GUMNUT DOLLIES NEWCASTLE is a group of creative doll makers, using a variety of different media. We warmly welcome new members and visitors. Our dolls range from the naive to sculpted art dolls created with cloth, clay, found objects and much more. We meet on the second Saturday of the month and are based in Newcastle, Australia. Our group has its beginnings with HELLO DOLLIES a doll makers' group established by Anne's Glory Box and GUMNUTTERS, a group of like minded doll enthusiasts.
Merry Christmas to all Hello Dollies friends ... Tomorrow ( 17 December) will be the last "meeting" of the year - a Christmas party and lots of goodies in the shop on sale! There will also be a wonderful gift swap with the theme of "Vintage". I wish I could be there to join in the festivities and fun. With another family commitment, all I can manage is to wish each of you the very best for the festive season, and thank you all for another year of inspiration, friendship and support.
Happy Doll making during the holiday season!
PS I hope you like this video ... Steampunk Christmas?
There was certainly nothing ordinary at our Hello Dollies meeting in October. The "show and tell" was extraordinary, with some members having attended recent workshops with Akira Blount and Sherrill Kahn.
The photo above is a beautiful art doll from Akira's workshop, with photos below of some of the work produced in Sherrill's workshop.
There was of course a lot more - I am sorry I didn't get photos of everything - I got too engrossed in looking and listening to the stories behind the fantastic work. We had everything - from aprons made from overalls, Christmas banners, knitted scarves, colourful fabric bags, art brooches ... the list is all you can imagine ... as well as amazing art dolls, using many different techniques.
And a wonderful doll by West Australian doll maker, Linda Misa , added to the collection of one of our members.
Our techniques demonstration for the day was "walking through" the process of making a simple little doll's chair or throne. The possibilities are endless, so I am looking forward to seeing many creative interpretations of this. Please contact me via the comments below if you would like the basic instructions I prepared for this meeting.
Congratulations to our wonderful beautiful Ann who shaved her head to raise much needed funds for the Cancer Council and their continuing cancer research. Ann thanks all Dollies friends who supported. her. We are so very proud of you, Ann, and think you are very brave. Not many of us would volunteer to do without our hair!
Ann also initiated a challenge to make a Christmas theme doll for the December meeting. The challenge is to create a Christmas doll from a pattern which originally was not Christmassy - hope to see many participating in this fun challenge.
And last but not least, Happy Birthday, Fay. Have a wonderful time with your family.
After a couple of weeks away, I am revitalised and have lots of new ideas .... I follow the Comfort Doll Project blog and was happy to see an Australian Connection in the most recent post. Here are some dolls donated by Australian dollmaker, Delys Brady . My Rotary club awhile ago made some little comfort dolls for our local women's refuges, but it is probably time again to restock. I also thought perhaps the Hello Dollies group might like to become involved and contribute to the Comfort Doll Project in Australia.
We already make sure that Centacare are provided with beautiful dolls and toys to be distributed at Christmas, and I am not suggesting that this should be abandoned at all. However, I am sure we all have a few small dolls that could also be donated as comfort dolls. I'll talk about it some more at the October meeting, but in the meantime, please consider this idea while I make contact with the Australian Coordinator of the Comfort Doll Project for more information.
See you at the next meeting 22 October - I will organise a little tutorial on making a luxurious looking chair for a doll. Best wishes, Wilma
What a busy month August has been for Hello Dollies...
First, the stunning display of dolls at the Newcastle Craft and Sewing Show was very well received and hopefully, has created a renewed interest in doll making. The Oriental Dancer dolls and the Seasons Challenge dolls were all wonderful. Thanks to everyone who contributed display dolls. Although they have been seen before, the opulent Asian Riches quilt and the elegant Don's Ties quilt provided the perfect setting for the dolls and complemented and enhanced their quality.
Then just a week later, we had another vibrant meeting with lots of show and tell, especially as some of us had also participated in a workshop with Ann Maullin. What beautiful work - congratulations to all.
It was also the "joints" meeting so Ann had brought along lots of different dolls with limbs attached in different ways. We also revisited the fantastic books of Susan Oroyan to remind us of various jointing methods.
There was also some positive PR for doll making from the media coverage for the Timeless Textiles exhibition, so what a great month of "highs" for all doll makers ...
Regrettably I won't be at next month's meeting, but I know it will be another enthusiastic meeting - and it will be the beginning of the "new look" meetings with a focus on doll making techniques rather than patterns.
A small gathering of Hello Dollies celebrated Christmas in July in style. We had a really fantastic show and tell, with many tips and techniques shared. There was a wonderful interpretation of Cyndi Mahlstadt 's mermaid - a favourite pattern of us all...
And some really charming whimsical country style dolls - a cuddly winter girl and a papa bear, surrounded by Tunisian crochet scarves and cushion...
And a beautiful Gail Wilson historical doll and a faithful reproduction of a Lenci felt doll both of which really showed us quality workmanship and a commitment to detail.
And two more dolls for the Seasons Challenge .... These were both fantastic interpretations for the challenge of creating your own fabric to make a doll from the basic patterns provided. Congratulations!
It wouldn't have been a party without presents and food. We excitedly opened our swap gifts on the theme "for someone who likes to sew", spent our gift vouchers and indulged in a luscious pavlova and almond and cherry bread .
Reminder to all who entered the Oriental Dance Challenge last year - your dolls are invited to be exhibited at the Craft Show in Newcastle 19- 21 August and should arrive at the shop on or before 16 August.
Post script : I was sewing a doll's chair which some of you were interested to see and here it is- finished.
Have you been feeling cold recently? It's not often in Australia that it's cold enough to think of snow men , but there are a few places which have had snow falls recorded in the last few weeks. It is July after all, and at the next Hello Dollies meeting, we'll be celebrating Christmas in July. I hope you have got your newsletter ... if not, I've included the latest news from Fay. By the way, if you like the little snowman tag in the photo, here's the link with instructions. http://www.bhg.com/christmas/crafts/felted-snowman-pin/
see you at Dollies... keep warm and best wishes, Wilma
The long awaited "Seasons" challenge dolls were greeted with enthusiasm and awe last Saturday. The photo above shows detail of some of the exquisite work presented - the challenge was to "create your own fabric" for a doll using one of the basic patterns provided. What wonderfully creative results this challenge produced. Perhaps a little disappointing there were not quite a few more... but the finished ones were really amazing works of textile art.
Other "Show and Tell" certainly did not pale into insignificance and the now expected high quality creations were exciting and inspiring . We had creatures great and small, the exquisite and outrageous, new obsessions - embellishing by machine and mixed media art quilts, and a doll collector's Lenci treasures.
Good news : Hello Dollies will have a display of challenge dolls at the Craft Show in Newcastle in August!