Thursday, 27 September 2012

Cloth Figure Quarterly

 Cloth Figure Quarterly UK was a trial publication of 4 issues produced, edited and printed by Madeleine Sara in the UK, in 2008. 
It aimed to celebrate the Art/Craft of Cloth Figures with Textile Embellishment, also known as Cloth Dolls and Textile Figures. 

'An excellent wealth of information for anyone involved or interested in any form of cloth doll or textile figure making; not glossy, but nevertheless, excellent value for money'! 

Madeleine Sara has considerable experience writing for Doll magazine and decided to create this publication, specifically on cloth figures, utilising her knowledge and experience together with that of other cloth doll makers. Whilst the focus was on UK designers/makers and other relevant textile figure subjects, there are contributions and interviews with cloth doll makers from around the globe.  Sadly, it proved too costly to continue as a printed magazine and was far too much work for one person, alone, to continue. However, she reserves the right to reinstate the magazine in some form in the future, if circumstances prove more favourable. 

All 4 issues of Cloth Figure Quarterly which ran in 2008

are now ONLY available on a CD-ROM

Rosie May Rag Doll

This commission was an exciting challenge, as I did not want to duplicate other artist's styles of faces mentioned (and thereby infringe copyright) and yet needed to make this doll fit within the guidelines given in the brief.
I wanted her to have proper facial features including ears, rather than the representational faces of the two characters listed in the brief. So I spent some time designing her face, so that it would be childlike, but clear. I also felt that the large, pink cheeks of the Jemima face detracted from the eyes; whilst the additional stylised lines on the Raggy Ann face might reduce clarity for anyone with visual impairment; and Raggy Ann's prominent black, triangular nose might also detract from the eyes.
Then, I embroidered the final design onto the white cotton fabric I had chosen for her body, head and limbs. I used fabric pencil for her rosie cheeks and thought she looked like an English Rose, so I named her Rosie; though I'm not sure what she will be named by her new owners!
I used black corduroy for her shoes to give them some added texture and embellished these with black and white gingham ribbon bows.
I made sure that her hair was clear from her face, but gave her a small fringe, which could be smoothed over her forehead, if desired. Her clothes were in bold blocks of colour, so as not to detract from her face, as requested.

The Customer's Brief:
I'd like a rag doll in white, red and black with a clear face; perhaps like the Jemima or the Raggy Ann dolls. Her hair, eyes and shoes should be black and her lips red. The clothes should not detract from the details of the face, but can have a small spot or check pattern with red if desired. 

Her pattern is now available to buy

Serena, 1970's Hippy Figure

This is Serena. It’s the early 1970’s and although she hasn't embraced the 'burn-your-bra' ethic, she is thoroughly enjoying the hippy scene. 
She has an MG given to her by Daddy for her birthday and she’s now mastering the guitar. 

She has needle-felted mohair, needle-sculpted and fabric painted features, separate fingers and top-stitched toes with platform sandals.

Her jeans are appliqu├ęd with flowers, hearts and rainbows and she has a CND/Peace badge and a Smiley Badge. 

She even has a textile guitar.
Her pattern plus guitar instructions and decals are available to buy

Gothic Sophie Cloth Figure

 designed by Madeleine Sara Maddocks 2008
Made for the CDMUK Internet group challenge I was unsure whether I should make a Romantic Goth or a Modern Goth. I knew I wanted to give her little boots and lacy black stockings, so the traditional long flowing romantic Goth dress would not show these off to best advantage.
In the end I made her face and this immediately said Modern Goth with attitude!
I added nose rings and eye brow rings with embroidery thread, painted tattoo and black, silk clothes with a spikey trim to give the idea of spider's webs.
Her hair, initially meant to be a Marabou feather  ended up as eye lash yarn.
As she won joint 1st prize I gave her a tiny 1st rosette on her left wrist.
Her pattern featured in Cloth Figure Quarterly magazine and is now available to  buy on-line.

I called her Sophie as a tribute to the young woman, Sophie Lancaster, who tragically lost her life because she dressed as a Goth. 

I also later made a Raggy Romantic Goth and a Prim Goth. I used the Barbara Willis 'Annie' pattern as a basis of the Raggy Romantic Goth.

Textile Teens for Beginners

 Textile Teens: Grace & Fliss designed by Madeleine Sara Maddocks 2009

Interested in a career in fashion and Textile Design? Then an interest in sewing, design and textiles is essential.  You've probably already got yourself a sewing machine, so what better way to get started than to create some wonderful soft sculpted textile figures to help you to develop these skills. These young women who love sparkly jewellery and accessories, including pink mobile/cell phone. 

A stylish Beginner Cloth Figure with outline head, limbs and body and slender top-stitched fingers. She has fun jeans and trainers that are easy to make and her hair is styled from a skein of space dyed textured yarn. Faces painted and needle-sculpted.
The step-by-step fully illustrated Beginner Pattern
is available on CD Rom format


Cushionella Cloth Figure Pattern

It was important that the 'doll' and 'cushion' should have equal emphasis, so I gave her a bust that looked like two cushions and added gold piping cord.' Cushion doll' for me conjured up images of plump, soft, comforting, relaxing, zoftig (full-bosomed; having a full, shapely figure), flouncy billowing, puffs, folds, layers, sumptuous/opulent soft furnishing fabrics, tassel/ fringes/ piping/ bead/ ribbon embellishment. I also considered the different types and shapes of cushions and colour scheme.
I shaped the bottom of her body like a square cushion, resting on the cushion-bustle for her 'Marie Antonette' style skirt. Her arms were made to resemble combinations of round and bolster-shaped cushions, whilst her legs were made to resemble a combination of pretty, frilly square and bolster boudoir cushions. The whole effect was to look like a pile of cushions and yet look like a complete doll. I made corkscrew curls to create her hair and she is further embellished with beads, fringes and trim. The finishing touch was her rather fun Cavalier style hat made using the selvedge trim from the fabric.

Her pattern in now available to buy

Soft Sculpture Figure Artist
Madeleine Sara Maddocks 

Fleur Cloth Figure Pattern

In 2007 I was asked by two ladies to make a fantasy doll in pinks/burgundies similar to the ones they already owned. It had to be of delicate build and be embellished in an artistically random way with lace, ribbons, textile yarns, trims, fringes and artificial flowers; with button-jointed limbs.

This doll was to be a birthday present for their special friend. After some discussion about details,
a fabric was chosen and I came up with this fantasy maiden. I also used beads, dyed silks and gave her wired, fingered hands.

THE VERDICT: She's absolutely lovely. We really love her face and hands, especially and knew we could leave those details to someone who knew what they were doing. Thank you!

Her pattern is now available to buy

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Fiddly Little Fingers and Tricky Toes

This comb bound book contains excellent tips and useful step by step information to enable you to make those fiddly little cloth figure hands with wired fingers easily and effectively, as well as toed feet. Lots of background information on preparation; suitable fabrics, tools and illustrated  do's and don'ts of how to make cloth doll hands,  fingers and toes.

There's also a complete pattern for the cloth figure Pampered Polly (See below)
PLus fabric swatches of suitable/ unsuitable fabrics to use.

~ Artist’s Vision for Soft Sculpture Figure ~
     She’s my version of a boudoir doll. I imagined the blissful expression on Polly’s face as she enjoys a pampering session of nail treatments and facial. Her slightly sun-bronzed complexion also denotes a visit to the solarium. Whilst her attire consists of toweling robe and head towel; to further the theme of luxurious indulgence, as well as for modesty, 

she has sexy, black, lacy underwear.                     

 © Cloth Doll Creations by S Maddocks 2007

CUSTOMER COMMENTS: 'Fiddly Little Fingers and Tricky Toes'  by Madeleine Sara Maddocks
"I feel your book is extremely informative and the diagrams and photographs leave nothing to the imagination as the instructions are very, very clear. The little samples of  fabric suitable for such dolls is a really good idea, also the hints on stuffing are very helpful and the pattern to go with the book was just the icing on the cake!  You may have guessed I am really pleased with the book and would recommend it to any person beginning cloth doll making". E.M, Milton Damerel, Devon
"I bought a copy for my friend and  started reading it last night and couldn't put it down; so I just had to make a special detour on my way home to buy myself a copy as well!" S.D, Totnes, Devon

"The Fiddly Fingers book is great - so pleased with it - it's made a difference! "
P.P. Taunton, Somerset

"I LOVE the book!"  Mary Ann,
Available also as CD-Rom at Doll Makers Journey for $20.00

Anemone Atargatis Mermaid Pattern

Anemone Mermaid designed by Madeleine Sara Maddocks
I was  inspired by the idea that since humans like to embellish themselves with jewellery and tattoos, this mermaid would adorn herself in  the latest sea life fashion. 
I studied pictures of fish tails and the female form to get her shape, as I imagined it should look. I never think Mermaids would feel embarrassed by their nakedness and I hope I offend no-one by thier lack of modesty! I crocheted the plankton-seaweed necklaces and was inspired to embellish them further with beads, after seeing some wonderful influences in Patti Culea’s excellent book “Creative Cloth Doll Making”. 
Anemone’s tail is made from some beautifully embroidered, pink Indian fabric, which I further embellished with ribbon, beading, embroidery, knotwork and stumpwork. The starfish and anemones are made using the needle weaving technique, whilst the coral is knot work.

I also added wadding and cord to the tail-fin and used the Trapunto quilting technique to make the veins stand out.
I used commercially mixed fibres, wools and ribbons in shades of pink for the hair of one of my pink mermaids and Yadeno mohair for the one above and painted their faces with acrylic fabric paints. The face and bust have some needle- sculpting. Arms, body and face are made from Parfait Pimatex fabric.

Atargatis Sea Goddess Mermaid 

designed by Madeleine Sara Maddocks

Sea life is so rich in vibrant colour that I wanted to reflect this in the embellishments on her tail. I used crochet, bouillon knots. knot work, stumpwork, woven picots, beading, dyeing. 

The body fabric is ethnic colour # 13 from the dollmakersjourney collection.

Ruby Fruiticosa

 Ruby is a Hedgerow or Woodland Nymph inspired by some wooden blackberry coloured beads; Rubus Fruiticosa being the Latin name for blackberry. 
She is embellished with hand made silk blackberry flowers, beaded blackberries made from black, reddish brown and natural wooden beads and textile leaves. The tendrils are stiffened embroidery thread.
Her hair is made from a reddish brown tapestry yarn and her eyelashes are applied fabric.

This image below is a photograph of real blackberry blossom with my silk flowers placed on top of the photo at the bottom and then re-photographed.
Pattern comes with complete instructions and templates 

Soft Sculpted Cloth Figures

  • The craft/art of Soft Sculpted Cloth Figures has so much more scope than other forms of Textile Fibre Arts,
    since it involves fashion/costume design; portraiture; caricature; characterisation; fabric manipulation; quilting/needle sculpture;
    beading; embroidery; painting; dyeing and printing; knitting; crochet and all sorts of other textile embellishment.
  • Interestingly, traditional UK crafts and textile art has its roots in the wartime and post war ethos of practical, make do and mend such as knitting, crochet and patchwork & quilting. To make something that could be useful, but which ultimately has developed into something decorative and creative, has always been part of the UK mindset. 
  • Since dolls were seen as a luxury during wartime, few dolls were made and the stigma that a doll is a toy/ plaything, has dogged the art/craft of cloth figure making for decades and still underlies people's prejudices today. 
  • In Canada, USA and Australia, this craft/art form has been much more fully appreciated and followed.
    Thankfully, in the noughties more and more UK Textile Craft/Artists are embracing Textile Art Figure making.