Monday, March 6, 2017

Bead Dolls...Bead Love....My Journey.... By Tracy Stanley

I have long admired these dolls beaded by the very talented mixed media artist Tracy Stanley.   You may identify her more with metal work and her most recent book Exploring Metal Jewelry, but she is also an accomplished bead weaver.  I am so excited that she is sharing not only beautiful photos of her work but has let us in on the process in enough detail that I can see many of us creating our own dolls.  I've bought my wooden form already!  Since this project will not be as quick as others we've presented, perhaps if you start you will photograph the process and share with us.  We've turned comments back on and you can post on facebook or send us an email.  Please enjoy Tracy's very generous post!  

Marcia DeCoster

The dolls I have created over the years have been my most special Bead Love.  Each has had it’s own special message that has played out by using a combination of beads, metals and found objects.... just to name a few.  Each doll starts with a simple wooden armature figure and each takes on a life of it’s own.

In 1997 my first doll grew out of my love of shells and the ocean.  I have always felt it was a place that I could breathe.  Using a combination of brick and peyote stitch, with branch fringe on the bottom edge of her dress. Coiled wire for the arms, legs and hair, topped off with a wire basket I made and filled with shells.  She was published in 500 Beaded Objects.

My next doll came from a period painful period in my life.  We had suffered the loss of a full term baby boy.  In my journey of healing, I worked with and lead a group that supported parents with loss.  I wished at that time that I could hold onto all of those broken hearts that hurt so much to give them comfort until the pain lessened and I could give them back.

This doll was created in 2000 and was published in 500 Beaded Objects.  The idea came from my inability to manage or keep to a schedule.  I am never sure where all the time goes….no matter how hard I try it seems to fly away from me!  Wings of textured copper and watches make up some of the unique components in this doll.

This is my most recent doll 2016. She was created out of a bead stash but together for a contest put on by Whim Beads.  Inspired by the colors a mix of bead embroidery, soutache and bead stitches are combined to make this summer garden doll.

As you can probably tell there isn’t a pattern to follow…you just need to follow your heart. 
The following will give you a general idea on how to get started and you can go from there.

You begin by deciding what your theme is going to be. This will help guide you to the colors and materials you may want to use.

Wooden armature doll.  You can find these at art stores or Ikea carries an inexpensive one.

Wooden base- the dolls come on a small base, but you may want to get something larger so it is more stable.  Craft stores sell wooden pieces in different sizes that you can glue the base to.

Spray paint- to paint the wooden doll and base. Color is up to you.  I often choose black.

A face- I have found a number of different ones on Etsy..Look for something approx. 2-1/4x2” or smaller.

Assorted beads- this is a great place to use lots of different sizes and shapes of beads.  There's no wrong or right to the ones you choose!

Thread and needles of your choice
Stiff bead backing- if you are going to embroider any part of your doll
Wire and metal-depending on your design.
Glue- hot glue gun and E6000
After you have chosen your theme and colors, paint your doll.  Make sure that you move the arms, legs and head around so you paint all of the showing surface.  You may decide to move these around and don't want any bare wood to show.

Decide what technique you want to use to clothe your doll.  I often start with the skirt.  I am going to use a bead backing and will be embroidering on it.  The backing can be cut into sections or used in one large piece.  Other options are using your favorite bead stitch to create your clothes.
After completing the skirt section, sew on to doll base.
Use your choice of techniques to create the top and sleeves.  These can also be stitched on or glued into place.

Depending on your skills you can use wire to embellish the legs and arms.  Even create components out of metal, such as the wings I made for “My How Time Flies”

Hair can be created by stringing beads or fringe and glued into place. Or as I did on many of mine- drill holes in the wood head and make coils and spirals out of wire that are inserted into the holes and glued into place.

After all is in place glue on the face.  If you are using E6000 make sure you lay your doll down and let the glue dry completely before standing back up.

After you have added all of the embellishments you desire, you can glue the small base on the doll stand to your larger piece to make it stable.  This can be done with a hot glue gun or E6000.
Finish the stand off with beads, fabric, paints.  What ever you desire to make it interesting and fun!

My advice is use as many beading, wire, metal techniques as you can. It will add such interesting color and texture to your piece.

I am starting my next doll as we speak.  I'll show you the process as she takes form.  Keep an eye out for updates!

Take your time with this process….enjoy the journey….love the results!  I hope you will create your own Bead Love Doll- Tracy Stanley


Marcia L. Balonis said...

Fantastic dolls. Love them all. I've always loved dolls and love your combination of materials. Thanks for sharing.

Peggy Hawkins said...

These are so fabulous!!!

Heather Collin said...

What a fabulous project to unlock some mojo. Thank you!

Marsha Wiest-Hines said...

Your work is wonderful!!! So fantastically and unique yours. Thank you for sharing.

Linda Brown said...

Tracy, it is so wonderful to see your work here in Marcia's LOVE spot. Your story dolls have always inspired me. the technique is perfection and I love being able to see the details up close. Thank you for sharing with us.

Cath Thomas said...

Thank you for this beautiful gift to Planet Bead. Your work is astounding. Each doll is very beautiful and beautifully made.

Becs Dean-Skinner said...

Thanks for sharing this. I've had a wooden doll at home for about a year with the intention of beading her, but no idea where to start. Looking forward to having a go.

AntiquityTravelers said...

oh wow! these are amazing!! and the beadwork is stunning

Victoria Pearman said...

Your dolls are fantastic! Love the use of different materials in each and every one of them especially the wrapped wire.