A decade ago, I belonged to the Ithaca Doll Club. As a beginning doll-maker, I had lots to learn, and the other members suggested I start by following someone else’s directions. I was really more interested in making soft sculpture animals than people, so it’s no surprise that my first doll was half woman, half fish. I used the pattern Pearl Diver by Julie McCullough. I thought her version of the doll was lovely, but I did my best to make this doll my own.
I didn’t know it at the time, but you can probably tell that the main reason I like to make soft sculpture is because it is such a great base for beads. Once the doll was constructed, I took the time to sew every bead on the tail, and to string the pearls on wire so that they would stream out behind her.
The crowning touch was the jeweled bikini top. The breast cups in the pattern were fiddly and I had a hard time getting them to look right. I was ecstatic when I found the perfect pair of earrings at the thrift store. My simple trick to cover up my ugly sewing added some humor to the doll that ultimately inspired the name: Treasure Chest.