Where do you start?

A friend just asked a bunch of us arty types where we start in our creation process. I love hearing people's answers to this, so I'm passing the question (and my answer) along.
I make mostly dolls (kinda), so I'll talk about how I start that.
I have a big box of templates made of posterboard or cereal-box cardboard, like this moon one-I try upon ocasion to organize them, but Dylan does all the sewing so he always just throws them back in the box. sigh. Anyway, I usually start there and pick templates I've used before or use them as a jumping off point to make new ones. Sometimes Dylan picks which templates he wants to make too. Then Dylan traces them, sews them, stuffs them, and gives them to me. Sometimes I have a little sketch of want I want to make before this whole process, especially if I've just designed new templates. I keep the sketches very small and simple, so I don't feel compelled to follow some preconceived notion of what it is I'm making. But more often than not, I look at that pile of blank bits and decide what they'll be from there.. . .
Where do you start?


  1. Hi Jo!

    What a great question!

    I pretty much start off the same way as you! A big box of posterboard templates and osnaburg muslin.

    At times, I have a very clear mental image of my next little enchanted one...and at other times...I'm completely surprised by the end result!

    Sometimes...it's a little of both.

    Have a great evening!
    Enchanted Blessings,

  2. I start by looking at other peoples works of art for inspiration and then I try to customize it to make it my own. I don't have anyone to do the sewing for me you lucky girl!Its so amazing what you do with little white bits.

  3. Well... I can't seem to stick to any one process. Sometimes I sketch... sometimes I can just 'see' it in my head, sometimes I just start cutting....literally!

    My main problem is that I don't ever seem to find the time to do anything different. When I do, it occupies so much time that I get behind on what sells!

    That's what I truly love about your work Jo... the variety.


  4. Love to read how other people are inspired and/or start out their work. Also really liked seeing all your 'body parts' lOL

    I work in polymer and usually have an idea in my head of the piece I want to do. I start with a tightly compacted aluminum foil egg, which is the head armature. The odd time I will just start with that (the foil egg), and no idea - just start sculpting and seeing what develops.

  5. Complete Yumminess!!!! I love PROGRESS pics!!!

    For me, I am inspired and start the process usually with a certain fabric, or found object that I want to incorporate into my art. Sometimes characters and sometimes Raw Emotion play an inspiring role.

    I then use my templates to make he or she come alive if I am making a doll. They don't always agree to be what I ask....which is a whole other subject.

    For the mixed Media I create I choose an inspiring paper and coordinating paints and just begin by playing with composition gradually moving into making it permanent....Sometimes a certain Vintage Photo will be all I need to get started and I work around that....

    Thanks for sharing.....I wish I could come over and Play!


  6. When I make dolls, I start with an idea and it just grows from there. I never know how it will turn out till it is done, it develops it's personality as I create it.


  7. Where do I start? In the Gourd Shack! They tell me what they want to be! Really they do!

  8. In the shower! That seems to be the only place for peace and quiet (without kidlets) and where the ideas flow. Unfortunately, we have water restrictions around here and three minute showers are the go. I'm getting pretty good at solving curly design problems at breakneck speed...

  9. I always start with a ball of clay. The face is the first thing I sculpt. After I see the expression I know how to complete the piece. Happy creating!

  10. I just found your blog very recently and I am entirely fascinated!
    I am itching to have a go, and just seeing that picture of all the body parts waiting to be put together is an inspiration.
    Thank you for sharing your brilliant work. I think it's wonderful.

  11. What a wonderful question! I start with a blank piece - usually wood, but sometimes canvas, and have a vague idea of the direction I want to take it. For example, when painting a tea chest, I may think witches, I may think black cats, I may think fortune telling, it just depends....From there, I base coat it, paint the background, and may even do a sketch or two if the piece involves something that needs to be correctly proportioned. After that, each piece takes on a direction all it's own, and I just follow...

    ~ Carolee


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