About Me

I am a cloth doll artist living in San Leandro, CA, across the bay from San Francisco. I was born in Pittsburgh, PA. I am married to a software developer and have two children who are artists. Over the past 20-30 years I have been (in past lives?) a seamstress, a ghostwriter, a technical writer, a software engineer, a consultant and an archivist.

I have been sewing since I was a child. My mother taught me to sew by letting me sew buttons on my dad’s shirts while she did the ironing—that was right after the war, so it probably about 1946, maybe a little later. Both grandmothers made quilts, dressed dolls and embroidered. So I was exposed to sewing techniques early. My mother made sure I learned to sew everything by hand before she allowed me to use her sewing machine. To this day, I am more likely to pick up a needle and thread to do some small project than to set up my machine. She also taught me to love beautiful fabrics—no wonder I have so many!

My grandmothers and parents gave me dolls when I was a child and my sewing was mostly making doll clothes. Later, I moved on to making my own clothes. I never had much interest in making dolls until about 1993 or so. The year before I made my first doll, my best friend convinced me to go with her to a cloth doll show sponsored by the Flying Phoebes. Seeing so many beautiful dolls and talking with my friend about how they might be made, planted a seed to try making dolls, but it took awhile.

I am inspired by and use many ethnic fabrics in my work, but I see ideas for new dolls everywhere. I sometimes work with fabrics the same way as a painter works with paint: selecting a main fabric that suggests a theme then gathering a group of fabrics to work with it. Sometimes, I dye fabric especially for a doll I want to make.

My dolls don’t have faces. I thank that adding an actual face makes the doll seem too static. These dolls make their own faces. Sometimes the fabric suggests a face, or I add paint or embellishments to give an impression of a face. Happy or sad, leaping or dancing or just sitting still, my dolls are who they are at the moment you look at them.