Friday, June 22, 2012


I am almost finished with mermaid #1 and am very pleased with the way she turned out. This has challenged me to "think out of the box" and leave my "comfort zone" to create something new and different from me. It has also made me read and consider the legends and folktales about mermaids from Greek mythology's water sprites to the stories about mermaid sitings in all of our oceans, seas, rivers and other bodies of water. I 've looked at dozens of paintings, drawings, animation, costumes, and photographs for inspiration and even considered the advice of a three-year-old 'consultant' who told me "she's 'upposed to have red hair and a fishy tail".

I am posting just a sneak peak at mermaid #1. I will do a full reveal and post the short story I wrote that inspired her after I submit my entry.

This is her "fishy tail" as my consultant called it. I'm still working on the beading and I want to give her real hands with 'fingers'. I have not yet mastered the art of hands with fingers. I have several failed attempts and my son looked at the last set of hands I did and said that my mermaid looked like she had arthritis. Oh well! Back to the drawing board.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


I decided to take some time out and get outside for a while this weekend. My first doll entry for the Mermaid show is almost done. Working on this project has reminded me that the creative process is also a series of decisions to be made. The finished project is made up of lots of little solutions for lots of little problems. There is point in doll making for me that after I've worked on a doll for awhile she begins to speak to me. It is then that the process gets easier and she begins to become her on person. 

I went to Folsom California which is about a 15 minute drive from where I work in Rancho Cordova. Folsom was kind of a sleepy little town at one time but it is having a real growth spurt. One of the new major shopping malls that is under development is the Palladio. It is a beautiful center designed to resemble an Italian villa. It has a 16 screen theater and room for over 100 shops. They are only about 15% full right now. I hope that in this economy they will be able to attract the businesses they need to be successful

One of the things that I love about the whole Sacramento area is that it is such a large art based community. There are galleries large and small everywhere. Outdoor art is also everywhere too. There is even a Safeway Grocery store here with a large piece of sculpted art by a local artist at the entry to the parking lot.

The Palladio has wonderful outdoor art too. It was so hot (over 100 degrees) all I wanted to do was get out of the heat but I took a minute to take pictures of these wonderful horses. They are the "Horses de Palladio" by artist  J. Randall Smith. I love the textures, the colors and the shapes that he used to create them. His medium is bronze, resin and clay and the way that he uses pattern is very much like a textile artist. I am  inspired to create a quilt using the same variations in shade and texture.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


My mermaid project is coming along OK. No real pictures to show yet. This is a project that I want to really do well with in hopes of being selected. I am experimenting with fabric paints in different color combinations and trying to come up with a fish tail design that I really like.
Whenever I design any of my dolls I like to make up a story about her that tells me who she is, what her history is and all of the little details that give her a personality. After reading some folktales about mermaids (some of them were a little strange), I went to sleep on it and came up with two stories of my own. Both mermaids will be very different. One will have a heroic legend and the other will be a fantasy figure with all of the glitz and glamour of a fairy tale. Both will represent very strong women.

 The challenge right now is trying to keep up with all of the projects I have started. I hate it when I do that to myself. Recently, someone asked if I could create a kid friendly doll because my dolls are not for children. I decided to use a commercial pattern that is very basic with only a few details. Terese Cato, author of Make Cloth Dolls had a great guideline in her book about making dolls for children. They of course, have to be safe with no wiring that could poke little fingers and no small pieces that could be swallowed. Because the doll will most likely be "loved to death" don't spend a lot of time on sculpted details or fancy costumes. I remember a doll I made for my niece Cindy about 38 years ago. The body, the head, arms and legs were all one piece and she had yarn pig tails. Cindy was about two or three at the time and I wanted her to learn how to button buttons and zip zippers, so the doll had two outfits that she could change. Every time I would visit my niece, the doll never had clothes on, her pig tails were fuzzy and undone and she had a variety of stains on her from peanut butter to ketchup. The wonderful thing about the doll was that she was always in the middle of  what ever was going on in Cindy's life, so I knew she was loved and that she was my little niece's friend. I'm trying to recreate a doll with that same appeal. The pattern I'm using just isn't doing it for me. I cut out two dolls and stuffed and assembled them but they just aren't me. I am committed to finishing them though. Maybe I'll like them better when they're done and maybe a little girl will be happy with one of them.

I'm also in the middle of a group of dolls that are like my "Grandma Kizzie" doll. I love this group of dolls because I'm using colorful batiks and beads and they all have a mystical, fantasy quality about them. I have a weekend off for the first time in a long time and the weather forecast is for HOT weather in the 100's. I don't do well in the heat so it's a good excuse to stay in and finish some of my dolls. I hope I'll have some photo updates for my next post. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Flower Collage By Barbara Range

Check out the new web page on The Brickhouse Gallery's website for Barbara Range's new shop The Flower Collage.                                                                                                                                                                                 The Brickhouse is a growing art gallery and artists studio space in the historical Oak Park neighborhood of Sacramento. The Flower Collage, is owned and operated by the gallery curator Barbara Range. The shop features art by local Sacramento artisans, jewelry, gifts, scented oils and soaps, greeting cards, floral arrangements and so-o-o-o much more.                        
The Flower Collage is located in Studio 4, one of 9 active and growing shops and studios in the Brickhouse Gallery.
 A link to their site is at the top of this blog page and if you are in the Sacramento area you can visit the Brickhouse Gallery Oak Park and the Flower Collage at 2837 36th Street, Sacramento California.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


I am excited about my latest challenge. I received an email from a fellow textile artist about a juried show taking place in Charleston, South Carolina. The theme is Black Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore. I have to admit that my only knowledge or experience with mermaids up until now has been what I hear from my granddaughters and from the Disney movie "The Little Mermaid". I read Hans Christians Anderson when I was a child and saw the ballet "Ondine" a long time ago but I never considered it for an art expression. The call is for quilts or quilted wallhangings and cloth dolls that portray the image of Black mermaids. There are legends and folktales about African and Caribbean mermaids during the era of slave trading. They were said to have rescued slaves who were thrown from the slave ships into the sea. I really would like to submit an entry for this art show. The exhibit will be at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park in South Carolina. So, I'm currently in research mode. I am reading and looking at as many images of mermaids that I can find. I will keep you posted on my progress. I am looking forward to this great summer journey.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Jan Hollins Interiors

I want to thank Jan Hollins of Jan Hollins Interiors at Studio 5. She will be a "foster mom" to three of my "Gloria's Girls" dolls, Mariah, Martha Sue and Cindy
 until they are adopted. Jan has a beautiful studio and store in the Brick House Gallery Oak Park in Sacramento.

Jan's store is full of her beautiful  art quilts and home accessories and her husband's fabulous paintings and murals. Her services offer custom designed window treatments, bedding and slipcovers. She also offers classes in
                                   quilting and textile arts.