I met Amy a few years back (probably 8 or 9 years ago, but who is counting). I was working in a craft supply shop and she was a customer. I was always interested in her projects. She would have great fabric that need the right beads or trim to match. Or she would bring in samples of crazy dyeing she had done in her microwave. She was always willing to explain what she was working on, even with fellow customers. I am not exactly sure how it started, but we became friends. We would set crafting nights, an excuse to get together, drink coffee and work on our current projects. Sometimes we would get together only for show and tell! Trading some materials we had found or bought with the other in mind. With a couple of other friends, she helped us made our first trolls and dragons! In the past couple of years, Amy has been working on creating very very own patterns! She has recently moved to Vancouver, BC (and I miss having her right in the city). However, we have been working together remotely to be able to offer her patterns either as digital downloads or printed paper copies. As she completes new patterns we will be adding them to the shop!
As a child growing up on Long Island, NY, she would spend hours exploring the small woods behind her home and the tide pools near by. She built troll houses in the woods and fanciful castles with driftwood and found object by the water. Dollmaking started out of necessity in the early 1990’s while living in Budapest, Hungary. “Budapest had just come out of Communism. There were no dolls for my daughters to play with. So I began making cloth dolls – something for them to hold.” As her girls started reading books and watching movies about mermaids, she sewed mermaids for them. When they became interested in dragons, dragons were sewn. Her early attempts were often less than works of art, but they were always well loved. As time went on, her creations became more elaborate. She explored existing patterns made by fantastic designers; she made up patterns of her own too. She started combined materials and techniques from many media with more traditional fiber arts. She has used a wide variety creative mediums, from drawing to ceramics, from stained glass to silversmithing and obviously beadwork and sewing.
By the time her youngest daughter (who was born in Hungary) was around 16 years old, she had to admit that her dolls were no longer being sewn dolls for her children. She began to calling herself a dollmaker and had found a niche for her own artistic expression. She started selling her dolls when she realized that if she didn’t, they would take over her house! She has often said that selling her work is a way to support the habit of creating such wonderful dolls.
She pours any profits beyond materials back into taking classes and learning new techniques. Her work is an exploration of the relation between the whimsical and the mysterious. Drawing inspiration from nature and fantasy she combines natural materials and found objects to create the inhabitants of her imagined world. By incorporating vintage fabrics, lace and buttons into her work; she evokes the past, taking small treasures someone left behind and finding new purpose for it. Pearls, glass and stone beads to add shine and texture to dragon’s hides; fine silk adorns woodland elves; and frayed denim clothes garden gnomes. She combines all of these wonderful materials in her dolls to create fantasy worlds. She always have a bunch of projects going at one time. Generally, she will have two or three large pieces going at one time in different stages of completion and 10 to 12 small dolls going.
First up as a simple hugable friendly bunny! With Amy’s whimsical nature, there is also instructions to create a create a whimsical pin cushion on a candle stick pedestal. He is a free downloadable pattern. When she make them herself, she uses vintage wool from thrift store suits or older blankets for added character.
These gorgeous long legged foxes have their joints are secured using vintage mother of pearl buttons we have in stock. You can make variations such as red fox, silver fox or Arctic fox!
When Amy sent me the first photo of the catfish pattern she was working, I nearly fell off my chair laughing so hard! These little guys can be made in 3 different sizes. Like the bunny, there are also instructions to convert them into pedestal pincushions.
Baa! These sweet sheep have dollpin legs and a wonderful felted fleece. The Baa! pattern works really well with recycled wool garments like that old sweater or suit jacket or pants you loved but don’t wear anymore.
Batty bats! Need we say more?
The Sea Nymph was a pattern Amy drafted for a class she gave at the Fiber College of Maine a few years back. The tail is done with batik fabric and her hair is hand spun yarn. She has mother of pearl shoulder joints and is embellished with a variety seed beads. You can work up this pattern with materials from your stash. Coming soon if your stash is not plentiful enough, Amy is making up material kit for this pattern. The kits will contain the fabric (muslin and batik), hand spun yarn and beads to compliment the batik fabric in the kit as well as the mother of pearl buttons for the shoulder joints. Some of the specialty item you might need: Doll needles, White Gelly Pen, and Black Pigma Pen.
After many years of unsubstantiated sightings and questionable photos, conclusive evidence has been found of sea dragons in and around Searsport, Maine. This Sea Dragon pattern was developed for a class offered at the Fiber College of Maine 2016.
The North Wind Wyrm! This very fierce dragon was created for a dragon retreat weekend we had at the Phineas Swann B&B in Montgomery, VT this past spring. This is a large dragon that has substantial armatures in the body, wings and even in the ears!
Soon, we will carry material kits, which include most of want you need to complete your very own Incipient Madness doll!
May her work inspire you to be creative.