I’m Just a Big Softie for These Little Wishing Art Dolls

cate pratoI contend that anyone who has even a passing interest in fabric has a little softie deep inside them, waiting for the right opportunity to come out.

wishing owl art doll plushies
Lynn Krawczyk's Wishing Owl art doll plushies.

For me, it came in the form of the Fancy Scrap Crows Kelli Nina Perkins made for Cloth Paper Scissors back in 2007. I had never had the slightest interest in making an art doll (aka stuffie, softie, or plushie) in my life. But I took one look at all those bits of fabric, fancy fibers, and hand embroidery, and I was hooked. I made an entire flock of them, and they have roosted on my mantel every autumn since.

But I have to say I was a little surprised when I saw Lynn Krawczyk making Wishing Owl plushies in "Quilting Arts TV" Series 800.

I'm familiar with Lynn's surface design and fabric collage work, especially her screen printing. But she makes art dolls? I had to ask her about it.

Q. Since when do you give a hoot about doll making?

A. I'm a HUGE fan of little plushies, There is something so magical about being able to create a 3-D stuffed friend. It reminds me of being a little girl with a mountain of toys to play with.

The idea to make a plushie came about because I kept collecting fat quarters of commercial prints that I couldn't live without. Since most of the fabrics were on the whimsical side and that's not something I use in my art work, I decided it was time to make my own plushie. I love owls, and that's pretty much how they came to be!

Fabric wishing owls, detail.

Q: What's the story behind these wishing owls. What inspired them and how do you "use" them?

A: I think as kids we get all the cool stuff, one of which is the gift of getting to believe in things like the Tooth Fairy and Santa and all things magical. I liked the idea of adding some of that magic back into my life and thought it would be neat to play off the idea of making a wish. I use my little owls almost like wishing wells, I add little secrets to their pockets that I wouldn't tell anyone else and keep my fingers crossed that they come true.

printing with freezer paper stencils
Lynn demonstrates freezer-paper stencils
for surface design on 'QATV' Series 800.

Q: Do you tend to alternate between stitching projects and surface design/wet projects? Or do you have several things going at once?

A:  I do. When I started out in fiber art, I did crazy quilts which focuses heavily on stitching. I love stitching and almost always have a project going that I can sit down with just a needle and thread and spend some quiet time with. The owls are great for this because hand stitching gives you the chance to add some personality to them.

I always have several projects going at onceboth surface design and stitching! What fun would it be to only do one thing at a time?

Q: These owls have a lot of little details like beading and hand stitching. What do you like about that kind of work?

A: Oh there's a lot I love about both. High on the list is portability. I can put my project in a zipper bag, tuck it in my purse, and always have something to do in the empty spots of the day. And I love the slower pace, I feel more connected with what I'm working on when I do hand work on it. It's an addiction; I can't get enough!

And I can't get enough of these Wishing Owls. I think there will be some roosting on my mantel very soon.

Lynn gives you all the instructions (with a pattern) in "QATV" Series 800, now available on DVD. You won't want to miss her tutorial for making and applying freezer paper stencils, either!

P.S. I referred to my "flock" of fancy scrap crows above, but do you know what the poetical collective noun is for crows? And how about owls? They have a collective noun, too. And what would a collection of collagers, mixed-media artists, or fabric artists be called? (I'm thinking a stash of fabric artists, but that's just one idea.) Leave me your guesses/ideas in the comments section below.


3D Art and Assemblage, Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques


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