SCARLET ELFCUP

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Young -the talented woman behind Scarlet Elfcup-, describes her work with the following words: Dreams, Imagination, Adventure & Playfulness for all ages. Oh it is so true! Her work is truly wonderful and inspiring. She makes magic while working with natural fibers, there is such a beautiful delicacy in each of her handcrafted creatures. It was a pleasure to feature her work in this corner of the digital world. Her monthly feature started on October 5th and here at last is the whole interview as well as a selection of her exquisite dolls. We bet you will fall in love with them. Enjoy!

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Young, thank you so much for sharing with us!

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1. What would you like to share about yourself?
YOUNG: I live in California with my husband and our two young children. In a life previous to motherhood, I dabbled with a number of work experiences…a mechanical engineer by training and a few years of work in the bio-medical engineering industry, a math and physics teacher for a number of years, a Peace Corps volunteer and Peace Corps employee for some time, and my latest undertaking…a crime data analyst for a university police department. After being pregnant with my first child, I closed the doors to all those ventures to delve into full-time work as a mother.

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2. Can you describe your dolls in one sentence?
YOUNG: Scarlet Elfcup dolls are marked by their signature size of about 6 inches (15 cm) tall.

3. When did you start making dolls?
YOUNG: 2014

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4. What motivated you to start your own brand?
YOUNG: Scarlet Elfcup began early on in 2014, inspired by the doll making journey of the one and only significant Fig&Me….shortly after I discovered the world of handmade dolls and toys, as a way to combine my love for knitting, sewing, reading, writing and photography hobbies. In this time, it has evolved to much more, providing not only an outlet for creativity, but a home for the gratitude I feel for all of my inspirations, and most importantly, the connections I am making with amazing people from all around the world. I invest in this endeavor not only because I love the art of weaving words and images together to tell a story, but because, in doing so, I find myself looking more deeply for the beauty in life and consequently finding it in more places.

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5. Which part of the process you enjoy the most?
YOUNG: I have no formal training in anything to do with doll making, textiles or sewing. I’ve learned it all myself through books, the internet, and experimentation. I am a mechanical engineer by training. So, my background goes hand-in-hand with what I enjoy most about the creative world of fiber arts…measuring, puzzle piecing patterns, playing, experimenting, testing, failing, and doing it all over from scratch to work toward a final product is part of the process that I enjoy tremendously. This is how I’ve learned doll making and textile art and this is how I’ve built the skills that I have today. It will always be a continuous learning process for me and I hope that the learning never ends.

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6. What makes it challenging for you? / What challenges you?
YOUNG: I think that my answer to question #5 and question #6 sort of blend in and go hand in hand…so my answer here is the same as in #5.

 

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7. Favorite materials/ tools/ fabrics/ suppliers, etc.
YOUNG: My favorite tool…my hemostat and knitting needles
My favorite fabric….cotton poplin
My favorite supplier….I don’t have a favorite supplier because I use various ones consistently for different reasons. But, here are ones of many I love getting supplies from….Weir Crafts, Kamrin’s Poppentelier

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8. What do you consider to set a fair price to your work?
YOUNG: Eventhough my dolls are small, they take nearly, if not more than the amount of time it takes to make a bigger doll…between 20-40 hours. I also like to use only the highest quality natural fibers, which costs more than cheaply made synthetic materials. So, both time and materials factor into the price for my doll making.

 

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9. What´s the soundtrack to your doll making process?
YOUNG: It depends on my mood….I can listen to anything from solo piano tunes to pop songs by famous artists.

10. Any advice to other fellow doll makers?
YOUNG: My best advice for the doll maker starting on her journey….consider doll making as just that….as a journey by which the learning is what will propel the movement forward, make many mistakes for they give you the new skills you need to develop your style, be patient and take it one step at a time, keep making what inspires your heart, keep making from the heart and you’ll always enjoy the journey.

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Naptown Boys

The dollmaker of September was Nikki, who creates very beautiful and imaginative dolls under the name of Naptown Boys. She makes super special Waldorf dolls, especially boy dolls. I hope you enjoy her original work and this interview with her. Thank you, Nikki!

-What would you like to share about yourself?

NIKKI: My name is Nikki and I am a Painter as well as a Dollmaker, we live on the East Coast of the U.S with my husband and two sons, all of the boys (my husband is truly a child at heart) keep me active and silly. My dream as a child was to be an artist, there was a small period of time when I stopped declaring artist and instead told everyone I would be a “mad scientist” when I grew up. I feel like I have become a little bit of both.

My artwork has always focused on the relationship of humans to animals as well as the denial of our instincts and animalistic nature. I have fun with these ideas by creating little animal people but I also want to teach my children that we are not so different from animals after all. I believe that it is very important to teach our children about the damage we are causing to the environment by living the way that we do now and I hope that they will come up with a new way for us to live that is more in balance with the earth. My favorite book is Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. I am inspired by his ideas on how we came to be as we are now and his optimism that there is a way to change the way we live to make a better world.

“If the world is saved, it will not be saved by old minds with new programs but by new minds with no programs at all.” Daniel Quinn

– Can you describe your dolls in one sentence?

NIKKI: The Naplings are capricious little characters whose undeniable animal nature shines through.

– When did you start making dolls?

NIKKI: I started making dolls about 8 years ago, shortly after I had my first son. I was looking to find a boy doll to give my son and nephew for Christmas. I wasn’t able to find any available commercially so I started looking for handmade dolls, made using natural materials and I discovered Waldorf style dolls. I instantly fell in love with the style of doll and wanted to make dolls to look just like my son and my nephew. I bought the materials and made 6 in just a few weeks. It was an incredible creative outlet that fell in line with what I needed as a new mother. My life had transitioned from a busy Grad student with deadlines and stressful demands to the very slow pace of a newborns sleep schedule. I was so bored, I needed an activity that I could pick up and put down easily to accommodate the demands of a baby. There is a lot of hand sewing and slow work that really demands you to sit still and breathe, I found that I was trying to fill my sons nap times with busywork which made me feel unnecessarily stressed. Adding this slow craft gave me something to do with my hands but let my mind calm.

– What motivated you to start your own brand?

NIKKI: After discovering Waldorf dolls I realized that even though boy dolls were available they were very hard to find. My original dream was to fill a shop full of boy dolls. After making Waldorf boy dolls for about a year I was making a small doll and his eyes were Owl colored and ended up a little too large which gave him an owl-like appearance. It was almost like he was telling me he had to be an Owl. I stitched on wings and owlish ears and he became the very first Napling.

– Which part of the process you enjoy the most?

NIKKI: This changes daily. Some days sitting still is more difficult than others, on these day I love to dye fabric. It’s a pretty active process and all the chemistry feeds my fantasy of being a mad scientist. But I think I really love the hand sewing the most. I’ve added in embroidery detailing on some of the dolls not only because I love the way it looks but also because it is the part of the work that I enjoy the most. The stillness and focus has become very meditative.

– What makes it challenging for you?

NIKKI: Coming up with new patterns is challenging, I have so many ideas for new dolls but executing them is always a challenge. Getting the doll to look the way I imagine it usually takes a few attempts. This process is difficult but usually rewarding in the end. Not always, I do have a basket full of parts of dolls that just never made it!

– Favorite materials/ tools/ fabrics/ suppliers, etc.

NIKKI: I love wool interlock. It is so squishy, soft and stretchy but it’s also really thick and durable. I feel lucky that I stumbled upon the material as it is not very common. I purchased mine from Nature’s Fabric to make a few diaper covers for my sons cloth diapers and just happened to start using the scraps to create the Naplings.

– What do you consider to set a fair price to your work?

NIKKI: First I consider the cost of the materials, I then add in the amount of hours it takes me to make the doll from start to finish and pay myself hourly.

No… wait… that’s not what I do, that’s what you are suppose to do when you sell handcrafts. There is no way for me to time myself on each individual doll or clock my hours, I sometimes work on a few at a time, often I have to stop and start while tending to the needs of my family. I have decided on a price for each individual style of doll that makes me feel that the love and effort of my work is being appreciated.

– What´s the soundtrack to your doll making process?

NIKKI: I’m not sure why but I like to listen to album’s with all of the songs in order. So if you catch me on a Jim Croce day you will hear the entire album, most likely on repeat. Some of my other favorite artists are Erika Badu, Fiona Apple, Pearl Jam, The Black Crowes, Bob Marley, Pink, Bill Withers, Adele, James Taylor… just to name a few at the top of the list.

– Any advice to other fellow doll makers?

NIKKI: Don’t let fear/perfectionism stop you. I have a handful of dolls that I’ve never shown online, they went straight to the kids in my life or the recycle materials basket because I was overly critical of the work. Now that I look back on some of them I wish I would have embraced them and their quirkiness and let them inspire me to go further instead of only seeing the flaws.

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Nikki’s cloth doll collection:

Dulce Barbola

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On the  full moon of August 7th, we started a monthly feature dedicated to the work of Dulce Barbola. Yamell is a Mexican dollmaker who creates colorful, tender and yummy dolls 🍭 The concept of her brand is lovely, she makes ragdolls that are inspired by all the aromas  and textures found in Mexican traditional candies. I hope you enjoy this interview as well as the selection of her work. Thank you for sharing your dollmaking journey with us, Yamell!

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  • What would you like to share about yourself?

YAMELL: I´m an outgoing woman who loves music and my family. I simply can´t do a
thing if I´m not listening to music, this is my pleasure and delight, I like to spend my money in vinyl records, gigs, music festivals you name it. My family is my motivation, I´m the first of 7 siblings, I´m married to my best friend and we have a daugther who keeps amazing me every single day.

 

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  • Can you describe your dolls in one sentence?

YAMELL: Unique handmade dolls made with love and sweetness, a reminder
that simple is better, going back to childhood, to the joy of that innocence where you dream about pink milk lakes, cotton candy clouds, and caramel rainbows.

  • When did you start making dolls?

YAMELL: At August 2013.

 

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  • What motivated you to start your own brand?

YAMELL: My first dolls made were 25 Rapunzels to giveaway as a party favors
for my daughter´s 5th birthday party, they were a hit so friends start asking me to make more for they girls.

 

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  • Which part of the process you enjoy the most?

YAMELL: Creating the whole character, I take the time to think of giving it a name,
decide the pallet of colors, story etc. They all have to be related to my main inspiration, which is color, texture and aroma of the cheerful mexican candies.

  • What makes it challenging for you? / What challenges you?

YAMELL: I really will love to become an entrepreneur, I´ve worked for
more than 20 years in big corporations, and I recently quit my job, my plan is not to come back to work for a company and to make Barbola my only economic support.

 

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  • Favorite materials/ tools/ fabrics/ suppliers, etc.

YAMELL: I love cotton fabric, full of color, as I mention before, Barbola is all about
happiness,and joy, therefore you will rarely find black, grey or neutral colors in my pallet. The aroma I have created for my dolls, as they are all candy scented with oils (secret recipe). I also love yarn and I can´t work without my wood pencils which I also use for stuffing.

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  • What do you consider to set a fair price to your work?

YAMELL: The time each doll takes to be done, the detail on each one is unique
as a handmade item is an slow but full of quality process. I want the owner of my doll to feel special, knowing that the doll they have in their hands was made specially for them.

 

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  • What´s the soundtrack to your doll making process?

YAMELL: I hope I understand correctly, Pulp, Radiohead, Blur, The Smiths, New
Order, The Cure, Artic Monkeys, Arcaide Fire, “sighs” I will not stop, but that is mainly what I listen while I work.

 

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  • Any advice to other fellow doll makers?

YAMELL: Don´t be discourage by all the beauty in other dollmakers work, trust
your self and keep on going. Creating your own style and designs is exhilarating, every one of us have something unique to offer.

 

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WEB: dulcebarbola.com
FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM
EMAIL: ventas@dulcebarbola.com
SHOP

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Yamell’s cloth doll collection:

 

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alia grace dolls

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I had the opportunity to meet Alia in person and hang out with her a few days and I can tell that she is a very talented, sensitive, creative and good soul. Her work is divine and I bet you will enjoy this interview, especially if you enjoy dolls in tune with nature. She creates characters full of imagination, the color palettes are always exquisite and she uses natural fibers. One of kind dolls to be hugged and loved. I hope you enjoy this interview as well as the  selection of her awesome work.

Thank you Alia, for sharing with us about your dollmaking journey. It is always a delight to admire your fantastic creations!

 

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– What would you like to share about yourself?

ALIA: Making art has always been part of my life…. I grew up as an only child which may have propelled a lot of my creativity — with much time spent alone, I learned how to entertain myself and engage in imagination and creating — Art was always ‘my thing’. I’ve always loved animals and when I was a kid I wanted to be the next Jane Goodall… I thought I might find myself working with animals later in life. I was interested in all sorts of things (and still am), and art was just kind of a way of life and not something I considered as a profession. But when the time came, I wound up going to school for art and majored in fine arts at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Those were some of the most invigorating years of my life. I’ve worked both big and small and in a wide array of media. I think I have stuck with doll-making longer than any one thing, and I enjoy it because the possibilities are endless. I really enjoy fiber arts and sculpture and love working with fabric and textiles. I would love to create a body of work that is more sculptural and maybe have an exhibit of new work one of these days.

I came to the southwest several years back to learn about sustainable, off the grid building techniques and I now call New Mexico my home. I love the sunny days, and appreciate the rainy, cloudy ones more than ever. Now that I’ve lived near the mountains and heard the coyotes howl at night, I don’t think I would ever have it any other way.

My goal is to buy a piece of land, build a home, live simply. This dream may be coming closer to fruition.

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– Can you describe your dolls in one sentence?

ALIA: My imagination come to life

– When did you start making dolls?

ALIA: I started making dolls in 2014… The idea came to me when I realized that it was a way to combine so many of the mediums I love to work in: Sewing, painting, knitting, beading… the possibilities are endless. It’s fashion on a smaller scale. Working on a smaller scale was also economical for me and practical as I was somewhat transient at the time and didn’t really have a space of my own or much space to work. I had no idea if there was even a market for handmade dolls, but I figured if I put enough work into something I could create my own market. Soon after, I was encouraged to join Instagram and found a small community of other dollmakers. Since then, the interest in making dolls and collecting dolls has grown. It’s been pretty cool!

 

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– What motivated you to start your own brand?

ALIA: To be able to make a living and support myself doing what I love, is my dream.

– Which part of the process do you enjoy the most?

ALIA: Without a doubt, my favorite part is dressing the dolls when they are all finished. Making the clothes and and choosing the fabric and how they will dress is probably the funnest part, and finally dressing them is so satisfying because it is the last step and it means the doll is finished. It’s incredibly satisfying to have a vision, and then make it come to life in the third dimension. It’s like the feeling of setting a goal and achieving it. It’s wonderful. And then beyond that, I love boxing up the dolls and sending them off to their new homes. It makes all the love and time put into each doll incredibly worth it.

 

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– What makes it challenging for you? / What challenges you?

ALIA: I’d say the most challenging part for me is the marketing involved with getting my work out there. I’m not terribly good at it and don’t always know how to do that. I would be very happy to just hide away and create with my hands… but then no one would see my work. So there’s a balance and I’m still trying to figure that out.

I also sometimes have to holdback from spending too much time on each doll. It’s in my nature to become very immersed in the details, but in order to create a doll that can still be played with and remain within a certain price-range, I have to stop myself from going overboard. That’s why I hope to create a body of work that is a bit more sculptural and less functional. I think I need a separate outlet where I can unleash my crazy obsession with detail and not worry about how much time I spend on a piece.

 

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– Favorite materials/ tools/ fabrics/ suppliers, etc.

ALIA: Linen, wool, and cotton are staples in my work. The bodies are generally made of linen and their clothing sewn from linen or cute cotton textiles. I use wool to felt their spirit hoods and sometimes use it for hair. I’m kind of yarn obsessed and find myself drawn to the most luscious hand-spun, hand dyed yarns. I think I might drool over yarn even more than chocolate and nothing can stop me from purchasing an expensive skein if it’s perfect for the doll I want to make. I also am a fan of natural dying which I dabble in here and there, so I save a lot of kitchen scraps like avocado pits and onion skins, and collect other botanicals that make good natural dyes. I shop a lot for supplies on Etsy and I like to buy from other small shops, particularly for yarn and stuff like that. Ive been sewing on my trusty brother sewing machine for the last three years, and it has all kinds of quirks that sometimes drive me crazy. I’m way overdue for an upgrade and I’m pretty sure I would cut down on about a third of my sewing time if I didn’t have to deal with some of the malfunctions this machine gives me. It’s not a high quality machine, but I’ve built my whole business around it, so I have to thank it for getting me this far. Never let limited recourses stand in your way! Where there is will, there’s a way.

 

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– What do you consider to set a fair price to your work?

ALIA: A yes, this is also one of the harder aspects of what I do. I consider the time spent making a piece and the cost of supplies that go into making it. I want to set a price that is fair for me and fair for the buyer. There are a lot of steps that go into making a doll and when added all up, it takes a lot of time. Sometimes I wonder if people really understand the amount of work that goes into making a hand made doll, but truthfully, it seems that most people who are fans of handmade dolls, and those who buy them, enjoy them for all the work and detail, and originality that goes into each one and this is very pleasing to me. It makes me feel good to know that my work is valued and appreciated.

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– What´s the soundtrack to your doll making process?

ALIA: I enjoy different types of music… Sounds I like are: clapping, stomping, whistling, joyful singing… I like the banjo and love the cello. I enjoy instrumental music like John Fahey, the majestic sounds of Midori Takada, Yann Tiersen… New and old folk songs, old time, rag, Edith Piaf and others like her I enjoy… And a lot of the time I just work with the door open and enjoy listening to bird sounds and the wind rustling in the trees. Silence and stillness is calming to me and I need a lot of it.

– Any advice to other fellow doll makers?

ALIA:Do what comes most naturally to you! They say there is nothing new under the sun, but I truly believe each person is a portal through which something completely new and original can manifest. Just like each persons handwriting is unique, so is the art that comes from your soul. Sometimes I ask myself if I am truly making the art from my soul… and I dare say, I am probably not… there is probably a lot more that my soul is craving to make, and it may mean even moving away from dollmaking. But as far as dollmaking is concerned, I think the most success anyone can have is when you truly make something in the style that comes naturally and easily to you — that is when you will produce the most work and have the most success. Your art is like your fingerprint. It’s fascinating to see something completely new — it is exciting, and pleasing to the eye.

 

 

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Extra: social media, online shop, email where people can reach you, etc.

You can find my dolls on my website: AliaGraceDolls.com

You can also find me on Etsy, Facebook and Pinterest under: AliaGraceDolls

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Alia’s cloth doll collection:

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khadil dolls

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Hilary is the creator of Khadil dolls. In her studio she brings to life very tender, unique and natural dolls. In her own words, her dolls are “Sustainably handmade heirloom dolls crafted in New Zealand using natural materials, wool stuffing & a foot-powered Singer sewing machine.” It is evident that these beautiful dolls have been made with care and love. As it is a tradition to have a new feature each full moon, on  June 9th we started a monthly feature dedicated to her special work on the Instagram account of dollmakers. We find her work very inspiring and we bet you will love it too. So here  is the interview with her and also a selection of her huggable dolls. Thank you Hilary!

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– What would you like to share about yourself?

HILARY: I am a dollmaker and illustrator living in Christchurch, New Zealand. I love the stillness of mornings and creating.

– Can you describe your dolls in one sentence?

HILARY:  Wholesome, handmade dolls to inspire adventure, imagination and connection within.

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– When did you start making dolls?

HILARY:  I made my first doll while doing The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron after a stint of bad health and feeling utterly lost in the world.

– What motivated you to start your own brand?

HILARY:  Khadil (pronounced ‘cuddle’) is my dream to re-ignite our inner child and re-awaken our imagination through joyful, soft creations. This world can sometimes be a little overwhelming and I want to make things that connect us within, center us, so we can move forward from our heart.

 

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– Which part of the process you enjoy the most?

HILARY: Definitely stitching on the eyes, at that moment the doll or illustration comes alive with their own little personality.

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– What makes it challenging for you? / What challenges you?

HILARY: I am challenged by anxiety and putting way too much pressure and expectation upon myself – basically my creations soothe and center me first, then I hope they carry that same power out into the world.

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– Favorite materials/ tools/ fabrics/ suppliers, etc.

HILARY:  My favourite materials are those that are handmade –  handspun thread, handwoven cotton, hand-block printed cloth –  there are no machines used in the making of some of my fabrics. I feel these fabrics contain the consciousness and heart of empowered artisans and carry the energy of loving hands. I use only natural materials, environmentally friendly and ethically sourced or upcycled, and stuff the dolls with wool. I feel all of this connects the doll’s beholder to the wonderful people around them and the healing natural world. I also use an incredible 1946 Foot-treadle Singer sewing machine and love the feeling of investing myself into every stitch!

 

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– What do you consider to set a fair price to your work?

HILARY: I just try to put my whole heart into each doll, and price them at the minimum time a doll takes to make.

 

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– What´s the soundtrack to your doll making process?

HILARY:  I really like music that is calming and centering, something that touches my heart.

 

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– Any advice to other fellow doll makers?

HILARY: I feel that dolls are really important and we should all keep making them. I love to think that one of my dolls may become the life-long best friend of a little person out there or be gifted to a ‘grown up’, a doll to remind us that we are always safe and loved. Dolls have a powerful and magical way of bringing out our inner voice of intuition to guide us, and we have a lot of stimulus in our culture now which draws us away from that. So, I think we should all just keep making dolls! And I definitely recommend The Artist’s Way.

 

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FB: www.facebook.com/khadildolls

INSTA: www.instagram.com/khadildolls

Website: www.khadil.com

Email: hilary@khadil.com

Miss Moth Dolls

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We really love the monthly features! It is a great way to learn about the doll making journey of talented and creative women around the world. Once the month ends, we share with you the whole interview accompanied by a collection of the featured artist. So here we go! On May 10th we started the feature dedicated  to @missmothdolls a Canadian artist who creates whimsical creatures. Her name is Caroline and her work is magical and imaginative, each doll seems to come to life from a fairytale. These unique heirloom dolls are the perfect companion, I bet they’ll make your imagination fly high. They are full of lovely details, great clothes and amazing textures as Caroline uses a lot of natural materials. Thank you so much Caroline for participating in this feature even when you were in the middle of giving birth. It was a pleasure to get to know you better and your work!

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– What would you like to share about yourself?
CAROLINE: My name is Caroline, I’m 29. I am mother of a lovely little fairy girl and very soon to be mom for a second time! I am a dreamer and have a huge imagination. One thing is for sure, I will never grow up!
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been expressing my fantasies through different art forms, mostly drawing, sewing, writing and dance.

I am a bohemian dreamer and I love fantasy and nature. I bring back a new plant home every chance I get! I collect beautiful little things and I like to thrift, looking for vintage treasures.
I love to create characters and whimsical creatures, sketch them and write their stories, but making dolls is my favorite way to bring them to life! Creating them brings me so much joy and I feel like every time a new doll is born, she’s bringing a little more magic to the world.

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– Can you describe your dolls in one sentence?

CAROLINE: They are precious little works of art inspired by nature and fairytales and they are as curious about us as we are about them!

– When did you start making dolls?
CAROLINE: I started about five years ago. This is when I made my first pattern for a doll. Before that, I studied writing, sewing and I worked as a seamstress. Doll making came quite naturally to me. I spent more time drawing characters then I did clothing or costumes, so I ended up making them out of fabric too. I strive to create more and more and push the art form further, there is always something new I want to experiment with.

 

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– What motivated you to start your own brand?
CAROLINE: All the ideas dancing around in my head! I need to be free to create and work as I please. Creative freedom and entrepreneurship goes hand in hand so I was meant to create Miss Moth. I love that I can work from home and be present for my daughter, this is very important to me.

 

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– Which part of the process you enjoy the most?
CAROLINE: Everything I can do by hand! Embroidery, adding small details and most of all, working on tiny faces! Embroidering them is as close to drawing as needlework can get and I love it!
Also, I have an obsession with creating patterns, I can work on new doll ideas or just play around with my patterns for hours, tweaking and bettering them and trying new stuff!
But truly… I like ALL about the doll making process!

 

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– What makes it challenging for you? / What challenges you?

CAROLINE:Doing everything by myself is what I find the most challenging.  If I only had to create dolls and focus on the artistic aspects it would be a lot easier! But all the other important stuff, the promoting, the taking care of website and shop, craft shows and expositions … and paperwork (which I’m allergic to) it’s all very time consuming!

It’s hard to find balance and doing all of this within the time I allow myself for creating can be frustrating sometimes! (But this is the price to pay for my creative freedom so, in the end, I can’t really complain.) I just aim for balance as much as I can and try to stay on tracks!

 

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– Favorite materials/ tools/ fabrics/ suppliers, etc.
CAROLINE: I prefer working with natural and recycled materials (cotton, linen and silk are my favorites fibers). Most of my creations are made of recycled or repurposed fabrics and I really like to go hunting for them. It’s important to me that my work is eco friendly and this is my way. I upcycle and thrift for my family and myself as well, not just for the dolls. As for tools, since I love to work by hand, I have my treasured favorite set of needles. The machines I would never separate from are my semi-industrial iron and my camera (yes, they come before my faithful sewing machine!).

 

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– What do you consider to set a fair price to your work?
CAROLINE: It’s not easy to set a price. I consider the time, the materials and the level of details/difficulty involved. Working small and detailed is more difficult in many ways, it takes longer. As for small patterns, millimeters can mess it all up! I think pricing any handmade item is quite difficult, we always have to willingly forget about some things, some hours, because if not, prices would be too high. Again, creative freedom obliges…

 

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– What´s the soundtrack to your doll making process?
CAROLINE: So many different sounds! When I work it’s often soundtracks or instrumental. I like gypsy music, indie, rock and alternative. Windows are open, I like to hear the wind and the birds while I work (the end of winter is always really hard on me). And when I have a lot of needlework to do I do it while listening to tv shows (but never my very favorite ones, or I would miss too much by only looking up once in a while!).

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–  Any advice to other fellow doll makers?
CAROLINE:To never stop working on patterns and always try to better your art. Stay true to yourself and your style, make things your way. There are trends in doll making and if you pitch in, I really like when I see makers who achieve their own unique interpretations of a theme! Be yourself and be special!

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Social media:

www.missmothdolls.com
www.missmothdolls.etsy.com
www.instagram.com/missmothdolls
www.facebook.com/missmothdolls
info@missmothdolls.com

 

 

Anacardia Atelier

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On April 11th we had the privilege to start a monthly feature dedicated to the original, great and awesome work of Carol, the creative mind with magical hands behind Anacardia Atelier. Her work is truly fresh and inspiring. Every doll from her tells a story and will make you fall in love. They are so playful and have such a personality. It is a delight to know that these little handmade and unique friends are coming to life thanks to the talent and imagination of this amazing Brazilian artist. Thank you so much Carolina for inspiring this community so much and for sharing with us part of your doll making journey.

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– What would you like to share about yourself?
CAROL: I’m Brazilian, from a city called Franca. I’m not great at writing in English, but I’ll try… lol

When I was a child, my favorite dolls used to be little sticks that I found on the floor of my grandfather’s farm and dressed them in flowers and feathers. This memory is very present in my life.  I think I’m still playing with them when making my fabric dolls.

I’ve always enjoyed drawing and I studied architecture. Since I was a child, I remember watching my mother sewing, but I only learned it when I was more than 30.

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– Can you describe your dolls in one sentence?
CAROL: I think they are a piece of childhood. We all have a child inside us. I love when an adult holds my doll and says that makes them feel like a child. I like to think that this is my doll’s role: To awaken and embrace the child within us.

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– When did you start making dolls?
CAROL: I was 32. My mother and I were making a baby bedroom wich had a doll as part of the decoration. At that time, I used to design the bedroom and the whole decoration and my mother would sew all of the fabric pieces. She made a fabric doll and I fell in love. I had to learn how to sew because I wanted so much to make my own dolls. So I got my grandmother’s sewing machine as a gift, and my first doll was a Frida that I still keep.  Besides that I feel in love with the whole process and since then, I can’t stop making dolls.

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First doll by Anacardia Atelier

– What motivated you to start your own brand?

CAROL:  When my second son was born, during my maternity leave, I started making some handmade gifts, just to pass the time. But as I love making things and drawing, I thought maybe this would be an opportunity to stay home with my kids and make things that inspired me and made me feel good.

–  Which part of the process you enjoy the most?

CAROL:  I like so much to make the faces. I love it when they seem to look at me, their little face seems so full of emotion… it’s magical.  It´s so much fun making their hair. And I also am an enthusiast about the experience of making tiny dolls.

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– What makes it challenging for you? / What challenges you?

CAROL:  There are a lot of challenges if you want to make a living from doing what you love. I think that choosing a fair price is always challenging. Is also difficult manage the time. Everything here is made by me, I have to package, take pictures, edit pictures, write posts, go to the post office, buy supplies, there are lots of things I must do.

Other challenge is that your hands are much more slow than your head can think. I have so many ideas that I can’t materialize, sometimes this is quite frustrating.

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– Favorite materials/ tools/ fabrics/ suppliers, etc.

CAROL:  I like cotton fabric, linen, cotton lace, woolen yarn, fabric prints, stripes, paper flowers, buttons. I try to be aware of what I already have in my studio to use it in my dolls. They are so tiny, that I shouldn’t need to buy supplies very often…lol. But I love buying a new fabric or piece of wool sometimes…

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– What do you consider to set a fair price to your work?

CAROL:  This is really the hardest part. Each project is unique and it is always complicated to set a price. The main value of a handmade product is the time you dedicated to it. Everything is quite slow, all the process take so long that we have to take this into account. And there is so much love involved in this kind of work, that it makes even more difficult to put a material value on the product.

Besides, I believe that all work originally made by women is undervalued and we need to fight against this thinking.

I’ve been lucky, because normally most of my clients can see the difference between a handmade product made with love and care, an industrial or serial product. They give me a lot of support and because of this I feel encouraged to follow my dreams.

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– What´s the soundtrack to your doll making process?
CAROL: I love Music. I’m pretty eclectic. I love some movie soundtrack like Amelie Polan and Frida. Lately, I’ve been listening a lot to Nina Simone (my son always complains hearing “feeling good” again!). I also love Brazilian ‘MPB’ music, such as Marisa Monte, Lenine and Chico Buarque.

Sometimes I work listening to my older son studying guitar, he loves playing rock 🙂

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–  Any advice to other fellow doll makers?
CAROL: I’m not sure that I can give  any advice… I think it’s important listen to your heart. Each person has different needs and paths. I always try to be in touch with the child I was. From time to time I need to experiment new things, new patterns, another kind of sewn. Sometimes I want to express myself, other times I just want to play with forms and colors. What I’ve been trying to do while making dolls, is to respect my wishes and feelings…

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Social media:
https://www.facebook.com/anacardia1/
https://www.instagram.com/anacardiaatelier/
anacardia.etsy.com
Email: anacardia@live.com

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Carolina’s cloth doll collection:

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ERIKA BARRATT

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On March 12th we started a monthly feature dedicated to the talented artist Erika Barrat. Her inspiring work is made in a wonderful and dreamy studio in NYC, which looks like a paradise to me! Her dolls are truly amazing and elegant. There is a lot of care in each creation, you can perceive her love for the natural high quality materials she uses in each of them. The result are dolls to be treasured with a beautiful vintage style. I bet you will love to discover more about her and her exquisite work. Thank you so much dear Erika for sharing your magical world with us!

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– What would you like to share about yourself?

ERIKA: Making and working with my hands has always been a big part of my life since childhood. I have always been drawn to textiles and fiber arts in particular, a love affair that has only continued to grow. I was raised in Michigan, went to high school and college in Arizona and I live in New York now. I started my business 4 years ago while living in Brooklyn and recently moved to the Hudson Valley region of New York, 60 miles north of NYC, this past summer with my husband and dog Edith.

I live and work in a former 19th century textile factory with a community of other wonderful creative folks. My environment has always been very important to me and my studio is filled with collected and heirloom objects that hold meaning and inspire me. I like to keep my space pretty tidy, although it definitely has its moments! I used to share a studio and I got into the habit of cleaning it up before I left for the day so it is something I continue to try to do!

I love to bake, cook, play accordion, go exploring with Edie or hunting for treasures either on the beach or flea markets. I have also been dabbling in dollhouse renovations since I have been up here. So much fun!

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– Can you describe your dolls in one sentence?

ERIKA:  My dolls are handcrafted from carefully sourced natural materials, intended to be cherished timeless heirloom treasures.

– When did you start making dolls?

ERIKA:  I officially started about 5 years ago creating the patterns and working on the collection you see now. I first made a boy rabbit and then the lady rabbit with the baby bunny in her bag. I had a little tiny dog that looked like a fox at the time and he always rode around in my bag so he was the inspiration for putting all the little animals in the dolls pockets. I wanted them to live in a world where it was perfectly normal to have a baby woodland creature living in your dress or apron pocket. Getting the doll to the point where she is now took a little longer than the rabbits and once I did I was hooked, it brought together all of my favorite elements of fiber arts and love of all things miniature. My website launched in 2013 and I started doing a few craft shows and Renegade Craft Fair the following year.

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– What motivated you to start your own brand?

ERIKA: After almost a decade of working primarily with two – dimensional embroidery and creating custom display work for retailers, I began my line of dolls and seasonal décor. During a road trip through the Midwest I began thinking more about creating objects that were intended to last and become a part of someone’s history; a special heirloom object as opposed to display work that is temporary. While taking the back roads and stopping at flea markets and estate sales, I was paying special attention and noticing antique toys along the way; tattered and beautiful and obviously well loved with a layer of history on each one. The ability of cloth to collect and preserve emotion became the foundation for my work. Everything just kind of came full circle at that point and the brand was born.

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–  Which part of the process you enjoy the most?

ERIKA: My favorite part is embroidering the faces and choosing the fabrics and yarns for the outfits and accessories. I love to add all of the little details after they are finished. I have never had two come out alike so it is always fun to see the unique personality of each one emerge.

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ERIKABARRAT ORNAMENT
– What makes it challenging for you? / What challenges you?

ERIKA: Pretty much anything related to computers or technology!  J Also, managing my time…always a struggle to focus, especially when I have so many ideas floating around up there that I want to see come to life!

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– Favorite materials/ tools/ fabrics/ suppliers, etc

ERIKA: I love to work with all natural materials. I use wool for the stuffing, alpaca fiber for the hair, linen and cotton fabric for the bodies, cotton, linen and silk for the clothing. Most of the knitwear is made from cashmere, different wools and linens. I think yarn shopping is my favorite. The wood buttons for the joints are made locally. I collect a lot of antique lace, buttons, trims, millinery flowers and linens.

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– What do you consider to set a fair price to your work?

ERIKA: Never the easy part right! Since I like to use high-end materials and like to spend a lot of time on details it is definitely a balance and I know it is an area a lot of makers struggle with. I am grateful for the ever growing appreciation for handmade so many supporters. It’s so wonderful.

– What´s the soundtrack to your doll making process?

ERIKA: It depends on the day! If I am doing a lot of repetition like stuffing I like to have a favorite movie or show on in the background. Other than that, I like podcasts (so many good ones!) and I do listen to audio books occasionally. I love all types of music but lately if you walked in you would hear a lot of old jazz, First Aid Kit, Fleetwood Mac and anything by Yann Tiersen.

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ERIKA BARRAT COLLAGE OK

– Any advice to other fellow doll makers?

ERIKA: If you are just starting out, just keep going even if you feel frustrated! I had a decent sized box of doll rejects until I was happy with the original one I was ready to share with the world. This was before I was on social media and I didn’t have any doll maker friends to ask questions or chat with. Now I am able to connect with an incredible community of so many talented makers from all over the world – it is so wonderful! Don’t be afraid to reach out and just have fun with it, it is definitely a labor of love!

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Website: www.erikabarratt.com
Instagram: @erika_barratt
(@ingle_creek for dollhouse renovation shenanigans J )
Email: erika@erikabarratt.com
(shop updates are announced via mailing list and on Instagram)

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Erika’s cloth doll collection:

erika barratt clothdolls collection

An activist

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An activist made by Confetti dolls for the International Women’s Day celebration, a swap called #BeBoldMakeDolls.

“I made an activist.  She may look average, that’s because she is!  She is you and she is me, she is making a difference little by little.  She is conscious of where her clothing comes from, and how the food she buys impacts the world.  This year I have been especially aware of the impact of palm oil and it’s serious impact on our environment.   Pangolins (this activists little side kick) have become a critically endangered species partially due to their natural habitat being destroyed to plant palm oil palms.  So I’ve been an activist this year by choosing not to buy products with Palm oil. (It’s so hard it’s in almost every snack food!)
I’ve also been aware of the “fast fashion” industry, and trying very hard to not buy new clothes and instead mend what I have and make my own clothes.

Phew! I was trying not to be long winded….but it’s been a journey of discovery of how I can be an activist and make a difference!” Rachel by Confetti Dolls.

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Land Girl

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Doll made by Blossom and Friday for  the International Women’s Day celebration, a swap called #BeBoldMakeDolls.

“Land Girls” as they were known were civilian volunteers during the first and second world wars. The women volunteers filled agricultural roles that were required to continue the production of food whilst the men were away fighting in the war. The women in the WLA did all the jobs that were required to make a farm function normally – threshing, ploughing, tractor driving, reclaiming land, drainage etc. The jobs they undertook were often intensely hard physical labour. Without them, their countries (including The UK, US and Australia) would not have been able to sustain the production of food required for theircivilian populations. They showed spirit and true grit in times of adversity, showing that they were as valuable to society in varying employment roles as men. This change of outlook towards women in the workplace was a giant leap forwards in terms of equality.