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A feature, some questions, and some answers

My “Hug Me! Slugs” were featured in Zertuchina’s holiday gift guide post here. Thank you, Zertuchina! I thought it was funny that she happened to also pick for her feature a Janine King bag in the same print that I’ve been eying. I have one of Janine’s bags, and the workmanship is super.

Also this week, a student who is studying textiles wrote to ask me some questions regarding my textile work, in particular my dolls and toys, for a project for school. She is working on an original doll with assorted clothing for her coursework. I thought maybe someone else would be interested in the same things, and so I thought I’d post my answers here. I’m sure I could have expanded on any of my answers, but here they are:

What inspires your work?

I find inspiration in all kinds of things. It can come from anywhere really. I might see a combination of colors I like together, or maybe some fabric that appeals to me. I love animals, and I like to try to create them in doll or toy form. I enjoy experimenting. The creative process itself can be inspiring.

How long does it take for you to create your work?

It varies. A small toy can take a couple of hours, and a more complex doll, like the art dolls that are hand painted and have hand-sculpted parts can take a couple of weeks.

Which fabrics do you use?

I use 100% cotton quilting fabrics, cotton sateen sheeting, and polyester fleece. I also use socks for some of my dolls and toys. I pre-wash all my fabrics in fragrance-free, hypoallergenic detergent to make sure they don’t run, to pre-shink them in case they ever need to be spot cleaned, and to get rid of the new-fabric smell (which I just don’t like).

Do you have to do practice attempts before you create a product you are happy with?

Yes. I start with sketches, and rough drawings of my pattern pieces, as I think they will need to be. Then I sew a prototype. There are sometimes small changes that need to be made because when a doll is stuffed, it often looks much different than it did on paper. They often get taller and thinner, and I need to compensate for that. Sometimes the stuffing doesn’t sit right in a certain shape, and I need to re-draw the pattern to compensate for that as well.

Thanks, L.B., for the compliments. I hope your project comes out great. I look forward to seeing it!

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