I'm going to celebrate doll makers that I like and those who have inspired me to make my own dolls. I'm doing this to express my gratitude to all those men (yes, men make dolls!) and woman whose artistic endeavours have guided me on my path to...
Wait, this is sounding a little pompous.
Let me try again.
Ok, so, every week, on a Thursday, I will blog about a doll maker I like. I like them because their dolls are just amazing, or because their dolls are amazing and they share how they made them, or because they change the concept of what a doll is and what it's for. Most of these entries will be about an individual, although sometimes I will be mentioning companies or workshops. Some times it will be a well known doll maker and sometimes it will be an artist I feel deserves wider recognition. There will always be pictures and links and I hope fellow bloggers will suggest other doll makers I might have overlooked. I'm always greedy for more and happy to share.
The first doll maker I'm showcasing here is a Japanese artist called Runo..
I came across Runo about seven years ago, I guess, while looking at Lord of the Rings images. I found this amazing Legolas doll. . What amazed me (apart from the painstaking accuracy of his outfit) was that this was a cloth doll, with a nose and a chin. He had real hands, that really held his bow and he didn't look like a pancake.
To put this into context, I have made dolls, on and off, all my life. I remember making them out of hair curlers and hair pins when I was really small. When I was big enough to read and allowed to use the sewing machine, I got this book out of the library that was all about dolls, and the history of dolls and how to make them.(I'm absolutely thrilled to find a free on-line copy of the book. It's still worth a read) I loved the book, (still do), but no matter how many times I tried to sew the book's simple rag doll pattern , and no matter how careful I was, it always turned out as a flat and disappointing pancake. So I stopped sewing dolls, at about nine or ten years old, as I clearly wasn't any good at it.
It took two decades before I understood that it wasn't me, it was the pattern. Nothing wrong with the pattern, it just wasn't going to make the kind of doll I wanted to make.
Uh..enough about me.
Anyway, I found Runo's website and, besides being charmed by her careful English and her considerable skill, I was delighted by the patterns and advice. Every doll had a free pattern, you could download and sew , right off the printer. There were shoe patterns and clothes patterns, there were photos and diagrams. She had the biggest gallery of boy rag dolls I've ever seen, and she made dolls in a variety of styles, from the cute and simple, to the detailed and complex. There are patterns for dolls' boots and coats and kimonos and undies
Runo's open and friendly approach makes it clear she thinks anyone can make cloth dolls and they should just go ahead and try. She's inspiring and supportive and all kinds of good things, and she makes you feel this just from the text and images on the screen. If I hadn't stumbled across her page, I'd never have made my own dolls, from my own design, or feel so happy doing it.
She has a blog here Nuno Life which has occasional updates and a really cute bunny pattern and you can find her archived patterns here.