Friday, April 29, 2016

Sir Toby is Finished !

Sir Toby is done and looking ever so smart. My customer has seen the pictures, so I can show you now. She is so happy with the finished creation and will have it on Monday. ;o)

I’m showing a picture before I added the hat, so you can better see the neck ruffle and his hair. I really liked making the ruffle, it completely changed his look and made him look so regal as far as his character will allow.. ;o~


And here he is with his hat and of course eyebrows that I didn’t have on him in the last picture. I was using a ref. picture that had lots of facial hair, but I’m glad I left that part off and just gave him chin hair and moustache.


He is holding a beer stein as per his character in the play. I was trying to find a proper beer stein for him and there is an Etsy seller from Hong Kong that had them, but they are listed as charms. They are the perfect size. In that era, they would have drunk ale which is dark brown as opposed to what most people think of as beer, which is yellow.


The way I made it was to line it with some Angelina paper using the colour, Enchanted Forest and then stuffed it with Angelina Fibres the same colour. To finish, I poured in some glue than sprinkled in three different sizes of no hole beads, colour is Aurora Borealis. I let the tiny ones kind of drift up the side of the glass and I think it gives the impression of beer foam.

The extra surprize I’m adding, is a book I found in a thrift store. A friend and I went poking around in Cook St. village and then over to Oak Bay village. The very last store we went into was a thrift store. I wasn’t really there to buy anything, but as my friend was paying for her purchases, something caught my eye. At first I thought it was a ceramic ornament, but lo and behold, it was a collection of Shakespeare’s plays, 6 little books in a holder and what was one of them, 12th Night, where this character came from. These are the full play, not just a sample. They are bound in real leather and in perfect condition. Wow…how exciting. They measure approx. 3” X 2 1/2”.


I brought them home, made a mini bookmark based on a quote from the play and fastened to the inside of the spine, then made a pouch which will hang on the back of the chair. Couldn’t believe my luck. Now all I need to do is make five more characters from the other books. ;o~


And here is full view. I am very proud of this doll because it’s an original sculpt, ref. from pictures of different performances of the play. I designed and drafted the pattern using the draping technique and most of all, it will always be an original one of a kind piece of art for my customer. What more could I ask for. See you soon with more from my work table. Cheers from Sir Toby.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Sir Toby–Almost done!

I’m on the last leg of my journey with Sir Toby Belch. I’ve now given him a jacket with belt and lace cuffs. He also now has a head and hands, he’s very happy about that. ;o) This is the jacket before dressing him. I used a mini gold gimp trim (1/4” wide) to embellish the front panels and the shoulder epaulettes, and even more mini burgundy trim (1/8th”) around the bottom and front edges. The faux buttons are beads that have a nice pattern to them that of course you can’t see here.


I had a moment a few days ago where I thought, do I panic or just stay calm. I chose calm. What happened???? I finished the sculpting the head and hands, checked it all over and put it in the oven to bake. I even put a bit of polyfil over the pieces so they wouldn’t get scorched. Of course I covered all the bases didn’t I. ;o~

NO !!!!  After the parts were cool to the touch I brought them back up here and took a closer look. Then my OMG moment. I looked and looked again, and there it was. Cataracts in both eyes. The left eye had a partial one, the right eye a full cataract… I had not checked to make sure there was nothing on the eyes. Once you bake those eyes, whatever is on there is there for good, unless you can turn back time and not let it happen. I used acrylic eyes, not sure what would happen with glass ones.

I tried everything I had in the house for cleaning and nothing worked. At this point I figured I might as well go for broke and try one last thing. I reached for the Crystal Lacquer that I sometimes use for making eyes more lifelike. As I was reaching for it, there was a bottle of clear nail polish in front of it, so what the heck, lets go with  that.

I carefully applied a small drop to each eye, because if it worked I wouldn’t want nail polish all over the place, well, like magic, no more cataracts. I can’t explain the chemical reaction, all I know is that as soon as the polish hit the eyes, they became as clear as when I first put them on the face. Who knew????!?

Here his is with sparkly clear eyes, a nice leather belt and lace cuffs. I did some painting with Genesis paints, but not overly done. He doesn’t need it, just enough to make the details show up.


His left hand is sculpted with a bit of a claw look, but that’s the pre planning I had to do. I made him a beer stein, so I had to make sure the position of the fingers and thumb were right. Eventually the position of the other arm will be slightly different.


The last parts will be to give him hair, facial and on top, a hat and the neck ruffle and to attach the beer stein. I also found quite by accident, a wonderful finishing feature. I’m not posting it here, just in case my customer sees this,  I don’t want to spoil the surprize for her. So here his is, resting while I do the rest.  I hope to post the last part by the end of the week. See you soon.


Friday, April 8, 2016

Sir Toby Belch–part 2

I’m having so much fun working on this doll. Like I’ve said so many times, I’m not a speedy person with my dolls because I just enjoy the process of creating so much. Why do I want to rush that and have it over so soon. ;o)

Sir Toby is pretty much dressed. He still needs his jacket and hat and of course I need to give him a head and hands along with final touches. Why doesn’t he have a head or hands yet you ask??? You’re asking that question, right???? 

There are a number of reasons for his lack of those two vital parts. The first one is because I’ve been flipping him this way and that way, pretty much standing him on his neck, laying on his side, so,  just not conducive to treating a head and hands well.

Another reason is because until the costume is finished and he’s dressed, I need to see how big he actually is. I’m sculpting the heads and hands out of polymer clay and with his body and costume done I get a better perspective for the proper proportions of those parts.

The last reason is simply that it’s much easier to dress him without his head and hands in place.

Here are pictures of how he’s dressed for now. The shirt will hardly even be seen once the jacket is done, but I know it’s there and I feel the clothing is complete. It’s probably extra work for something you don’t see, but it’s how I am. If I don’t do it, it will bother me forever that it’s not finished properly.

The costume is in the Elizabethan theme. The men wore these funky little pants that men would never be caught wearing in this day and age..;o)


The pants are made with two colours of faux suede found in an upholstery depart. The same pattern is on both colours, but hard to see here. There is a band of brown velvet ribbon stitched to the waist to cover raw edges and complete the look.


His boots are soft leather and made slouchy, much like the picture in the last post.


The fabric for the shirt is a silk velvet. I originally found it at Joggles. I think you can see them, but I used eeny weeny buttons on the front, and while you can’t see the cuffs on the sleeves, there are buttons on there as well. And that’s it. More to follow soon. ;o)


Monday, April 4, 2016

Sir Toby Belch

I am working on a commission piece based on a Shakespearean play called the 12th Night. The character I am working on is Sir Toby Belch. Kind of drunkard and boisterous man. I’m using this picture as a reference for the basics. I have other photo’s for other parts.

Below this picture are a couple of the chair and a footstool I’ve prepared for him. More to follow soon. I have him partially dressed but am not going to show that just yet. ;o)


I had the chair already, but painted it a darkish green and the whicker a dark brown more in keeping I think with that time. Powder blue just wouldn’t cut it.

The stool is made with a small wooden box, little feet added and covered on top with upholstery fabric and painted on the bottom half. A smudge of gold metallic overall and they’re ready for Sir Toby.


Friday, April 1, 2016

Granny Power & New Venue

I’ve been making up for lost time from that “whatever it was” bug. Shame on whoever developed it and I will never be convinced that it wasn’t man made. However, moving on…..

I used Allison Murano’s pattern, Fairy Grandmother, to create this little group of dolls. They are about 10” tall and I have made them to hang on the wall. The original design also made them to be hung from a cord.

I decided that since I wasn’t selling at the tea shop anymore, it wouldn’t hurt to put out some feelers and see where I might be able to sell. I’m not worried about making big sales, it’s just good to be able to sell so that you’re not always making them. People still love handmade items, so it only makes sense to keep searching for a venue and let people know that you’re still out there. I developed a bit of a following, so I’m happy to find a place that will be accessible to those loyal people.

And I did find a place. I just took these cuties to a new location. I am now at Laloca Local and Global Fair Trade. Christine has a perfect setting for including dolls. Her shop is an eclectic mix of products from different parts of the globe and she is working to include more local artisans. I feel very grateful that she recognizes my art as something that she would carry in her shop.

If you live locally, I hope you will go to her store and take a look at all the wonderful products she carries. I especially love the woven baskets, they are so beautiful with all their bright, bold and yummy colours.

And now I suppose I should show you the little dolls. They are a take on the Raging Grannies that started in this area 30 years ago and has spread all over. Since I can’t use the name, I decided Granny Power would convey the same message. They are all different, some have mini books I made for them from pictures of their different venues, some have tea strainers for hats and all of them have character. And now back to my commission piece. Back soon with more. Enjoy ;o)



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