The beauty of dying roses, wonderful fabric and re-visiting my first dolls!

crow & flowers

You know I have always loved the way some flowers go as they shrivel and die! These are some roses my daughter bought me and I was about to throw them out but decided to keep them a while longer as they still looked pretty in a state of decay. They have dried well now and look good with what was left of the wax flowers and a few snippets of cats tails. The wire crow is one I made at a workshop at the RSPB Leighton Moss with a lady called Ceilia Smith, she’s worth a look, her work is incredible!

This week seems to be passing so quickly and it won’t be long before May is upon us, and with the suggestion of warmer weather I have ordered some fabric from a wonderful shop called Merchant & Mills based in Rye, Sussex. I await in anticipation on its arrival so I can sew my spring/summer wardrobe. They sell the type of fabric I love, cottons, linens and wool, fabric with texture and a feel of naturalness. It’s getting difficult to find good dressmaking fabric these days but there is plenty for craft, patchwork, or furnishing fabric. So finding this gem of a shop has filled me with a joy I can’t describe! My machine is going to be red-hot in a few days!


Alas, I have to wait a few days for the arrival of these scrumptuous fabrics so in the meantime I have been busy finishing a doll I have been working on. Paperclay is relatively new to me and I am still experimenting with it. I have worked with polymer clay before to make dolls but stopped some years ago. I enjoyed making children from photographs, some of them commissions. The whole process was fun from beginning to end and my head would be busing during the whole process. I made everything myself, no moulds involved. The head, arms and legs were sculpted and joined together with a wire armature which was covered with batting, then a cloth skin sewn over it. The faces are painted with watercolour and then I make a mohair wig, which takes a while to decide which colour suits the personality that has emerged from the clay.

rachel & bearmaise

The most exciting part of doll making is developing the personality whilst choosing an outfit and accessorizing. I often make a bear or a doll, some shoes or a bag, what ever seems right for the character. I like to try to keep the scale of everything correct, even knitted or crocheted items and often split wool to make it fine enough. These two are Rachel and Masie. Rachel was one of twins I sculpted as a commission and Maise has a front tooth missing.


Lucy is ready for bed with her rabbit and felted embroidered slippers, I loved her pyjamas! Charlotte is solemn in her pretty dress holding her bear. I later made her some felted shoes as requested by the lady who bought her. It seems a long time since I made these dolls and my new dolls are very different. I may go back to more realistic dolls sometime, but for now I am enjoying experimenting with paperclay which brings out different ideas in me. I’ve been reminiscing so much I think I will leave my recent doll for my next post as it’s much later than I thought, but she’s very different from these ‘wee’ children!

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