As I’ve mentioned I’ve been swapping through Swap-Bot. All kinds of swaps – Mail Art, ATC’s, I just did a Thriftstore Find swap, postcards, etc. So, when I was working on my wooden dolls, I searched for doll swaps, and found this strange swapping phenomenon – Dotee Dolls, swapping these highly embelished, small, blob-like, happy dolls. It seems like the craze hit its heyday sometime between 2007-2010, but swapping these odd little dolls is still going strong. I tried to google instructions on how to make them, and every site refers to the original creator’s blog, Dot Christian. As you can see, however, I have not linked to her blog, because it has been taken over by someone Russian (Dot was Australian). There are also references to Dot’s Etsy shop, where you can buy a kit, but I haven’t linked you there, either, because the store is no longer activity. I have done at least 10 google searches, with different criteria to find out what happened to Dot, the original instructions, and the original pattern, but I have been foiled. The only thing I found was on Dot’s Stitchin’ Fingers Ning page, where someone asked Dot where the pattern was, she simply responded that the blog was closed, and the pattern no longer available. And that was in 2008. And still, every blog, swap, whatever that refers to the original creator, links to the Russian woman’s bog.
Most Dotee Doll swaps are themed, much like an ATC swap, but I signed up for an unthemed one, because I just didn’t have any idea in my head about what I wanted to do. Originally, these dolls were 4-6 inches long, with a loop on the head for a hanger, and a beaded tail, and an embroidered face. Now, though, when you look through the Flickr stream, some faces are embroidered, some are handdrawn, some are painted, but the embroidered look is still the traditional way to go.
I’m not the traditional type, so I decided to do a Suzi Blu inspired dotee doll.
First, I drew a face, Suzi inspired. And then, I scanned the face into Photoshop. Suzi’s Petite Doll faces start out, usually, with Prismacolor pencils. After the shading is done, you take a white prismacolored pencil, and try to smoosh everything into a nice smooth texture. If you want to make your own Suzi faces, you should definitely buy her book. The book is encouraging – you are an artist! beautiful eyecandy, and comes with a DVD, which is a shortened version of her online classes. But, back to my doll, I didn’t smoosh to well, I guess, and I wanted a bit of a softer look for the doll’s face. So, I used a Gaussian blur layer over the face, and just smoothed out her cheeks (which because I had pressed too hard with my pink pencil were visible hard lines, instead of light shading that could be smooshed with a white pencil). Then, I took the image below and printed it on Iron-On T-Shirt Transfer paper that I happened to have in my paper stash from way way back when Knitty D and I were trying to make totebags with our podcast logo.
Then, I ironed the face onto the felt, and I sewed the felt to fabric I had left over from my Sling tote bag. Now, I originally printed out two versions of the face – one that was 4″ high (that was an accident, since it’s supposed to be between 4-6″ altogehther), and then I reprinted one, two inches high. Unfortunately, I could not peel the backing off the little face – maybe it fused when it went through the printer, maybe just because the paper’s so old, I don’t know. But, I did get the backing of the 4″‘er, and because I was anxious to see what the doll would look like, and I didn’t feel like waiting another half hour for the paper to dry, I went with it.
And now, she’s a half inch shy of being a foot tall.
So, I’m keeping this one, and tonight, I’ll make her mini-me. And maybe make an actual tutorial to go with it.
And, I’m going to giver her some hair.
Or a hat.