After a summer of many visitors (with all the extra cooking and washing that seems to entail), a bout of ill health, including a hospital stay, an interstate class and the annual string music camp, things are finally starting to settle into a more normal routine.......whew!
Here is a special order Zozie doll I finally got completed and sent off:
And here are the unfinished projects I'll be working on over the next little while (in between visits to the GP and cardiologist and the odd test or three!)
Most people who know me or read this blog know me as a dollmaker, an artist or a sculptor......even a bit of a gardener. What most people don't know about me is that I live with an auto-immune disorder called Crohn's Disease, having been diagnosed in my late forties. Quite a lot has been discovered about Crohn's in the past ten or so years, but what causes it or how to cure it are things that are still not known. The genetic marker for Crohn's was found a few years ago (hla B27+) - the same genetic marker that in other people causes rheumatoid arthritis, I believe. In people with Crohn's the disease is manifested in various different ways, probably the most severe and debilitating is the ulceration that can occur in any section of the digestive tract, leading to some very nasty complications. It is this kind of severe ulceration that leads many sufferers, myself included, to require major surgey to remove sections if the intestinal tract. But it can also affect the liver, skin, eyes, joints and other bits I don't know about.
I count myself as quite fortunate - incurable condition notwithstanding - because after surgery in 2003 I have been relatively symptom-free, bar the occasional "flare-up" and I can mostly live a fairly normal life. In fact, most people who meet me casually have no idea that I live with Crohn's (even if they do know what it is).
I decided, after some thought, that I should post about Crohn's, because it is important that people understand about such things, I think. So I hope you don't mind me using my blog to raise awareness of a very debilitating condition that many people live with. If you are interested in finding out more, a quick google search will yield scads of information. Thanks for bearing with me!
The class at Bear Essence at Tooradin went really well - those gals did a great job on their dolls! (And I have a feeling that some of them may be "turning" - from bear-makers into doll-makers!) I forgot to take my camera so you'll have to look at the Bear Essence blog to see pictures when they are uploaded. I finished the "demo doll" when I got home yesterday, because I really wanted to see how this little knitted and crocheted outfit would look..........yay! I LIKE how it looks! This wild little red-head is called "Bettina". And no, I can't claim the bear as my work - my older sister, Jan, made it for my birthday a year ago.
A bevy? A brace? A clutch? These are some of the blank heads I have made for my class in Tooradin (near Melbourne) next week. I like the look of the very similar pristine heads all together - they look a bit like eggs, so I guess this is a clutch! They were made using my "Young Child" face mould. I made up foil armatures which I covered with celluclay. The faces were adhered onto the front and then a layer of paperclay was smoothed on...........and ears added. Bit of sanding.....and voila! Most of the gals in the class, I think, are bear-makers, so this might take them a little out of their comfort zone, (but not too far, I hope!) The body construction for this doll is actually quite teddybear-like, only not furry!
With a bit of doll-making magic they will be transformed into something like these:
After very little thought we (Jane and I) decided on the burnt orange cotton trimmed with the grey and burnt orange plaid and grey featherstitch embroidery. And some leather boots. She's happy. I'm happy. But we will both be happier when she gets some underthings! And if Jane is a very, very good girl, she might get a jacket or cape.
I have just finished the "historically referenced" doll that was the subject of my new face-painting PDF (available here) but now she is confronted with the eternal female dilemma - what to wear? I have pulled out some suitable fabrics from my stash (did you know that doll-makers have ENORMOUS fabric stashes?) that might suit her and also have the relevant "old" feel. Actually, I would love at some time, to make a doll with a trunk and fill the trunk with a complete wardrobe and accessories. It won't be this doll, though - I don't have enough time to be so indulgent! No doubt she will let me know at some stage how she would like to be dressed...........meanwhile, here she is in the altogether, and nestled with some of the chosen fabrics.
I'm also busy preparing for a class in Victoria next week at Bear Essence in Tooradin, which means I have to pre-make a number of doll heads ready for the students to work on in the class.
We are really reaping the benefit of all the effort put into improving our vegetable garden - produce coming out of our ears! It is a great feeling to be able to almost by-pass the fresh produce section of the supermarket and to be able to go out into the garden and pick fresh what will be needed for the evening meal. Beautiful, pungent, glossy-fresh blackcurrants, destined to become blackcurrant jelly:
And aromatic, tangy, zesty tomatoes, so unlike the tasteless object known as a "tomato" that is available in stores. Store tomatoes only LOOK like tomatoes - in no way is the flavour the same as these home-grown beauties! These will be made into tomato relish. I have so many this summer that I should be able to bottle some and make sauce as well.
We spent New Year's Eve floating down the Mersey River in inflatable canoes, shooting a few gentle rapids and drifting through deep pools. It was a pretty wet ride, so unfortunately I couldn't take my not-waterproof camera, so no pictures of the actual boat trip. The trip lasted a couple of hours from launch point to the cabin where we had our New Year celebration barbecue with friends. Home-made bread, barbecued salmon, baked spuds and corn and salads followed by the traditional pavlova made by yours truly. (It's only taken me about thirty years to learn how to bake a successful pavlova!) It was a perfectly magical day.
Lyn tends the barbecue
Idyllic bush setting - friends meet.
Home-made pavlova with fresh cream and raspberries from the garden. Heaven!
Meanwhile, I haven't been neglecting my work in between the fun stuff. I have listed two new PDFs in my Etsy store for sale. One is a painting tutorial for dollmakers and the other shows you how to create dolls using a mixture of sawdust and glue.