Dolls, Fibre Scultpures and Costumes

Archive for the ‘Costumes’ Category

Moving forward – slowly

Slowly because there will be renovations.  We are getting a grant from the city to help with some basic “get up to code”  and insulation things.  So sometime soon the house will turn into a disaster zone as all the electrical work will be mostly redone and maybe the plumbing and the insulation in the attic.

We had hoped for the windows facing the north side too but there have been too many ” Oh ….um ……… Why did they do that this way?” “What were they thinking off?” “How much of this wall/ceiling can we take down?” “Ooooh now that is interesting….” each of which costs lots of money.  The electrical will HAVE to be done because the grant people sent an inspector to determine how safe it is……

I have to have 2 quotes for everything – which means calling and leaving message and calling some more.  We now have the plumbing covered.  One quote for the heating/air condioning, one for the insulation, one for windows, one for the electrical is in the works.  The rest are all still in the message holding pattern.

If we can’t do the window in the front then my studio moves into my bedroom and my bedroom into that room.  That way I sleep in the cold room and can work in the warmest room. Light isn’t everything and power here is very expensive.

On the good side my  doll “Vrouw Holle” was accepted into the “Focus on Fibre” show!!!!

Vrouw Holle

Vrouw Holle

I am very thankful for this!  This doll with its deadline was what helped me break the “Ice Wall” around my art.  In order to meet the deadline I had to focus on my art work, to find the tools, the fabric, the patterns.  I had to develop a way to work, I had to show up at the desk and focus.  To have her accepted into the show was the final kick to get me back.  The next few pieces are already in my head and as soon as the renos are done I will buckle down, make art, open an Etsy store and do the work.

I am also in the process of designing a knitting pattern for a pair of lace fingerless gloves.  More on that when it is finished because writing out and graphing lace patterns when one is somewhat dyslexic is tricky!

Rendezvous Gloves

Rendezvous Gloves


The Stockings from Hell

Are finished.

Over a year and a half ago my darling youngest daughter came home from a weekend in the Laurentians “Mama one of the girls had these stockings with lace and things that her mom made.  You could do that, right?” .  Since that was the first knitting she had asked for, and not just grudgingly accepted, I was over joyed.  We shared a mother/daughter bonding moment surfing Ravelry together looking at patterns.  We finally settled on one called “Moulin Rouge”  Thigh high lace stockings, to be knit in black cotton.  Yes thigh high, in cotton that knits up at 10 rows per inch….

I measured her legs, traced her feet and traced her legs and made a couple of swatches.  I started the feet, knitting both stockings at the same time on two circular needles and she moved to Halifax Nova Scotia.  I knitted on, while looking after mother, plastering and painting a bedroom, preparing for an art show, painting a stairwell.  I took some time off to knit some Christmas presents, another hat for my granddaughter ,because she lost the first one.  Darling daughter came for a visit and tried on the stocking – now up to calf length.  Let me tell you there is at least an inch difference between someone who wears a size 5 1/2 shoe and a size 9 and I had been trying them on a size 9 foot, mine, because I had put the paper with the tracing of her foot in a safe place.  No I was not going to frog the sock down to the ankle, far too many hours had gone into them.

In the meantime I moved to Edmonton and finished the granddaughter’s hat and I made some fingerless gloves to match the hat (which I put in a safe place – I found it back last weekend) because I had never made any before so this was a good time to try that.  Once they were finished I tried to continue on the stockings but there was the renovations happening and the only comfy knitting chair was in the livingroom where I had to hear mother’s audio books and she prefers those hot, hot vampire books.

Then came the Kangaroo that mother wanted.  I had found a book on knitted toys and for once mother communicated very clearly that she wanted me to make the kangaroo, so the stockings were put aside once more.

At the end of August we decided that we would have a big Thanksgiving with my daughter and granddaughter form Whitehorse and my other one from Halifax in October and I suddenly realized I had been working off and on for over a year on these endless stockings and I was just over the knee.  So I bought some earplugs and settled down to determined knitting every day.  And I made the deadline.  Then  ……  I cut off the toes.  Yes I took a pair of scissors to hand knit lace stockings!    I removed the excess and reknit the toes.

So here they are – tall black lace stockings with tiny feet!  All finished.  Finally!


stockings from Hell

PS:  Now that they are finished I am knitting bedsocks for my Dad out of thick acrylic yarn that looks like camouflage for walking in dead leaves and mud, but they are almost done and then I am going to knit with a rainbow of colours a hat for my self!

PPS:  The studio is almost finished.  The guests have been sleeping in it.  All we are doing on it now is finding back all the sewing machines and notions and books and magazines and irons and…..  But soon I can work there.


Books and Inspiration

I am still packing.  Yesterday and today I have been going through my books and deciding what goes and what doesn’t go.  We won’t talk about the box of old mysteries that are my “I can’t sleep” reading.  Agatha Christie is non- negotiable, so is Patricia Wentworth.  What I have been putting in and out of the box is my inspiration books.  One is definitely in the box, “The Goddess and Gods of Old Europe” by Marija Gimbutas.  This is a book I have owned since it came out in 1982.  There are stunning photos of pots, sculptures and other objects from old Europe that I have used for inspiration ever since.  My first award winning costume was based on images from this book.

This is from Costume Con 1987.

So this book is packed.  So are the books on anatomy and fabric manipulation.  Then there are books on various ethnic cultures.  The better ones are packed.

The ones that went in and out and back in are coffee table photo books. Like  “A Year in Figure Skating”, and books on Elvis Costello,  Rudolf Nureyev, Baryshnikov.  These have  BODIES, especially male bodies, in them, in amazing poses, but some of the older ones are just too fuzzy or badly printed.  So Baryshnikov is back on the shelf, I need to see the muscles, the pictures are pretty but not useful.

The same for the David Hamilton books, pretty, pretty but so fuzzy and romanticized that  they are more a spring board then any use for the “how does that arm …” .  They are good inspiration if you are doing Victorian erotic fairies though.  So they went to a friend who is into photography and appreciates the technical style.  Really, for the styles and techniques and the prose,  really.  Ok if you believe that maybe I can sell you a bridge?



My inspirational art is mostly packed too.  I have a lot of prints by Ioyan Mani (Maxine Noel )I love the colours and the flow of her work.  Just looking at her work makes me feel calm and centered so most of it hangs in my bedroom.   My bedroom looks kind of barren now.

Spirit of the wolf by Ioyan Mani


Packing boxes and purple roses

Packing packing packing!

It seems endless.  Every time I turn around it is “Don’t forget that!!”.  And the sorting.  I have containers and more containers of yarn and fabric.  Much of the fabric is small scraps, many sourced from defunct silk garments.  So I need to decide keep or give away?  I am sorting by “can I buy this in Edmonton? Will I actually use it in the next 2 years”  if the answer is yes and no it is a giveaway other wise it gets saved however there is an over riding “Love this!!!!!” .  So I now have 3 boxes of fabric and 2 of yarn packed.  The rest is going.  My Housemate had first pick of yarns but since she is not into orange or bright yellow there wasn’t that much to pick over.  She also ended up with some “interesting” tops from my clothing sort, I hope she was not just being polite about it.

All of the scraps, yarn, buttons and bits and pieces and the tree are going to La Ruche, an art therapy studio.  I know it will get much used there in a good way.

The tree.  The tree was made for a stage set.  It hung in the corner and people could hide behind it.  It is 16 feet tall, made of shiboried and painted and quilted cotton.  It has pillow rocks to go around it.  Here it is decorated, in my previous place, as a christmas tree with cute dog to go with it.  I hope they with find a way to use it.

As a break from the stress of getting rid of stuff I went and checked the hoffman Challenge.  Every year they run a competition for the use of a specific piece of fabric.  This year unfortunately the print is giant purple cabbage roses.  No matter how I try to twist my head around this fabric there is absolutely nothing I could imagine in this fabric except a toddler’s dress.  Big purple cabbage roses – I could use the fabric from suggested matches for skin and cut the cabbage roses into snakes?  No because the fabric has to be recognizable – big purple roses!  Just because they call it lavender doesn’t make it so.  My only idea in the middle of the night was to make it into two fat naked female dolls going down on  each other and call it “The Lavender Left” but I doubt that would be acceptable in an American tour.

At Con-Cept this Weekend!

I will be at the Sci Fi convention Con-Cept in Montreal this weekend.  I will have the small oil pastels, the Mermaid, the Sacred Twins and the Dieing Troll at the art show as well as some small pin dolls.

A new oil pastel is Medusa.  I got new oil pastels while in Edmonton and this was the piece where I experimented with Ink and oil pastels: