When ‘An Evening of Dolls’ appeared on our Embroiderer’s Guild program, I must admit the prospect didn’t enthrall me. However, what a fascinating night it turned out to be! Below are a couple of member Wendy Aldred’s creations.
Wendy talked about how her techniques have evolved since making her first dolls. Her construction is pretty technical from how she wires the fingers, creates the features and adds the stuffing. ‘When you think you’ve done enough, add more!’ A flat screwdriver with a notch cut in the end makes a good stuffing tool. A knitting needle does not. Some of the dolls’ outfits are made from fabric off-cuts from the Royal Opera House where Wendy’s daughter once worked on the costumes and we handled a sample of goat hair that apparently is good for dolls too.
Next we had Lesley Tingle talk about her dolls and how she uses her antique notions and embroidery samples (like the stitched felt below) in dressing them. The antique textile fair in Manchester is a great place for treasures like hair slides, buttons and braids for jackets.
Lesley extensively researches art dolls and brought a selection of books and dolls from her collection, like these in a primitive style below. For anyone also interested in art dolls she recommends (firstly being very careful of dubious websites!) looking at the exquisite work of Antoinette Cely, whose dolls are so realistic they look almost human; and for superb doll-making resources, to see Patti Culea.
Below are dolls by yet another talented member, Jo Sykes. How adorable are those boots?
Other members brought their creations too. Margaret Walton’s doll won an award for creativity in one of the Guild’s regional competitions.
Some of us brought along the crazy creatures we made on a guild workshop with Raggedy Annie. Mine here are about as near to a doll as I’ll ever get.