id doll 1

 Soft fabric sculpture, child’s shoes.  Stuffed with shredded documents.  Created by drawing doll-like shapes, scaled up by hand, with no measuring, plotting or checking proportion.   The result is a character with its own life, albeit not apparently a very happy one. 

id doll 2

Mandy and Tiger

Mandy and Tiger

This is the start of an experimental series.  I wanted to do something to set up my own narratives, so I’ve used dolls and toys to create stories.   I’ve aimed for a deliberately illustrative type of drawing (ink and wash) to create a sense of ‘fairy tale’.  Very much work in progress, and lots more playing to do!

Fabric Book in progress

These are a few embryonic pages from a fabric book that I am making.  It is strangely satisfying working with fabric, needle and thread.  I’ve never attempted anything like this before, and I don’t know how it will turn out.  I’m making it up as I go along rather than planning anything beforehand.

I started by cutting up an old sheet into squares, then tacked around where the page edge will be.


For the above page, I used one of those plastic mesh bags that onions come in.  Using bulldog clips, I stretched the mesh across the fabric, using a piece of cardboard as backing to keep it all taut.  I then used a torn bit of cheap bath sponge dipped in craft acrylic paint and dabbed it on top of the mesh.  The result looks a bit like snakeskin, I think. 

The image is a photo of one of my earlier paintings, taken when strong sunlight was casting the shadow of my artists’ mannekin across the picture.  I printed it out onto inkjet transparency; coated a piece of fabric with acrylic gel medium; laid the transparency image face down onto the gel coated fabric and rubbed hard with the back of a spoon to transfer the image.  I’ve been doing a lot of these, and it takes a lot of rubbing and a lot of practice.  I don’t think I’ve perfected the technique yet, but the ‘mistakes’ are quite interesting in themselves!


For this next page, I started by wetting the fabric and then sponging paint on so that the colours run together.  While it was still damp, I over stamped it with a sponge that I had cut with a craft knife into the shape of a hand.  I’ve then stitched on a photo transfer of a paintshop altered photo of one of the dolls.

tea dyed

For this page, I’ve played with tea dying.  The background is dyed in ordinary brown tea, and the pink square is dyed with fruit tea.  I just made strong tea and soaked the fabric in it for at least 20 minutes, then briefly ran it under cold water and dried with a hair dryer (you are supposed to tumble dry it, but I don’t have a dryer).  The only problem is … it smells of fruit tea!  The image is a sepia tinted photo, and is one of my less successful transfers, but I quite like the distressed look.

I’m enjoying the process of making these up as I go along, and have no idea what will happen next!

Flat out

I actually started an oil painting yesterday.  I now have to learn patience while each glaze dries.  Meanwhile, here’s a wax crayon drawing – the original is A2 size.

Flat out

Introducing Mandy …

MandyI don’t think I’ve introduced Mandy yet, have I?  Here she is, drawn in sanguine oil pencil.  Her head isn’t really that big in proportion to the rest of her. 🙂

I’ve also been playing with wax crayon and gouache, attempting to do some wax resist drawing.  The results are not fit to be seen.  But maybe one day something will come of that little experiment.

I’ve also been making lots of paper – more of that later.