Exploring Etsy – Alia Grace Dolls and Jenny Blair Art

Exploring Etsy with loadofolbobbins!

Although it may not feel like it to some, (me included), I have looked at the calendar and can confirm we are now well in to December – I have no idea how that happened so quickly! As the first bits of tinsel start their glittery shimmying and those fairy lights start to twinkle, I’m hoping that the two amazing makers I’m featuring today will put smiles on your faces and maybe help some of you out with a few gift ideas. First up we have the fabulous Alia Grace and her shop ‘Alia Grace Dolls’

Alia Grace Dolls - Cloth Doll

Forest Fox Sister Dolls by Alia Grace Dolls (Soft Sculpture)
Forest Fox Sister Dolls by Alia Grace Dolls (Soft Sculpture)
Forest Fox Sister Doll by Alia Grace Dolls (Soft Sculpture)
Forest Fox Sister Doll by Alia Grace Dolls (Soft Sculpture)

Alia first started making her beautiful dolls not too long ago when she realised it was a great way to combine all of the mediums she likes to work in: sewing, painting, knitting, beading etc.. Combined with fashion and imagination, on a miniature scale, the possibilities are endless! Having worked in both large and miniature dimensions in the past, in more recent years she has kept her work small because it’s both more economical and conducive to a nomadic lifestyle as she spent her time travelling, living lightly and spending a lot of time outdoors. After beginning to miss her sewing machine she went back home to Philadelphia for a bit and began to develop her dolls, then returned to New Mexico ‘The Land of Enchantment’ where she fell in love. Alia now lives in Taos at the foothills of a beautiful mountain and works from her home studio, where she’s working towards her goal of buying land, building a home, growing her own food and having more time to play, relax and help and give to others.

Lavender Fish Eye Pillow by Alia Grace Dolls (Machine Embroidery)
Lavender Fish Eye Pillow by Alia Grace Dolls (Machine Embroidery)
Fish Ornaments by Alia Grace Dolls (Soft Sculpture)
Fish Ornaments by Alia Grace Dolls (Soft Sculpture)
Lavender Fish Eye Pillow by Alia Grace Dolls (Machine Embroidery)
Lavender Fish Eye Pillow by Alia Grace Dolls (Machine Embroidery)

What is your earliest stitching memory?

When I was in about fourth grade I started making patchwork pillows, just sewing squares of fabric together and making quilted pillows, sometimes giving them as gifts to family members. I started out stitching them by hand and then a family friend gave me an old sewing machine and big box of vintage fabric scraps which opened up a lot of possibility.

Happy Isla Doll by Alia Grace Dolls (Soft Sculpture)
Happy Isla Doll by Alia Grace Dolls (Soft Sculpture)
Gentle Woman Doll by Alia Grace Dolls (Soft Sculpture)
Gentle Woman Doll by Alia Grace Dolls (Soft Sculpture)

What fires your imagination?

I love color and patterns and really enjoy picking out fabric… often my vision for each doll is based around a certain fabric choice. I enjoy a playful and whimsical imagination, and sometimes my ideas come from combining things that normally wouldn’t go together. I like to make people smile. Nature is beautiful and spectacular and is the source from which all beauty and imagination stems.

La La La Lollipop Lassy Doll by Alia Grace Dolls (Soft Sculpture)
La La La Lollipop Lassy Doll by Alia Grace Dolls (Soft Sculpture)
Cloth Doll (detail) by Alia Grace Dolls (Soft Sculpture)
Cloth Doll (detail) by Alia Grace Dolls (Soft Sculpture)

Every single one of Alia’s creations have their own unique personality and are exquisitely put together, with one simple click you can be transported to her glorious shop. Another equally talented maker I have the pleasure of introducing you to today is Jenny Blair whose shop ‘Jenny Blair Art’ is full of colourful kits that make me smile.

Little Fawn Embroidery Kit by Jenny Blair Art (Hand Embroidery)
Little Fawn Embroidery Kit by Jenny Blair Art (Hand Embroidery)
Maurice the Handsome Bear Embroidery Pattern by Jenny Blair Art (Hand Embroidery)
Maurice the Handsome Bear Embroidery Pattern by Jenny Blair Art (Hand Embroidery)

Jenny Blair Art - Maurice the Handsome Bear Embroidery Pattern

A self taught artist, creativity has been a part of Jenny’s life as long as she can remember. Coming from a home where creativity was nurtured her earliest memory involves a kitchen table, a mound of cereal boxes and some paint. Her mum also opened a craft shop when she was 8, like jewels in an Aladdin’s cave the colourful craft supplies and kits had her spellbound. Ever since she’s experimented and played with a huge array of different mediums and styles over the years, dipping her toe into several crafty ventures, (selling fairy wings, painted glassware, bag making, mixed media art and handmade books to name a few!) Out of all of those jewels, though it’s perhaps been the ‘simplest’ one of all that always calls her back and which she loves the most…the needle and thread.

Jenny Blair Art - Wall Art Embroidery Kits

Jenny Blair Art - Embroidery Kit

What is your earliest stitching memory?

I was introduced to embroidery by my primary school teacher at age 9. I distinctly remember the terror I felt when she held up a peg bag, beautifully decorated with stitches, and told us this would be our new project. I wondered how on earth I was expected to do that because it looked impossible! What I clearly remember next, is the sheer joy and pride I felt on discovering I could do it! All that I had needed was some gentle guidance and encouragement. I won the sewing prize that year, and was completely smitten. This has definitely influenced my passion to share and encourage others to start stitching, and is behind the inspiration of the kits and patterns that I offer now.

Woodland Medley PDF Patterns by Jenny Blair Art (Hand Embroidery)
Woodland Medley PDF Patterns by Jenny Blair Art (Hand Embroidery)
Swallow Purse by Jenny Blair Art (Hand Embroidery)
Swallow Purse by Jenny Blair Art (Hand Embroidery)
Free to Bee by Jenny Blair Art (Handmade Embroidery)
Free to Bee by Jenny Blair Art (Handmade Embroidery)

What fires your imagination?

I get the same ‘lit up’ feeling as I did in my mum’s craft shop, when I step into my studio space and see the jumble of colour, fabric, threads, paint, paper, sequins, beads….you name it! It’s impossible not to feel inspired with all the possibilities that are waiting to be discovered. The thing I find hardest is being able to focus on just one thing at a time, as usually there are a million and 1 ideas all shouting to be heard. This is where nature and my rural surroundings come into play…and a walk or run among the trees and hills helps restore some peace and focus.

Fox and Foxgloves Embroidery Pattern by Jenny Blair Art (Hand Embroidery)
Fox and Foxgloves Embroidery Pattern by Jenny Blair Art (Hand Embroidery)
Barn Owl Embroidery Pattern by Jenny Blair Art (Hand Embroidery)
Barn Owl Embroidery Pattern by Jenny Blair Art (Hand Embroidery)

As you can see Jenny’s work is full of charm and style, her gorgeous kits would make perfect presents for any craft lover so do mosey on over to her Etsy shop to see what else she has on offer! Seeing as today is my last ‘Exploring Etsy’ for 2015 I shall wish you all a fabulous December and here’s to more happiness and creativity in the New Year!

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Jessica Taylor aka Loadofolbobbins is a Textile Artist and Illustrator based by the sea in Portsmouth. At her happiest with a needle and thread, with a passion for genealogy she often explores old photographs in her textile art. With her fingers in many creative pies she loves to experiment with new techniques, creating illustrated and stitched goodies for her new Etsy shop.

LoadofOlBobbins
Jessica Taylor aka Loadofolbobbins is a Textile Artist and Illustrator based by the sea in Portsmouth. At her happiest with a needle and thread, with a passion for genealogy she often explores old photographs in her textile art. With her fingers in many creative pies she loves to experiment with new techniques, creating illustrated and stitched goodies for her Etsy shop.
LoadofOlBobbins

@loadofolbobbins

Textile Artist, Illustrator & Family tree detective, share a sacred bond with my sewing machine. New member of the Mr X Stitch crew.https://t.co/pIOrGQCffL
RT @arthistorynews: Thumb prints at the edge of a 17thC portrait; as if the artist picked up the canvas with red paint on their hands. http… - 3 hours ago
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