Friday, August 1, 2014

Adventures in Stitching

I have to admit - when it comes to handwork - even if it is supposed to look 'a little rough around the edges' I have trouble letting myself completely go.  I'd like to pay tribute to three doll makers whose work speaks for itself. 

Nola Hart's dolls are wonderful and she very graciously gave a pattern to Cloth, Paper, Scissors so that others could make 'her' doll.  In the process of a description of her work she says that when she stitches the outline of her doll's head she doesn't have a pattern or design, she just stitches a shape.  To me that is such bravery -- and even more brave that once its stitched she uses it as it comes out - without worrying about whether there is a good curve here or too abrupt a turn there.

Robin Ridener of "Baggaraggs" creates the most wonderful figures.  Her technique of making the whole doll, staining it with coffee and then putting it into a 200 degree oven - not really knowing what effect she'll see when she takes it out is amazing to me.

Last, but certainly not least is Catherine Zacchino - "Junker Jane".  Her work speaks for itself -- but for me she is the epitome of 'letting go - letting be".  

As I wrote this tribute to these women I realized what was missing in my own psyche.  Growing up in a time where the seams must be neat, the sewing 'well done' and the end product be 'just so', I have a difficult time crossing those barriers into 'acceptance'. Each of these women do their art with their own controls (thus their style) but I don't believe they worry about 'what it will look like' - more the story that it will tell - the feeling that it will convey.  That's my goal as I work along today.  I know I'll never be as 'wild and beautiful' as these women but I think I'll gain a bit of fun along the way if I learn to accept with joy what comes from my hands and stop worrying about what's going on in my mind.

"Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring." - Marilyn Monroe


  1. Oh, I'm not familiar with Nola Hart's work and will have to look into it. Love the way she has attached that arm! Bagaraggs and Junker Jane are among my favorites, though! Their work looks so simple, but getting that effect is what takes an artist's eye.

    What a great quote you included.

  2. Love the top doll, Nola Hart, will have to find some more.
    I too had trouble letting go of neatness until I met Jude Hill's work and her followers, now much of my work has raw edges and fraying bits, so much more fun than fiddling around neatening stuff, though saying that a lot of Jude's eork is very neat but its a good excuse for mine not to be.
    My weaving still has to be neatly finished. Too much about myself sorry, signing off now.

  3. Neat and tidy, careful curves may be your style. What you need to do is learn not to be rendered anxious in achieving it!
    It's always good to have inspiration from others in achieving that!

    I learned to sew in school. I make clothes. Each seam must be perfect and perfectly finished. I WANT to sew dolls like Barb at Pinelands. I want to sew like project in Somerset Sew Magazine. I confess I don't know HOW. It's a sad story, but true.
    xx, Carol

  5. Penny, you have given me a couple new creative people to check out! I've known of Junker Jane but not the other two, what fun! I love that the first one makes dolls with button eyes, be still my heart! I'm like you, having learned to be very particular with every stitch perfectly placed. But I have come out of that mold a little bit, still trying to break out more. Carol, thank you for the compliment, but it's an ongoing effort to forget the "how" and just go with the "because"!

  6. An inspirational trio - thank you for sharing. I'm on the neatness and detail side too but I'm happy with that. Thank goodness we're all different and happy to evolve, change or stay the same. :o)

  7. I have several issues of Prims magazine as well that feature these artists and many others like them, and I too marvel at their freedom in their creations. Like you, I feel constrained and tentative and find it very difficult to just let go and make something without fiddling with it. But I am so inspired by those who can!!

  8. oh Penny, I think you have a 'wild and beautiful' soul ... !

    Never could sew neatly meself, thus gave it up for the most part till crossing paths with jude hill [like Debbie mentioned] ...BE STILL MY HEART ... frayed, untamed, wild scrap bits, threads hanging about, mismatched textures, torn areas ... why, she put me right at *home*

    You've made lots of little houses - maybe time to find *your* home? xo



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