Sunday, April 08, 2007

Closionne Faces for Spirit Dolls

enamel jewel by Karen L. Cohen
If you've been following my blog for a while, you may remember reading about Karen L. Cohen, a cloisonne enamel artist who has taken a shine to beading. I showed her beautiful bead embroidery here (pin/wall hanging) and here (mirror frame).

Lately Karen has started making spirit dolls.... many of them. I'm showing you two of them below, but this is my favorite of the ones she has on her website. It's worth the time to read a little about her dolls, as it's interesting how she carefully chooses each element for it's relationship to the purpose of the doll.

spirit doll by Karen L. Cohen
spirit doll by Karen L. Cohen
More often than not, I don't put a face on the dolls I make. Sometimes I suggest a face (or mask) with seed bead embroidery. Once I used a peyote stitch bezel to add a carved stone face to a doll. (See below.)
spirit doll by Robin Atkins, bead artist, detail
Many people have written to me over the years asking where to buy "faces" (face cabochons) for their dolls. Thus lately I've been on the lookout for sources, especially for higher quality faces.

Full circle... back to Karen's enamels. Note that she creates special one-of-a-kind enamel faces for her dolls. Now, here's the good news! She is making these enamels to sell. She said that if the demand is there, she'll put more on her website, here.

Below are two of the faces currently available.

cloisonne enamel face by Karen L. Cohen
cloisonne enamel face by Karen L. Cohen

Bead Festival

As you may know, I've been pretty busy teaching... most recently at the First Annual Bellingham Bead Festival. This event was held at the Semiahmoo Resort on Birch Bay, in the northwest corner of Washington state, just a few miles south of the Canadian border. I'm happy to report that it was very well attended by both Canadians and locals. The Resort was delightful ~ my room was really lovely and I totally enjoyed excellent meals at the two on-site restaurants. The Bead Factory in Tacoma, WA has been organizing festivals for many years. They are very good at it, and this first one at Semiahmoo was right up to par. Are you catching my drift? Look for it again next spring!

Chicago Quilt Festival

Two days from now, I'll be on my way to teach at the Chicago Quilt Festival for four days. This is always a grand experience... So many quilters ~ so many quilts ~ so many vendors! It boggles my mind. I never have time to see it all. This year I'm especially looking forward to seeing the ATCs made to sell as a fund raising project. I'll try to take pictures for you.

First Ride of Spring

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, photo by Robin Atkins
We're into spring weather here! Friday my husband and I dusted off our motorcycles and had a lovely ride around the island. The best was comming home after dark, when you can't really see much more than the road. However, if you pay attention to the smells, you can know a lot about the roadside attractions. For example, one home must have had many hyacinths planted in the yard, their fragrance strong even at night. We passed a pond with that unmistakable swampy smell. And at one point I caught the whiff of animals, possibly deer. Riding in the day time, I hardly notice the smells becuase there's so much to see.

Season of New Beginnings

More time to read your blogs and more time to write mine is just around the corner. Until then, may this season of new beginnings and blossoming dreams be especially good to you and yours.


  1. Anonymous3:56 AM

    Welcome back to our host,
    and thank you for the latest post.
    A wide display of themes we see,
    all of which appeal to me.

    How come, I have to ask today,
    that there just seems to be no way
    for Spirit Dolls to feature feet?
    I know they never walk the street,
    and legs would be quite hard to sew.
    Still, I would really like to know.


  2. Those enamel faces you posted are beautiful. I hope you had a Happy Easter!

  3. Anonymous8:02 AM

    Thanks for your lovely spring wishes. My husband will be envious as up here in the mountains his Harley is still in winter storage! I could just imagine all the smells you wrote about.

    I've enjoyed looking at Karen's website and work. Googling "flamingo mermaid" that the doll was holding, I found this luscious fabric website that just has to be shared!

    Blessings! Vicki

  4. Anonymous3:40 PM

    I'm so pleased to have found your blog! I was in one of your workshops at the Coupeville Arts Center (?) years ago. Thanks for bringing so much color and inspiration to the web. I'll be back - repeatedly - to read the older posts.

  5. The tulip photo is gorgeous. Did you take it? Maybe you would like to take a look at my tree of life blog where I posted tulip photos a couple of days ago, too!

    By the way: Great beadwork!!! :)

  6. Wow Lovin those spirit dolls. The first one I made, many years ago, was from your One Bead At A Time book, and it (mine) sure was plain compared to these. I've improved a little, but not like this. Makes me know how the fever strikes!

  7. Sabine ~ You wonderful poetress, you! Amazing as always... thanks!

    Vicki ~ Ooooh, thanks for the fabric blocks link. They ARE luscious!

    Sue in MV ~ Nice to hear from you! Maybe we can meet at the Bellingham Bead Festival next year!

    B Ex ~ Thanks for commenting... I've been to both your blogs! Love your helix necklace!

    Judie ~ Yup, I know how it is when you get ideas from other's art, and can't wait to give it a try! Thanks for writing... have you seen my recently published "Spirit Dolls" book? You can check my website here; and here are some pictures from it.

  8. Hi Robin, thanks for stoping by on my blogs. Your husband's tulip photos are so wonderful!!! Thanks for letting me know about it. I am just posting another tulip photo I took on Sunday.


Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!