I love getting emails from you and I've had a lot of emails over this last year asking me how I make my dolls. I've been asked what supplies I use, what my steps to making a doll are, how long it takes etc. I've also been asked if I sell my patterns, teach classes, or give sculpting lessons. I thought it would be nice to answer all these questions via a blog post even though I have already answered back through email.
I guess I'll start with some of the supplies I use. I use a ton of various supplies and mediums so I am just going to list the ones I use every time I sculpt and are a MUST have for me.
1. Piecemakers 5 inch sculpting needles...I have used this brand for years and LOVE them!
2. Cluster stuff...I started using this for my heads while experimenting and it is fabulous to sculpt. It's a bit of a pain to stuff until you hit a groove but I will not use anything else for my heads. For my bodies I use any good quality polyfill type stuffing.
3. Stuffing fork...awesome for stuffing fingers and hard to reach places.
4. Derwent water color pencils.
5. Curved needles...Fantastic for sculpting noses and I will not use anything else.
6. Mettler thread...all I will use for sewing my bodies.
7. Coats and Clark carpet thread...the only thread I use for sculpting.
8. Prismacolor portrait pencil set.
9. Acrylic paints, diff brands.
10. Gesso...I use clear, black, and white.
11. Fabric...I use windsor comfort, doe suede, craft velour, and muslin.
So what steps go into making a Ree doll? Well first comes the pattern. This is a lot of trial and error and can really get nutty at times. Once I finally get the pattern how I want it, I am ready to start making a doll. The pattern gets put onto fabric, cut out, then the sewing begins. I normally sew the head first. After that I stuff it. Next I start the sculpting process. Once I get the features the way I want them I paint the eyes, eyebrows, and mouth. Next comes the shading and details. Once I am done with all that I then do the hair. The head and hair always take me the longest and I am very tedious when it comes to those processes. I then sit the head aside and sew up the body. Stuffing comes next and then I start the sculpting process on the body. Once that is done shading and detailing come next. I then either sew an outfit for the doll or I put a cute store bought outfit on. The whole process takes me approx. 13-15 hours per doll. Start to finish I am the only one who touches the dolls but once I have my hired help next year it will change things a bit allowing me to create more dolls each week. My help will just be sewing and stuffing bodies, as I will always do the artistic work on all of my creations, but this will be a tremendous help and will really help me meet my demand. I am really excited.
Will I be teaching classes or selling my patterns? Right now I am having a hard enough time just keeping up with my sculpting so I do not think I will be doing either of these things anytime soon. I am not sure they will even be in my future but I always keep an open mind. I do try and post tips and such via here and my website though and I am always happy to help with questions if I can. I have tutorials on my website as well. There are FANTASTIC classes listed on CDA website http://clothdolls.ning.com/ as well as The Doll Net website http://www.thedollnet.com/. I have taken classes from both these sights over this past year, and let me tell you, you will not regret it. They are fabulous! If you are looking into making dolls or even if you are like me and have made dolls for a while these classes are a must and so fun.
I guess that just about covers the fun for now. As always it's been a true blessing sharing my doll making with you!