skinny little arms
I used to think of myself a bit flaky about arts and crafts. Over my adult life alone, I've gotten very interested in, almost obsessed (or just plain obsessed) with polymer clay bead and figure sculpting, knitting, sewing, paper making, puppet making, stone carving, stamp making and lithograph, candle making, wire jewellery, pattern design, embroidery, origami, batik, drawing, painting, screen printing, photography, calligraphy, and papermache. This is no where a complete list.
I have worried that whenever I started to learn a new craft and build skills (not to mention tools and supplies) that all my previous efforts were for nought. I mean, if I can't stick to it long enough to master it, what is the point?
Of course, there are many reasons to explore many different arts, but now a major one now is becoming apparent. All sorts of unrelated skills that I have taught myself over the years are coming in handy right now as I learn the art of dollmaking. There is so many little skills that I find I already have competence (if not excellence) in - painting, molding wire, embroidery, sewing, pattern design, sculpture to name a few I used in just this last project. Beyond that, any skill that one possesses or wishes to learn can be brought in when creating a doll. It's exciting and a bit odd, to find that all is relevant, to the extent that I want it to be. I'd like to see how many elements I can bring in.
Now, one skill that trumps them all is the ability to find information that you need to learn a new skill. For those moments when my brain finds its limits to innovation and improvisation, it's time to invoke the awesome power of the internet. Specifically, Youtube instructional videos.
For anyone else dabbing in the dollmaking, or sewing tubes for fine details (I can think of many times I wish I had known this in the past while making clothes for Smootch), a little trick I've found to be a godsend is how to turn very narrow tubes of cloth. Turning tubes has always been a spot of difficulty for me and the narrow tubes could bring me to the very edge of rage. But, no more! I used the technique outlined in th this this detailed video to turn the fingers on the Jack Skellington doll and the long skinny arms of the doll in progress pictured above. You can watch the video or you can just know that to turn the skinny tubes, insert a straw into the tube and wedge the end into the tube, then push the fabric into the straw while you use the straw to guide the fabric right side out. That didn't make much sense? Then probably watch the video :D