One of a kind…

This is Jess Brown, and her dog Shortie, in her Petaluma workshop where she handmakes the most beautiful and ecologically fashionable dolls I have ever met. Her inspiration for the dolls came from too many cashmere sweaters shrunk in the wash and a desire to have beautiful, yet functional, handmade dolls for her daughter.

Why shouldn’t dolls wear silk and cashmere too? Especially when the fabric would otherwise end up in the landfill. Jess takes leftover fabrics from local designers and combines them with fabric cut from clothes she finds in local thrift store to make the hair and clothes for each doll.

Jess’s wonderful dolls are gaining a lot of attention, nationally and internationally, so our local artisan is very very busy these day. And my recommendation, grab one while you can, because they won’t last long. You can find Jess and her dolls (and lots of other ridiculously cute children’s clothing) at Maude, her store inĀ  Petaluma on Kentucky Street.

This is Mima, the original doll Jess created for her daugher, who has had lots and lots of love over the years. If you click on the photo, you can read the very cute note Jess’s daughter left on her sewing machine. It is written in Mima’s words.

Photo lessons

I have a fabulous young photography student, who I have been working with for probably a year if you add it all up. And today our task was to photograph one object in as many different ways as we could. So we played with one of her dolls, who was most agreeable, even when she was dropped on her head.

This cute doll, called “Girl in a Bear Suit” was made by a talented artist, Heidi Iverson, who sells her felted artwork at Knitterly in Petaluma. She was so cute that I couldn’t resist taking my own. It was a great lesson in product photography and finding good light.

Asking for directions….

…can lead to some amazing experiences. I was on the way to Lake Keowee, to visit Ann and her family and I wasn’t exactly sure I was going the right way, when I saw this man, Homer Price, on the side of the road with his spray can full of herbicides….


I pulled around and asked him if I was headed in the right direction and I found out I was….and so much more…turns out Homer was in the mood to talk….and before I knew it, I was meeting his wife and touring their cabins, looking at doll collections and photo albums and drinking a coke on the couch. I was very late to the lake….but I realized this opportunity was a gift that I would not have again if I didn’t take advantage of the moment….so it was worth arriving 2 hours late with my melted chocolate pie. My only regret is that I missed photographing the ant that was working hard navigating through the twisted strands of Homer’s beard, until Judi squished it between her fingers.


This is my portrait of their self-portraits, very close to the real humans, except for the four left hands.

contrasting heros

Inspired by photographers we have been studying at lcc….I sorted through my files and started creating my own collection of america photos….and was determined to find more on my two week visit. My first photo for the collection…..jesus and the incredible hulk…enough said.

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