I don’t know why it’s taken so long, but I finally made a miniature version of my friend/teacher/agent Judy Sue Goodwin-Sturges. We met over 40 years ago at the Rhode Island School of Design, where she still teaches illustration. Judy Sue has guided countless art students, urging them to follow their own path. And I feel lucky to be one of them. All those years ago, when she saw me sitting in her class, stitching pea pod pins, she said, “For goodness sake, do this for your assignments!” Up until then, I’d been under the impression that illustration was only painting and drawing and had kept my interest in crafts separate. With her encouragement, I started incorporating 3-dimensional elements and sewing into my work. Instead of trying to keep in step using traditional mediums, I discovered that with stitching, I could dance the fandango! So, the least I can do is make her a little Judy Sue doll!
For doll-making inspiration, I found this photo from a few years a ago, when Judy Sue and April Prince, who work together in the boutique agency Studio Goodwin Sturges, came for a visit. Of course, the Judy Sue doll would have to be dressed in a huipil, which is the most distinguishing feature of her wardrobe.
(Huipil [ˈwipil] (from the Nahuatl word huīpīlli [wiːˈpiːlːi]) is the most common traditional garment worn by indigenous women from central Mexico to Central America.)
She has quite a collection of huipils, which all came from a friend who lives in Guatemala. She stores them folded up in shelves. It was surprising to see some of of my illustrations from the ’90’s hanging on the adjacent wall, because I’d forgotten that she had them!
I stopped by Judy Sue’s place last week to pick up a piece from “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, that she’s loaning for my upcoming retrospective exhibition, Once Upon a Thread, which will be at the Cape Cod Museum of Art, Dec. 12, 2019 – Jan. 26, 2020. GALLERY TALK: December 13, 2019 – 4:00 – 5:30 pm. RECEPTION: December 13, 2019 – 5:30 – 7:00 pm. FAMILY GALLERY TALK: January 4, 2020 – 1:00 – 2:00 pm
Now that you have some background information, let’s move on to making the doll. I made the pipe cleaner body the same as the 4″ sturdy doll in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures. Then I painted her face on a wooden bead and glued on a felt wig.
I embroidered the felt huipil with flower thread, which is thicker than 1 strand of floss.
Toward the end, I outlined some shapes with 1 strand of violet colored floss.
Judy Sue also likes to wear bold and colorful jewelry, so I made her a seed bead necklace.
Her hair is made with hand-dyed fingering weight Merino wool that I recently bought from Flying Finn Yarns.
Here’s the real-life Judy Sue, with her wee folk replica. Thank you Judy Sue, for your generous spirit and for instilling a belief in the trans-formative power of art to so many!
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Sew Perfect, great work ladies.
This beats a bobble head any day!. I met JSG when I graduated from college almost 50 years ago. She remains close in my heart! Love you JSG. What a wonderful gift!
I’m so happy that she encouraged you to follow your textile dreams. Such a wonderful mentor! And lifelong friend. We have all been enriched by your art.
Magnifique, je suis admirative
Do we know this Judy Sue Goodwin-Sturgis?
> > Peace, Françoise
We owe your mentor and friend a heart full of gratitude for seeing your gifts, and inspiring you to let them unfold. Geri
December 12 is on my calendar!
Everything about this is perfect! Judy Sue, Salley and April. I love you!
I can only imagine how grateful you are to Judy Sue who was there to recognize and encourage your natural inclination to work as you do! Your doll is a sweet tribute to her and beautifully done!
What an honor.
I can’t believe how well you captured the essence of her smile in that small doll face! A wonderful tribute, and a perfect gift.
Sally…I am the sculptor of the Mary Had a little lamb statue in Sterling, MA which I t hink was an early inspiraation for your (wonderful!) book. Philemon was my brother… a free spirit if there ever was one……..from Ronny Sturges Waters
Hi Ronny, thanks for introducing yourself. Yes, your lamb sculpture was an inspiration. I believe that we met around the time Mary Had a Little Lamb came out.