Posted on

Art Dolls & So Long 2016

Hi ho lovelies.

Can you believe 2016 is nearly over?  I feel a mix of relief and disbelief at the past 12 months.

It’s been a pretty good year here at Tenukihandcrafts: my first gallery show was a success; I added prints to my shop; my work was published in a book about women artists around the world.  I owe it all to you, my friends.

I had planned to make art tutorials this year, but in the end, I made a couple art journal flip throughs and a couple planner tutorials.  One of my goals for 2017 is to make offer more tutorials.  What to learn more about making art dolls?

My last post for 2016 is a look at my recent obsession: art dolls.  Making art dolls has been on my list for a very long time. This year, I took 2 classes for inspiration and instruction: Tamara Laporte’s Art Doll Angel and Adele Po’s Create Your Own Doll.  I really enjoyed both classes tremendously.

In Tam’s class, we made stump dolls using Creative Paperclay and some sort of base – either a skinny glass jar or wadded and taped magazine pages.  It took me several tries before I made the doll I’m most happy with to date, although you might be a tad concerned looking at the initial stage of development.

I made the base of the head and torso from the pages of a Vogue magazine.  I wadded the pages into rough shapes then roughly sculpted and taped the shapes.  I taped the head and torso together with more wadded magazine pages for a neck. I covered the entire figure with the paper clay and let it cure for several days.  I sculpted the features and let this layer dry. Creative Paperclay is considerably easier to sculpt than Sargent’s Sculp-it clay.




I painted the gal with a layer of flesh color Deco Arts acrylic paint, followed by a layer of gloss varnish. I let those layers completely dry then paint the features on with Pitt Brush pens, which is a technique I learned from Christy Tomlinson in Effy Wild’s Radiant Faces class. I added highlights with a white Posca marker and outlines with a black Pitt Pen.

Once her face was complete, I added a fake fur wig, attached with heavy gel medium. After letting the wig dry completely, the real fun begins!


I crafted a dress from scraps of fabric and lace and sewed it on her.  I made her necklace from glass beads, silver beads and 26 gauge silver wire. I added a couple of birth marks.

I picked up some La Doll porcelain clay for a full art doll project (you can see the body in the background of the first photo of this post). La Doll is even dreamier to work with than Creative Paperclay. But that’s a post for another day.

What was the best thing that happened for you in 2016?  Drop a comment below.  I’d love to hear about it.

Well, my lovelies, that’s all from Tenukihandcrafts in 2016.  Thank you all so much your comments, support, all-around wonderfulness, and coming along for the ride.  I wish you and yours glad tidings in 2017.


Posted on

Don’t Give In to Brutes

Hi ho lovelies.

I had a conversation with a friend last night. For many years, she has drawn a cartoon series that started as a way to relieve boredom at meetings.  People noticed and naturally wanted to see her work. The response was positive and they requested she scan and share her work on their professional listserv. Naturally, she was flattered and started posting.

Then the critic came along.

There’s always a critic.

This post is about how I deal with critics.

It doesn’t matter who they are, their clinical diagnosis, friend, foe, people who walk up to your table at an art/craft fair, art teachers. Some people feel compelled to provide you with “an honest opinion” of your work.

Here is just a sample of the comments I’ve received:

  • that’s creepy
  • your necks are too long
  • it looks like it was made by a first grader
  • why does everyone look high?
  • I could do that
  • I shared a photo of one my pieces at work and punches were literally thrown

Frankly, I am not in the least interested in figuring out the motivation behind honest opinions.  In short, it’s a bully move.

I’ve had my fair share of experience with bullies. My current place of employment is a deeply ingrained bully culture. I usually get caught off-guard by these comments. But that is the bully way: they are nice one moment then they stick a knife in your back.

Bullying is about power.  The goal is to instill fear and keep you down.

I’m generally a mostly positive goofball. But don’t be fooled by my silly exterior or paintings of unicorns and mermaids.

I don’t give in to bullies.

My answers to honest opinions range from: Great! That’s exactly what I was going for.  I’ve offered to buy work back because I have had multiple offers for a piece of work.  I’ve told people how I made the piece and listed the materials, the best art supply store (Artist & Craftsman), and encouraged them to go make art.

It’s not my problem if someone has low self-esteem about art, life, or whatever their issue is. That’s their problem. However, I try not to be rude after such comments. I try to turn them into something positive. I think more people should artists.  Making art is a productive way to pass the time and is great therapy.

My definition of art is work that provokes a response.  I don’t even care what kind of response.  As my friend found out, most people are enthusiastic, or at least polite, but there is always 1 jerk in the crowd.

Negative feedback does not change my work. It does not cause me to stop making art.  It does not stop me from sharing my work. In fact, these encounters tend to have the opposite effect and I get some new work out of the deal. I make art for myself. If you like it too, that’s great.  If not, that great too.

It takes bravery to share your work.  When the negative comments come, and they will, tap into that bravery. Politely stand up for yourself and your art. You and I may not have met in person, but know that I love you.  I love your art. I’m standing with you, my friend.

Posted on


Hi ho lovelies.

Today’s post is a look back at my first art show. It was 2 years ago this month. My friend Marva invited me to join her in a Krampus-themed show at the Cafe Bedlam. Marva creates terrific hand-drawn and hand-carved Krampus art.  She also created a Krampus costume.

A few months earlier, Marva asked me to take some photos of her in her awesome costume.  We went to a nearby park and I took a bazillion photos.  She kindly gave me permission to use the photos any way I wished. It was a beautiful day and the photos under the trees have a nice green, shadowy cast to them.  Mysterious!

Most of my art for the Krampus show were the photos of Marva in her costume.  I had a lot of fun playing with the photos in Gimp. In fact, I’d say it’s time to revisit the Krampus photo shoot and edit a couple more photos.  I’ve learned quite a lot about the Gimp’s many wonderful features – filters, effects, and ways to enhance my photos. But that’s a post for another day.

When the Krampus show was drawing near, I was deep in my mixed media art heaven and I wanted to include one of my paintings.  I happened to be in Effy Wild’s Radiant Faces class.  I was working on Tam Laporte’s Inner Child lesson.  As part of the class, Effy encouraged us to work the lesson as presented, make notes and then go back to the lesson and give it your own twist.

Tam’s color scheme leans toward pastels. I prefer a darker color palette.  The idea hit me to create a Krampus-themed portrait, and Krampus Handmaiden was born.


Both girls were painted on hot press watercolor paper, 140 lb, 11″x17″.  The biggest I had worked at that point – scary! I enjoyed having more space to fill. Both paintings were done primarily will water-based supplies, plus some permanent pens and stamped images with Stayzon ink.



I also enjoy the big-headed girls. They remind me of the Blythe doll, although the proportions used in these paintings are not quite as extreme as Blythe.  I took both gals to the Swedish Craft Fair and was pleasantly surprised that Krampus Handmaiden was purchased.

Tonight, I did a little editing on Krampus Handmaiden with the Gimp. I added a Color Enhance layer and a Tending layer, where I added some dodge and burn to increase the highlights and shadows on my gal.  I also re-sized the image to print as 8″x10′, which happens to be a ratio of 4:5.  Once I figured out that I could crop my paintings to the 8×10 ratio, it make printing a lot easier.  Unfortunately, I had to crop out a bit of the top of Krampus handmaiden’s cute devil hat.  Next time, I’ll be more mindful of placement of hats.

As I was writing this post, it occurred to me that I could cut/trim the watercolor paper to the 4:5 ratio so I don’t have to decide which part of the painting gets cropped out for the print version.

Krampus Handmaiden and some of the photos of Marva frolicking in her Krampus costume are available as prints.  If you interested in buying some Krampus-themed art, please stop by my Etsy shop:

I love working with themes – having something to focus on gets my creative juices flowing.  What theme are you working on right now?  Leave a comment or link below. I’d love to see what you’re creating!

Posted on

Art Journal Page: Feel it

Hi ho, lovely readers.

It occurred to me recently that I’ve kept myself so busy with art class lessons, I haven’t taken the time to integrate the lessons into my work.  My primary art goal for 2017 is Integration.  Today’s post is the start of an art journal page I’ve been working on.

I used 2 Dyan Reaveley masks, one large and one medium sized stencil/mask set (the name I can’t remember or find) and my own profile face stencil. The color is Distress Spray. The journal is my 9×12 Leuchturm 1917, which I love, but the pages soak up the Distress sprays and takes a long time to dry.


Posted on

Digital Photo Madness

Originally published on my blogger blog on 07/17/14. Moved here as part of the 2016 Blog Thread Separation project.

I picked up several Stampington publications with their recent sale, including the Spring 2012 Somerset Digital Studio. I stopped on page 22, with Susan Tuttle’s article on iPhonography.

Needless to say, I have gone quite mad playing with various apps. Here are a few of my creations, featuring my Dollshe Bernard, Ethan. His faceup and outfit are by me. Expect more of this sort of thing.

I used Aviary and Pixl-r-matic to edit these images.

Happy crafting.


digitizedginger imhound lysander

Posted on

Art Doll 

Hi ho friends.

After enjoying the art doll mini class with Tam, I went in search of a new class for sculpting the entire figure and found Art Dolls with Adele Po. 

This figure has been a work in progress for at least a month. Air dry clays take 24 hours to dry, so there are a lot of breaks between stages. I made a second head after the first was too large for the body and made new arms in order to securely attach them to the body. I still have to glue the doll to the base, but I think that will be easier after I finish painting.

The figure stands about 11.5 inches tall. The scale overall is too small for me but that’s just the way this one worked out. I plan to make more of the art dolls, and have a mermaid in progress, so stay tuned for more art  dolls.

Today, I assembled her and applied the final coat of gesso. Once dry, I will get to work on painting and outfit making.

Adele suggested having a character in mind, but I prefer to work without a plan and see who emerges. One if my classmates commented that the doll knows stuff she doesn’t, so I will create a sage of some kind. Time for research!

Without further ado, here is the As Yet Unnamed Wise Woman art doll.

What’s new in your art world? I’d love to hear about your latest project.

Happy creating! 🎨