Saturday, December 22, 2012

I Am Now Officially Speechless

    Doll ornaments were just a part of the creative work that the Dazzling Dames shared at the holiday party last Sunday.  Members also brought dolls and other projects to the Red Hen Fabrics shop in Marietta, GA for show and tell.  Kenya came along with me to show off the threaded locks wig I made for her.

Unfortunately this Victorian Barbie dream house was not for sale.

It serves to keep children entertained while their caregivers shop or take classes with accomplished artists like Martha Dudley.  Miss Martha was proud to have finally completed this “Twelve Days of Christmas” quilt after working on it on and off for several years.

The panels are all intricate applique work depicting the verses of the famous Christmas carol.

10 lords a leaping,

9 ladies dancing,

5 golden rings,

and a partridge in a pear tree.

    Miss Martha also made these three pretty maids all in a row.

They are designed to sit atop a mantel.  The one with the tie-dye motif is for her daughter who loves everything sixties-related.

    Miss Lorraine brought a gingerbread doll that looks sweet enough to eat.

She made it for a friend who has decorated her kitchen with a gingerbread theme. 

    Miss Margaret created two very interesting dolls with baskets to hold her favorite Scentsy flameless candles.  The candles come in a variety of fragrances.  This lady in red was inspired by the “romance” scent.

Another line of these fragrances evokes the seven seas so Miss Margaret created a doll from a map print fabric.

With her fiery red curls she looks powerful enough to cup the whole 'round world in her hands.

    For many years Miss Joy traveled the country selling her dolls at craft fairs.  One of her specialties was needle-sculpted dolls made from pantyhose.

Amazingly enough, the fabric doesn’t run.  “Gretel” has held up for over twenty years!

    Angela Ferguson’s piece was a very interesting commission.  A lady had asked her to create a mermaid doll for her sister-in-law who had won a prestigious poetry award.

The honoree was Nikky Finney who received the National Book Award for Poetry in 2011.  As Miss Angela researched and brainstormed ideas for the piece, she watched interviews with the poet and learned that for years Finney had used a special brand of pencils crafted by the Black Feet Indians.  Unfortunately they have now stopped producing these pencils and Finney has been jealously hoarding her last box.  Writing with these pencils makes every word precious so Miss Angela created a box of pencils for the mermaid, Pohetta to use. 

    In her acceptance speech, Finney also noted that since the slave codes made it a crime to teach enslaved people to read, African Americans are the only people in the United States who had been forbidden to attain literacy.  Finney’s speech reflected on the ways such laws had silenced African Americans and expressed gratitude to all the mentors who encouraged her to break that silence in her poetry.  Miss Angela was struck by the fact that Finney ended her speech saying “I am now officially speechless” so she incorporated this phrase into the design of the doll. 

    I am now officially speechless at the creativity and skill of the Dazzling Dames!

Here is Nikky Finney's 2011 National Book Award in Poetry acceptance speech:

"Can the camera smell?" she asks as she talks about her favorite Black Feet pencils:

À Bientôt


  1. Such amazing work and inspirations! I will put the Red Hen on my list of shops to visit. That commissioned piece of Miss Finney is a wonderful tribute to her and so 'on point'. No pun initially intended. I'm never seen someone so excited about pencils. It was nice to see. Thanks again for a wonderful post.

    1. Hi Vanessa,

      Red Hen Fabrics is definitely worth visiting. I found some fabrics there that are printed with bricks and other building stones that are the right scale for our dolls. They would be excellent backdrops. They also have some polka dots and other prints that are small enough to look good in 1:6 scale clothes.

  2. Thank you for sharing these creative dolls and the quilt. I especially enjoyed seeing some of the quilt panels up close. What talent, what patience!

    The mermaid doll and Ms. Finney's acceptance speech were special treats.

    Thanks again for sharing!


    1. Hi Debbie,

      I wish I had been able to take more photos of the mermaid doll. The level of detail in the piece was amazing -- front and back from every angle.

  3. Very nice! The quilt was my favorite, but all are very nice! Great post and thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Georgia Girl,

      Yes, that quilt is truly a master piece!

  4. Hello from Spain: I have the Victorian Barbie Dream House. It is an amazing house. I take this opportunity to congratulate Miss Martha. The dolls are very original and creative. Happy Christmas. Keep in touch

    1. Hi Marta,

      I have a Victorian Barbie Dream house too. Mine is a later model so it is a little smaller and it is purple but I love it and it may show up in some photos soon. I just deboxed it after 7 years in storage!

  5. Hello, I am desperately searching for the 12 days of Christmas pattern featured here by Martha Dudley. I understand it is an older pattern. Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.