Annie Faerie Dolls

Annie Maloney Morey - pindoll
Pindoll based on my great-grandmother, Annie Maloney Morey of Co. Cork, Ireland

This is one of a series of pindolls that I’ve made by hand. These “Annie Faeries” sold out within minutes at Artfest 2001.

First, I create my doll collages digitally, using antique photos and illustrations.

When I’m pleased with the design and colors, I print each doll onto iron-on transfer paper.

Next, I apply each doll design to cotton, usually unbleached muslin, raw silk, or a light-colored cotton.

The edges of the fabric are treated with Fray-Chek, a product that prevents the edges from fraying. (You can find it in any fabric shop or sewing supply store.)

Then I sew, quilt, stuff, and bead the doll by hand.

(This is a very relaxing activity, and I often assemble my dolls when I’m traveling by airplane.)

Finally, I add the beaded antennae and a simple pinback, so you can wear the pindoll as jewelry, or attach her to a curtain.

Because these are sewn, quilted, and beaded by hand, not machine, each doll is slightly different, and one-of-a-kind.

These dolls are three inches tall without the antennae, and nearly four inches tall with them.

This design includes the face of Annie Maloney Morey, a wealthy young woman who eloped to America (from County Cork, Ireland) to marry her True Love, a dashing local lad with eyes the color of the Caribbean and the reputation of a rake.

They had six children and lived happily ever after.

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Faerie Grandmother Pindoll

My faerie grandmother pindoll is still among my favorites. That’s partly because the doll’s face belongs to my paternal grandmother.

I wanted to create a happy pindoll to remind me of what I liked best about that grandmother. She’d lived to age 80, but that wasn’t long enough.

faerie grandmother pindoll

(click image to see full sized)

This is the second of a series of pindolls that I created by hand.

I printed my original collages on cotton. Then I sewed, quilted, stuffed, and beaded them by hand.  (I did a lot of this work on airplanes, as I flew across the U.S. to teach my “wild art doll” workshops.)

Finally, I added the beaded antennae and a simple pinback, so she could be worn as jewelry, or attached to a curtain.

Because these were sewn, quilted, and beaded by hand, not machine, each doll was slightly different, and one-of-a-kind.

I swapped lots of these dolls, and sold some of them at conferences such as Artfest.  If you’re not sure if you have one in your collection: These dolls are three inches tall without the antennae, and about three and a half inches tall with them.

My original collages, printed on the fabric, were made with antique photos and illustrations.

This one includes the face of Mary Ann Loretta Boyle, whose family was from County Cork, Ireland.

Today, I think of her as a “faerie grandmother,” sort of a fairy godmother, but with chocolate chip cookies.

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More Dangerous Women

For another art doll exchange (a swap), I decided to modify my earlier “dangerous women” cloth doll design.

I rarely work from a pattern anyway, so any time I decide to repeat a design, it’s not likely to turn out the same as the original.

The photo above is one of a series of six dolls, created in mid-2000.  Most of them looked alike, though no two were identical. 

The dolls were each about five inches tall, not including the hair. The bodies were made with preshrunk 100% cotton, the hair was “doll hair” wool, only loosely tugged to give it volume. The face was drawn on with waterproof pens, and then ironed on with Stitch Witchery.

The arms and legs were stuffed before being attached to the body. Then, I added a star charm to one hand on each doll. Finally, I sewed on sheer wings (not shown).

Each doll was machine stitched, except for the final seam where she sits down, and that was closed by hand after stuffing.

All six were sent to the swap, and are now in other people’s homes and galleries, making mischief.

The original pattern, created and scanned as a GIF, can be downloaded here. Be sure to enlarge it to scale.

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Dangerous Women Reaching for the Stars

Dangerous women, reaching for the stars… they were some of my earliest pindolls from one basic concept. I made them in 1998 and 1999.

My concept was this: Work with a simple, triangular design.  Create dolls that could be pinned to a curtain, or — for courageous people — worn on a lapel.

These are from the first batch of dolls.  Only three were made.


(That image is from my scanner.  Back then — before digital cameras were popular or even very practical — I scanned everything.)

Each doll is about 6 inches tall.  I made them for a swap.  If you own one of them, let me know!  I’d love to know where they live now.

close-up of one dangerous woman, reaching for the stars

Above is a close-up of one of them. The other two had already escaped into their own fantasy world, and are probably plotting dangerously creative adventures.

Make your own dangerous women!

Click on the image for a FREE copy of the pattern

Dangerous Women

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