Time for another cloth dollmaker

November 29, 2007 at 9:48 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Danielson 09  Danielson 02    Danielson 04

One thing that turns me off on a lot of cloth dolls is that you see the same style of face used over and over again. I’m sure it has something to do with the medium, and how hard it is to paint on cloth, but I think it’s also caused by too few artists teaching all the others how to paint faces. Today’s artist, Linda Danielson, suffers from a bit of that problem, but she more than makes up for it in the lush costumes and intriguing characters of her dolls.

Danielson 13  Danielson 11  Danielson 12  

Danielson has a background in fiber arts, and you can see it in every one of her cloth figures. They are costumed in a brilliant array of colors and textures, showcasing a variety of needlework including beading, dyeing, knitting and tatting. I’m not sure if these are all examples of the artist’s own work or if she’s merely using found items to good advantage, but either way they express a sensibility for fabric that is stunning in effect.

Danielson 08  Danielson 07  Danielson 06  

Each of Danielson’s dolls is a character who makes you want to know the story of its life. Many of them carry shells, baskets, pine cones or other natural objects, and their costumes derive their colors from the natural world.  Danielson lives on the west coast of North America and draws much of her inspiration from the changing of the seasons around her.

Danielson 05  Danielson 03  Danielson 01

To see more of her work, check out her lovely web page or visit the Sooke Harbor House Gift Shop.


  1. Kay Susan said,

    I just wanted to say thank you for an inspirational series of posts links. Very much appreciated!

  2. thessalyrose said,

    Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed them.

  3. urbanwildflower said,

    I just discovered your blog today and I really like it. I have often wondered about the sameness of faces and even dolls myself. I think this occurs for a couple of reasons. As a quilter and doll maker I have experienced the phenomenon of people wanting to create exactly what the teacher makes. I suppose this is fine as you develop your skills and master techniques but I would think that this would get old after a while. Also, I have had the experience of taking a class and having a teacher demand that I copy her. That was weird. I think we can grow as artists when we study the work of artists across disciplines. I took life drawing classes long before I became a doll maker. I think this helps me a bit when it is time for me to paint and sculpt my doll faces. Just my thoughts. Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

  4. thessalyrose said,

    Dollmakers are not immune to egoism. I once entered a cloth doll in a competition which was being judged by a relatively well-known dollmaker. She gave me the worst score I’ve ever gotten in a competition, even though this was one of my better dolls, and, strangely, the dolls that won ribbons were the ones that looked the most like her own work. People like that do a disservice to dollmakers who would like to learn from them, but maybe they do a service to the rest of us by making our work stand out.

    Thanks for the nice comments!

  5. dollstreetjudi said,

    Then again developing your own style is one way that your work is recognized, and that includes your style of face. That sameness gives you recognition.

  6. thessalyrose said,

    I’m not complaining about an individual artist making faces that look the same as all her other faces — you’re right, that’s part of an individual’s style. I’m talking about doll artists whose work looks like other doll artists.

    I suppose it’s unfair to single out cloth artists when hard media artists often suffer from the same problem. For example, I learned how to sculpt from a book by Maureen Carlson, and I think most of my work reflects her influence quite strongly. (Something I’m working to improve). I sometimes find myself looking at someone’s work and thinking, “Ah, another student of Maureen Carlson.” Carlson is a fabulous sculptor, and I love her work, but as artists we need to learn to be more independent of each other.

    That’s my feeling, anyway. Your mileage may vary. 🙂

  7. Julia said,

    I have recently started making cloth dolls and have a lot of experience in crafts and sewing so I am really enjoying the journey.
    What I would really like to do is make a living doing this.
    Is there anyone out there who could give me advice on where to start and the route to take? I am at a loss.

  8. thessalyrose said,

    To be completely honest with you, I’m not sure anybody makes a living just selling cloth dolls. I recommend considering other doll-related revenue streams, such as designing patterns, teaching classes, and selling doll supplies.

    That said, here are some groups and links you should check out:

    Joggles has a ton of online classes for fiber artists of every stripe.

    Doll Street Dreamers has more online classes and a community

    Sisters and Daughters.com is a great online store with doll patterns, videos, books, supplies and kits.

    Go to Etsy.com and open a shop there, then visit the forums and join the yahoo group listed above. Etsy is a great place to sell your work and their forums are a great place to meet other professional artists.

    CraftBizAdvice is a group for people who sell crafts in any venue. Most of the members are polymer clay artists, but they’re very friendly and free with the advice.

    The Dollmaker’s Internet Community has a very active list populated by all kinds of dollmakers.

    Hope this info helps! Have fun on your journey. 🙂

  9. dramaqueen said,

    I do love to see your creations. I understand how one certain doll doll maker/author makes the same type of doll face over and over and have noticed that the readers of her books seem to only use her patterns for body and head. I can always see who the doll maker has been reading when I see the dolls.
    Not one of my art dolls look alike….just like any person. All heads and bodies are made without any pattern. Witch Bella Donna, Santa and Chef Tom Turkey Lurkey are one of a kind and not found in any book.
    None of the above means I dont have doll books, the books I own kick my mind into high gear to start making more dolls. I go to fabric stores for clothes patterns (full sized) to help me make the smaller patterns for the dolls.
    My other dolls are the type a baby can squish and cuddle and be thrown into the wash.. Long live the dolls!!!!

  10. Connie said,

    I agree with a lot of you. I think most people who take cloth doll classes strive to make the same exact doll the artist made. I hate that and I will strive to never ever do it. I think taking a class should be about techniques not about copying somebody else’s work.

    I just started my own blog. I would love it for anyone who likes to visit and leave a comment. By the way I love yours. It’s cool.


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