Saturday, April 10, 2010

Featured Artist - Claudia Green

Claudia Green is a newcomer to the artistic venue of sewing and painting fashion dolls.  She was introduced to it by her sister, Peggy Quade.  Peggy had been sewing for dolls for several years, and telling Claudia about her experience.  Try as Peggy would to encourage Claudia, she just had no interest in sewing for dolls at that time.  In fact, she hadn't even seen some of the fashion dolls in personPeggy mentioned.

In fact, Claudia didn’t even have Barbie dolls when she was a little girl, and she hated Home Economics in high school.  Her Mother did teach her the basics of sewing, though, and she had sewed for her two children when they were young.  And she did come from a large family (7 brothers and sisters) who are all artistic in one way or another - even her Dad taught photography and her Mom was a closet fashion artist. She did at least have a love of art, and  always had some kind of arts & crafts project going on at any given time…painting, cross-stitching, clay, etc. 

Finally, when Peggy brought a few Tonner Tyler-type dolls to one of their family gatherings and told Claudia the prices artists were getting for repainting the doll's faces, that's when she finally became interested!   And, when Peggy bought her a head off eBay and sent it to her along with some paint and brushes, she had to try it.    Although Claudia admits her first attempts were really awful, she kept at it.  After all, the nice thing about repainting is, if you make a mistake or don’t like it, you can just erase it and start over!

Practice, practice, practice was Claudia's mantra!  She also got a DVD set by Laurie Leigh and those techniques helped her tremendously.  She felt once she got the basics down, she was more comfortable in her work, and she actually began to know her own style. Together she and Peggy became a team - Claudia repainting and Peggy creating the fashions, taking the pictures and putting them on eBay.  What a thrill she felt making that first sale!  They continued this way for awhile with Claudia even "graduating" to repainting other dolls such as Ellowyne.

It was when Claudia's passion for repainting exceeded more than Peggy could sew clothes for, that she decided to buy a simple MHD pattern.  She figured she could make a simple dress to go with her repaint for that overall look for the dolls she had been creating with her sister.  Once she got past the lining procedure in the MHD patterns, she worked on photographing her dolls, and writing descriptions.   Claudia was then confident enough with what she produced to start featuring her own dolls on eBay!   Slowly she went from total dressed doll, to making clothes to sell separately, and it has been that way ever since!  Being a good sister, though,  Claudia does do a few faceups for the Unoa girls and Kish Chrysalis dolls her sister has gone on to create fashions for.

As Claudia looks back she realizes although she began this artistic venture to produce an income that would keep the venture going, she has also found a very enjoyable hobby for herself! She always  credits her sister with everything she's done getting her started - from that initial introduction, to her praise and encouragement along the way, to the tremendous amount of promotion to get Claudia's repaints in the public eye.  She also wanted to mention her really close but anonymous friend who gives her unending support; Magalie Dawson's MHD patterns that have been a big influence in her ability to create nicely finished fashions, and. Kerri of Liquid Sunshine for inspiring her both initially and today on her Ellowyne repaints.

Today's work is influenced by the large stash of fabric and patterns she's accumulated.  Both seem to tell her what will go together as she browses them for an upcoming season or event.  When new patterns come out, she can usually associate fabric in her stash that would be perfect to use for it, too.  Also an Evangeline Ghastly a friend sent her to sew for has been Claudia's most recent inspiration..  It sings to her love of  Victorian, gothic, and vixen - style.  This friend also encouraged her to make jewelry with all the outfits she makes for her, so that has opened a completely new medium for her to work in!  It doesn't sound like Claudia intends to stop growing and creating - she's surely hooked on these fashion dolls now!!

For people who would like to create their own fashion art, Claudia advises you to just keep practicing!  She was amazed at how quickly she got better, both at repainting and at sewing - and so so can you if you don't give up!  If you get frustrated, take a break and come back later.  Usually, if it’s repainting, Claudia can tell instantly what’s wrong and, if it’s sewing, she takes the time to think things through and figure out what needs to be done differently.  You, too, will learn so much along the way that will help you later.  She still can’t believe that she is now revising patterns to suit her style, when just a few years ago she didn't even want to sew.  Claudia's shop, CGreen Designs, is located on Main Street of Couture Doll Shops.  Visit it often as she is always busy, and you won't want to miss any of her wonderful creations.

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