ADAA 2012: The Talented Arley Berryhill

ADAA is pleased to have the multi-talented Arley Berryhill on our faculty this year!  He is always pushing the envelope as a designer and costumer.  He is teaching a new doll at ADAA 2012, the Gypsy Fortune Teller, complete with her fortune telling booth.


Believe it or not, this doll is constructed from cloth.  Arley spent time as a make-up artist, and brings those skills to his doll making with beautiful and realistic features.  The hands of his dolls are the most beautiful hands I’ve seen. 

In this class, you’ll learn Arley’s techniques for doll and costume construction, make-up, wigging and turban making.  As a bonus, Arley will teach you to make the fortune telling booth!


There is still space available in Arley’s class.  For more information and to sign up, visit the All Dolls Are Art website

Announcing the All Dolls Are Art 2012 Scholarship



Have you always wanted to learn to sculpt a figure?  Perhaps you love to play with cloth or clay, but haven’t been able to make the leap into full blown sculpture.  Or, perhaps you’ve made figures for years, but are stuck in a rut.  Maybe none of these apply, but you really want to attend All Dolls Are Art and take a class from Christine Shively, Arley Berryhill, Marilynn Huston or one of our other fabulous faculty members.  Perhaps your budget is a bit stretched.  If so, thanks to the generosity of 2011 attendees who designated the proceeds of their silent auction donations to an ADAA scholarship fund, we are delighted to offer 2 ADAA 2012 Scholarships in the amount of $100 each.

If you would like to apply for one of the ADAA 2012 Scholarships, please submit a short essay (1-2 paragraphs) addressing what doll making means to you and what your aspirations are for your doll making journey.  The best essays will be entered into a drawing for one of two scholarships.  This is not a cash prize.  The scholarship will deduct  $100 from your registration fee.  Please submit essays to  If you would like to learn more about All Dolls Are Art and the classes offered at the 2012 event, see our website at:

Well, at last! And Coming Soon…..

I spent the last 8 days sick with a head cold from you know where.  I didn’t accomplish anything accept single-handedly boosting the January profits for tissue suppliers.  Other than that, I’ve been working on my pin doll samples for the final All Dolls Are Art class to be announced for 2012.  My partner in crime, Theresa, is also hard at work on hers’.  We should be ready to unveil early next week on the website, but in the mean time, here’s a sneak peak.


I posted the pink angel in my last post.  I completed the turquoise one, taking a more minimalist approach to the design.


Last but not least is the Seahorse, which I started and finished this evening!


If you are interested in learning to make dolls, we have a variety of classes available at ADAA from a world class faculty.  The conference is July 26-29, in Austin, TX.  For all of the details, check out our website or our Facebook Page!  You can also see photo’s of the class samples on Pinterest!

All Dolls Are Art 2012 Artist Interview: Lisa Renner

Lisa Renner’s mixed media art has been published in multiple books and magazines, including “Alphabetica”, “Beyond Paper Dolls”, and “Art Making:  Collections and Obsessions” by Lynne Perrella, “Collaborative Art Journals and Shared Visions in Mixed Media” by LK Ludwig, Art Doll Quarterly, Somerset Studio, and Belle Armoire.  She has taught at Art Unravelled, Stamp Asylum, and, of course, the very first All Dolls Are Art!  I am so please she is coming back and is debuting a new class, her  Bobble Head dolls, as well as teaching her Pod Head dolls which were featured in the Fall 2011 issue of Art Doll Quarterly.  To see more of Lisa’s work, visit her website:


AnLiNa Designs:  Hi Lisa!  Please tell me how you got started in your artistic adventures.  Did you take art classes as a child or in college?

Lisa:  I did art on my own when I was little and all through high school.  One of the things I enjoyed doing early on was drawing. In my junior year I remember I had to do a report on Cowboys and for extra credit  I drew 5 different pictures of cowboys- all 5 of them in one night on notebook paper. It certainly boosted my grade!


I used to put together little game projects, making puzzles and activity books for my brothers to keep them busy in the summer.  I was always making something artistic, however I didn’t take any art classes.  I don’t why I didn’t, because I loved art.  I did start taking classes as an adult when I had more free time and decided what I really loved.  I made bread dough ornaments to sell when I was in my 20’s.  So that’s how I started doing little 3-d things.  I took classical guitar lessons for a year in college and loved it, and played until I just ran out of time to do it anymore.   I still say I will pick it up again one day.

AnLiNa Designs:  You taught at Art Unravelled and had an article in ADQ recently, what else do you have on your plate for the next year?

Lisa: I’ve written an article that will be out in a future issue of Somerset Studio about the inspiration of Toulous Lautrec’s art with regard to a polymer clay technique I use in my bead making. I will be teaching in France with Lynne Perrella in September 2012, and our workshop focuses on the theme of Lautrec, combining mixed media techniques, and theatrical puppet figures. I’ve taught for many years at Art Unravelled in Phoenix, which I love! Linda, who organizes the event, is extremely organized and so sweet!  I’ve developed so many friendships there, both artistically and personally.  I really loved teaching at ADAA last year; the venue was great and the students were wonderful!  And Amy, you were very organized, which I really appreciated. I’m really looking forward to ADAA again!


I’m going to have an advertisement in Southwest Art Magazine, in the January issue with my Bobble Head Doll!  The issue is focused on figurative art, and the person in charge of advertising contacted me and said she’d come across my website and put it in her file so she could contact me when it was time for this issue.

AnLiNa Designs:  I’ll be on the lookout for that!  I know that you have a day-job.  Have you ever thought about doing art full-time?

Lisa: I would love to be able to be a full-time artist, but am not able to right now.  At some point I probably will. 

AnLiNa Designs:  You manage to produce a lot of work given that you also work full time, so tell me a bit about your schedule and how you stay so organized.

Lisa:  When I have a deadline looming, I focus on that project to the exclusion of everything else.  I am off on Fridays from my day job, so I’ll literally begin my project, whatever it is, first thing Friday morning and will work straight through the weekend if necessary.  I have a truly supportive husband who is very respectful of my time and what I’d like to do. He’s very self-sufficient and does his own thing, and lets me do what I need to do.  I do have my Mom over every two weeks or so, which I schedule ahead of time so I can work my projects out and focus on my Mom when she’s here.  It makes a big difference having that 3-day weekend. Also, being a “morning person”, I get up at 4:30 or 5:00 AM, which allows me to get quite a bit accomplished in the quiet of the early morning. I’m very productive until about 7 or 8 PM, and after that I am ready to wind things down and the creativity winds down with it!


AnLiNa Designs:  What are you working on next?  Do you already know everything you are doing between now and September, when you go to France?

Lisa:  I’m really trying not to do as much teaching right now because of my family commitments.  I do plan to teach some workshops at Stamp Asylum in Plano in the new year. I also hope to offer my Bird Peeps workshop there next year (an ADAA 2010 class), but I’m trying to keep my travelling to a minimum so I can be close at hand in case my mom needs me.

I enjoy doing round-robin types of exchanges, and right now I’m involved in one with Lynne Perrella and Pamela (Gypsy Pamela) called Figuratively Speaking.  We each have a doll, or figure of some sort which we mail to the participants in “round robin style”, for each participant to contribute something of their own to it. I just shipped the last one I worked on to Pamela last week.  I should be getting my next one in the next couple of days.  I love doing these exchanges because it’s always a surprise and a challenge.  I am also doing a Tarot card deck swap with Red Dog Scott.  It is a Steam punk theme, and my card is the Magician.


AnLiNa Designs: Who is Red Dog Scott? 

Lisa:  Red is an artist who has hosted the Capalon swap for several years.  She created it based on Nick Bantock’s “ Griffin and Sabine” trilogy of books.  Each person that signed up would make something based on the theme, and mail it to Red.  If you made three of the same things, you would get 3 different things back.  She’s done the themed card deck swaps for many years as well.   I’ve got 10 or more decks of cards, each on varying themes.  Some are Tarot Decks, others are just playing card decks. They’re little pieces of art that are so cool!  I particularly love the Halloween Decks.


AnLiNa Designs:  How do you get involved in these? 

Lisa: Red has a master list of people who’ve been doing these things forever and ever.  She sends out a mass email and people sign up.  If there’s a specific card you want, you ask and first come first served.  If you don’t ask for a card she’ll assign you one. She provides a list of specs including the exact size the finished card should be, and the number of copies needed.  You make one original and then make quality copies. Red collates them all and you get back a whole deck. Even when I can’t participate, I always tell her to keep me on her list because I just love participating! 


I usually mount my card decks on card stock and put a decorative backing on them, and many times make a fabric pouch or bag of some sort to contain them. Sometimes I mount them in a book format, which I love as well. I have also laminated them.

Occasionally, Nina, Trisha, Vicki and I will do art swaps.   We’ve done some wonderful doll swaps with themes like “Elements” (Wind, Water, Fire and Earth); and “Dolls with a Secret”, which was a really cool exchange.

I’m a member of the North Texas polymer clay guild and love to work in polymer clay.   I do enjoy that because it’s a whole different type of creativity and relates to mixed media in a big way.  Most of my dolls incorporate some kind of polymer clay, whether it is the head, or a head dress!


Book and paper arts are another area of interest for me. I’m developing a class for next year in which we’ll make painterly papers for signatures which will be visible through an exposed leather spine.   I enjoy teaching.  I have to be inspired to teach a specific workshop, and it is most important to me that it is something I personally like. I spend a lot of time coming up with classes and class designs.  If I see something really cool, I try to figure out how to make it into a class.  If I am going to make it a class however, before I announce it, I make sure I can get enough components for every student.   “Can you teach such and such?”  Not unless it’s something that inspires me and not unless I can find sufficient supplies and materials for everyone. I like to be very prepared.   I like to go in the classroom the night before and set up so I’m not rushed before classes.  I do not want there to be chaos for the students.  I may feel chaotic inside, but the students shouldn’t have to be subjected to that because they are paying money for their workshop.  They should be able to come in and learn, have some fun making a project, and receive a hand-out so they can duplicate what they made at home if they wish.  They can then leave and feel happy and not stressed or worried.  That’s what I would like to accomplish with each class I teach.


AnLiNa Designs:  If you were talking to someone who told you they were thinking of teaching and asked what they would need to do to prepare, what would you say?

Lisa:  I think as a teacher, one needs to prepare an outline and a well-written hand-out, and share all of your information, not just some of it, with your students.  Preparation is key.  You have to be ready for anything, because you will get thrown curve balls in class.  I try to work through each of the steps for any given project in advance, and make sure they make sense and the flow is proper.  So if I know that I have the instructions in order, then the class should flow smoothly.  No one is perfect, lord knows I’m not, but if you can think through the whole workshop in advance, and try to anticipate the things that can happen, you’ll be more able to handle any of the curve balls. Be prepared to be prepared! And first and foremost, Love what you do!!

AnLiNa Designs:  Thanks so much for your time!

All Doll Artists Are Art 2012 Interview: Fran Parrigan-Meehan


Fran Parrigan-Meehan’s a pattern designer, doll artist and teacher. She is an auxiliary member of ODACA and served as the auxiliary chair person for 3 years. Her work has been published in Patti Medaris Culea’s “Creative Cloth Explorations” book and in Soft Dolls and Animals, Doll Crafter, Doll Crafter and Costuming, and in Dolls magazines. She has designed and published numerous patterns and has taught at Artistic Figures In Cloth, Enchanted Doll Artists Conference, and for several doll clubs, the Boulder City, NV, library for the Las Vegas Silver Dollars Doll club, and in her studio. She has worked in the commercial clothing industry, making men’s and women’s clothing, had a doll related business in Las Vegas called Fran’s Doll Land, and now has an Etsy shop of the same name. She dyes laces, ribbons, fabrics and mohair, and designs and sells face molds and half doll molds. She designed and teaches a doll out of real rose petals. She has also exhibited a doll in an exhibit in the Lithuanian Museum and had 2 dolls exhibited in the Boulder City, NV, library.  She also recently had a doll which won Judge’s choice in the Treasures of the Gypsy challenge 2011 at the Houston Quilt Festival.  To see more of Fran’s work, visit her blog:

Fran is teaching 2 new classes at ADAA 2012!  She’s teaching the Little Fairies class, one of which is pictured above, and the Miss Prissy class.

AnLiNa Designs: Hi Fran!  Please tell me, how did you find dolls?

Fran: I always loved dolls, since I was 4 and 5 years old. My mother taught me how to cut out and sew a one piece doll on my great-grandmother’s Singer Treadle machine, which was an antique already at that time. She even taught me to make a doll house from trees, with the spaces where the roots come out making rooms and how to make furniture out of the twigs and bark. She showed me how to make stick people. And we can’t forget the paper dolls either. My grandmother used to get the McCall’s magazine, and she’d cut out the paper dolls, and we’d design our own. We’d get tissue paper and wrapping paper and design our own clothes and shoes, gluing them onto the dolls make them stay. I’ve always had dolls, ever since I was little. I collected them since I was little, and I continue to collect dolls and have made dolls ever since.


AnLiNa Designs: How did you get from there to cloth and clay dolls?

Fran: I started making clay dolls in 1995. I took classes from everyone I could find, including Earlene Maple Bromer, Lewis Goldstein, Heldegard Gunzel, Sherry Goshon, Mary-Ann Oldenburg, and many others. As far as cloth goes, I started making cloth dolls on my own, years ago, before I was ever even in the doll business. I would draw up my own patterns. I also have an art background, as I took lots of art courses in college, and everywhere else I could find them, including Jo’Ann’s.

AnLiNa Designs: What other media do you work in besides cloth and clay?

Fran: I also work with mixed media, doing collages with metals, papers, paints and bits and pieces of everything. I draw faces, fairies, people, houses and whatever interests me at the time I’m creating a collage on hard board or canvas.

AnLiNa Designs: Where do you get inspiration for your dolls?

Fran: It just comes to me. I can go out and about and look at things, and I’ll think of a doll. I look at carpets with designs, ceramic tiles, and curtains, etc. I can see faces, heads, and shapes of pieces. There’s one place I went that I saw a tall standing rabbit. I often see faces in carpets. Even in the sky, you can see bears, dragons, angels, faces, and other things. I dream a lot when I’m sleeping. I dream about dolls all the time. I keep a sketch book on my night stand and when I wake up during the night with an idea for a doll, I will write it down or sketch it. When I go to make dolls, I’ll think, when I sit down, which one should I create first? I start drawing the pattern, put the body parts together and sometimes what I create isn’t that original doll in my head, but another doll entirely.


AnLiNa Designs: Do your dolls talk to you when you are making them?

Fran: The dolls do talk to me and tell me what they want. What I do is, I have all these baskets and drawers. I’m a bits and pieces hoarder of fabrics, trims, all sorts of stuff. I don’t throw away anything, flowers, bits and pieces, sticks, metal, anything. I go through these baskets pulling out stuff and putting it up on the doll to see if it’s right. If it’s not right, then she tells me and I have to put it back and try again until I find what’s right for the doll.

AnLiNa Designs: Does the doll lead you or do you lead the doll?

Fran: The doll leads me. I sometimes try to lead the doll and it doesn’t work. I keep picking up bits and pieces and I love manipulating fabrics on the doll and dressing them. If she doesn’t like it, I keep changing bits until the doll is the way she wants to be. I could say I guess that the doll controls me. I try to control it sometimes, and I end up have to take the doll apart and start again. I’ve even taken faces off of dolls because they didn’t work. I have a lot of doll parts lying around!

AnLiNa Designs: I haven’t taken faces off of dolls, but I have a lot of spare heads when the head I created for the doll in process didn’t work on the doll. All of these heads are sitting on the shelf behind my sewing machine, waiting for a body.

Fran: I’ve even painted over faces before!

AnLiNa Designs: Do you know what dolls you want to make next?

Fran: I have some in mind that I’m going to make next. I always write down what dolls I want to create. One I really want to do is a long-legged, long-armed, long body doll, a silly doll. I don’t know that she will come out first, because there’s a little boy that wants to come out really badly. He’s from the Victorian era, with his little knickers and his hat playing with the barrel rim with a stick like they played with in the Victorian days. He’s been wanting to be born for quite a few years. I have his pattern drawn out and he’s ready to be put together. I don’t make too many boy dolls.


AnLiNa Designs: What do you like most about teaching?

Fran: The thing I like about teaching is watching new students work and completing their doll and making it their own. When I teach, I tell my students, “it’s my pattern, but you make the doll your own. I’ll take you through the steps, but when you are finished, it’s not my doll, it’s yours!”. A lot of students will tell me that they are taking my class to make my doll, and I respond “No! It’s my pattern, but I’m teaching you how I do things and you take them and make the doll your own. I can learn things from you”. This last time, at AFIC, I had two students that had never made a doll and they were so thrilled! They did fantastic dolls! I was so proud! All of my students made great dolls!

AnLiNa Designs: What advice would you give to aspiring doll artists?

Fran: I’d tell them not to be afraid. I’ve heard a lot of people say I can’t. There’s no such word “I can’t”. My daddy would always tell my brothers and I “You can’t? THERE’S NO SUCH WORD! YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU SET YOUR MIND TO!” Very wise man, my daddy was!

I would tell them to go for it, keep making dolls, don’t be afraid of what anyone says. Don’t listen to negative stuff. Anything you do in life, to get good, you have to keep making it and keep doing it over and over. You’ll see, you’ll get better and better at everything you do. A lot of people are scared taking classes, thinking they have to do exactly what the teacher does. I’m there to teach and guide you, but you, as the student, are there to learn to make how to make the doll and the techniques.