I am sorry, I am not currently able to take bookings for in-person classes.
The following cloth doll classes are currently not available for booking:
Ascending - An Exclusive In-Person Workshop*
A 2 day workshop
1. Moving, going, or growing upward
2. Moving or progressing toward a higher level or degree
Sometimes it seems we are standing in one place, rooted to the spot. And many times we don’t like where we have planted ourselves. But if we are willing and are brave enough we can soar above all of the mundane, the ordinary and even the terrible things in life. And oh what a view from above.
But that magical lift isn’t the same for everyone and maybe it’s not the same every day. You have to search to find that updraft and hope you can ride it to new heights.
Will it be creativity that lifts you up? Or love? Or home? Or adventure? Or family? Or giving? Or belief?
What lifts you?
“Ascending” was designed to allow you to express and explore exactly what it is that helps you to rise above the commonplace. This doll is made entirely of cloth and measures 15” tall from the tip of her toes to the tip of her chin. The doll’s wire and fabric stand lifts her a further 2” off the ground, letting her body float in space. In this intermediate to advanced level class, costume elements are kept to a minimum with only basic draping and simple beading, allowing greater focus on the creation of a beautiful cloth doll face and body. Particular attention will be paid to drawing, needle-sculpting, and colouring a serene face complete with applied eyelids and eyelashes. Instead of just letting the face express emotion, this doll’s entire body has been designed, with an arched back, outraised arms and pointed toes, to evoke a sense of rising above it all. You will learn to make this doll from the bottom up, including how to needle-sculpt bare toes, create beautiful smooth body parts, sew and wire articulated fingers, and use a separate neck and ears to create a beautiful, expressive form. Needle-felting will be used to create a smooth hairline and to root the doll’s long, luxuriant hair that will cascade down her back, adding to the sense of upward motion.
Finally, let your mind and creativity loose and explore what it is that allows you to rise up by creating a wire and fabric mixed media stand that will both hold your doll up in the air and tell a story of what makes you ascend to new heights.
Finders Keepers – An Exclusive In-Person Workshop Doll*
A 2 day workshop
This little imp is a bit of thief! She just can’t help stealing stuff from humans. With a pen clutched in her tail and her pockets stuffed full, she also carries some pilfered booty on her back in her upturned hands. Finders Keepers hands are perfect for holding your business cards, recipe cards or a treasured photo.
This class covers drawing and sculpting a face as well as wiring and shaping a simple mitten hand. Finders Keepers’ body is then created with a wire armature that is wrapped to create a realistic body shape. Those students wishing for a more relaxing and simple class can keep the body proportions of their doll to the standard of the 13” sample doll, while students seeking more of a challenge can alter the body proportions of their doll to suit. It is recommended that students wishing to alter their doll’s proportions also take the ‘Drafting Doll Clothes’ workshop which makes an excellent partner class to Finders Keepers.
Drafting Doll Clothes
A 1 day workshop
A class in technique, this workshop is suitable for those wishing to draft and design their own doll clothes. Students will bring an undressed doll (of any design) and learn to make a ‘basic block’ – the starting point of drafting all clothing. Basic techniques will be discussed and then students will draft and drape any costume that they like from a picture using those techniques.
This class can be taught as a stand alone class, but it is also an excellent class to be partnered with Finders Keepers as students can learn to manipulate body proportions while making Finders Keepers and then create any clothing pattern that they wish to suit those proportions, using the skills learned in the Drafting Doll Clothes workshop.
Stitch in Time - An Exclusive In-Person Workshop*
A 2 day workshop
Step back in time and stitch this 14” “stump” cloth doll based on medieval fashions with some fun contemporary twists. This intermediate level class starts off with sewing a head with a very different shape, using some basic sculpting to give it some life, applying eyelids and then colouring the face using coloured pencils, watercolour pencils and even powdered make-up. Once the body is sewn and stuffed we will do some ripping and then some wrapping to cover the stump base and the body of the doll with strips of ripped fabric, giving the doll a slightly distressed and textured look.
We’ll add to the doll’s medieval feel with a fake-fur trimmed “surcoat” adorned with some very simple bead embroidery. We’ll also do some simple beading to create a beaded belt. We’ll also make our own veil and wimple to cover the beautiful braided hair contained in medieval mesh “crispinettes” or “cauls”.
The doll even includes an original cross-stitch design based on the illustration of a dragon from the Aberdeen Bestiary of circa 1200AD. Make it look as if the little lady is taking a stitch herself on this little piece of stitchery by creating articulated fingers including an opposable thumb. Your struggles with turning and posing believable cloth hands will be a thing of the past with this class.
Gather Ye Rosebuds
A 2 day workshop
This doll exists as a pattern, but sometimes there is nothing better than making the pattern with the designer right there. Gather Ye Rosebuds is an intermediate level, 15” cloth doll with a working clock built into the base. The class will guide you through every aspect of making this cloth doll including drawing and sculpting the face, creating the stump base out of thick felt, sewing the separate neck, printing the apron fabric using printer ready cotton sheets, creating the costume, inserting the clock, and crafting small details like the ribbon roses and tiny leather shoes.
As this class already exists as a pattern it is required that students purchase the pattern and kit (total $30) if they do not already own both.
The Bamboo Oracle: A Tropical Seer
2 day workshop
The Bamboo Oracle is an elusive figure who hides in the bamboo forests of China, trying to avoid humans. But every once in a while someone catches this insightful sprite and demands a reading of the future.
As well as being a decorative doll, the Bamboo Oracle can be used as an eyeglass caddy. Keep your eyeglasses propped up on the curled toes of the Bamboo Oracle’s shoes while you are not wearing them – that way they are easier to find, especially without your glasses on! The Bamboo Oracle’s bag holds a lens cleaning cloth and the “magic glass” through which she gazes is actually a tiny magnifying glass with optical screwdriver for tightening the screws on your spectacles.
The Bamboo Oracle is a cloth doll standing 14” tall, without the added height of her sprouting bamboo
hat which brings her total height to approximately 17” tall. The Bamboo Oracle’s construction is quite unique, with her body designed to fit in a bamboo shoot that we will be constructing. Her lower body is created using a wire armature that will be wrapped to create her legs, allowing the doll to be entirely free-standing. The upper body is sewn and stuffed with an extremely simple wire armature that attaches the upper body to the lower body through the bamboo shoot. The opposable thumbs and separate neck allow for the greatest expression with body language. The head pattern includes side gussets and applied eyelids which are enhanced by the look of dramatic Chinese Opera style make-up. The curled-toe shoes are embellished with simple bead embroidery techniques and the simple, yet effective clothing is decorated with seed stitch. Over the course of this technique-packed workshop, every detail of this doll is included from wefting her hair to creating her little felt satchel and the hat sprouting with bamboo.
½ day workshop
Make a cloth doll face, learning all the tricks of drawing, needle-sculpting and colouring along the way. Plus, learn some easy textile techniques to decorate the face including making a simple hat from a silk rod, basic beading and heating synthetic fabrics to create a floral corsage surround for the face. The finished face can be used as a brooch, fridge magnet or ornament. This course is a perfect taster course for beginners wanting to try out doll making or for those who already enjoy doll making but want to brush up on few techniques.
All Bottled Up Doorstop Doll – An Exclusive In-Person Workshop Doll*
½ day workshop OR free 1 hour demonstration
Make this extremely easy “stump” doll largely using recycled items. Colleen will be demonstrating how to create a simple but effective doll body based around an empty plastic water bottle. The doll can be used simply as a decorative item or as a weighted and functional doorstop.
The unembellished doll is constructed without the use of a sewing machine and employs very minimal hand sewing.
The face will be provided pre-printed onto fabric so even a fear of drawing faces won’t stop you from creating this doll. Some simple tips for colouring faces on fabric will help to bring the doll alive.
Once you have the basic doll complete, you can embellish the doll using any number of fibre arts techniques. Colleen will show you a few ideas to get you started but, you are only limited by your imagination.
Have you had your creativity all bottled up? Uncap your creativity.
I will consider offering the All Bottled Up Doorstop Doll as a free demonstration to your group provided my expenses are covered.
If you would prefer this doll as a full class rather than as a demonstration then my regular teaching fees will apply
Class length and Fee
1 day, 6 hours per day - $350 (US) per day, £220 (GBP) per day
½ day, 3 hours - $175 (US) per half day, £110 (GBP) per half day
*Exclusive In-Person Workshop dolls are only available when taught in-person. They do not exist in any other format such as an online class or pattern.