Sunday, 7 December 2008

The Crafters' Way 78 - Sharlzndollz

I write a weekly Craft Column for a local paper. I share it here with Bloggers. If you prefer you view online at

Kallangur has a new Craft Queen. Sharlene from Sharlzndollz is a talented lady who creates the most gorgeous paper dolls. These dolls are nothing like the ones we played with as children. They are funky, quirky and very now. I took some time recently to catch up with Sharlene.

Have you always been a crafter?
Yes, I have always loved all things crafty. I learnt to sew at a very early age at my mother's knee and I have been creating ever since. I have always created for special events. I think my Gran has every crafty gift I have given her over the past more than 30 years (I guess that ages me a bit doesn't it?)

What is your favourite Craft?
This is such a hard question. I find it hard to narrow myself to just one craft. I am more of a serial sampler of techniques, but I only really stick to ones I like long term. I have had some terrible failures in my crafting. My attempt at knitting ended up with a scarf Doctor Who would love – about three metres long and about double the width at one end to the other (I just kept thinking I was dropping stitches and needed to add more!)

But as far as my favourite crafts are concerned, I love to sew. I will sew clothes, hats, bags, home accessories, decorations, dolls clothes, anything that can be put though a sewing machine. The most unusual item I think I have sewn is some fabric bowls.
I also really love paper. I love the textures and tones and weights. I love shaping, ripping, moulding, joining. It is such a versatile medium. I love to combine it in new ways.

How did you come up with the idea for the paper dolls?
My Paper Gals Paper Dolls evolved over a period of two years. I was looking for a style for myself, and the lovely face of the doll just kept recurring. I kept trying to find ways of using the face. Other parts of the doll form grew out of inspirations from other places. I love fared pants, and Victorian shaped boots, so my doll had to have these shapes. I was inspired by Erte and the Art Nouveau period in the feel and the colour palette for the dolls. The head came from my obsession with Babushka dolls, and my preferred hand (a stamped image) is an old fashioned stamp that feels just right with the doll form.

What techniques do you use when creating them?
I start all my paper dolls with the paper. It sets the scene and I am very picky looking at the paper to use in the dolls. It must have the right feel, the right weight and must combine with other elements. I work with templates and create the pieces. I always create an individual face for each doll as this makes her her own person. I like to accentuate the pieces with ink on the edges. I compile the form and then work out what quirky bits she may need (flowers, stamping, cutting, painting, ripping). After I am happy with the pieces I coat them in Decoupage finish and when dry, join her up with brads or fasteners.

How long does it take to create a paper doll?
This is hard to know because I often think of ideas over some time. The actual creating is such a joy, time just passes.

Do all you dolls have names?
I believe all my dolls are individuals just like people, so they are all a little different, they get better with every generation, and they all have their own personalities and names. Often their names reflect ideas rather than a real name, but each is still an individual.

Favourite materials to use in your crafts?
No doubt – Paper! You can rip, cut, bend, mould, sew, join, shrink, burn. It can be flat, three dimensional. It can be big, small. It's everywhere!

Future plans for paper dolls or your craft in general?
I am looking in the New Year into evolving the doll even further. I have ideas in adding some beading and also going into fabric for the doll, but still retaining the Paper dolls jointed feel. I also want to look at different dresses for the dolls and I want to include recycled items into the design, perhaps from old children's books. Art is such a journey that even when you are happy with a concept you still want to keep evolving.

You can catch Sharlene and her dolls at the BrisStyle Market, Hamilton Hall, Cnr of Rossiter and Racecourse Rds. Hamilton. Its open from 9 am – 4 pm. Entry is Free.


Bec said...

What a great interview - I really enjoyed this. Sharlene's dolls are just so beautiful, it was really great to learn a a bit more about how they are made and how they have evolved!!!

Sharlene said...

Thank you Trish for your wonderful write-up. Its lovely and makes me sound so good. LOL Sharlene