Watercolour is my favourite art medium and painting people is what I like best. Here are some of my sketches.
These patterns were inspired by my love of Hornsea Pottery.
These dolls are a series of one of a kind dolls made using locally sourced British wools. Eacd doll represents a lost or dying part of working class folk.
The Whitby Fisherman
I think we sometimes forget that we are an island and fishing was a large part of our history. As a knitter I have been interested in the fisherman’s gansey and the myths surrounding these iconic jumpers. This fisherman is wearing a traditional gansey in a pattern found in Whitby. Although the photo was taken in nearby Scarborough. Although the jumper is a miniature version, it is still made in the traditional way.
The Terrible Knitter of Dent
Hand knitting has had an increase in popularity in recent years, it was once a source of income for poorer folk. The village of Dent in the Yorkshire Dales has a long history of knitting gloves and I used the traditional glove pattern to re-create these miniature versions for this doll.
The gloves took 6 hours to knit on 1.2mm needles. Here they are next to a full sized glove.
The Clog Maker
One of my favourite journeys is the A58 through Hebden Bridge. As a child we often stopped at the clog factory to watch the shoes being made. A second clog doll was made for the clog makers in exchange for my own pair of clogs. (www.clogs.co.uk)
I made my first pair of miniature clogs for this little fellow, now I make a pair of clogs for all the Northern Folk.
It’s not difficult to see the poverty and unemployment caused by the loss of the mining industry. I believe it’s the destruction of industries like this, decided on by the wealthy in Southern cities that contribute so much to the North/South divide and perhaps the belief that the government don’t care about those of us North of the M25.
This miner has a fully working miners lamp and modern safety gear
These four dolls were made for my final university project where I also won the first prize for wool innovator of the year from the worshipful company of woolmen.
The River Folk
Huddersfield university is built on both sides of a canal, which meant I got to see cannal barges most days.
The Morris Dancer
This doll was inspired by a local Morris Dancing group, the Briggate Morris dancers.
The Pearly King
I’ve had a passion for collecting and making dolls for as long as I can remember so naturally when I learnt to crochet I was drawn to doll patterns.
In 2012 I wrote the pattern for the My Little Crochet Dolls, the doll is designed to grow with the child, having no additional hair whilst the child is young and the possibility of adding hair at a later date.
Remembering my own childhood love of dolls I wanted to create a doll with the same sense of play and detail. As a child, it frustrated me when dolls didn’t have underwear, or pockets didn’t work. I also remember having lots of outfits for dolls and noticed the idea of buying doll outfits had stopped in modern dolls. I made this doll to avoid the stereotype of everything being pink, of outfits being gendered (I made an astronaut outfit rather than a spaceman outfit).
In 2012 I published the original MLCD pattern on Ravelry and Etsy. The first dolls I made were made from acrylic yarn and used safety eyes.
The Mermaid pattern works as an elasticated waist fishtail, it also adds instructions for working with polymer clay to make the seashell bra.
The Sunday Best outfit is a Victorian style outfit with cameo brooch, high necked collar and pantaloons.
The Cowboy outfit allows the doll to be both a male and female doll.
The Gorjuss pattern is based on the popular character, she also comes with a purple overcoat, hat and boots.
The Bedtime outfits comes with lace nightgown, nightcap and dressing gown
The Ballerina doll is one of the more popular outfits (along with the mermaid)
The Spaceman outfit added another extra craft, E-textiles. His front panel lights up and has a simple on/off switch.
As I continued to make the dolls and my doll making skills improved I re-published the pattern in 2016. An improved scalp patterning, and painted eyes improved the dolls. I also added a dowel in the neck.
In 2016 I also started my textile degree at Huddersfield university, It challenged me to look at the yarn I used for the dolls and in my final year I develop a series of hand dyed skin tones in British wool. I also changed the eyes again to a needle felted version.
My final university exhibition was a series of dolls made from the MLCD pattern called Northern Folk, these are a series of one of a kind dolls, each telling the tale of a lost part of our working class culture.