Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Social Lives of Dolls

Sometimes my dolls seem to have social life all of their own. I have two new dolls that will be out and about this coming June.

Princess Amaya, The Wise Princess, will be at The California Department of Education Black History Month Planning Committee Juneteenth Celebration and Art Sale Fundraiser. The event will be Tuesday, June 3rd from 5:00pm to 7:00pm in the California Department of Education Building  Lobby on N Street in Sacramento. The event will include food and entertainment and bidding on art from  some of Sacramento's best artists. Princess Amaya will also be available to bid on. If you would like to adopt Princess Amaya come down and visit this fun event.

Princess Amaya is a positive image doll and was  inspired by little girls who wanted a "princess who looks like me". If you are interested in having a princess doll made for a little girl in your life let me know.

Because Princess Amaya is a wise princess, she has some words of wisdom to share with you:

1. Never take apples from a stranger.           
2. Real friends won't lock you in a tower.
3. Slay your own dragons.
4. Never walk through a dark forest alone.
5. Stop waiting for Prince  Charming,
be your own hero, rescue yourself.

My other doll is Grandma Selene, The Bayou Queen. She is a very mysterious lady. She will be part of my "Grandmas are Beautiful" collection but more about that later.  Her inspiration comes from some of the Southern Folk Tales that come from a lot of my ancestors. Some of these folk tales go all the way back to Africa. The stories came across the Atlantic with the slaves and grew and changed as they were passed on by word of mouth from family to family and from generation to generation.

 Grandma Selene will be part of the "Focus on Fiber" 3rd Annual Fiber Arts Open Show at the Sacramento Fine Arts Center, 5330-B Gibbons Drive in Carmichael, June 3rd through June 21st. For more information visit their website at

Grandma Selene's costume is made of plain white cotton muslin that I used a couple of dye techniques on to get her one of a kind look. The skirt is made of strips of shredded muslin that I stitched together and put through my washing machine and dryer to distress the fabric. I used three  shades of tie dye to color the skirt. It almost looks like the feathers of a tropical bird.

Grandma Selene also has some wise words to live by, of course, because grandmas always do:

1. Gray hair is beautiful.
2. Respect is earned not entitled.
3.Wisdom comes with time and experience.
4. Love comes from the heart, not from the back of the throat.
5. Don't let negative people live in your head, raise the rent and kick them out.
6. Never let success go to your head or failure go to your heart.

I will be teaching the "Flying Dancers" art doll class this fall at The Elk Grove Fine Art Center on Saturday September 20th from 11am to 4pm. This will be great because we'll have 5 hours to work on and complete the doll. I am hoping to be able to accommodate 6 to 8 students. I will have more information later this month. Other classes and locations will also be announced later this month.

Sacramento is having it's first Black Book Fair, "On The Wings of  Words", June 6th, 7th, and  8th in the historic Oak Park District.  Co-chairmen, Faye Kennedy, would like see this become a yearly event. Black authors from all over the United States will be flying in for this three day event to hold workshops and sign their books. There will also be tons of activities for children. For more information go to .

They are also still in need of volunteers to help make this fantastic event happen. If you are able to volunteer at least two hours of your time on any or all of the three days, you can download an application from the same website under the volunteers tab.

Here's and update about the 2014 California State Fair. The judging results were published Friday and some other fiber artist that we know also placed.

Alice Calhoun,   "Floral Abundance", Honorable Mention, Category: Large Quilts

Connie Horne, The Meissner Sewing and Learning Center Award, 1st Place

Connie Horne, 1st Place, Category: Wearable Art

Jan Hollins, "Days Gone By", 3rd Place, Category: Applique Quilts

Gloria Grandy, "Verlene", Honorable Mention, Category: Dolls and Toys

Gloria Grandy. "Michael", Third Place, Category: Dolls and Toys

Happy June, see you later.






Friday, May 23, 2014


I wanted to share with everyone some good news for three local Sacramento artists. First, our amazing sculpture artist and more Kanika Marshall was one of 26 artists who entered the Solar Panel art exhibit sponsored by SMUD. A few months ago, artists were offered the chance to pick up free discarded solar panels from SMUD. The artists could use the panels as the material and the basis of an art project of their choice and enter their works in an exhibit  at the SMUD customer service building. Kanika won a first place prize of $300 for her entry "Energy Meridians".

The exhibit runs until July 31st at the SMUD Customer Service Center, 6301 S Street. Sacramento CA. If you have a chance, stop by and view Kanika's work and the other participating artists. Also, wish her a belated happy birthday. The win and her birthday were on the same day.

The next celebration is for quilt and textile artist Jan Hollins who entered her beautiful quilt "Miss Ida" in the California State Fair. The judging was this past Wednesday and notifications went out today and she was accepted. A lot of you can remember "Miss Ida" as part of the Sisters Quilting Collective Quilt Show in February.

The third celebration is for me! I am so happy and pleased to announce that my two dolls "Michael and Verlene" were also accepted in the California State Fair. This was one of ten things on my list of goals that I wanted to accomplish this year. I can mark one item off. The State Fair runs from July 11th through the 27th and the award ceremony for fiber artists and crafters is Saturday, July 12th. If you are attending the fair this year I hope you take the time to visit "Miss Ida" and "Michael and Verlene".

I'm so proud to be able to represent. Don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't accomplish a dream large or small. The only obstacles in our way are the ones we give permission to be there. I always think of my mother's words "It's 100% NO
if we never try and 50% YES when we do. What have you got to lose?" Believe in yourself.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Busy Month

It's been a busy month. I can't believe that a lot of the big tasks I had that seemed next to impossible are actually behind me. At the beginning of the year I made a list of 10 things I wanted to accomplish this year. I don't like New Year's resolutions but I wanted to set some goals both large and small that would take me out of my comfort zone so that I could learn and try new things. It's so easy to stay in the same place and do the same thing because you don't have to think much but change inspires growth.

One of the things on my list was to enter something in the California State Fair. This past Friday I took two of my favorite dolls, Verlene and Michael and entered them. It really isn't about winning a prize but just having something that I made at a venue that will be viewed by so many fair visitors from all over the country. I didn't really think about it that way until after I got home. Now I'm really excited and hoping that they get selected by the State Fair judges. I'll keep you posted when I get the results. I'll share the other nine things on my list as they develop.

The kid's doll class at the Moral Values Program home school was a lot of fun. Their teacher Patricia Guerra has done an amazing job with her kids. They are smart, courteous, patient and well spoken. We had 12 students make dolls for their moms for Mothers Day. I was grateful to Lillian LeBlanc, Debbra Murphy and Jan Hollins for bringing their hands, hearts, heads and spirits to help us out. We got a lot done in  the class but there is never enough time in doll making so I did to take them home to finish so that they would be perfect for all of the moms. A little lace and satin ribbon made them just right but the basics and the choices were all made by the kids. All of my doll classes for kids and adults both in the future are going to be a little longer. Making a doll is something that should be enjoyed and not rushed.

I was very honored to be invited by Sisters Quilting Collective and Professor Darryl Freeman to bring some of my dolls to be part of a textile arts exhibit at The Cooper Woodson Center CSUS Black Graduation. I am happy to say that I have been working hard and have replaced all of my lost dolls over the last few months. I did a collection of dolls for this exhibit. I did some of my "Tribal Energy Mask Dolls" and some of my African Village dolls.

The 28th annual African American Graduation Ceremony was amazing. If you felt grumpy or in a bad mood before it started you left in high spirits with this wonderful sense of hope.  There were over 400 African American graduates on the list for the Class of  2013-2014. They didn't just march in they came dancing in. Their energy and spirit was contagious. You just knew you were witnessing something wonderful.

The best part of the evening was that I got to work with three awesome ladies. Faye Kennedy-Wilson, Kanika Marshall and Fredi Slaughter-Walker. We had a blast.