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. Oh 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.
Ciela 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.
Ciela 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!
I 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”
I 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?
Back to Ciela. She is the largest doll I make. Very tall, quite big. “The bigger the better”, she says.
Ciela 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.
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!).
Ciela is not a children’s toy. She was designed to be played with by adults.
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.
Purchase Ciela Here ! A Buy Now paypal button will be added in this box at approximately 7pm Saturday Oct. 15, 2016
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.
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.
Also, I love names that end in ‘i’.
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…
It was a sun burn your knees kind of day.
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
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:
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).
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!
IP Flips are small 12″ dolls with weighted bodies and poseable limbs and necks.
The 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.
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.
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.
Purchase Gwendolynn Here
12″ IP Flip Gwendolynn Natural Fiber Art Doll $350 plus exact shipping.
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
Purchase Rosie Here
12″ IP Flip Rosie Natural Fiber Art Doll $350 plus exact shipping.
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
Purchase Macy Here
12″ IP Flip Macy Natural Fiber Art Doll $350 plus exact shipping.
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.
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.
Fancy? nah. but who needs fancy all the time? I hope images of Nina bring you pleasure like she did me.
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.
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
Nina was sold at Dollectable on Hyena Cart on June 1, 2015.
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.
you will have to reach out sometimes – be the one to offer your hand first
Its ok to sit alone don’t let people tell you it isn’t
I watch you struggle to process something for which there are not words and I think: “JennyB, you are enigmatic.”
I started working on JennyB many weeks ago. At first I was working under the assumption that she would be one thing. Something, an idea, that was stuck in my head, running thru my idyl thoughts, a memory from school days and I couldn’t get the name or the person out of my head. Well, and then the weeks pass and the stitches mount and it turns out the hair you thought would be perfect is all wrong. And SO, she is who she is and nothing more and always hard to define. And JennyB is she. Enigmatic.
With JennyB, I am once again experimenting with some mild pose-ability. Buried deep in her muscular skeleton structure she has armature that allows her arms, legs, and neck to bend and hold their position. The armature does not extend through her shoulders and hips so she can not hold her arms up or out but she can bend them around something. The armature is not a 100% natural material. However, by weight, JennyB is still mostly made of wool and cotton, and she feels just like my other dolls to the touch. JennyB can stand against a wall and sit on her own. and she is large (23″ tall) and hug-able.
It is no secret that blue and grey are the colors I gravitate toward and always want to use for my dolls. So JennyB has comfortable cotton jeans and a blue cotton t-shirt and a snuggly warm wool vest in really yummy Madelinetosh yarn that I crocheted with a raised diamond stitch. (Its red wooden buttons made JennyB very happy! ) Of course she has cotton undies and socks. Her dress is an organic Japanese linen that I just love and her boots are leather, lined with linen, and fastened with etched metal buttons.
It is funny. Doll making doesn’t really need to have a seasonality, doesn’t need to be marked in years, but I strongly feel a yearly pattern to my doll making. Every January feels like a fresh start, a time to look forward, set goals, like an empty slate ready to mark exciting new beginnings. But this post is a look back upon last year’s seasons. Spring always brings optimism and new breezy fabrics,
Summer feels like a time to get things done and finish orders, but it rarely is, as its too tied up in variable kids’ activities and schedules of snacks and sunshine.
oh and I can’t forget summer doll Francis!
By fall, the pressure is really on! It marks the start of the busy season. Fall is crazy for me as the leader of a family packed with fall birthdays, the start of schools, and as a doll maker, the start of the busy season and the holiday rush.
Also, fall brings this craving for some of the yummiest textures of doll making, the layered wools, and knits and hats.
And then, the holidays are soon happening, and with them a lot of anxiety for the doll maker, the pressure to successfully close out another year of dolls, the pressure to try to get to as many custom order requests as possible, the pressure to list additional extra ready-to-go dolls as this is the time when demand really hits a frenzy. And this year?
well, I chose not to succumb to the pressure too much. I only made about 26 dolls in 2014. Just over 2 per month. I didn’t do inhuman amounts of doll work in December. And that is probably a good thing.
And now it is time to say goodbye to the very last doll of 2014. This is Juliette of the Cold Moon – the wolf moon – made in the dark quiet of late December, bridging into January.
She turned out to be one of my favorite dolls of 2014. She is very tiny; a very slender 12″. But, I’m very proud of her proportions.
To me, her proportions are perfect for her long face and narrow head. Often, when I’m critiquing my own work, it is the proportions of which I find myself most critical. Another thing I love about Juliette is her innocent childlike approach to the world. She is not too self aware. She is just a child. A child in a cold, dark house, but one full of wool socks, and burning fires, and glistening snow outside. She doesn’t know true cold because she is lucky to have her family providing her the warmth. The other seasons will come for her but right now she is living in the magic in the moment of the cold and dark.
As I look back at 2014 there are a few other dolls that standout as turning points. Merry was a huge accomplishment for me. And I almost didn’t make her! I felt pressure at the time to work on some wishlist custom projects and future ready-to-go dolls, and it really took a big push from two of my colleagues who encouraged me and believed in me to join the collaboration of which Merry was part and really let her shine.
She was the first doll of a new very large size and I felt proud of each part of her. Usually, there is some piece of each doll that I feel unsure about. Is her hair too thin? Is she stuffed too firm? Will people understand her expression?, Are her clothes singular and special enough? But Merry seemed to make herself. I’m not sure if it was her story and fate that helped her along or if it was just the coincidence of being the right doll, at the right time – but There was Merry.
Another doll I’ll always think of as being very special was a custom doll I made named Eowyn. She had two very different roles, that of fearless warier, and that of fine medieval lady. Her silk fighting costume and elegant silk dress were both memorable and very different from my past designs.
I love them all and I can’t wait to start meeting the class of 2015. There really should be another post about 2015 Inviting Play plans. We shall see. Thank you for supporting me, loving my work, and pushing me to get better, and allowing me to be me.
My mom was a highly connected, thoughtful, intellectual and always had invitations and opportunities of one kind or another. Institutions, associations, organizations, and busy people asked her to join in projects, committees, boards and foundations. One day she came home with the exciting news that she was asked to go on a very big, long term adventure and we were to go too. She was asked to help start-up a big new company in a far away city in a very unknown part of the world. And I was essentially asked to start a new life.
Although I pleaded and begged to go along on the early reconnaissance trip that would set up our permanent stay, my parents decided against it because it would be too dangerous before everything was figured out and at the very least they needed to have a house rented before I could join them. Instead, I would be going to stay in the care of a lovely woman called Lady Davenport. And so, my parents arranged for Lady Davenport to take care of me for a few months until they could have everything ready in our new home, in our new place in our new life. Then, they would return to collect me. Don’t worry, they promised, they would mail many letters and make many phone calls. I would expand my horizons. I would leave the hollows of my childhood.
Finally the day came. My parents left, and as they were boarding their flight, I was meeting Lady Davenport. Just hours after that I also met two other girls, Thekla and Noortje. Thekla ‘s and Noortje’s parents were following the same business opportunity as mine and it seemed they were sent on the same horizon expanding adventure as me. We were all left in the care of Lady Davenport.
I was very relieved to get to know Thekla and Noortje. Each day I felt a sense of gratitude that I had them. Somehow, it lessened or at least dulled the pain I felt with my parents leaving. I would come to depend on them enormously as we all came to understand that Lady Davenport was not the nice trustworthy caretaker my parents promised she’d be……