From Winter to Spring in 3 Weeks


It is the time of year in Central Texas where we look to come out of burrows into the garden.  The days are noticeable longer and the last of the leaves have dropped from the trees.  In my yard, the harbinger of spring is the Bradford Pear tree.  It seems to be budding out before it loses all of its leaves, but I know spring is here when the blossoms start to open.  Next are my bulbs.  Winter may still take a swipe or two at us, but the plants and birds know.  Spring has arrived.

My tree on February 1st, looking west.


My tree on February 7th, same view.


My tree on February 14th, same view.


I have spent my creative free time working on several things, many of which involved printing with my #GelliPlate.  I’ve made a lot of cool backgrounds that I’ve scanned and am using in other pieces of art.  These were all made with TCW Stencils using Golden acrylics and Master’s Touch acrylics.




One of the things I’ve used them for is my paper doll that I designed for the All Dolls Are Art Winter Swap.  My paper doll is a circus performer – I can only post a sneak peek now though as I don’t want to unveil her before the swap deadline at the end of the month.  If you would like to play – you can check out the guidelines on the ADAA blog or Facebook page.


A second thing I used my prints for is my Valentine’s card for my mom.  I don’t generally celebrate Valentines, but I did send out a few cards this year and wanted to make my mom a card as she always makes me the nicest of cards.  This card has a gelli printed background, gelli printed scrapbook paper adhered to grungeboard for the heart (a Tim Holtz die) and Gelli printed deli paper for the intermediate layer.  The stamp is my hand-carved “Love” stamp.


Last – I made a gift for my friend Annie – which I will show later in the week, after she’s received it!

And of course, I have my #StudioCats er kittens keeping me company.  They are so big that they really don’t qualify as kittens anymore, but they still have all the energy and wonder of kittens.


Cookie – curled up in a basket below my printing table


Calla giving Cookie a bath in my studio chair.

January Gray and Red


Yesterday and today we had blue, blue skies, but that has so not been true of the rest of the month.  It is likely to end tomorrow evening, with a return to gray and gloomy.  I could not live in the Pacific Northwest, as I’ve found my energy levels are very much affected by the lack of sun.  But even in the gray days there has been some spots of color, the last of the leaves on my oak tree, the winter cardinal visiting my feeder. 


I’ve been busy getting All Dolls Are Art faculty profiles written and scheduled on the ADAA blog.  It’s fun to see what people who teach and create for a living have to say about their process and inspiration, but it’s very tiring putting together all of the posts.  I’ve got three done so far and four more to go if I’m counting correctly.

I took a break from that this evening to play with the kittens.  They have a new favorite toy:  small, very bouncy, rubber balls.  I can get one started in the hall and they both take off after it, sliding across the wood floor to avoid running into the walls or door.  When they wear themselves out, Calla drops in and takes up a post in between the laptop and the printer where she entertains herself playing with the cursor on the screen.


I didn’t do much creatively this weekend as I spent Saturday looking at venues with the Etsy Local ATX Artisans team leaders and then Sunday was spent cleaning the house.  But now that my floors are clean, and a blog post is done, I started a new spread in my art journal.

First I scribbled on the ungessoed pages with Caran D’ache Neocolor II crayons. 


Then I applied gesso over the crayon.  While that dried, I was actually working on my blog posts. 


The next step was digging through some of my collection of papers and I found several in the teal/turquoise/navy range that seemed to work with my right hand page color.  So, I tore, arranged, tore, rearranged and have pasted this arrangement down.  I’m letting the matt medium dry overnight before trying anything else!


2015: A New Year, New Art


2014 was the lost year.  Seriously, I can honestly tell you I don’t have a record of most of what I did outside of my day job.  To combat that this year, I’m leveraging an idea I’ve seen several other places, including Stampington’s Resolutions blog post, to create an “accomplishments” jar.  When I do something that is on my annual goals list, something big from my to do list, or something creatively fulfilling, I’m going to write it on a slip of paper (already have cut up a stack), date it and put it in my jar.  That way, at the end of the year, I will have a way to know WHAT I actually did this year.

One of my goals for this year, as it was for last year, is to post more.  I failed miserably at that last year, part of the “lost” items for last year, but am trying again this year.  I have a few things that I do remember from last year that I never shared.  The first Art-Xscape was a success.  I’m hopefully close to solid dates for the next one.  My beloved Marigold went across the rainbow bridge to wait for me.  The 4th All Dolls Are Art went in the books and the 5th is open for registration.  I went to Barcelona for work.  I adopted two rescue kittens.  I participated in the 2nd annual ATX Artisans Etsy Local market.  I opened a new Etsy shop!  So, I have a lot of catching up to do with you here.


First, I’d like to introduce my new girls, not so little now, Calla (the calico) and Cookie (the Siamese).  They are sisters, and soon will be 7 months old.  They are sweet and funny and definitely brought a blast of sunshine into my life.  Calla is the innocently ornery fearless one.  Cookie is the vocal lover when she wants to be and is more timid than her sister.  They think I’m a softer, louder, more fragile cat tree. 




Second, I’d like to introduce my new Etsy shop: AnLiNa Mixed Media by AnLiNa Designs.  I have put a lot of my new work there and will be transitioning my art dolls there are they expire on my first Etsy shop.  AnLiNa Designs will remain where I stock my hand-dyed velvet, rayon, cotton and trims.  I’ll be adding digital collage and paper packs in the future.  (speaking of the ornery fearless one, she’s in front of my screen trying to play with the cursor!).


Last, I’ve been spending more time in my art journals lately.  Yes, that is journals, plural.  I’ve given up on just working in one.  I have one that I’m chronicalling my life and thoughts in and another that I’ve gelli printed in.  The third is my painting journal.  I’ve not gotten very far with it yet, but after spending lots of time online looking at art journalling videos, I broke it in this week.  Here are two spreads, not so well documented in stages as I took some of the in process photos on my cell phone and some with the camera.  This is definitely not my usual style, but I like it. 


This is the second or third layer on the 2-page spread.  I started with Dylusions spray inks through stencils, then FW inks dripped and spread around the page.  Then a charcoal pencil and Caran Dache Neo Color 2 crayons.  Paint and more marks with black FW ink.  Matte medium over the crayons and to glue two news paper circles down.  More paint.


This has lever layers of paint on top, white on both sides, an orange on the left outside the bird (which I didn’t like once I got it down, so more white).  Then I started stencilling, painting, drawing with FW ink and a skewer and just kept going.

I think this is the finished spread, but I could change my mind still.


“Be There” scanned in to my laptop.


And “Flowers”, also scanned in.  Very subdued color palette, which is not my usual style, but I’m pretty happy with it.

All Dolls are Art 2014

If you are interested in learning sculpture, want to learn more about how artists approach their designs, or just want an interesting read – the ADAA 2014 faculty profiles are getting posted to the all new All Dolls are Art Blog!

Jean Bernard, of the famous Jean and Sherry team, is teaching 2 classes:  Bobble Head Barbie Pulled Herself Together Ontime and Fantasy Chair.


Clarissa Callesen is teaching 3 classes:  Wishkeeper, Steampunk Sally, and Bohemian Gypsy.


Sherry Goshon, the other half of the Jean and Sherry team, is teaching 3 classes:  What’s to a Head, The Illusion of Costuming, and Fun with Wire, Paper, and Cloth.


Angela Jarecki is teaching 2 classes:  About Face, How to Draw Faces, and Titania.


Ellen Kelsey is teaching her Fabulous Fish class.


Myriam Powell is teach a Luna.

Work In Progress & Final Dolls

All Dolls Are Art 2013 Artist Interview: Peggy Wilson


Peggy Wilson is a sculptor and designer from Canada who creates characters.  I say this with the utmost admiration.  Having had the privilege of taking a class from Peggy, I can attest to her ability to convey very complicated techniques to a wide variety of skill levels.  She is also a lovely person who I feel very privileged to know.  Peggy is teaching a 3-day class “Pernickety, the Supercilious Elf”.  I’ll let Peggy introduce herself. 

Peggy:  My introduction into doll-making in 2000 came at the urging of a close friend.  "You have to join our group!  I know you will LOVE it!"  Well, I was more than a little skeptical, imagining Raggedy Anne and Andy.  As lovely as they are they are not my style!  The first workshop offered by All Dolled Up, Ottawa was a Lynne Butcher gumnut elf.  Definitely my style!  And, being clueless but never lacking in imagination, when asked to make a set of witches a few weeks later and not finding any patterns in the sewing catalogues, I designed my own. They turned out very well and that was the beginning of my design ‘career’!

Over time I have designed many ‘odd’ fellows and gals, taught both specific dolls and techniques, including several design classes, in Canada, the U.S. and Australia as well as on line. I have belonged to the Canadian Doll Artists Association (I was on the board of directors for several years), in addition to our 50+ member All Dolled Up, Ottawa doll club. 

I have been honored to receive quite a few first place awards within the CDAA as well as internationally.  One of my favorite creations, "The Mother In Law" was awarded Best In Show at the Enchanted Doll Artist Conference in Albuquerque New Mexico.


AnLiNa Designs:  What media do you like to work with and why?

Peggy:  My preferred media is cloth.  I love taking a (virtually) 2 dimensional object and give it life, indeed character and emotion, by sewing, stuffing and needle sculpting!

AnLiNa Designs:  Have you made the transition to full-time artist?  Are you selling your work anywhere?

Peggy:  Doll making may not be a totally full time occupation but I do teach internationally and have sold a number of my creations. Some of my figures reside across Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Indonesia, Japan, and Australia.


AnLiNa Designs:  Where do you get your inspiration from?

Peggy:  My new work is the result of an idea; a word, an image, an emotion.  I have always had an active imagination and it got me into some trouble as a child!  Once an idea pops into my head a full blown story is often not long to follow and after that the figure forces itself upon me!

AnLiNa Designs:  What are your favorite materials to work with?

Peggy: I typically use either Doe (deer) Suede®  or Craft velour ®, both being very slightly stretchy without being overly so.  They allow me to create the expressions that I enjoy.


AnLiNa Designs:  Who is your favorite artist and why?

Peggy:  I do not know!

AnLiNa Designs:  Is there a famous work of art (visual, performance or musical) that you want to interpret in a doll?

Peggy:  When my children were small, a friend took them to the dress rehearsal of the Alberta Ballet’s ‘The Firebird’.  My daughter, who was 2 at the time, was both fascinated by and terrified of ‘Kostchei’, the evil character in the story also known as "the deathless".   The costume for this character was truly remarkable!  Rather than the typical  black and white ‘skeleton’ style normally used to reflect his persona the Alberta Ballet’s version was shades of grey.  Something I find much more frightening!  I plan to recreate this feeling sometime in the future!


AnLiNa Designs:  What do you think makes a retreat a valuable experience to participate in, both as a teacher and as a student?

Peggy:  I love the opportunity to explore ideas and techniques!  As a student I have experienced some inspired teaching that, hopefully, I am able to pass on to my students as well.  I love the interaction between all participants, both in and out of class and viewing each person’s interpretation of the classes and or techniques being introduced.

AnLiNa Designs:  Describe a day in your class room and your favorite part of teaching.

Peggy:  My wish for all participants in any of my classes is to learn some of my techniques in order to utilize them, when appropriate, in future works.  I go out of my way to ensure that each student gets as much out of each class as possible.  I include a ‘Cloth Doll Making Primer" with all pre-class work as well as inviting dialogue prior to the class and during the homework stage.  Indeed I often offer a ‘free’ homework session the evening prior to the class to help everyone to start on the same page.  This can be in a class room set aside for the purpose or indeed in my room in the hotel as has happened many times. 


I often come equipped with extra ‘body parts’ just in case there is a problem with the students materials.

The class will begin with needle sculpting one of the two heads each student has been asked to bring to class.  Because I sculpt expression and emotion into my faces this can take longer than a simple ‘pretty’ face.  The students will learn the effects if directional sculpting as well as stuffing as you go.  After this we will progress to creating the armature and stuffing the body, arms and legs.  I usually leave the ‘face painting’ until the beginning of day 2, when students are fresh!

Through the day students are encouraged to ask questions – the "what if" that I love so much as well as "Could you show me that again?".

My favorite part of any class, aside from the "Ah Ha!" moment when a technique works for the first time is the reveal at the end when everyone shows their own individual interpretation of the figure we have been working on!  As I have said, I love experimentation and I hope that each of my students will have gained the expertise and feel the freedom to play about with expression, posture and costuming to create their own individual.


AnLiNa Designs:  Peggy, thanks so much for taking the time for this interview!  Happy Holidays!

Peggy:  Thank you!