves to read.
She doesn't have a name so I just call her Punk Girl. I made her boots out of paperclay and her little book is hand bound. 
You can see more photo's in the gallery, make sure you check out her skull t-shirt that I made with a potato stamp!
Lastly, I have almost finished my Santos doll for the new Art Doll Quarterly challenge. Im only going to show you a quick snippet today because I would like to spend some more time talking about her and how she was made.
And since Im now on holidays....yee har...woop woop!!!!
I'll have plenty of time to put it all together
Hope you enjoy!
 
 
Ive been a busy bee this month learning all about natural and eco dyeing. It really is an amazing craft and ive totally enjoyed playing around with it. It would seem a bit of a tangent to my usual doll making stuff but it all started with a doll in mind.
Just recently I found out about a local group called The Southern Beaches Regional Art group, who in Feb next year, are having an exhibition for local artists in my area. The theme is 'from bush to beach'. I'm a bit excited by this as its a chance to push myself out of my comfort zone and explore some new techniques, which is where the dyeing idea came from.
What better way to incorporate a doll into the theme, having her clothes dyed with the native plants in my area. 
This lead to a library hunt where i found two great books, one of them was by India Flint who uses natural ecologically sound techniques to dye her fabric.....inspirational to say the least.
I started with some solar dyeing and then made some simmer dyes, even had a go at some shibori.
I found some great plants that I still have to identify properly.
The main ones were two Eucalypts, one from down our local skate park, the other was an enormous gum tree from a church in Sorell, I think it might be a Eucalyptus globulus but will check with the council next week.
The other two are Acacia sophorae or Coastal Wattle, which gave a gorgeous burnt orange when I added copper to it and Dodonea viscosa or Hop Bush, which when I added iron to the bath made a gorgeous dark silver grey.
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Some of the left over dyes
Here are my samples, I dont think the computer can do them justice properly but hopefully you get an idea of the colours
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Eucalytpus, pale yellow soaked for three days before simmering. The two dark grey pieces where simmer dyed with iron and the silver grey was dip dyed with the test solution
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The two pieces on the left were simmered in a rusty cast iron pot and then solar dyes with a local eucalypt. The other two were simmered with iron
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This is from a blue foliage gum tree that was solar dyed
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Oops it seems Ive misspelt oops!!
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The two pieces on the left were steamed dyed with wattle flowers, the two on the right were solar dyed for one week
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Some of these were solar dyed with braken but I wasnt really excited by them so I re-dyed them using a shibori method
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Coastal wattle or acacia sophorae, Solar dyed and simmer dyed with copper. i think the top one was simmered with the leaves for an hour and taken out before adding the copper
I really did try to write down everything I did but i tend to work 'in the moment' shall we say and did a bit of this and bit of that and before you know it....oops ive forgotten what Ive done.
What i can tell you is that the fabrics ive used are 100% cotton, a cotton linen blend, a cheesecloth and a light weight cotton sort of like a voile from an old dress. I wanted some silk to try as well but as usual spotlight were out :(
I scoured all the fabrics in detergent and washing soda for an hour and then treated them in an alum solution for an hour and kept the pieces damp until i was ready to use them. For the most part I used an enamel or stainless steel pot and bought copper sulphate and iron from my local hardware store. I did pre treat a few pieces in the cast iron pot and some I soaked in a copper solution. I guess the key here is there are so many ways of doing this that the sky is the limit on the combinations I could try, the only thing that stopped me was i ran out of fabric...blahhh
This piece is one of my favourites. It was solar dyed with braken and then wrapped around a piece of sheoak and dyed in the Eucalypt from the church. I love it, it looks like a landscape and I would love to enhance this with some sort embroidery and turn it into a piece of textile art.

Now that I have all this fabric to play with, next comes the doll. The challenge is to make use of all the fabrics in such a way you can appreciate all the textures and still have them complement the doll.

Lets Play!
 
 
How quickly does a month go these days!!!
The good news is though, I have finally finished the two dolls I started making at the Hobart Show. Its been a journey making them I can tell you. The construction was easy, the hard part was painting and just when I thought I had it right one night,
 I got distracted by one of our furballs and wham, Id rubbed back right to the clay....Nooooooooo. 
There were feet stamping and hands waving and after lots of rude words and cursing myself for being too wound up, I ended up scraping all the paint off to start again. I left some of the old paint and scrape marks in my fit of semi rage 
but I kinda liked that, they looked rustic, damaged but beautiful
They will always remind me to keep things simple and not sweat trying to 'be perfect'.

Ive waited all week to get up to this beautiful spot not far from where I live called Woodvine, it was settled in 1861 and the original house is built from timber slabs and shingles. Its so peaceful up there, I love it.  
Its the perfect place for these dolls, I really have to come up with a name for them. 
For some silly reason all my other photo's are too big to download and there's some great shots 
of the old building and farm equipment I wanted to show. 
I really love the old plants that are still surviving today like an old gnarly fuchsia bush, plum tree and an elderflower tree.

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Me, while my hubby drives!
Check out more photo's of these new dolls in the gallery
Hopefully this link works and you can see all the other photo's i took up at Woodvine.


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