ELAINE FABA-MCLEOD - BIRMINGHAM, MI

As a little girl, Elaine remembers sitting at her mother’s treadle machine pedaling the needle up and down. It was just a natural interest along with other crafts.

Many years ago, as a favor to her sister who made porcelain dolls, she sewed the authentic costumes to go with the dolls. This led to craft shows to sell the costumes. For fun, she began to make her own little dolls, and hasn’t stopped since.

The detail of good children’s art and books, particularly from classic books, serves as an impetus for influencing Elaine’s artwork. Sometimes colors in a piece of art or the humor of the artist affects her work; or sometimes it's just the enchantment of the storyline that gives her ideas for a doll. The type of dolls made have grown over the years. It started with little bears made for the kitchen and angels, which founded the name, Angel Cakes and Friends...as the tradename. Eventually, little fairies came into play and of late, character dolls, which are the most fun to make.

All the dolls are started with an original pattern. Sometimes it takes four to five times to get it ‘right’. After the pattern making, it is tried out in fabric, transferred to good fabric, which has sometimes been dyed to get the correct skin tone, features are painted and colored, and bodies assembled. Then comes the dressing. Since each doll is done separately, fabrics are chosen carefully for the outfit. Many times, three or four fabrics are chosen for each doll. The doll is dressed, coiffed, and then the ribbons and embellishments are added. It is time consuming, but making a list ahead of time for the type of doll gets the creative juices going and the idea is there when the doll is finally started.

Crafting is really a way of having a first-hand touch with the creative world. It is a conscious work of someone's heart and soul. And, it is such a personal thing. When working at one’s craft, one can get lost in it and suddenly the woes of the world mean nothing.

The shows are a great place to meet those who buy one's work. It is always nice to know where one's creations are going and why it might appeal to someone. It helps one to grow in the craft. Elaine’s favorite story involved a lady, who once came into the booth and told her that every year she would buy an ornament in memory of someone who died that year. That year it was for a six-year old girl she had known. She chose a butterfly doll with velveteen wings. It was touching, flattering and humbling. Whenever Elaine gets a little discouraged, she thinks of that story and continues on.