Wednesday, 28 December 2016

I Put It To You

    I've made mermaids and turtles, big little girl dolls and little big girl dolls, game and movie inspired dolls… Now I put it to you. What would you like to see me make next?

    Leave a comment here or on Instagram.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Meet Turtle Fred

© Melissa Gaggiano

Meet Fred! Fred is a turtle who dreams of being a snow bunny.Fred loves drinking hot coco with marshmallows in winter and dreams of the day that he'll actually visit a snow mountain. Till that day comes he likes to pretend by wearing his white winter boots, his pretend bunny ears and cotton tail, and decorating his shell with snow and snowflakes.

Head on over to my Etsy store, and there you will find Fred the Snow Bunny dreamer.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Monday, 19 December 2016

Tiny Turtle

© Melissa Gaggiano
     It is an achievement and a satisfyingly wonderful thing when the design you construct comes together just as you had hoped. It is an even better feeling when you come back to your work and decide to rejig it - enlarging, shrinking, a different limb, that pattern piece that was a mask can now be a hair bow, that sort of thing.

    I recently challenged myself to take my now familiar turtle design and make an even smaller version. There was no knowing if it was going to work. After all smaller may mean using few materials, but it is by no means easier. Big hands doing little things.

    In the end I managed it and apart from scaling down the pattern pieces there was only one actual pattern piece change from the original design and that was in the legs.

    The only thing left to do is to name this lil turtle baby.

© Melissa Gaggiano

Sunday, 11 December 2016

The Alara

© Melissa Gaggiano
    I have designed a new doll. This one I call the 'Alara'. I think my favourite bit was designing her sunnies, which are a removable accessory. The arms and legs are a new idea and I've upgraded to using a thicker, textured cloth for the doll's body.

    Send me a message if you are interested in a custom commission piece.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Pinkie the Roller Disco Turtle

© Melissa Gaggiano
    Looky-looky! There's a new turtle in my store. She's Pinkie the roller disco turtle.

    Pinkie is a handmade felt crafted OOAK turtle. She is sweet. She is awesome. She is awesomely sweet… and she's pink. Check her out!

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Something for Laodicea

© Melissa Gaggiano
     One of two projects I was working on this past week is this mermaid. I have made mermaids before, usually of the big cuddly variety. This time I designed a removable fishtail for my fashion armature doll design.

    Another reason for me to be getting excited about this design is my use of needle felting to make the hair. I love this technique. It's my new thing.

    I made this doll as a response to the lovely Laodicea who kindly illustrated a caricature of me recently. You can read about the drawing here.

© Melissa Gaggiano

© Melissa Gaggiano

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Mermaid for Mimosa

© Melissa Gaggiano
    This shimmery, shiny, pretty mermaid is ready to swim to her new home. Hooray for dolls finding homes.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

My Vacant Mirror

© Laodicea Dellibovi
{Instagram Link}
    It was such a happy trip for my confidence when Laodicea Dellibovi, @vacantvesselart , announced she would draw lil' ole me. How awesome is this caricature! It really does look like me, don't you think?

    Laodicea is a newcomer to Instagram, much like myself, and very quickly she has amassed a following with her unique vacant eye drawings. I too am one of her fans and hope that she continues on her creative journey.

    In response to Laodicea's illustration I have been working on a doll based on her. Do visit Instagram to watch the progress.

    Thank you Laodicea! Keep on doin', what you're doin'. 

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Cupcake Cactus

© Melissa Gaggiano
Are you looking for end of year presents with a touch of indie pop? How about a cupcake cactus?
You can send me a message for commission details.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Need to Learn

© Melissa Gaggiano
    From machine stitch to hand sewing. From rag dolls to armature. From mermaids to fashion dolls. From felt pattern pieces to needle felted sculpting… My journey in doll making has been varied and expansive. 

    More than a decade ago I fantasised about constructing my own china dolls. I imagined modern dolls made with old school doll making techniques. Nothing came of this, as these thoughts were before the dawn of the online crafting renaissance. Then two years ago I discovered there were artists achieving this very thing. It gave me hope and with gradual research have discovered resources that can demystify these doll making techniques.

    After at least a year's worth of um-ing and ah-ing I began practicing and teaching myself how to sculpt. This is no easy task, as I am back where I began when I first tried making dolls. When you are learning from scratch the path ahead looks scary and bumpy. There will be mishaps and the outcome seems so far away. Despite all this there is something inside that says 'just give it a go'. 'Surely a couple of steps forward wouldn't hurt'.

    My first sculpted doll head was simply fugly. Though with each attempt at sculpting, while rough, it comes closer to what I need it to be. I've still got a long way to go with this sculpted doll making, and ultimately it may not be the right thing for me, but for now it's what I need to be learning.

© Melissa Gaggiano

It's a Cactus

© Melissa Gaggiano
    I can't be stopped. I'll find a way to create something. I may not be destined for greatness, but I was destined to make neat things.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Constructing Beauty

    Constructing Beauty… sounds like the title for a fashion industry documentary, doesn't it. In actual fact I am celebrating the finished work of a rockabilly inspired Belle doll [think Beauty and the Beast]. She comes complete with rose, and a book titled 'Embrace Your Inner Beast'. Now although you can't tell by these photos but Rockabilly Belle sports a wilting tattoo on her left arm [hidden below her coat]. Isn't she a darling?

    If you are interested in commissioning a cloth art doll, check out the details here.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Nothing's Gonna Stop This Doll

© Melissa Gaggiano

    As I progress on my latest pose-able fashion doll I am almost a little amazed when I see it coming together. Usually when I am at the stage of creating the armature there is always a moment of 'I don't know about this'. The truth is anything can happen during the doll making process. And it is only when that final stitch is tied and cut that a doll maker can rest.

    The next stage for this doll will be wig making and designing the costume. Stay tuned…

    Since I'm bringing a doll to life it is only appropriate that I share this eighties music video by Starship [awesome]. Mucho love for Kim Cattrall and Andrew McCarthy from the film Mannequin.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Rockabilly Belle

© Melissa Gaggiano
    Now that the Journey doll is complete I am ready to begin working on something new. Once a project is finished I have to quickly move on to the next thing. No time like now!

    The next doll will be a gift for someone who as a child loved Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Of course I will be giving this doll a rockabilly twist. Stay tuned to watch the progress.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Journey's End

Journey inspired game art doll.
Based on Journey by That Game Company.
    It took me a while, but look I got there. I just finished construction of my Journey doll. For those not in the know Journey is a soul moving game by That Game Company. After playing the game only twice I was inspired to make an art doll, which is what you now see.

    The doll is made from felt, thread, stuffing and armature. A variety of sewing stitches were used to pull the doll together. There was much trial and error in getting the pear body shape just right. Along the way I realised that the wire I was using for the doll's skeleton could be used in the ribbon that trails from the body, to make it look like it was floating behind.

    It was an exciting experience bringing this doll together. It was like putting together a three dimensional jigsaw puzzle, but one that not yet been created. Get  your mind around that.

Journey inspired game art doll.
Based on Journey by That Game Company.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Week of the Dolls

My youngest daughter with her Journey inspired doll.
    Over the past week there has been a fair share of doll making in this creative environment. I continue to work on a Journey [That Game Company] inspired art doll. It has been a matter of sculpting the pattern pieces bit by bit. Building up the doll a little at a time. The process for making this doll really has been so very different to my other designs. It is an experience I am learning and growing from.

    My youngest has watched me make the Journey doll and naturally she wanted to make one herself. I took a break from my doll making as I encouraged and guided my daughter in designing and sewing her own Journey inspired doll.

My Journey doll: A work in progress.

My Journey doll: A work in progress.
    I pulled out one of my older doll designs, made her a bag and off she went on her merry way as birthday gift for a lil' girl turning five. I love this doll design. I remember making it while watching the Elvis Presley film Roustabout. Ah, happy memories!

© Melissa Gaggiano

© Melissa Gaggiano

My Crafter's Companion

    Recently I added a wonderful paper crafting package to my design, crafting supplies. With all the OOAK doll making I do it became increasingly important that I consider portability and presentation of my designs. I was always able to find boxes to suit my smaller pieces, but it was another story for my longer, more narrow dolls.

Top Score Multiboard
Crafter's Companion

    I got my answer when I came across a Crafter's Companion kit – Top Score Multiboard which provides me with templates and instructions to build my own gift and product boxes. It even comes with instructions, a DVD project guide and a template for making envelopes. How awesome is that!

    I've already begun playing around with the scoring templates which allow me to form straight embossed lines and cute ornamentation. There are so many things I can do with my Crafter's Companion kit – card making, boxes, envelopes, catalogues, miniature books. But for now I can hardly wait to make my first box. Oh boy! It's going to be great. 

Thursday, 6 October 2016


© Melissa Gaggiano
    This week I have been working on a birthday present for a lil' girl. Since the theme of her party is tropical I went with that concept when accessorising the doll.

© Melissa Gaggiano

© Melissa Gaggiano

Monday, 26 September 2016

Totoro Summer Dress

© Melissa Gaggiano
    This Totoro summer dress has been waiting on the back burner for about a year. Finally it got made with a little help from my eldest. Technically it was her sewing project, but after a round with both the overlocker and sewing machine she gladly let me do the rest. Would you believe I got this made in one day?

© Melissa Gaggiano

© Melissa Gaggiano

Beginning of a New Journey

That Game Company
    Over the weekend I played the computer game Journey for the very first time. A long awaited experience for me, ever since watching a review of it on Good Game.

    Journey was a unique gaming experience for me. At times it was an emotional roller coaster ride. It's a short game, but it is replay-able game in that there is a lot to learn, and no two journeys are exactly alike.

Doll making sketches by
Melissa Gaggiano

    I was so inspired by this game, and having finished The Clueless Collection I have decided to sculpt a new doll based on the little soul that I play. I'm thinking of using armature and felt. I'll be doing some embroidery and putting my new needle felting tools to use. Watch this space for updates...

Friday, 23 September 2016

The Clueless Collection

© Melissa Gaggiano
    Inspired by the film Clueless, the Clueless doll collection has landed. 

The film Clueless
This scene was the inspiration for my dolls.

    These art dolls stand 42CM tall [head to foot], and have armature [bend arms and legs]. The dolls have been made from felt, cloth and include hand painted facial details.

    Contact me via my About page if you wish to buy one or both of these dolls.

© Melissa Gaggiano

© Melissa Gaggiano

© Melissa Gaggiano


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Miss Dionne

© Melissa Gaggiano
    Miss Dionne from the Clueless doll collection is now complete. She is has a hand painted face, is made from plain weave cloth, felt and has internal armature for movability of limbs.

    If you are interested in buying this collector piece simply send me a message via my About page.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Slow Progress is a Beautiful Thing

© Melissa Gaggiano

    I have been working on these two Clueless cloth art dolls for a couple of months now. Three winter viruses slowed my progress right down. And now I'm almost there. The only thing left for Cher and Miss Dionne is to trim their hair and make accessories – one bag and one hat.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

A Hawk, Pony and a Clueless Girl

    A Hawk, Pony and a Clueless Girl… sounds like the title for an obscure book or movie.

    This week I surprised myself by the amount of crafting I wound up doing. In addition to working on the Clueless doll project, two other craft projects spontaneously dropped into my lap.

    Today it is 'footy colours' day at my eldest's school. She wanted to wear a Hawthorn uniform, but… have you seen the price of those shirts?! Oh my! So instead I made her a Hawthorn Hawks badge, which she is now wearing with pride. I made this badge with my new needle felting tools.

Needle felted Hawthorn Hawks badge
made by Melissa Gaggiano
    My youngest liked the Hawthorn badge and asked me to make her a badge. Since she has yet to declare her loyalties to any team [though she is beginning to show an interest for soccer], I decided to make something cute for her. I needle felted a My Little Pony image onto one of her shirts. I have just finished this little project, and now my eyes are tired and I have one sore, speared finger.
© Melissa Gaggiano

© Melissa Gaggiano
     Earlier this week I finished designing and sewing the jacket onto Cher, the Clueless doll. Now that I know the jacket pattern works I will duplicate it for Miss Dionne, the other Clueless doll. After that the only thing left is to make accessories for these dolls.
© Melissa Gaggiano

Saturday, 10 September 2016

I Do It For Me

© Melissa Gaggiano

    I am proud to announce a new digital art collection - I Do It For Me. Check it out here, and interpret as you will.

    At the time of drafting these images I was thinking of the strong female characters from some Tarantino and Rodriguez films. Aesthetically sexy, their movement, clothes and hair attract the male eye, but surprise, surprise these women have an inner core strength. The way they dress, talk and behave, they do it for themselves, and not for the pleasure of external parties.