Sew Crafy

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sometimes More is MORE!!

Emilia Nieminen sets the bar a little higher - congrats on winning Challenge 3!

I can’t help but believe when each of us opened the pictures to view this designer’s vision, we knew immediately we were previewing something very special. Without knowing exactly what she meant to convey with her design, it was clear to the viewer’s eye that great care and thought was given in the presentation of not only the outfit but also the doll – who knew the base doll was really an Antoinette??

But it was in the reading of her description that we were actually allowed a little peek into the mind of this superb artist. How interesting that she would channel the surreal costumes of Eiko Ishioka to present us with a modern day Amazonian-type warrior whose outfit pushed the envelope all the way to haute couture!?! Fine corsetry with boning, delicate ruching, beading, and unique construction had all succeeded in pulling together the “epitome of perfect embellishments” this challenge demanded.

How lucky were we then that she not only chronicled her journey in her blog, but also found time to gift us with a tutorial for the sandals she made, and to provide us with a play by play pictorial in her Flickr album!

Thank you, Emilia, for reminding us of the wonderful, giving spirit of the talented artists in the doll community! And thank you to all the artists who presented us with eye candy this challenge – job well done!!

Back to reality….” do not play it safe, and don’t bore me!” Rob Thompson

By now we are about halfway into Challenge Four, a challenge mandated by our guest judge, Rob Thompson, demanding to see edgy fashion! He wants us to not only think out of the box, but to get out of it completely – yes, he wants us to go to that wonderful place of avant garde!

The challenge is to create a casual Avant Garde outfit – what the? Well, here in his own words he gives us some insight:

“I look at the word casual in this challenge to mean you don’t have to make a formal gown, I would focus attention on the edgy and avant-garde aspect of the challenge. The casual part opens the challenge up to everything from pants, shorts, blouses, dresses, coats, so you have tons of options...And don’t forget accessories, you can use hats, gloves, belts, amazing shoes and boots.”

But he cautions, “You can buy a Versace jogging suit, but it is still just a jogging suit. I think there are various levels of casual, from what you would wear to the grocery store, to what you would wear to a party…you can make anything work with imagination and creativity. So if you want to make a jogging suit, just make it interesting, edgy, and avant-garde. You will have to determine your own definition of edgy and avant-garde…Each designer is going to have to do some research to decide what avant-garde means to them….The other judges have their own definitions as well, so in the end make something you love and feel is interesting!”

Rob also SUGGESTED the stylings of Alexander McQueen as an EXAMPLE of avant garde work. But do not get caught up in this one designer if you are not comfortable emulating things from his style. Most of the major fashion houses do some form of avant garde – it will be your task to decipher which suits you best! Case in point are the beautiful fashions featured here from the 2008 Museo Capucci Collection presented in Florence, Italy.

My wish for all of us would be that we have as much fun creating our work as we see in this video of Leigh Buchanan presenting his Finale Collection for Project Runway Australia!

And, who better to take us down the Avant Garde path, than this OOAK doll artist and designer who makes small limited editions, Rob Thompson. He’s not only designed his own doll; Hana; and doll fashions for Dolly Style Dolls, a Japanese doll line, but he has also done limited edition Susie's for R&D Dolls; Manika, Momoko dolls for Tom's Toys and Goods in Japan; and Misaki doll for BIC and Dolly Style Magazine, both in Japan. He sells his dolls under his business name of Robsdolls through several Japanese doll shops as well as his own website and at different doll conventions and events. He is also looking forward to teaching a workshop at the 2010 IFDC on the “Japanese Esthetic – various street fashions and hair styles,” is busy producing his own how to DVD on rerooting, and will be opening an Etsy store soon featuring some of his newest fashions.

His work has been featured in numerous magazines including Dolly Style magazine in Japan, FDQ (Fashion Doll Quarterly), and Barbie Bazaar. Look for his feature articles to begin appearing in FDQ in the Spring. There he’ll not only be giving us some insight into how he creates, but he’ll also be doing articles and interviews with his friends who also happen to be doll artists.

Rob has already demonstrated his giving nature on the CDDC Board through his instructional posts. And his giving nature extends to charity auctions. Rob regularly collaborates with Randall Craig RTW for the IFDC convention charity auction, and with Steven from Dressmaker Details for the Barbie Convention charity auction. His love of the work is apparent, and these collaborations have produced some of the highest selling auctions at these venues!

You’d think with all these accomplishments Rob has always belonged to the doll world, but he only began his OOAK customizations in 2000. He originally attended Marshall University, majoring in broadcast communications and minoring in art.

He actually began his career as a radio DJ in college, and worked in various positions before settling on tech support at such companies as Xerox, Morgan Stanley, and GE.

But when he was diagnosed with sarcoidoisis and found himself physically unable to return to work in 2004, he still needed an outlet to support himself. The doll world got a great OOAKster when he turned his hobby into a business!!

For more information, take time to visit Rob's venues: Robsdolls,
Rob's Blog
and Rob's Flickr Page.

A word from our sponsor..............

If you’re a Challenge winner, you are going to be getting an additional treat! Lyn Waring will let you pick out a sloper of your choice from her website to use in your designing! (Email Larraine to claim your prize.) Be sure to click the link above to see all the wonderful products she makes!!

has been making these slopers and other instructional items for dolls since 2001 when she had a chance "meeting" with Bill Jones online, and he asked her to make a dress form for Barbie. And she’s no novice to sewing; in fact her interest began as a child. As a teen she wanted to continue her education in dressmaking, but her lack of funds allowed for something a bit more practical at that time, Hartils Business College. Lyn hated that school, but over the years Lyn pursued education like an adventure, and here is her continuing educational background:

-Claremont, Perth & Bentley Technical College Western Australian institute of Technology
(Curtin University), 1980 Associate Diploma Art (Craft/Textiles)
-West Australian Institute of Technology (now Curtin University), 1990 Certificate Apparel Design Manufacture - Bentley College of T.A.F.E.

When she began her involvement with fashion dolls, 2001,Western Australia hadn’t heard of ‘fashion dolls’ except for Barbie and Ken. Lyn’s collection, other than Barbie, began with a trade for patterns with Bill where she received a Gene doll. But today she admits to having a few more. A girl “needs” dolls for making accurate patterns, doesn’t she? And could that have been her admitting, “It is too scary to think about all the dolls I have – fashion dolls are ‘contagious’”!

One of my favorite things Lyn has produced are her books about hats.Her love of pattern cutting and making hats led her to produce two books! Hats Made Easy, published in 1996, came first, and was actually a book for making hats for real life dolls (people).

But the book I found charming dollwise was the one she published in 1999, Hats in Miniature. This book was the result of her time spent actually traveling around teaching how to make hats. She began making smaller versions of different hats as samples because these would fit easily in her suitcases and would prove less a burden to her luggage costs.

From front cover to the back, it is a must have for doll sewers who like to make unique accessories for their dolls, but it is out of print. However, Lyn has reedited, extended and updated it in a self published EBook,
Hats for Fashion Dolls. This EBook not only includes all the hat designs from her original book, but now is more fashion doll-oriented, and includes designs in 16 sizes! There is also an updated version available for people who previously purchased the original book.

Lyn’s love of all things pattern and textiles has continued throughout her career by her being awarded grants and working as Artist-In Residence in1981 at Gascoyne Region, Western Australia for the W.A. Arts Council , and in 1982 at Primary School for the W.A. Crafts Council.

Her awards include
-1988 Moora Wool Craft Awards - Award for Weaving

-1990 Young Designers Fashion Awards - Australian Wool Corporation - State Finalist "Most highly commended for expert use of hand woven woollen fabric."

-1993 New England Awards - Open Design - evening wear (2nd.) Supreme Award - runner up.

Today Lyn enjoys her doll work and swimming in the early morning; she is an ocean swimmer who keeps young with this exercise 365 days of the year. Thanks for participating, Lyn, and we hope this will keep you fit, healthy, and generally enjoying your dolly-influenced life for a long time!

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