Guest Interview: Amber from Southern Gothica

SouthernGothica

SouthernGothica

Tonight we have a guest post from Victoria over at The Autodidact in the Attic. Victoria likes all kinds of really cool stuff and she scours the internet for said cool stuff and talks about it on her site. When you’re done reading this post and buying dolls from Amber, click the links above and below and check it out.

So, without further ado, here’s the interview with Amber at Southern Gothica by V. L. Craven:

There are loads of talented gothy-types out there, but occasionally, you come across someone who’s extra-talented and a little extra-gothy, as well. Amber, who runs Southern Gothica on Etsy, is one such person. She hand-sews 10″ rag dolls of all of your favourite characters–from classics like Frankenstein’s Bride and the Mummy to sure-to-please goths like bats, Wednesday Addams & Eddie Munster to pop icons like Eric Draven from The Crow, the members of Dethklok and Severus Snape. As soon as I came across her shop I had to contact this person and request an interview. Happily, she agreed to answer some questions:

Mummy

The Mummy

How did you get into working with felt? What other mediums do you like working with?
I started working with felt several years ago, making little animals for myself and my family members. There would always be things I wanted but either could not find or afford, so I decided to make them myself! I’ve been sewing by machine and hand for about 15 years or so, and found that felt is very easy to manipulate and does not fray when making something very small and detailed. I also love working with wool and velvet to make clothing and dolls’ clothing because it has a very nice heavy quality.

 

About how long does it take to make one of your dolls? The least amount of time and the longest? What’s the process look like?

      To make a doll from an idea, it takes a week to two or three weeks if I’m working on other things at the same time. If I get on a roll, I will stay up a night or two in a row and finish an entire doll! If I know exactly what I’m going to do going in, it might take a few days of working nonstop. If I have to figure out what I’m doing after I get the doll’s body done, it takes quite a while longer. A doll already in my shop takes just a few days because I already know how I’m going to make it, but a custom doll takes a few weeks, at least. I will go insane if I can’t figure out how to make something look just right, so I could get stuck on one thing for days!
     The process is pretty organized. I am a very big neat freak, so I keep everything in separate boxes and take out only what I need each time. As soon as an order is placed, I get all the parts for the order and keep each order separated. I do work on several dolls simultaneously but I keep them in their own boxes so nothing gets mixed up.

 

And a neat freak–a woman after my own heart. I do beading occasionally and always just get out what I need. It really is the best way.

 

How do you decide what/who to make into a doll and once that decision has been made, how do you design the doll?
I usually make dolls based on characters that I really love and want a doll of for myself! And I just want to share with other people who also love them like I do. I can make a doll pretty quickly if it’s a character I love because I get all excited and try to finish it fast! But I also try to make sure if it’s going to be in my shop that it is something that someone else might be interested in. Once I decide what to make, I find 3 or 4 good quality pictures to work from. When I get the basic doll done, the details are just trial and error until I get it to look the way I want it to. If it is a doll not based on a certain character, I make a little sketch of what’s in my mind and go from that. That makes it easier to visualize where I’m going with it.

 

What’s your favourite character to make?
My favorite character to make is definitely Peter Steele! I am such a huge fan of Type O Negative and the very first human doll I made was a Peter doll for myself. I knew there were other people out there who loved and missed him as much as I did so I went from there!
Peter Steele

Peter Steele

What’s your most popular character?
I think the most popular might be Severus Snape. I think I’ve made the most of him. He is one of my favorites, too! LOVE Snape!
Severus Snape

Severus Snape

You do a lot of special requests. What have been the oddest or most fun of those to make? (I saw you did a Karl Lagerfeld, that had to be fun.)

Let’s see….the oddest thing I’ve been asked to make was the facehugger with the face of Mike Haggar, the video game character. That was something I don’t think I’ll get asked again! It turned out great, though. I also was asked to make an axolotl, which is a type of salamander. That turned out really cute! The most fun things to make are usually my favorite band or movie people, especially Thorin from The Hobbit and Glenn Danzig. But also, I was asked to make several dolls for an online game called Glitch and the people have the cutest, most interesting characters (all totally different) and they have been unbelievable to work with. Incredibly nice and interesting!  I also love this teddy bear I made for a gothic children’s novel author, so I will go ahead and attach that. That was a wonderful doll to make and one of my absolute favorite customs. The Karl Lagerfeld doll is actually in process right now, but I can’t wait to see how he turns out.

Karl Lagerfeld (In process)

Karl Lagerfeld

I particularly love the Wednesday Addams doll. Have you ever made Wednesday’s beheaded Marie Antoinette doll from the films?

     Thank you! She’s one of the first I made and I just adore her. I have not made her little doll to sell alongside her in the shop, but I have considered it many times. I do think it will happen soon because it would just be too cute not to do!
Wednesday Addams

Wednesday Addams

What about Edward Scissorhands? I would guess Tim Burton characters would be popular.
A good bit of people have asked me about Edward so I think he’d definitely be popular! I love that character, too, and I have planned to make him. I just always think of something else or get inspired by something and get sidetracked! This would probably end up being a complicated and time-consuming doll, so it might be a one-of-a-kind doll in my shop. But he will be done! And hopefully I don’t decide to just keep him!

 

Getting sidetracked seems to come with the creative territory. A thousand ideas, battling for attention. Have you ever done a dementor?

 

      I have not done a dementor. Yet. But I would try anything from Harry Potter because I love it so much. Seriously. So many emotions wrapped up in that one. I am in the process of making a Sirius doll and I intend to make several more characters from HP!

 

Are there any characters that have bedeviled you?

      Hmmm….if you mean characters that have frustrated me to no end, then yes! Haha! I made a facehugger doll for a customer and that was quite challenging. But I am so glad I did it. Other characters, like Dobby the house elf, were difficult to get to look the way I wanted. It was a lot of trial and error. And if you mean bedeviled me, as in tormented me, then I’d have to go with the facehugger again! That is a creepy little thing.

Make Haggar Facehugger

Make Haggar Facehugger

Bedeviled as in whether or not you’ve ever had something you’ve wanted to make but simply couldn’t make happen.
Bedeviled…..hmm…I think everything I’ve tried to make, I’ve made work somehow. Even if it wasn’t exactly the way I intended it to turn out. But I do have a thing or two I haven’t tried yet because it is a little intimidating. I’ll let you know how that goes, and it might bedevil me!

 

I have every confidence you shall conquer whatever task set before you. What advice would you give to someone interested in making felt dolls?
Do it!!! It’s an awesome thing to do! Felt in particular is great because it is inexpensive and it can be resewn multiple times for practice. You will get where you want to be if you put enough practice into it. Making these little dolls makes me so happy. I love doing it even when I get frustrated or overwhelmed. The end result is always something that makes me or someone else smile.

 

Thank you so much for your time, Amber, I wish you all sorts of luck with your shop!
 Amber’s Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/southerngothica/sets/72157632901499959/, which has more photos than her Etsy store and lots of photos of special orders.
 
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