My Whimcees

My Whimcees

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Meeting My Idol - elinor peace bailey


The Big Day - Tuesday, October 12, 2010. I had been given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to take a class with the dollmaker extraordinaire, elinor peace bailey - and I met my idol.

She was going to be in WI and would be teaching a class at a local fabric shop where we had met for our doll club. When I received the call to ask if I would like to attend the class, there wasn't a moment of hesitation on my part. Of course I would! When I met elinor and was able to actually shake her hand, I was so happy I could not contain myself. :<) To say that I was awestruck is an understatement. Sorry elinor - you were most kind and lovely about it! :<)

Elinor has been my dollmaking inspiration for more years than I can remember and I have always loved her doll patterns with a passion - since the first day I saw one. She is an artist of remarkable talents and her creativity is amazing. I haved watched elinor on her video and her DVD and have seen numerous photos of her, but to meet her in real life - to hear her tell her jokes and watch her work, to see her dolls up close and be able to hold them - was wonderful.

And here is my moment! I was talking to elinor peace bailey - in person - up close! Thank you for sending me this photo Mary, I remember this moment perfectly! :<)

I had just told her that my big birthday was coming up next month and she asked how old I was going to be and I told her and she said that she had just celebrated her birthday and we were the same age! Whoa! How much better can it get! Al Pacino, John Lennon, Tom Jones, Raquel Welch, Nancy Sinatra, elinor peace bailey and me! :<)

One of the things that elinor is famous for is her wearable art and her love of bright colors. To see her in all her splendor was to receive instant happiness! All I could think of was "oh, that's how she makes that" and "thats how it's worn" and 'it's is all so beautiful!" Yes, I was living my dream! What can I say? :<) When elinor said that I could not only take photos of anything I wanted to but that I also could post them on my blog - I was in heaven.

In the class we made one of elinor's small dolls and elinor hand-painted the faces on each one of the doll heads as they were completed, before they were sewn onto the bodies. There were 14 of us in the class and elinor had each person attending the class come up to the front, one at a time, and join her where she was sitting to watch her create the face.

While she painted the individual and original face for that person, she asked questions about their lives and families and their personal dollmaking history. She laughed and told jokes and made each person feel important and that she was happy that they were there.

On the table in front of her were a treasure trove of colorful supplies for her to work with when she created! Fabric, buttons, beads, yarn, glitter, pens and markers - so many colorful things!

You can see her how tiny the doll heads were - and she just painted those wonderful faces like she had a huge canvas in front of her! Each one was adapted to the fabric it was sewn from and the colors used. To watch her draw the features and then make them come to life was fascinating for me! I had seen her do this in the DVD and in books but now she was doing this right in front of me and giving me instructions as she created! This woman is an artist!

Everyone was given her full attention when it was there turn to receive the one-on-one time with elinor - she answered each question without hesitation and gave help whenever it was needed. She had suggestions and solutions to any problems that occured during the making of these little dolls.

The woman on the right is elinor's good friend of many years, Carol, who lives here in WI and helped to set up the class and make arrangements for elinor's visit. Carol is a very calm and kind person and was elinor's organized and friendly assistant during the class. Thank you Carol!

Here one of the women is holding her completed doll head for me to take its photo - you can see again how very small they were! My friend Kristie is sitting behind her - she gave me a ride to and from the class. Thank you Kristie! :<)

This is my friend Mary with her finished doll - you can see how small the entire doll is! Mary was the leader of our doll club and now that it is no longer active I miss seeing her as she lives quite far away. I miss not seeing everyone as getting together and seeing all the show 'n tells provided so much inspiration.

Above is my friend Kristie and below is my friend Mary D. - both were in doll club with me. Kristie is a wonderful quilter and works at the shop where the class was held. Mary D. also lives quite far from where we are and so I don't get to see her either. She kindly sent me the photos that she took during the class in an e-mail and I have used some of them in this post. Thank you Mary! :<)

Here elinor is giving her autograph to one of the women. She was constantly interacting with everyone during the 3 hour class and her laughter and good humor as she told jokes and made comments made the time fly by!

Hard at work!

Here I am working on my doll. The dolls on the table are some of my dolls that I had brought to show elinor. "Annabelle Bitzy" on the left is made from a pattern by Sally Lampi, who is a friend of elinor's and "Queen Maureen" and the "Santa And The Big Chicken" dolls are both created from elinor's patterns.

A very unexpected surprise was that elinor brought two suitcases of her fabulous dolls to class with her for us to see. We could pick them up and hold them, see how they were constructed and how she had combined the fabrics and colors - it was such fun! I had looked at her patterns for years, seen photos of the dolls, watched her create them on her DVD and to now acutally see them all in person and be able to pick these dolls up - I can't explain how exciting it was for me. My friends were teasing me about my excitement, but I didn't care. I was in my glory! :<)

Here are a few of the photos I took of these anazing creations. Look at these faces! The detail! The colors! The characters themselves! One woman created them all! Amazing!

I was so taken with this creation - The Repressed Bag - I purchased the pattern at the class (among others, I admit) and I am making one for myself! Here my friend Mary holds it up for me to get detail photos.

Look at his detail on the shoes of the small doll above.

Those faces!

And I was able to HOLD them! Do I look extremely happy or what! :<)

This is one of elinor's beautiful quilts - as she is also a skilled quilter and designer.
A most wonderful personal creation of elinor's that she so graciously shared with us - in addition to the dolls - was this absolutely fascinating book. "The Book of Knowledge" is a journal that elinor has created for her own inspiration over the years - filled with drawings and ideas, items that inspired, thoughts and goals - a priceless treasure. Elinor gave me permission to take photos of the pages and I show you two of them to give you an idea of the beauty in this journal. I could have looked at it for hours and come back to it again and again. This journal in itself was a testament to elinor's artistic skill and creativity. She has the soul of an artist.

Towards the end of the class time, my friend Sharon - who is the owner of Stitcher's Crossing, the beautiful fabric shop that we were at - brought "Percy Goodfellow", a doll I had made from one of elinor's patterns. Sharon had purchased this doll from me and I had asked her to bring it to the store with her if possible as I wanted to show him to elinor. I loved making this doll and it had taken me a long time and I was proud of it. I no longer have many of the dolls that I have made using elinor's patterns but this one was close by. Thank you Sharon!
Percey is a large doll as you can see. Sharon is a very small doll as you can see. :<)

"This is a wearable doll you know" said elinor. And she demonstrated what she meant. :<)

There was the Percy I had made and he was sitting on elinor peace bailey's shoulders! He was sitting on her shoulders! OMG!

His hand was touching her ear! I will never forget it. I will never forget this sight. :<)

Thank you for your kindness and graciousness elinor! You made my dream come true.

This is my doll that I made in the class - with the pattern we used.

I wanted to make the hair with something outside the box for me - not in my comfort zone. I had used yarn and thread, wool and ribon - but never cloth. So I tore strips of the body fabric and sewed them to the head and asked elinor if she could show me how she would create a hairdo for the doll using these strips.

Without hesitation she began to knot the strips together - saying that the first thing was to give it height. Then she noticed my head was sewn on a bit wobbly and that would not do. :<) So she quickly sewed it securely to the body and then continued the hairdo by sewing in tiny heart beads in the front and the back on top of the strips. I was in awe.

Here is my doll with her beautiful, original and one-of-a-kind elinor peace bailey face and hairdo. I named her "Delight" and will be hanging her in my studio area by the sewing machine where I can see her every day.

Her autograph on one of her soft cover books.

A photo of some of elinor's patterns and books that I own, her DVD and video. I have been collecting her for a long time! You can visit elinor's blog at and you can see all of her patterns and other merchandise on her website at

I know that I am only one of thousands of people who love elinor peace bailey and that she has taught hundreds of classes such as the one I attended. But Tuesday, October 12, 2010 will forever be a one-time-in-a-lifetime special miracle day for me - one that I never thought to have happen. So I hope that she excuses my happiness if it was a bit over the top. That was the day I met my idol. :<)

Thanks for stopping by today to share my wonderful day!

Wishing you a great day today! We are still enjoying the sunshine here in this part of Wisconsin, although it is much colder. I guess one has to accept that Fall is here - especially with Halloween just around the corner! Tomorrow another little owl joins his friends in Owl Forest. :<)

Barbara Diane


paola said...

The suspense is killing me

Helen said...

Hello Barbara,
Wow, what an awesome time you had! I can feel your excitement reading your post. I am looking forward to see your Repressed Bag. It sure is very unique!

paola said...

So pleased you had such a wonderful time and met someone that you have looked up to for ages. My dream is to meet Mo Manning in the flesh, i also draw, nothing like Mo, but i think that all of us would like to meet up with someone we look up to and consider to be a good example and we would like to emulate them. Thanks so much for putting me out of my misery, LOL

the lady loves bears said...

Yours has to be the happiest blog I have read for a while and rightfully so Barbara I have EPB DVD's and books and how lucky were you to attend a class! I wish!

Raewyn :)

Barbara said...

What a lovely story to read, you are so happy about your day with your idol and I really feel happy when I read your story today! Elinor looks like a special and lovely woman! ♥ Barbara

xosparklesxo said...

Wow! I'm so glad you had such an amazing experience with someone you admire so much :) I enjoyed reading your story and seeing your pictures from your special day.

Zebiline said...

Oh ... what a great day for you! I read your story and can feel how happy you are.
Beatiful pictures from happy people and dolls :-)
Your Doll Delight looks gracefully!
Wish you more from this happy days!!

Hugsღ Gaby

Becky Jo said...

I'm sitting here smiling after reading your wonderful story! T4S I enjoyed it so. And...glad you had such a wonderful day full of memories to last a lifetime! Hugs!!

ScrappingStephanie said...

Wow, how lucky for you to have live your dream! I was so excited for your as I read your experience. I never heard of this artist before:( She sure is so talented. LOVE those dolls. Is there somewhere they can be purchased? My mom is an avid doll collector and I know she would love to add one of these to her collection. Thank you for sharing your amazing day.


Canne said...

I have just read through your day meeting elinor peace bailey and although I know nothing really of her or this kind of art, I have to say your story touched me, your excitment at meeting you idol, the beauty of her/your art, I thourghly enjoyed reading your story. Peace be with you