Recently, I’ve felt an urge to paint doll faces on wooden beads. Not just a few, but lots and lots of them. Like stitching, I find the repetitive process calming. This compulsion, or meditation practice, depending on how you look at it, has led to a new offering in my Etsy Shop.
Many of you who’ve made fairies and other wee folk dolls from my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk, mention how frustrating it can be to paint the dolls’ faces. Now, with the option of buying painted doll heads, you can relax and concentrate on the stitching and wrapping part.
It all started while tidying up my studio, when I found myself confronted by baskets brimming with acorn caps and bags full of wooden beads. I used to collect acorn caps by the thousands when my fairy kit business was going strong in the early 2000’s. It was always a rush every Fall to harvest enough of the right size and type to fit the different bead head sizes. Even though I stopped making kits years ago, I haven’t broken the habit of scanning the ground under oak trees and picking up acorn caps. Just because they could be the perfect size and shape to top off some little character. So, I figured that I’d paint wooden doll heads to sell along with the caps.
Some of you were introduced to my work through the kits, which I made for 10 years from 1998 – 2008. They were mostly available through catalogs and Waldorf School stores.
As I culled through piles of acorn caps, separating them by size and quality, I had flashbacks to the time of my life when every spare moment was devoted to designing, sourcing materials, mass-producing and marketing these kits. The memory gave me pause to think about what I was getting into.
So, before deciding to mass-produce painted heads again, I convinced myself that this time was different. I told myself that I’ll just paint heads until I don’t want to anymore or when the acorn caps are used up.
Actually, designing and figuring out directions for the kits gave me the experience and ability to write my how-to book Felt Wee Folk. In the 17 years since the first edition came out, many of you’ve written to say how much pleasure you’ve gotten out of making these little dolls. You also mention how habit forming they can be, so maybe the book should come with a warning! I love seeing and hearing about how you’ve adapted the patterns to personalize your own wee worlds. It was always my intention to introduce projects that encouraged imaginative exploration and I’m happy that you are doing just that!
In addition to the Felt Wee Folk book, flower petal skirts & wings and wool fleece fairy hair, my Etsy shop now has hand-painted wooden doll heads for sale.
Wooden bead doll heads with hand-painted faces and fitted acorn cap hats are available in my Etsy shop. A range of skin tones are grouped together in different size assortments of 12mm, 14mm and 16mm beads.
I just restocked the shop with packs of flower petals, which you can watch me assemble in this time lapse video.
I’m also selling naturally dyed wool fleece fairy hair, which was left over from the kit making days.
Blueberry Blossom Fairy was one of the most popular kits. She still lives on as a note card in my shop. I hope that you find these supplies useful. As for other wee folk necessities, such as wool felt, I recommend A Child’s Dream, which has a great selection.
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Thanks for sharing these wonderful magical details! Always good to see into your creative process.
I love that you are offering these in your shop! I spent an entire summer making these wonderful dolls when you book first came out, and I still turn to it for a special gift to go with a plant or package, or just for fun. The calmining meditative sense as you paint faces is very like crocheting a doll…repetitive motion that results in beauty. Thank you.
You’re talented in painting the faves exactly alike. Like machine painted!
They are sooooo LOVELY !