Saturday, March 21, 2015

Going to the Floral Follies - 
February 2015

The original doll making conference was held in 2013, in Australia. At that event Gloria McKinnon invited elinor peace bailey, Patti Culea, Barbara Willis, Betts Vidal and Sally Lampi to give classes on doll making techniques. This time the event was held in Costa Mesa. All the original teachers (except Sally Lampi, who was recovering from a serious accident) were able to attend, and I was lucky enough to be a student.

This time the event was held at Piecemakers Country Store in Costa Mesa, California. The Floral Follies, with 45 students, was apparently the largest event they have hosted so far.

I believe the original conference had allowed each student a day with each instructor. This time each instructor had only half a day. The challenge for the teachers was to create an original doll that could be put together by their students in the 3-½ hour class. It was also decided that there wouldn’t be time for the students to draw a face from scratch, so each kit included a pre-drawn face.

The introduction was held the evening before in a big tent outside the store The walls of the tent had been covered with beautiful handmade quilts and the room was decorated with antiques. At the first meeting each teacher was introduced and talked a little bit about herself, and then showed us the dolls we were going to make. Only Gloria McKinnon was not able to speak, as she was getting over a cold, but her friend talked about her (nicely). Sally Lampi's doll was introduced by a teaching team. There were tables set up with samples of the projects and related merchandise. Piecemaker's staff supplied a light supper and door prizes, and gave everyone a packet of Piecemakers doll-making needles.

The students were divided into six groups, and each group took turns going from teacher to teacher.

Piecemaker's provided lunches and door prizes each day, and we all had time to shop at the Piecemaker's Country Store, which is full of tempting supplies for embroidery, quilt making, knitting, crochet, needle tatting, doll making, cooking, bead work, and other arts and crafts. There were also special demonstrations from outside artists during the noon break. Tripadvisor might not agree, but I consider Piecemaker's a store worth going out of the way to visit if you are interested in fiber arts.

I really enjoyed meeting the teachers and talking to fellow doll-makers. I met people from California, Australia, Hawaii, Oregon, and Colorado. Even though I haven’t finished all the dolls, I think I learned a lot.

We had been given a list of supplies to bring, but each teacher also supplied a package of special items needed to make the doll they were teaching. Each instructor had her own way of doing things. For example, although four of the dolls had cloth faces that were cut out and wrapped around a separate base, each teacher did that differently. I also ended up using five different kinds of fabric glue.
Patti Culea taught us a doll called “Dahlia”, a small traditional cloth doll with tiny arms and legs.

Sally Lampi was not able to attend, but Di & Donna taught her “Eukie the Gumnut” doll which had a simple cloth body in an organza sheath, crepe paper for hair, and a fabric seed pod.



elinor peace bailey taught a doll she called “Bleeding Heart”. This was an unusual doll with an pre-made elaborate wire frame that that we transformed.
Bleeding Heart

I haven't finished the last three dolls, which were all "flat" dolls. This is not the kind of doll I usually make, but making them introduced me to several new techniques. 

Gloria McKinnon is known for her ribbon embroidery and beadwork, so her doll was a flat doll with ribbon embroidery and beadwork. I hadn’t done much ribbon embroidery before, so this was a good learning experience.

Gloria McKinnon's doll, in progress

Barbara Willis taught a doll called “Primrose”. It is a flat doll, but has a lightly stuffed canvas body to make it more three-dimensional.
Primrose with picture of finished doll

Betts Vidal taught us how to make a “Queen Anne’s Lace” flat doll. She also made a beautiful name badge holder for each person in my group. 

Name Badge for Queen Anne's Lace Group
Queen Anne's Lace flat doll


(Some of this material previously published in Stipple, an APA publication.)

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