Clay Over Cloth Doll Progress

Start with a cloth body and
put a layer of clay
all over the head and shoulders...

Sculpting is a personal thing. I'm not sure if sculpting can be taught, but it can be learned. Most artistic techniques are learned by doing. Sure, sometimes there's a formula involved. But it only works when the "forumula" becomes a tool you use to express what you want. In developing the Izannah pattern, I am trying to figure out how to teach sculpting a head into a pattern. So I've been making lots of heads and bodies, and adding clay to some, trying to figure out how I do the clay over cloth. So I've been trying to take pictures at different points during the sculpting process, like when I add a big ol' lump to the back of the head. Now I see why people sell press molds or clay faces to add onto cloth dolls.

Now at this point there are things that need to be sanded down, and places clay needs to be added. In order to see these things, pictures are very helpful. Take one from the chin looking over the face....

And from the forehead looking down the face....
I see that the whole face is a bit off to one side.

And the profile of each side...

I got too detailed too soon and didn't check this enough, I think. If I am using this picture as an inspiration the nose/cheek area needs to be built up quite a bit. Actually the whole face could use another 1/4" to 1/2" of clay. So far I am into one small package of paperclay. Time to open another. :-)

original antique
Izannah Walker doll

My doll in progress...


  1. Dixie this is a great effort! She's going to be wonderful. Pam

  2. I love your work,you inspire me to creat.Your instructions are very helpful,thank you for sharing.

  3. I feel very good if my efforts inspired people to create! :-)

  4. I recently joined the MAIDA doll group,I feel a little out of all your leages,you are all such wonderful artist.I have made many primitive dolls,but the group scares me a little.Did you feel this way when you first started your journey?

  5. Dear Anonymous - welcome to the Maida group. Yes I felt overwhelmed in the beginning and I still feel that way at times. Don't forget that the people you admire were once beginners in what they are doing. :-) Best of luck to you! Join in the discussion - don't be afraid.


    1. Thank you Dixie your the best!

  6. You do wonderful work and it was interesting to see how you work. Did you know you can also carve paper clay? I became a wood carver ( doing small realistic dolls ) before I worked with paper clay. Out of curiosity, I recarved one of Gail Wilson's Hitty dolls, just to get a feel for what could be done with the material.. It's unkind to knives, but satisfying to carve, and a quick way to clean up a doll, too. Getting used to subtractive carving is, of course an adjustment after doing additive, but you may like the new things you can do.


"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden


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