Just in case you missed it I found some wonderful new fabrics. It is always a THRILL when I find something new for doll makers. Aren't you glad I am addicted to fabrics?
Michelle Mahler Doll Artist's Workshop minidolls.com
What do these two pictures have in common? The short answer is Dennis Dugan. I met Dennis through a modeling forum. I was having a problem with a modeling tool and he suggested he make it for me. Well I took him up on his offer and not only wound up with “the” tool I needed but a set of tools. Not just a set of tools, but with some measurements he made a set of tools customized for my hands. I have small hands. The more we chatted about my needs, the more I learned about the man and the creative process, and so I am here to share him with you.
Dennis Dugan was born in a small farm community, a boomer like most of us, finished high school, and did his tours in Vietnam as an Army helicopter pilot. After the Army, he worked for Shell Oil and retired in 1993.
Dennis’ father was a machinist for The Atomic Energy Commission. “I learned to machine metals through osmosis practically. Acquiring and excelling at those skills led me to woodworking. I like working with my hands.”
“I went to a dollhouse club meeting where I was living in Illinois. They were making some little chairs that night and that piqued my curiosity. I thought it was neat and thought I could make a better chair.” He bought in a new chair next time they met and showed it to them. “Where’d you get that?” they asked. There was a look of surprise on their faces as he explained that he made it. There is where his story of miniatures began. After making the chairs for the club, dollhouse shows, and events where he continued to sell, but he says he was not a “huge success”. This was during the burgeoning period of miniatures with Nutshell News and other magazines making their debut. Dennis wanted to make a living with his miniatures and continued to bring his talents to bear by joining his skills to create his work and works of art.
Later, Dennis registered for a doll sculpting class with Jack Johnston. He thought the class fascinating and shared his work with Mr. Johnston. Dennis brought a one-fourth life-size secretary made of black walnut and beveled glass to show. Jack and the students fell in love with it. “Later I was commissioned to make a roll top desk and a bankers chair for a Mark Twain Doll.” (Now in the collection of the Sudbury Museum in Baton Rouge, LA) Dennis continued to make things for his own amusement. Mr. Johnston called again to commission a wooden stool, painting easel, nice spindled chair for his Norman Rockwell self-portrait.
When in Florida taking a class on marketing and crafts as a business, he met Patricia Rose. (www.patriciarosestudios.com)
Patricia commissioned him as well. One of his favorite pieces is a Harpsichord he made for Patricia. It was not a working harpsichord, but it was realistic.
Dennis has been working in wood and accessories, and brassware for dolls and whatever anyone would want. Visit his website and see his beautiful chairs and settees. He can make anything, it seems. And if you don’t see a doll sitting in one of those chairs for reference, don’t worry, with a measurement or two and a conversation, even a picture, he can customize the object specific to your doll or art figure and its height. Whether you are working in 1/12th scale or 1/6th life-sized, you will get a product you will love.
Visit Dennis at his website, email him, or just give him a call with your needs. He is ready to customize furniture just for you and your doll.
Email Dennis email@example.com
Call Dennis (636)-452-3570 (Central Time Zone)
Once in a while, one becomes an internet friend to a person whose work one has admired for a long time. Sharon Cariola became a member of the Mini Doll List (a Yahoo! group) a while back. Each week we would be able to see her newest creation was. Each week I was astounded by the likeness she was able to achieve in miniature of well-known figures. Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, and the crew from the Minnow (Gilligan’s Island) were among these. Every day characters we have all seen and might even know; a laundry woman, a craggy smoker, and everything in between, are some of her favorite subjects.
In my quest to become a sculptor, I have asked her questions about how she achieves one thing or another. She has been so forthcoming; I believe there is a book just in my notes! I think you would like to meet her, too.
Sharon tells me she has been interested in miniatures ever since seeing her first display as a child, 50 years ago. “Our neighborhood library had only one book on the subject, and I checked that book out several times. Over the years, I built three dollhouses, complete with stained glass windows and needlepoint carpets. I made everything I could think of, except dolls. I wanted the scenes I made to look as convincing as possible and most dolls at that time did not look like real people to me.”
Sharon continues to explain she noticed the dolls by James Carrington, IGMA Fellow, about six years ago. “They were so intriguing to me that I ceased my other miniature pursuits and devoted myself entirely to miniature doll making.” She gets her inspiration from many places including, the illustrations by Norman Rockwell. “(They) provide inspiration because of their detail and the personality in the characters. “
I believe if you see some of the small creations and figures of Sharon you will be enamored too at the realism she imbues in each of them. It is as if each would answer if you only asked a question.
“My doll hobby has become a small business enterprise now, and I feel fortunate to be able to work at what I love full-time. I used to number each doll, but quit when I hit 350!” To see more of Sharon’s work, please visit her eBay store at http://stores.ebay.com/doll-mine-miniatures . She participates in one or two miniature shows each year. She has many photos of her dolls posted on Facebook. The photos are viewable by the public if you search under her name, Sharon Cariola.
I will be teaching a new class for “A is for Artistic” beginning June 26, 2012.
(http://aforartistic2.homestead.com/index.html) The demonstration is for dressing a miniature doll in Edwardian dress. The doll is complete in detail from hose and garters, to shoes, to dress and all of her accessories. The class is a 6-week class, but you can work at your own pace. I will be there the entire time to answer your questions. The nice part about this class is that one does not need to have a miniature doll to play. I will have a pattern (general) for you to fit any lady doll size, preferably 12” or below.
In the class you will dress (permanently or sewn) an historically correct Edwardian costume. While at class, we will have questions and answer time about research and bringing other concepts or costumes to fruition.
The class figure and instructions are for miniatures; however, the concepts apply to any figure. SIZE DOES NOT MATTER. Learn simple pattern adjustments and ways to interpret idea to fit your specific needs. All you need to bring is your imagination. We can discuss challenges and as well as multiple ways to accomplish a task.
Larger dolls have more unique needs, though many of the principles and practices are similar. (Participants should feel free to ask any sewing questions or questions regarding their specific project.) Students with larger dolls will receive basic instruction to enlarge the patterns or create patterns for the larger figures.
The course will take the participant from the naked doll, through research of period garments and fully dress a figure in an historically correct manner. You will be able to complete a full Edwardian dressed doll including undergarments, costume, wig, and accessories.
Skill Level – Beginner but knowledge in simple sewing skills would be preferable. If you would like to join us in this fun class, please read more details and sign up at here: http://www.aforartistic.com/EdwardianCostumeinDetail.html
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The Creative Doll exists to inform and delight. The team of Michelle Mahler of Doll Artist's Workshop (minidolls.com) and Kathi R. Mendenhall, La Petite Belle Patterns (minipatterns.com) are doll makers and doll lovers. We hope to bring you interesting finds, things to muse and to help you to create.