Creative Cloth Doll Faces by Patti Medaris Culea
Great Directions! I am not a direction reader… My bookshelves are full of wonderful how-to books that are dripping with rich and juicy directions upon which my eyeballs have never rested! BUT those same eyeballs have experienced pure joy while pursing the pictures… and figuring out for myself how to do the projects.
Now, I have to put a giant disclaimer in here as I was looking at those pictures before most people. I am IN THE BOOK.
Even so, was I following the directions? Of Course not! But when I finally got the book, I tried several of the techniques first without the directions and then with them. WOW! Her directions are clear, concise and lead you step-by-step down a path at the end of which sits a delightful doll, guaranteed.
Beautiful, Inspiring Photography! The book is FULL of beautiful photography of dolls by many well-known and skilled artists for your inspiration. Arley Barryhill, Sherry Goshon, Anne Mayer Hesse, and Angela Jarecki are among the inspiriting artists with dolls in the galleries
Helpful “Author’s Suggestions”! Little boxes are scattered throughout the book full of tricks and hints. (These alone are worth getting the book. You can reference them when sewing almost anything!) Techniques ranging from creating intricate beaded stars to using oil pastels for face painting and everything in between! Bravo!
Three Patterns! All three of the dolls beginner, intermediate, and advanced are appropriate for their rank This is not always so in doll books and I appreciate the diversity. The easiest doll is a basic pancake doll while the advanced is much more complex and even includes a nice pair of shoes.
Artistic and Easy! Patti was a portrait artist in an earlier incarnation and it shows in her skilled rendering of the faces and her understanding of the nuances of personality. Each doll comes with detailed directions on making that exact face and the gallery dolls show that you can take off from there and go somewhere else.
This book will be a great addition to any doll artists library.
Learn more about this book and read others’ reviews at
“Fixed on the Scent of Light”
This is one of the dolls I made for Patti’s book and to my delight it won a blue ribbon at Dimensions in Dollmaking! She is based on a poem by the mystical Persian poet, Hafiz.
THE SCENT OF LIGHT
Like a great starving beast
My body is quivering
On the scent
She was created in cloth and then I painted, stamped, and embossed a sheet of J.Jill tissue that had a nice shiny surface and collaged it onto the doll. That created the basic background. Then I printed the poem in several different fonts and sizes, painted and stamped the page, cut out bits and pieces and collaged them on to the doll.
Art Doll Adventures: Exploring Projects and Processes through Cultural Traditions by Lisa Li Hertzi
First, a disclaimer: I know Li (she’s one of our expert reviewers) and she’s a very good friend. That said, I’d rave about her book even if I didn’t know her.
See, I’ve been making art dolls since childhood, and selling them since the early 1970s, so I’m always interested in books about creating dolls of all kinds. I’m also bored out of my mind by vapid, cookie-cutter dolls.
Since I’m venting… the other problem that I have with many dollmaking books is that they’re either too much by-the-numbers, or they’re so advanced, even experts gasp in awe when they see some of the projects.
So, I opened the package with Li’s book and held my breath as I opened the cover. I mean, I hate to write a negative review about a friend’s book, but I also need to be honest.
Whew! (That exclamation should be in neon lights.)
I love this book. Really, it’s one of the few dollmaking books that I can recommend to absolutely anyone with any level of experience, even a total beginner.
Well… okay… If you’re looking for dolls with sweet, realistic faces made from skin-toned fabric, with the correct number of fingers and toes, this probably isn’t the book for you.
For anyone else: Get this book. I mean it. Skip the rest of this review and order it right now. (That’s an Amazon.com link, btw.)
Need more info?
Okay, here it is: Li features all kinds of wild & wonderful cloth dolls, including lots of designs inspired by tribal and primitive art and archaeology. The colors (and sometimes beading) are vivid and juicy.
Li has provided lots of detailed instructions, not just about the dolls, but about the techniques of making them. She doesn’t just say, “Rub ivory black into the crevices,” she has a photo showing exactly how to do it.
This book isn’t just about dolls, either. There are many very cool, fabric art projects.
One of them is a fabric color wheel… unlike any color wheel you’ve ever seen. Then, there’s the Agreements Book Screen, which is a paneled fabric book that’s also a backdrop for displaying your handmade dolls & figures. And, an Etched Petroglyph ATC made from fabric and acrylic artist’s supplies, as well as instructions for a simple, layered-fabric ATC.
If you’re interested in making contemporary cloth dolls and figures, this book belongs in your collection.
If you’re a total beginner and you can buy only one book, this is an ideal choice. It includes full-size pattern pieces, and detailed, illustrated step-by-step directions.
Or, if you’re a professional dollmaker and you’re looking for inspiration, this is one of those books that you’ll consult again and again. Even the step-by-step instructions feature illustrations and tips that make me say, “Ooh, what a great idea!”
I especially like that the basic designs are really simple.
You won’t get bogged down with teensy little sewing details. You won’t spend 20 minutes trying to figure how to attach pieces A and B to piece C.
And, you’ll have plenty of energy left for creative embellishments that will make the figure uniquely yours.
I don’t usually write such long reviews, or rave this much about a book unless it’s truly one of the best in the field. Art Doll Adventures gets my 100% enthusiastic recommendation as a must-own book for dollmakers at all levels.
- Fun, innovative, highly original cloth doll projects.
- Great for beginners and advanced fiber artists alike.
- Nothing insipid! Dolls, ATCs, fabric books & more.
Doll artists with figures in this book include: Inez Brasch, Patti Medaris Culea, Sue Farmer, Cody Goodwin, Linda Hansen, Jan Hayman, Judith Harmon Hertzi, Barb & Doug Keeling, Kathy Kenny, Elizabeth McGrath, Leslie Molen, John Murphy, Rosie Rojas, Rivkah Rosenfeld, and Isabella Zambezi.