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Creative Cloth Doll Faces

review ©2006 by aisling d'art

Creative Cloth Doll Faces:
Using Paints, Pastels, Fibers, Beading, Collage, and Sculpting Techniques

by Patti Medaris Culea

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This book is among the best books that I've seen for all levels of dollmakers, from beginners through pros.

Patti's book is a real gem, and simplifies the process of creating unique faces for your cloth dolls and figures.

When you're creating a doll, the face often makes the doll come alive. And, when I've taken or taught classes in dollmaking, faces seem to be the biggest hurdles for students.

I won't say that Patti's approach is entirely "by the numbers," but the face designing process has been simplified so that anyone can create a lovely, whimsical, sweet, or saucy doll face. Even better, Patti has included dolls made by a variety of artists and dollmakers, so that you can see many approaches to dolls and their faces. No two dolls will look alike, even if you follow the directions step-by-step... and that's how it should be.

In the first chapter, after listing the basic supplies, Patti gets right to the design process, starting with a simple grid that's basic to any doll's face. Then, she shows how to draw the eye in eight simple steps, as well as an almost-foolproof approach to sketching a nose on a flat-faced doll. After demonstrating ways to create the mouth and add detailing to the face, Patti shows how to follow these same steps with colored pencils on fabric.

Next, Patti shows you how to create a face with watercolors on fabric, and she offers inspiring examples for beginning, intermediate, and advanced dollmakers. Whether this is your first or your 50th doll, you'll appreciate her tips for making doll bodies, adding clothes, creating fabric flowers, and finishing the doll.

In Chapter 3, Patti shows how to sculpt a head with fabric and very simple sewing techniques. And, after showing ways to design a face for this kind of doll, she provides tips for creating hands, stockings & shoes, and ways to dress your doll. Again, she shows examples of soft-sculpted dolls for beginners, intermediates, and advanced dollmakers.

By Chapter 4, you'll be ready to explore more detailed painted faces, including acrylics and oil pastels, and Chapter 5 features innovative collage techniques for dollmakers.

Finally, Patti has included a dozen pages of full-sized pattern pieces so that you can make some of the dolls which are featured in this fabulous, colorful book. And, she has included embroidery instructions, too.

At the back of the book, you'll appreciate the Resources list of places to shop for dollmaking supplies, worldwide.

If you're new to dollmaking or looking for fresh inspiration, this book is a must-read. I'm delighted with it, and eager to try some of Patti's techniques on my own cloth dolls and figures.

Patti has finally made faces easier for all dollmakers, and this book is a fine starting point for fresh doll designs no matter what your skill level.

This is one of the first dollmaking books that I can heartily recommend since Susanna Oroyan's excellent series. Get a copy for yourself, and one to give to someone who is learning to make cloth dolls and figures. This is a book to treasure!

These are some of the artists whose dolls add dazzle and whimsy to the pages: Shawn Asiala, J. Arley Berryhill, Heather Cooper, Sherry Goshon, Li Hertzi, Anne Mayer Hesse, Angela Jarecki, Kris Knutzen, Jacquie Lecuyer, Allison Marano, Michelle Meinhold, Shashi Nayagam, Irene Pichard, Kandy Scott, Sandra Simmons, Judy Skeel, Karen Smith, Lynne Sward, Laly Tapia, Robyn Trefry, Rivkah Tzevva, and Judy Wellnitz.

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