Posted on Leave a comment

Meet the dolls 4 – The Coal Miner

The final doll in my final university project. I planned on seven, but really, when it came down to it, my obsession to the little details just took the time and I think I’d rather do four dolls really well, than rush seven.

coal008b.jpg

The coal miner is more modern and I’ve named him not after a Yorkshire coal miner, but one from Spennymoor in County Durham. Norman Cornish, a coal miner from the age of 14, who took advantage of art classes for miners and became an artist in his 40s. (www.normancornish.com)

I’ve even used some modern technologies, sewable electronics to make a working head lamp.

coal020b.jpg

I’m sure many folk are thinking why have I made a coal miner when I’m making dolls that represent traditional crafts, and at first the coal miner was the doll I was going to leave until last. Then a few weeks ago I was with my parents and a programme was on the TV which showed a clip about the Lofthouse colliery disaster from 1973, I’d have been 1 years old (yep, I’m sticking with 35 being my current age). My mum looked up and said, ‘oh, your dad was there’.

No, my dad wasn’t a coal miner, although he was a Bevin boy in the war. He was a Salvation Army officer and spent a lot of time providing support to the men during the search for survivors. It reminded me also of a time when years later, as a young Salvation Army member I was collecting money door to door in a nice middle class Lancashire area. It was during the time of the miners strikes. I remember one door opening and a man telling me he wouldn’t give to the Army because we gave to the miners. I didn’t get it being so young, but as I remember the story I decided the miner had to be made.

The dolls represent traditions that are dying out or how I sometimes feel about knitting, becoming only for the privileged. When I was young, people made their own clothes because they couldn’t afford to buy ready made. Now we’re in a place where poorer folk shop at Primark and the wealthy go on sewing classes or extravagant knitting holidays.

I was talking to a lady in the cafe at the National Coal Mining museum a few days ago about crafting. She told me she was a quilter and began quilting to use up all the scraps that she had left over from dress making. But then her husband spoke – describing what she does. He said she buys a yard of fabric, cuts it into pieces and sews the pieces back together to make a quilt. Quilting was once, using up your left over fabric, doll making was using up your left over wool. Now though, there is a worry that crafting is moving from the working classes to an expensive and privileged hobby.

It’s not wrong though (to be a wealthy crafter) and perhaps my gripes should be for another post.

The coal mining industry is another craft (because it is incredibly skilled) that has been lost and although the dolls have been made as a celebration of Yorkshire life and craftsmanship, I wonder if, in the future they’ll be seen as a look into a forgotten past.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Astronaut Pattern – My Little Crochet Doll

You’ve all been very patient and I hope the wait was worth it (blame all the work at Uni).

Finally the next patten has been finished and is ready to make.WP_20150809_002

The astronaut pattern has a jump suit, made with a few rows, but mostly rounds in single crochet (double crochet to us Brits). It has a zip at the back, buttons wouldn’t do for an astronaut.

The boots are worked in BLO, giving the soles a ridged effect similar to the ones used on the moon.

The helmet has a plastic covering to keep oxygen in.WP_20150809_005

But most important, the front panel has working LED lights. Of course, when you’re playing on the dark side of the moon you need some lights to see your way.

I buy my electronics from Kitronic, a UK company. They’re easy to find on line, but Maplins are starting to sell sew-able electronics too (although expensive from them).

If you’re stuck please email me and I’ll see if I can help.

So, finally here is the pattern

MLCD Astronaut – US

Posted on Leave a comment

Three Artists – In a 3D world

Johan Carpner www.johancarpner.se originally trained and worked as a graphic designer before the birth of his son helped guide him towards his current style. He describes his inspiration as “wilderness in nature”, the tangle of plants growing and the eventual beauty that grows from the tangled mess – Bringing order into chaos.

image

His lamps create a magical sense of looking up, out of the forrest, I can almost imagine the reflections on walls and floors as the twisting of the stems moves you from home to the forrest.

image

Nina Jobs seems to have an incredible ability to create a 3D look with 2D imagery.

image

She works with a variety of skilled professions to create products loved by both architects, interior designers and consumers. My favourite product has to be the carafe.

image

The glass ball shaped lid fits under the carafe to create a whole new way of looking at the product.

My final designer of the three, Angel Chang, integrates clothing with electronics and intelligent dyes. Her thermochromatic dyes that she weaves into fabric brings new life and colour when worn or breathed upon.

image

I’ve been looking at adding electronics to textiles for some time, and am currently working on adding an MP3 player to a hoodie (just waiting for some parts to arrive and I can put it together) but Angel’s work takes e-textiles to a whole new style. Several people have managed the music in a hoodie project, but she does it with a style that is attractive to a whole new consumer, not just the nerdy geek!

image

Hope you enjoy these three designers.

Johan Carpner images from www.johancarpner.se

Nina Jobs images from www.ninajobs.se

Angel Chang images from http://www.crunchwear.com

Posted on Leave a comment

E-textiles, Lights in your crafts

This is the first of a few YouTube videos I want to make showing how to put electronics into your craft project. I made it from a crafters point of view because so many tutorials on this subject are written by someone from an electronic background.

This is how to put one LED into your craft project.

You need:

Conductive thread

3 volt battery

Sewable battery holder

LED light

Sewing needle

And obviously the project you want to use.

I hope the video shows you clearly enough, but am always happy to help.