Tag Archives: art

Summer Break Over, Back to Motorcycle

Ok, so summer is obviously not over, but it is time for me to get back to work creating new work, and getting some regular blog posts up here for you to see.

Since I’ve returned from a bit of travel, I have had the chance to finish up the motorcycle commission I had been working on.  That piece happens to be a surprise from one person to another.  On the very, very off chance that the recipient would be among the dozen or so individuals that actually read my postings here… I’m going to hold off posting any full photos of that completed piece and just tease with some detail shots of bits and pieces until the sculpture is delivered. However, if you happen to be a Facebook friend, Instagram follower, or are part of any of the art doll groups I’m a member of, then you may catch a glimpse of the fully completed sculpture.

Close up of front of art doll motorcycle

detail front

Here you can see two pairs of motorcycle boots,  the glass gem headlamp, and other parts of the bike’s front.

detail of the passenger doll's bag

Passenger’s messenger bag

Lots and lots of little stitches on on the motorcycle seat, messenger bag, and passenger’s jeans.

close up of boots, and "motor"

close up of boots, and “motor”

Now, it’s off to the studio to start a couple of new pieces.  One of them is also a commission, but it is sort of a redo of an earlier piece, and definitely not as involved as this one. Not sure what I will share with you next week, I guess we’ll both have to wait and see.

It has been fun taking you “along for the ride” on a multiple piece commission.  As I stated before, they can be tricky for us artists generally used to creating exactly what we want when the inspiration strikes us.  It is gratifying to know that some patrons enjoy the work so much they want it used to capture something special to them personally.





Art Doll Motorcycle III

More Parts and Pieces

The little motorcycle sculpture is now ready for its art doll riders.  This past week I added all the remaining parts and pieces that a motorcycle enthusiast would expect to find.  The art doll riders will sit on their padded “leather” seat and grip copper, hardware, and polymer clay handlebars. The addition of a button shaped brad gas cap, knee guards, tank rondel, a glass gem headlight, and brass brad gauges complete this miniature steampunk machine.

steampunk mixed media motorcycle sculpture ready for art doll riders

motorcycle is ready for art doll riders

Now the Riders

As with most of my art dolls, the riders will start in my metal studio where I will hammer out their faces from a circle of copper stock. They are on the bench awaiting some sanding and polishing. In the meantime, I got started on twisting together the dolls’ wire skeletons.   Here you see the beginning of the driver sitting on the cycle.

wire frame of driver on cycle

wire frame of driver

Last Chance to See Art Dolls

art doll Media at HGA

Three of my art doll pieces in “Our Art Is…”

This is the last weekend for my featured artist show, “Our Art Is…“, with painters Eduardo Lapetina and Pat Merriman at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts.  The show runs through Sunday.  It has been a fun show with lots of wonderful feedback. Several of the dolls will be making their way to their new homes when the next featured artist show installs on Monday.


Art Doll Motorcycle II

Last week I shared WIP (work in progress) images of my current art doll sculpture.  The motorcycle for the sculpture is almost ready for its riders.  Here are a few more images of the motorcycle as it came together.

Parts and Pieces

Art doll motorcycle gains gas tank and motor

More parts added to art doll motorcycle

Here the frame gains a gas tank, engine block and some exhaust pipes.  I like the play of the different materials for each part. I enjoy the way it helps each part to pop more than if I fashioned the whole sculpture from copper.

Art doll motorcycle ready to get a concrete base

. Ready to gain a base

Next the tiny cycle gained some aluminum wheels with wooden hubs, and some copper handlebars. After a bit of grinding and cleaning the wheels were wired and attached to some hardware cloth for setting in a concrete base.  This will both anchor the piece firmly in its base, and provide reinforcement for the concrete.

Art doll motorcycle set in concrete base

Cycle curing in concrete base

Now some waiting for the base to dry and cure.  Next the piece will come inside for addition of details like a stitched seat, handle bar grips, headlight, gauges, gas cap …

This is a piece that is most definitely a collection of details. I can’t wait to get started on the riders.

Say hi and let me know what you think

Art Doll Motorcycle

I recently started working on a piece with two of my art doll figures having an adventurous ride on a motorcycle.  Though I’ve created a number of art dolls and figure sculptures that were perched on bicycles, this is my first riding a motorcycle.

I have been having fun so far researching and sketching the particular type of motorcycle, and then stylizing it into my steampunk interpretation.  There are a obviously a few more components than a bicycle to incorporate in to ensure it represents one particular type of machine over another.

First I braised together the basic motorcycle frame and produced a couple of types of wheel choices.

beginning copper frame for doll sized motorcycle and wheels of electrical conduit

Beginning of fame and conduit wheels

The most labor intensive process so far has been hand hammering out the two fenders.  Blacksmith and body shops have power hammers and english wheels to shape and smooth these types of parts. I found myself wishing I could find a Tinkerbell sized version of both to work with for these.

hammering copper fender for art doll sized motorcycle

Hammering out front fender

I added the fenders, wheel mounts, and springs. Next up will be handlebars, motor, and gas tank. I’ll do my best to take photos along the way.

copper cycle frame with fenders and springs

Frame with fenders and springs




Paper Art Doll

Art Doll in Progress

Last week I shared some Work-In-Progress images of the newest art doll I was working on. This figure was inspired by a combination of my very first art doll, a snow day, and our yearly literary themed show.

Rather than playing with the idea of a rag doll that wasn’t quite floppy, I instead twisted the idea of a paper doll into a three dimensional figure.  This idea sprung from my picking up paperclay to incorporate into my pieces after having used polymer clay for a face on a snowy day.  Thinking of this figure as a 3D paper doll turned my attention to book illustrations. The images in a classic version of Alice In Wonderland became the literary basis for “Paper Alice.”

Full length image of Paper Alice

Paper Alice

I purposely kept Alice’s color palette muted and almost monochromatic.  I wanted the figure itself to feel as though she had been plucked off the pages of an aged volume.  I used mages and quotes from the text to further this concept.

Metalwork takes a supporting role in this art doll. Her shoes, dress collar, and headband I fashioned from copper.  The “drink me” tag on her bottle is tooled brass foil, and her eyes are torch fired glass enamel on a copper base.

detail of Paper Alice

detail of Paper Alice

I used an antique yellow parchment paper to create Paper Alice’s hair.  I created this wig by hand cutting sets of strips that were then stitched on to a tiny stocking cap I created for her. A bit of curling on the edge of scissors set her coiffure in motion.

Paper Alice hands

Paper Alice hands

I enjoyed experimenting with new materials and techniques with this art doll.  I expect that I will incorporate them in other figure sculptures in the not too distant future.

Art Doll with a Doll, and a WIP

Art Doll with a Doll

This week I completed Art Doll with a Doll. This piece reminded me that once you finish a piece she then belongs to the viewer.

seated art doll figure of doll with doll

Art Doll with Doll

The reason I say this, is that I posted her image on some of my social media sites, and almost instantly received a message to purchase the “mother and baby” piece.  I have to admit it took me second to realize that the writer, a soon to be grandparent, meant the doll I had just posted. This pair is now reserved for that viewer, but she will first appear in my gallery feature show in May with a red dot on her label.

Work In Progress (WIP)

Creating for a gallery show, I always like to push myself to stretch a bit.  My recent experimentation with a polymer clay face for my doll “Snow Day”, intrigued me.  I purchased a package of paperclay.  I have been wanting to try this air dry clay on an art doll for a while now. I will be working metal into the final composition of this piece , but her beginning is a bit different from my usual forged copper face and hands. The rest of the body construction for this art doll will follow my same form of a wire skeleton with padding and clothes sewn on.

paperclay head

paperclay head


head and hands drying

I chose paperclay after thinking about my first figure sculpture to cross into the art doll realm, No Rag Doll.  That doll as you may recall was a stuffed doll with a wire skeleton and a brass foil sculpted face. With her inner support to hold herself upright, she was a rag doll that wasn’t floppy at all. In using paperclay I am playing with the idea of a paper doll, but since she is rendered in three dimensions she is nothing like the flat counterparts from which I am drawing inspiration.  Her connection to paper also stems from a literary catalyst, but I’ll share more about that when I post her completed images.




Art Doll Cometh

art doll titled Snow Day

Snow Day

“Snow Day” is an art doll sculpture born from a string of snowed in days.  Normally, each of my figures starts life in my metal studio where I hammer a face out of copper stock, and forge hands from copper tubing and wire.  A couple of abnormally cold and snowy weeks kept my garage metal studio a bit cooler than I like to do this small scale metal forming.

During one of these days I remembered I had a stash of polymer clay.  I decided to create a face that could be stitched on to a bit larger scale cloth doll.  This doll body I created in the same manner as my very first figure sculpture to cross into art doll territory, “No Rag Doll”, with a soft sewn body over a posable wire frame.

The nordic theme of the doll came out of the weather on the days in which I created her, and the addition of iridescent clay into her face that lends a slightly frosted appearance.  I had all of the fabrics and trims used on hand in my studio, and she came together quite smoothly, but seemed somewhat incomplete when I finished her clothing.

I noticed that this art doll could stand unaided. I had enhanced the ability to balance for several of my other art dolls with the addition of a staff, or walking stick. “Snow Days” snow shoes and ski poles were born from that bit of brainstorming.

“Snow Day” will most likely stay in my studio until my feature show at the end of May, though I may be convinced to bring her to the gallery earlier while she still matches the season.


Art Dolls and Patience

Now that the winter holidays and working on extra jewelry pieces for Valentine’s Day has past, my attention turns to putting together my feature artist show for the gallery.  This year, I will be part of the show opening at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts on the last Friday of May .

One of the challenges of this preparation is holding back recently completed pieces until the installation of the show. This is where blogging about what is going on in the studio is very helpful.  I can share previews of the work without having to succumb to the urge to bring it in to the gallery right away.

Two of my most recently completed art doll sculptures are “Spring” and “psyche-Delia”.  I will take the time to tell you more about them and their companions who are as yet just sketches when show date nears.  For now, I just thought I’d let you get a peek at them devoid of any artist commentary.

image of art doll psyche-Delia


image of art doll Spring


Let me know what you think.


Art Doll, Not Quite.

I don’t think my new piece for the upcoming Hillsborough Gallery of Arts show, “It’s All About The Story, Volume 3: Lee Smith”, actually qualifies as one of my art dolls.  It does have a small figure incorporated, but it reads more like a narrative sculpture to me.

figure from "Folk Art on a Swing"

figure from “Folk Art on a Swing”

As you may be aware, each year during our February show at HGA, we pair up with one of the many well know authors who also make their home in Hillsborough. We create art in response to their work.  This year we read Lee Smith’s collection of short stories titled, “Mrs. Darcy and the Blue Eyed Stranger.”

One story in particular, “Folk Art”, seemed custom written for my work.  In this story a young art professor is visiting a woman who creates concrete sculptures of the people in her life, and installs them in her backyard garden.  I didn’t want to be overly literal and fashion my figure in the same manner, so I decided to do a variation on both using concrete and my figure sculptures that are art dolls.

"Folk Art on a Swing" fabric ache over wire and wood

Folk Art on a Swing

What I settled on was a sculpture that includes a small figure, and is fashioned out fabric maché.  The piece does relate to someone specific, but the choice of the child swinging was intentional because of its universality.  Unlike the self taught artist in the story, I wanted my figure to speak to everyone rather than just highlight character traits or interests of my specific subject.

The piece is fabric and trim over the wire and wood frame that I shared as a work in progress in my last post.  Now, it is time to get back to work on some art dolls for my next featured artist show.  I will be sure to share some images of more of the work in  “It’s All About The Story, Volume 3: Lee Smith” when the show is installed in a few weeks, and alert you when Ms. Smith will join us in the gallery for a reading.


“Art All Around” and a work in progress

I shared my “Cirque III” hanging art doll a few weeks ago, but here she is again.

art doll Cirque III

Cirque III

The show I created her for “Art All A Round”, is now installed at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts.  This unique group show is hung quite differently.  We are in the middle of a floor project in the HGA feature gallery, in fact I spent this morning along with several of my gallery partners doing demolition on the old tile floor. Since the feature gallery is not available, we hung the art for “Art All A Round” all around the gallery.  These pieces featuring circles, and round themes are specially labeled. We have also generated a key with images of all the pieces for visitors to use as a guide map, or perhaps treasure hunt is more accurate. The opening reception for “Art All A Round” is this Friday from 6-9pm.

While I’m on the subject of my pieces for our group themed shows at HGA I thought that I’d share a bit of work in progress images of my piece for next month’s show. Each February for three years now we have paired up with one of Hillsborough’s many talented authors for our “It’s All About the Story” show.  This year we are working with Lee Smith.  I’m trying a few different things this year.  Here’s a peek…

Armature of work in progress

Armature of work in progress

Tree skeleton covered in burlap

Tree skeleton covered in burlap

Trunk covered with fabric mâché paisley

Fabric Mâché, paisley tree?

I’ll share the rest next month.