Archive for July, 2010

Last August I realized several things. First, that NIADA at Arrowmont was fast approaching. Second, that I wasn’t going to want to be hiking back to my room for things I needed for my next activity. Third, that my current handbag was woefully inadequate for the task of holding what I was going to need for the whole day. Scratch that – I have Never owned a bag that really met my storing-my-stuff needs. So I decided to make my own.

It had to be sturdy; inside as well as outside. It had to have pockets on both the front and back and they had to be designed to hold the stuff I carry. There had to be open space in the middle for notebooks, datebooks, keys, the other detritus of daily life. The handles had to be strong and be attached in a way to allow hands free carrying. I wanted it to be cheerful and fun. Here’s what I made.

The fabric is an Alexander Henry paired with a light pink polka dot and a darker pink stripe, the binding is a black and white dash print. All the fabrics are quilting weight. The strap is nylon webbing designed for backpacks and other sporting gear; it’s attached with d-rings and is one continuous strand which allows for cross-body-bag-on-hip carrying. I generally double the straps and carry it over my shoulder but I like the versatility factor.

There is a simple secret to how I made the fabric so sturdy: I fused white acrylic felt to the wrong side of the fabric. In effect the entire bag is interlined with felt; lining and pockets too. It takes a very long time to do this with a home iron but it’s totally worth it for the final result.

Inside I put two arrangements of pockets. On one side I put two zipper pockets: one large, one medium, and a horizontal pencil/pen pocket. The medium pocket is for my cell phone and now I can always find it and a pencil – neither can burrow to the bottom of the bag any longer.

The other side I arranged to hold other things I didn’t want floating around; stuff I’d want to find quickly or wanted in a more protected space. So there’s a bank of open pockets for meds, chapstick, magnifier, and a business card pocket. Then there is a roomy cargo pocket for my camera or glasses case or a medium bottle of water. The cargo pocket has a flap that can be velcroed shut or tucked inside the pocket as needed.

As a bit of fun I planned the layout of the print for the front so that I could use a rhinestone-eyed skull as a decoration. I disassembled an old keychain and drilled a hole to make the skull into a button. It looks rather silly peeking out of the inside of the tote in this photo.

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This is Market Day, she’s a Brownie. She’s also the first piece I’ve done that has corn-row braids. They were a bit fiddley to make and attach but the final effect was worth the effort. She’s about 16 inches tall and is carrying a basket of moon-faced dolls. I made her for a moon-themed challenge for a NIADA conference.

Yes, her braids are partly green, which compliments her mauve skin. She’s a gentle soul.

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Hello and Welcome

So here I am, finally, starting a blog. Just for a minute I’m going to pretend that absolutely no one out there knows who I am or what I do. Which, mostly, you don’t; unless you’ve met me at an Art Doll conference. The most seriously art thing that I do are my figurative art sculptures. They are made of cloth over an armature with hard sculpted polymer clay face masks which are covered in cloth. Their hair is made shredded fabric. They are all one of a kind.

Watering Can Girl

This one is Girl with a Watering Can, after Renoir. She’s 12-1/2 inches tall. I made her watering can with paperclay.

You’ll notice right away that I don’t do people-colored people. All my figures have lovely colored skin, yellow, blue, green, mauve; whatever color feels right for that piece. They also are all faeries, but earth fae not air fae (no wings). Some are bugs, some are Brownies or Hobs, I’ve even done a few Grigs. Mostly they are happy little folk, some more mischievous than others but all fairly benevolent spirits. I hope they make you smile.

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