Friday, November 11, 2016

Canberra Contemporary Craft Retreat - Laughing and Learning - Dolls

Well it’s been a whirl wind few weeks.  I am exhausted from learning and laughter.  Not to mention travel.

I went to the Contemporary Craft Retreat held in Canberra, ACT in late October and did  workshops with artists Susie McMahan and Janice Laurent. 

Susie is a doll maker from Tasmania.  I only had to travel 3 ½ hours to get to Canberra.   Susie had 3 times the distance to cover.   I am so glad she did.  As well as coming home with 2 completed projects I came home armed with heaps of new skills.

Susie showed us how to make and paint two dolls she has designed:  her Sukeshi Doll and Sorry Doll.  I really wanted to learn how to draw and paint on fabric to create faces.  And I did J .  Not to mention learning some practicalities of soft doll making which I hadn’t done before.     

my Sukeshi Doll

The Sukeshi doll was fun and I learnt how to confidently apply paint to cloth.  The little doll had a simple form so I didn’t get lost – just face and hands outlined then filled in and then other decoration added as desired.  It was fun and Susie is a generous teacher.  It wasn’t until I was on my way home I remembered I had done an online class several years ago with American mixed media artist Suzi Blu on drawing faces.   I had forgotten.   Back to my notes now to combine what I learnt with Susie and Suzi J.

Embroidered but faceless cloth babushka

Some Paint applied
The back - added a kerchief
 Anyway, I got home and painted up a couple of little babushka type dolls which I had embroidered.  I was interested to see what I could apply from Susie McMahon’s lessons.   This is the result.  They need some refinement – and also the ‘canvas’ was not large.  Interestingly, the one I was least happy with and kept overpainting ended up being the one I like the most.  I think the under layers of paint give more depth. 

And that was something Susie talked about and showed us in the Sorry Doll.

My Sorry Doll

The Sorry Doll took 2 days of full on work and concentration.  Susie supplied us with a head and pattern.  The body was sewn and cut out at home.  The fun began at the Retreat.   With the encouragement of new friends Monica and Kay I made hands with separated fingers.  I had opted for a simpler hand but Kay had cut and sewn a spare pair.  Monica and Kay chivied me along when I made mistakes, burst through seams and decided to revert to the original.  Thanks girls – so glad you did!  

On the last day I did a class with Janice Laurent making a relief face in Makins Clay.  I love working with this clay and it has been a while so it was a good fun refresher.   The face is still a work in progress and I hope to finish it before Christmas.  If life events permit (which are also taking lots of time at the mo)  I will finish the face before Christmas and post a photo J.

The weekend following I went to Wagga Wagga to see “Tryp(s)tych” - an embroidery exhibition.  It was put on by a group I belong to and the work the members of the group does is amazing.  I didn’t take any photos and am hoping I can get hold of some to show you.

This last weekend I went to Swan Hill and did a gold work techniques class at the CWA Craft retreat there.   Again I didn’t take any photos. I will write a separate post on this too.      But I did sleep over with these two vintage girls at Carols house :-)

Not quite a self portrait

Not quite a self portrait
small 8' quiltlet with embroidered hair

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