Monday, 11 August 2014

The Bunk Beds Spoke to Me!

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven! Well, I expect my Followers and Friends know by now that I'm a little crazy! And - if you've seen the last couple of blog posts - you'll know something about my children's old bunk beds 'speaking' to me! I'll try to explain! Mary Jane Chadbourne, a wonderful teacher and a fantastic artist, was running a class for The Artful Gathering called 'Anthology of an Art Doll'. I loved the name she chose, 'The Imaginarium' - I wanted to be part of something with a name like that! I'm so glad I signed up because it really has been an Imaginarium full of the most creative and sharing artists making incredible dolls. I've been fascinated by art dolls ever since I first discovered Crafty Blogland, and this course has really been a wonderful experience. Mary Jane offered kits, crafted in wood by her husband and graphics to help create the dolls. I couldn't wait for these to make their way to me all the way from the US, so I took the plunge and learned to use power tools! I also plucked up courage to use some of my own artwork. Mad as this seems, my bunk beds brought down from the loft, began to take on an identity of their own and to convey a message about living and growing! First there was Perdita on her way home from a masked ball in the early hours, dreaming of romance!
Dream-time is such an important part of all our lives. I would like my children to know that time spent dreaming is not time wasted; but time exploring what we might become. For Perdita, who reminded me of the importance of dreams, I used a combination of rubber stamping and my own art work on her face. Here she stands in the garden that was a magical kingdom for young wizards when the children were growing up! But the next character to step out of the bunk beds was a far more imperious lady! She was a Queen and she reminded me that dreams are no use if we don't reflect on them and make them a reality! She tells us that dreams can come true and it's down to us to make that happen!
I tried out cutting a profile face for this doll and used my own artwork and image transfer on her face.
It was great working on the backs of the dolls too!
For Perdita I was able to use lots of moody Paper Artsy Fresco Finish blues and translucent greens.
Then a third doll beckoned! She has grown out of the bunk beds and a hazel tree from our back garden and she completes this trilogy dedicated to my children, Isaac and Matilda. They are both starting along the path to adult life, equipped with dreams and - I hope - the ability to reflect: now Hazel wants them to FLOURISH!
Her face is my first attempt at paper clay modelling and I hope it conveys the warmth and kindness we can meet as we go out into the world. When life is a tempest may my children find those who will comfort them like a tree shelters a bird in a storm.

May there always be a friend to stretch out a nurturing and loving arm. Hazel is extending her twiggy arms and asking us to dance with her! Her back also celebrates the joys and restoring power of nature.
From the side I think she really does look as if she is asking us to dance with her as her branches sway in the wind.

Thank you, Mary Jane, for giving your students the chance to dream and create within the Imaginarium!
 I haven't finished yet - there are more dolls to come; but this trilogy is dedicated to Isaac and Matilda - may they always dream, reflect and flourish! Thank you,Friends and Followers for patiently reading about my trio made from Bunk Beds that talk! I hope your lives will be full of dreams that come true and that your creativity will reflect the joy of living and flourishing!


  1. How absolutely wonderful Julie Ann! Your posts brought tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart as I read about what a wonderful, caring and nurturing mother you are!!
    much love to you and your dolls are beyond stunning! xoxo

  2. Wonderful,wonderful,wonderful Julie Ann. I not only love the dolls but also the beautiful stories behind them. You have such a creative vocabulary and it's a joy to read what you write. I absolutely adore your blog,it's a real treat popping in here :)

    Donna xx

  3. You always make my heart smile Julie Ann, your imagination is a thing of wonder and genius. Three beautiful Art dolls, glad you got to grips with power tools, it makes a huge difference when you feel comfortable with something like this in your crafty repertoire.

    thank you for sharing your journey so far, looking forward to seeing more of your dolls and other projects.

    Thank you for your very encouraging comments, it really makes a difference to know someone likes what i make, they are much appreciated :-) xxx

  4. Oh Julie! Your little trio look so happy to have given you so much pleasure! I do detect though, a little secret smile on their faces that also says how proud of their origins they are! No one would guess that you haven't been making art dolls for years - I know these are special but I look forward to seeing more. Don't know how I missed the Queenie post! Hugs, Chrisx

  5. Your latest doll is gorgeous!! I think she's my favourite, though of course one shouldn't pick favourites... You could always put your new found wood working skills to use in the kitchen if Kevin disappears again...... (sorry!) Have a great week.

  6. Fantastic, also your lates art doll is a great piece of art.

  7. These really are incredible Julie Ann. I can't stop looking at them.
    Flo x

  8. These really are amazing Julie Ann, not least because of your woodworking and power tool skills! It's been a real pleasure watching your wooden family grow, and may it continue to do so xx

  9. Our Miss sweet, sweet Julie Ann, I'm glad I'm not the only one brought to tears here, my heart is ready to burst, wouldn't it be a grand world if we had more Mothers like you. Do you know how talented you are, you have taken a wonderful class in doll making with a kit and as you do, you do it from scratch, making the dolls out of those special bed, decorating them in your detailed way, as you do, then writing aa amzing story about them, that touched everyone's heart . Dear dear Hazel,, her face, sigh, I can feel the love pouring out of her eyes, with her sweet gentle smile, LOVE her hat, I would surely dance with Hazel around the the old tree, I bet she gives grrrreat hugs too with her loving arms. love her twiggy legs, her flowered back, her little bird heart, I would love to caress her cheek. Well Miss Julie Ann you certainly have made my heart SING today, wings together, bowing to you my dear Cuz, Namesta, you are the most talented Magpie in the Parliament, they are cheering over there :O)... Hope you have a wonderful week.. ((( BIG HUGS )))......

  10. Everything you create has so much heART and depth.
    Using the bunk beds for your precious dolls makes me think of flying carpets and magical stories...
    and what a fine job you did cutting the wood and more!
    Your children have such lovely names...
    lucky them having a wonderful and talented mother like you!
    Thank you for sharing...

  11. What a wonderful post for your truly inspired art Julie! I'm not a doll person but I so want to make one of your style doll!

  12. You certainly are starting to get a little family here Julie Ann, they look such happy characters.
    Julie x

  13. Fantastic...Love your dolls...your little wooden family are all so Beautiful... You are one very special talented lady...Hugs May x x

  14. I am loving the bunk bed family, julie Ann. You did such a great job with the power tools and the clay face. Isaac and Mathilda are bound to flourish with the warmth and kindness of their lovely mum to protect them if they fall off the bunk bed of life!

    Lucy x

  15. What a dream of a post, Julie Ann - full of whimsy, imagination and creativity. Your dolls are just glorious - it was an absolute pleasure to meet each and every one of them, as well as a delight to read about your great joy in the class.
    Alison xx

  16. Julie Ann, you, your beautiful dolls and your wonderful way with words are an absolute joy and Isaac and Mathilda are so lucky you are their Mum!

    Lesley Xx

  17. They are so wonderful, Queen Elizabeth I would be so envious! If only I could remember my dreams!!!
    Sandy xx

  18. WOW WOW WOW all 3 of them are stunning and what a beautiful post. Your children are so lucky to have a mum who has an imagination full of wonder, excitement and adventure. It actually made me wish I could have offered more to my children on the imagination side. Those bunk beds have been turned into something so unique that words can't express. Kezzy :-) xxx


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