Monday, February 20, 2012

Twelve Yards of Muslin: Projects: Projects 2, 3, 4, and 5

Here are the next finished projects out of my twelve yards of muslin. I was watching this wonderful program on TV, one of the stories they were featuring was about a doll artist. Of course, that caught my attention.

She had been laid off from here job for several months and started out making jewelry that her husband took to work to sell for a little extra income. I'm not sure how she made the transition from jewelry to doll making but she said that when she made her first two dolls they sold immediately.

I was so intrigued by her dolls' simplicity yet they were so detailed in portraying African cultural dress. She used small imported masks called African passport masks for the dolls faces. I wanted to make my own version of these dolls. I knew that I would have to be pretty resourceful in re-creating the dolls faces since I don't have access to the passport masks that she used.

I gathered the materials and the tools I needed. I had almost everything I needed already in my craft and art stash. I started out with a few rough sketches of what I wanted to create. My next step was to make an armature frame to build the doll on.

I always smile at myself when I pull out the power tools and hardware to make an art or soft art project. This project required my drill, wire cutters, 14 gage wire, pliers and wood glue.

I also got a chance to use up a lot of my leftover quilt batting scraps. I never throw anything away.

Here's where the muslin comes in. I used lots of 1" by 36" strips.

I wrapped the armature with the batting first and then the muslin strips. I got this little mummy like doll body ready to be costumed.

I love the way the wire frame makes the arms able to be posed in a variety of gestures.

My favorite part of any doll making project is the costuming. I guess it's because it takes me back to my theater roots. For this project I used burlap, (very itchy to work with) cowrie shells, African textiles, feathers, found objects and broken jewelry. I used enamel paint on fabric to paint the faces to substitute for the masks. This was a great project for my creative spirit because I could let my imagination run free. I came up with so many design ideas and these are the four I decided to make. They are the leaders of an African village.

"The Chief"

"The Elder"

"The Griot" (storyteller )

"The Merchant"

They are available for adoption at the Brickhouse Gallery in Sacramento. Can't wait to make more!


  1. They came out wonderful! Thanks for sharing this post. I think I am going to have to make these:)

  2. These are totally fabulous dolls. I think you've found a new way of expressing yourself artistically:)