sea star studio

Making a doll, for me, is . It doesn’t start with a preconceived idea, but evolves as the personality of the doll emerges. There are hundreds of questions and creative decisions to be made along the way.

Odd as it may sound, it all begins with the head. The head is made from a soft cotton knit. I love natural fibers – they give a distinct feel to the piece. Using a process called needle sculpting, I sculpt the features by stitching underneath the fabric to hold the stuffing in place. This is when the .

Glass beads for eyes, colored pencil for shading,
then fabric stiffener to keep the face the way it was meant to be!
And a variety of yarns, ribbons and trims added for the hair.

Next comes the body. I believe dolls need to move, so mine are jointed with buttons at the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees for you to position. Then I cover those buttons with fabric.

By now the conversation has evolved enough that I know who I am creating -- young or old, fairy or seafarer – time to begin the costuming. These are magical folk from the wood or shore. The design inspirations come from a variety of influences.


I often use hand-dyed and vintage fabrics, antique bits of lace and embroideries. – unusual juxtapositions of colors and patterns. Pieces of handweaving, batiks, wool and velvet. Flea markets, thrift shops and the collections of friends yield the best finds.

And then there are the . Silk-ribbon embroidery on the hem of a sleeve. Beading on a velvet shoe. A shell to put in her basket. A star brooch for the top of his walking stick.

After working so many hours on a figure, I’ve found that each has his or her own . Just a few words that conjure up what they’re about. You’ll find these on the individual hang tag that comes with each figure.

These little people are fun and magical to create. They remind me that we live in a world where anything is possible. Hopefully, that to you.