Ciela, Girl of the Autumn Sky 23″ Handmade Doll by Inviting Play

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We’ve come round to fall again.  The weather is turning.  The skies this time of year are mesmerizing and inspiring.  I often feel a surge of hope and happiness and inspiration and wonder just by opening the door and gazing upward.  So, under the blue blue skies of September, Ciela was born.  20160930_083730Oh she took her sweet time.

She was supposed to be complete by last Dollectable Day but then time marches on and now she lives under October Skies.

20161013_144409Ciela has the Inviting Play armature system; Buried deep inside her woolly tissue is a muscular skeletal system that allows her legs and arms and neck to bend slightly and hold gentle poses.  Although floppy at the shoulders and hips, she is very firm and feels just like a wool doll without armature.

20161014_120046Ciela has long black hair made from commercially wefted yak fiber.  She wears it down, or in braids, or in messy buns.  It grows really fast.  I can’t tell you how many times Ive had to trim her bangs!

20161013_144108I took her to a place you can look down at the Mississippi river and see the leaves turning on the bluffs.  I said, “look you can see the leaves all different colors and the cold waters of the Mississippi”.  And she said, “look at the sky”

20161013_143940I will tell you a story now.  Ciela isn’t the first sky inspired doll I’ve made.  She has a brother made several years ago now… many years ago…Cielo.  He was a boy of the autumn skies.  I’m telling you:  “there is something about how the sky looks this time of year.”  But anyway I will show you wee Cielo.  He is living example of how my dolls used to look many years ago.   Can you tell Ciela and Cielo were both made by me?

Cielo, aptly named, is a watcher of the skies. You'll often find him cloud or star gazing.
Cielo, aptly named, is a watcher of the skies. You’ll often find him cloud or star gazing.
Cielo, watcher of the skies, is an 8 inch Inviting Play Forest child. He is a traditional waldorf boy
Cielo, watcher of the skies, is an 8 inch Inviting Play child.

Back to Ciela.  She is the largest doll I make.  Very tall, quite big. “The bigger the better”, she says.

20161013_144628Ciela wears a light blue long sleeved t-shirt,  and green linen pants.  She wears striped socks, cotton undies and wooley slippers.  Her dress is another linen.  I bought this particular piece of linen to make a top for myself – but I half knew I never would.  If I did, I would have made a top like Ciela’s, something comfortable and baggy, with some asymmetrical things and wooden buttons.  Ciela also has a cozy soft woolen hand knit cap.

20161013_144313 I usually make something else for my dolls before I ship them.  I’m not sure what it will be for Ciela.  Earlier she wanted blue jeans and a warmer layer (brrrrrr its getting cold!).20161014_115526

 

Ciela is not a children’s toy.  She was designed to be played with by adults.

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Thank you for supporting handmade dolls, doll artists, and Inviting Play.  It is only with your support, that I am able to bring these wool souls into the world.  Thank you.
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Purchase Ciela Here !  A Buy Now paypal button will be added in this box at approximately 7pm Saturday Oct. 15, 2016

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23″ Ciela, Girl of the Autumn Sky by Inviting Play. Ciela’s price is $850 plus shipping. Please select a shipping option (USA (adds $40) or international (adds$75)). Shipping overages exceeding $1 will be refunded.

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Jasper age 11 in wool and cotton with cardboard weapon 23″ handmade doll

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After some colleagues and I completed our Minime Colaboration (May 2015), we discussed future collaborations and this idea of an all boy doll exhibit arose out of our discussions.  Boys.  we all know them, we birthed some of them either in the flesh or in our imaginations.  We love them as friends and brothers, dads, sons and lovers.
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Yet as dolls, boys are more rare.  So often we have pressure to make the next pretty face, the next beautiful girl.  But what is a cherished boy if not beautiful?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lt3IOdDE5iA
And so, this exhibit is in honor of the boys we love in our dreams, imaginations, and in our homes.  My first son who is eleven, is Jasper and he was my muse for this doll.
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This is a recent picture of him taken after a long day of playing outside.
 And, in fact, my son was also a co-collaborator on this project as well.  He served as the doll’s mind and thoughts and wrote his penpal a letter on parchment paper that he made himself.
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He designed his sword and armor and he made them with cardboard, wood, tape, a bit of leather, and school glue and water.  There is an original dragon sketch on the chest plate that my son thought would bring dignity and courage to the look.
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 In addition, and importantly, I often ask my son for advice on colors and style.  He has always been a maker from the time he was a baby and usually has a really definitive idea of what he likes and doesn’t like.  He chose the old tarp fabric I used to make the doll’s cargo shorts from several choices I was toying with.
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Jasper the doll has the Inviting Play armature system; buried deep inside his woolly muscles is an armature that allows his legs and arms and neck to bend and hold gentle poses.  He is firm and feels just like a wool doll without armature.  He’s also perhaps the biggest and oldest (has the longest most mature proportions) doll that I have ever made.
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 His hair is made from alpaca fiber and has been dyed in a variety of natural shades of strawberry blonde.  It is a boyish mess of curls and strands and defies the comb and brush.  Jasper likes to sweep aside the too long strands from his eyes with his hand.jasper close up
Jasper the doll is a anatomically correct made to represent a prepubescent boy.
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Jasper will come with cotton boxer briefs, socks sewn from real socks that my son’s Oma knitted for him, wool and leather hiking shoes that fasten with a bit of elastic over wooden buttons, weathered cargo shorts with an overlarge collecting pocket and a loop for hanging swords, knives, or wands; a soft cotton blue t-shirt, a hand-knit hat made from soft alpaca yarn, and a couple other goodies and layers.
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Jasper the doll will be for sale in the Slugs and snails Hyena Cart store on May 26, 2016 at 8:05pm Eastern time:  http://hyenacart.com/penpals2016/st/8306/93867/Jasper-age-11-in-wool-and-cotton-with-cardboard-weapon-
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Chavi – a little burst of life

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Chavi is a hebrew word for life.  and at a time when I was allowing myself to wallow in the appreciation for the life of a Prince; a genius who created the music that was the backdrop to my coming of age years… she popped up and came to life.

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Also, I love names that end in ‘i’.

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When I began on Chavi, it was rainy.  And dismal.  and cold.  and so she has long layers and a snuggly wool top.  But on the morning of her sale…

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It was a sun burn your knees kind of day.

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Wearing purple of course!

Chavi sold at Dollectable on May day, 2016 and now I’m getting her ready to fly away home.  She has a sunny disposition and today she is full of antics

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Nice pocket!  what do I use it for?

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never mind.

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Is this my nice soft box?

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I’m cartwheeling in now!

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IP Flips are Here! Gwendolynn, Rosie, and Macy

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Welcome to the first ever post where you can actually purchase a doll right here – on my website!  At the bottom of the post you’ll see 3 Inviting Play dolls available for purchase by clicking their Buy Now Buttons.  To jump straight to buy one of these dolls, click on their names:

GWENDOLYNN,
ROSIE,
MACY


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I designed this flexible weighted small doll in late December and made the first one for a Dollectable giveaway upload on January 1st (missed it??  tune in next year for the biggest handmade doll giveaway on the planet).

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I decided to make a few more with a very special purpose in mind; to finally sell my work on my own platform – my website.  Until now I’ve had to rely on third party platforms like Etsy or IndieCart to sell my work.  Now I am attempting to sell my work directly from the Inviting Play website via Paypal.  So here they are.  The IP Flips!
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IP Flips are small 12″ dolls with weighted bodies and poseable limbs and necks.

20160221_110211The limbs are both sewn and string jointed for strength and flexibility and all and all these dolls have a lot of movement and pep – hence the name, IP Flips.

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These particular flips have plump bodies and lovely natural mohair locks for hair.  They have a soft cotton onesie sort of t-shirt sewn on their torsos that acts as their underwear and cannot be removed.  They wear IP flippy striped cotton long socks and they each have a dress and handknitted gnome hat.

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The first IP Flip is Gwendolynn. She has tan skin, brown eyes, and dark brown almost black curls. She has a dress from a gorgeous Japanese print in double gauze cotton.  I call it a Monet dress.  And she has striped cotton socks and a handknit wool hat.

Her price is $350 plus shipping (international is $50 and domestic shipping is $20). I refund shipping overages exceeding $1.


GWENDOLYNN

Purchase Gwendolynn Here

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12″ IP Flip Gwendolynn Natural Fiber Art Doll $350 plus exact shipping.

SOLD OUT

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The second IP Flip is Rosie.  She has natural blonde locks for hair given to her by a gorgeous angora mohair goat and blue eyes.  She has a navy blue linen dress, cotton striped socks and a hand knit hat.

Her price is $350 plus $20 shipping.  I charge exact shipping and I refund overages exceeding $1

ROSIE

Purchase Rosie Here

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12″ IP Flip Rosie Natural Fiber Art Doll $350 plus exact shipping.

SOLD OUT

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The third IP Flip is Macy.  She has natural Black locks with a silvery sheen for hair given to her by a gorgeous angora mohair goat and black eyes.  She has a lovely cotton print dress, cotton striped socks and a hand knit hat.

Her price is $350 plus $20 shipping.  I charge exact shipping and I refund overages exceeding $1

MACY

Purchase Macy Here

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12″ IP Flip Macy Natural Fiber Art Doll $350 plus exact shipping.

SOLD OUT

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Magdi, Little boy in the world

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Magdi.  A small boy – still a gentle soul – more dreamy sweet animal than boy of the world – but soon:  very very soon he will be out in the world.

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catch him just waking up! http://flipagram.com/f/bSZs7hPX3O

by himself.  He’ll have to fend for himself, make decisions for himself, interact by himself.

inviting play magdi sitting on a house

he’ll have to learn the difference between recess and gym and he’ll experience his first understanding of just how long a day can be.

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his gentle dreams will give way to the conventions of school, kid culture, and society.

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but for just a moment longer he is little.  He sits lost in his imagination.
He stands with purpose and plans for his next adventure.

inviting play magdi hand in pocket

Magdi stands at 15.5″ tall.  He is stuffed with wool and buried deep inside him he has a muscular skeletal system that allows him to hold his limbs and neck in poses.

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He is very firm and feels heavy and solid.  He has light tan skin, deep black eyes, soft black shaggy mussy hair  made from mohair fabric and tiny ears.
He wears:
striped cotton boxer shorts style undies that can double as play shorts,
a long sleeved soft cotton palest blue t-shirt,
owl pants made from Japanese cotton with a linen pocket,
cotton socks,
a crocheted hat in shades of denim blue wool,
a wool sweater with cables hand knit by Deborah of Mini Me Woolies * (I normally make everything my dolls are dressed in but I couldn’t resist buying this snuggly sweater from Deborah to use for one of my dolls),
and hand dyed 2-tone blue leather shoes that close with an elastic loop over a leather button.

inviting play dangling feet

I made Magdi, a sweet and small and innocent boy, in honor of my own such boy, Ellis, who turns 6 tomorrow.  Together Ellis and Magdi represent all the sweet little boys who have to start a new bigger kid phase in life – their mom and me time must come to an end – their quiet playing on the carpet time will be more limited.  Sending Magdi out into the world is like sending out a little prayer hoping that as they go out into the world, they hold on to some of their dreamy, childish adventures!

 

inviting play magdi peaking

Magdi is not designed or intended for young children.  Please play with him if you are 8 and up.

Magdi will be for sale in the shared Dollectable shop on Tuesday September, 1, 2015.

http://hyenacart.com/dollectable/st/6830/12973/Magdi-Little-Boy-in-the-world

His listing will be comment style – which means if you’d like to purchase him you enter to have your name drawn.  If more than one person enters, than the software automatically picks the buyer.  Payment is due immediately.

meanwhile back in the IP room 2

Please note: NO ANGELS /  ONE ENTRY PER HOUSEHOLD.  I’m leaving his drawing style listing up for many hours (4pm – 11pm Eastern) in hopes that if you’d like to enter to take him home, you will be awake during daylight hours for at least some portion of the drawing window.  As such, there will be no need for angels and you may only enter 1 time per household. Thank you!

 

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Ashlynn girl at home in the woods

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I made Ashlynn during the heat of the summer.  Actually, I was making several little beings and Ashlynn spoke the loudest and said: “me, first!  I promise I’ll be easy”.  And, easy she was.  inviting play ashlynn wm

After she was in one piece, stuffed with her muscular skeletal system…, she came with me to my family’s cabin in the north woods.  She is not the first doll to come along but her temperament fits right in with the ones who do.

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There in the cabin she and I set up a cosey sewing nook in front of wonderful windows.  Allowing us to make her clothing while looking at dear and pileated wood peckers and children hunting forest treasures while we worked.

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Ashlynn did get to go out into the beauty of the forest – but only for a short controlled time.  She made the time count tho and I was able to snap lots of gorgeous photos of her.

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And just like that!  she sized up her box – jumped in and was gone to the other side of the world.  Fare thee well Ashlynn!

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Delia a great deal of love

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Delia Delia Delia – you are my most patient girl.

inviting play Delia gdbye sweet girl

This is you before you had hair (knitted cap made by Deborah Burtnett Minner)

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You patiently modeled for me as we tried many different clothes for you and for Dollectable

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delia floral dress 1

But you knew what you wanted!

hand dyed, lined,  leather boots
hand dyed, lined, leather boots

inviting play Delia for Julie

Some denim shorts (to show off the boots) – with her play overalls hanging in the background!

inviting play delia 3

 

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Nina Nina bo bina and where I am right now

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I have just finished working on Nina.  invitingplay waiting for her clothes - Copy

I just adore her.  From the get go she didn’t have much of a back story or pages of plans or sketches.  On the advice of a fellow doll maker, I simply followed my gut on her and didn’t agonize over specific color and style decisions.  I made her and for her just what pleased me at the moment.

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She is easy; she has the braids I coveted as a child.  She has the complexion I covet now and the colors that make me feel happy.

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Fancy?  nah.  but who needs fancy all the time?  I hope images of Nina bring you pleasure like she did me.

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Here’s a little shot of her body in all its glory. ha.  As you can see,  she has one of the rounder bellies I’ve made.  She doesn’t seem to be mind being naked any more than a toddler.  I’m still working on bringing in some ability to hold poses in my dolls.  I just really like how they can bend and hold their legs and arms in bent positions.  I think the thing I like about the armature testing the most is that the dolls still look and feel like my dolls.  I haven’t had to alter my pattern and they are still mostly wool.

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The last piece I made for Nina is this whimsical flouncy jacket.  I had it in my head the whole time I was working on her but wasn’t able to finish designing it till just now right before I send her off.  I think it adds a bit of romance as well as practicality for the cooler seasons

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Nina was sold at Dollectable on Hyena Cart on June 1, 2015.

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Another thing I’ve been working on is writing down my current thoughts on doll making and the doll making journey.  Doll making affords a lot of solitude and time to listen to my inner thoughts.  In the past I haven’t bothered to document any of them but lately they seem to want to come out.

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Angeni’s Hair. Angeni is pronunced (ahn-jeh-NEE). Today is her upload day

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Well you’re up early Angeni (ahn-jeh-NEE).  How come you look so well rested?  I didn’t sleep a wink!

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We are going to have to take your hat off today.  You know that.

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We’ll make it ok.  ok?

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Come on!!!

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I see your eyes you know!!

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You’re hair is so pretty you know that?  And so you and so natural.  Actually, it kind of looks like mine.

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Well, we’ll see what we can do.

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It will be ok.  I promise Angeni.

Angeni has angora mohair goat hair.  Hair from a goat.  A goat raised by a small farmer in the US who has a good life.  This goat gets sheared twice a year and has beautiful golden brown and blonde hair.  I bought the locks and combed each one and wefted them together and washed them and combed them again and crocheted them into a wig.  And they are soft and strong and beautiful…. but yesterday I was getting ready for a last photo shoot and I noticed they were matting.  And locks I had just combed seemed to need combing again.  Sigh.

Here is the thing about Doll Hair.  Doll hair is difficult.  Especially when you want and need to use the most natural materials possible.  People don’t make as many allowances for doll hair as they do for people hair.  Doll hair is never supposed to be unruly, or unmanageable, or indescribable, or fuzzy or too thin or too thick.  But…. lots of doll hair that looks pretty and perfect has gone through many many steps of processessing to achieve its glean and shine.  Processessing that not all dolls appreciate.  For some dolls – they demand organic, earthy, natures gift.  The gift of the goat.  I absolutely love working with raw, unprocessed goat hair.  It is soft and real.  It is clean.  But, it is highly variable.  Its one thing and then – it has changed.  It is difficult.  It takes me hours of hand work to turn the locks into a wig.  I go thru it lock by lock with just my comb and my sewing machine and my kitchen sink. It all seems worth it – and then…. crash – I’m combing it lock by lock and getting it ready for some last minute photos – and I notice, the nice separate locks have clumped and are clinging.  I notice the locks I just combed need combing again.  All my insecurities come falling down front and center.

And I realize, the truth is?  it is difficult to achieve manageable, comb-able, gorgeous, perfect doll hair with natural locks.  Maybe so difficult I can’t and shouldn’t try it.  And another thing… even if they do work (and I have made some dolls with lock hair that I love) – the next set of locks will behave differently.  Because all animals, even in the same breed, have different hair – just like humans.  I often hear people talking about which kind of locks they love the most.  They may say Alpaca.  Well, alpaca fiber also varies intensely from animal to animal.  Some of it is so slippery and fine I haven’t been able to weft it at all; no weft can contain it.  Some is almost coarse.  Some you really can’t comb out without breaking ends.  Mohair is amazing stuff – people have been making dolls with mohair locks for generations and centuries – but it is extremely variant from animal to animal even from shearing to shearing.   In the US, most goats are sheared twice a year so they can have manageable coats and they can give birth and nurse babies without hair getting in the way – and so the hair is mostly between 6-8″ at the maximum.  The mohair locks that are much much longer have been growing for longer than half a year and they tend to be much harder to comb out since they’ve been growing on an animal for so long.   The softest locks tend to mat and clump.  So there are tradeoffs in length and many other aspects.

I thought about pulling Angeni’s listing and keeping her here with me longer.  changing her hair or coming to terms with it – but in the end I will keep her listing as is.  I will always rehair my dolls if their hair becomes too unmanageable for the people who love them.  Thank you for your support in this journey.

 

 

 

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