Dollmaking Workshops

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Workshop Information

Workshops with open enrollment

Please watch this space for upcoming workshops.
Date Workshop Cost

The Designs by Gretchen eMail list

Would you like to be notified of pending workshops? We would be happy to add you to the Designs by Gretchen eMail list. Click Here and fill out the following form to be receive advance notice of workshops in your area. Your privacy is important to us, you may submit your email address with confidence, we will never sell, rent, loan or give out your address to any party. It will be used only for providing you with Designs by Gretchen information.

Guardian Spirit Workshop!

Guardian Spirit Workshop $125.00 10am-3pm

Not Scheduled at this time.

Beginners Welcome

The day begins with a slide presentation, followed by creating an image of your Guardian Spirit, using a pre-sewn body. Gretchen demonstrates the sculpting of a face. All materials are provided, however you may bring special totems if you wish. Bring a bag lunch.

To reserve your space (with a $50.00 non-refundable deposit), call Gretchen at (520) 762-0447, or e-mail her at gretchen@gretchenLima.com

supply list:

  1. Your pincushion, complete with a Dollmaking needle--can find these at JoAnn's-they are about 3" long
  2. Fabric scissors
  3. You may bring any special totems or fabrics, but it is not necessary.
  4. A size 10/0 detail brush for the face.
  5. Bring a bag lunch

"Making Faces" and Chachka Woman Workshop --10-3, $85.00

Not Scheduled at this time.

Beginners Welcome

We will be making several faces, so that when you get home and want to do more by yourself, you hopefully will remember how we did it... --Practice makes perfect--Then we will put one of the faces on a simple structure, hanging doll body that you will stuff and decorate with wovens and beads. All materials and supplies are provided, however you may bring special totems if you wish. Bring a bag lunch, and your sewing kit (scissors, pincushion with needles etc).

I only have 6 spaces for each workshop..so do not wait to let me know if you are interested by sending your non-refundable deposit of 50.00 to:

Gretchen LimaWood
PO Box 352
Vail, AZ 85641

call Gretchen at (520) 762-0447, or email gretchen@GretchenLima.com

Protective Spirit Workshop - $75.00 10-3pm,

Not Scheduled at this time.

Beginners Welcome

Participants will cut out, sew and stuff their Protective Spirit. I will demonstrate the sculpting of a face, and the doll will begin to take shape with a head-dress, leather shield and woven shawl. All materials and supplies are provided, however you may bring special totems if you wish. Bring a bag lunch, and your sewing kit (scissors, pincushion with needles etc).

To reserve your space (with a $20.00 non-refundable deposit) and receive a supply list and map to my studio in Vail, AZ, call me at 520-762-0447, or email gretchen@GretchenLima.com

The Medicine Woman Workshop - $195.00
Not Scheduled at this time.

The cost of the workshop includes woven fabrics and trinkets, grapevine branches, sculpey, stuffing, wool for hair, leather for her Medicine pouch, and beads, everything you need to complete your doll EXCEPT, bring 1/2 yd of a cotton fabric for the body of the doll. (BUT, if you do not have a particular fabric you want to use, you are welcome to pick something from my private stash)

This is a busy two days in which participants will cut out, sew and stuff the body, create their own face with a demonstration from Gretchen, and assemble their doll.

Also, as usual, bring your pincushion, scissors and needles/sewing kit. You may bring any other fabrics or trinkets you wish, but it is not necessary as I will have all kinds of hand-woven fabrics and beads/totems for you to use. Bring a bag lunch for each day.

Hotel list and map to my studio in Vail, AZ, will be sent upon receipt of non refundable deposit of $50 required to hold your space. Spaces fill fast, so sign up early.

call Gretchen at 762-0447, or email gretchen@GretchenLima.com


Making Faces Workshop March 2012 in Gretchen's studio
Cactus Woman Workshop --10-3, $75.00

Not Scheduled at this time.

Participants will cut out, sew and stuff their Cactus Woman. I will demonstrate the sculpting of a face, and the doll will begin to take shape with a head-dress, woven shawl and beaded Cactus flowers and necklace. All materials and supplies are provided, however you may bring special totems if you wish. Bring a bag lunch, and your sewing kit (scissors, pincushion with needles etc).

To reserve your space (with a $20.00 non-refundable deposit) and receive a supply list and map to my studio in Vail, AZ, call me at 520-762-0447, or email Gretchen@GretchenLima.com

send a check to: Gretchen Lima, PO Box 352, Vail, AZ 85641

Mermaid Workshop -- 10-3 each day $195.00

Not Scheduled at this time.

Experienced Sewers

This is a new workshop where students will make a Mermaid to hang on the wall, measuring about 18" tall.

In the VERY busy TWO day workshop, students will sew and stuff the body, made from my pattern, hand sculpt the face, and decorate the doll using my materials and shells. If you have fabrics or shells of your own that you want to incorporate into this piece, feel free to bring them with you.

You should bring 1/2 yard of a cotton fabric you want to use for the body of your mermaid.
All other materials are provided, but you should bring your pincushion with a dollmaking needle, size 10/0 detail painting brush, scissors and some thread. Bring a bag lunch for each day.

To reserve your space (with a $20.00 nonrefundable deposit) and receive a supply/tool list, call Gretchen at (520) 762-0447, or e-mail her at gretchen@gretchenLima.com

Design Your Spirit Guide - $195.00

Not Scheduled at this time.

I have had many requests for the "Creating Your Spirit Guide workshop". It is a 2 -day workshop and includes designing your own doll from conception to completion. It is open to students who know how to use a sewing machine and have some experience with dollmaking/hand sewing, or have been to one or more of my other full day workshops.

The cost of the class is $195, which includes woven fabrics and trinkets, sculpey, stuffing and wool for hair, and snacks for both days. You are required to bring a yard or so of a favorite fabric to use for the main body of your doll, and any other fabrics you want to incorporate into your piece, and I will have my fabrics for decorating available for you to use.

Also, as usual, bring your pincushion, scissors and needles/sewing kit. Your sketch pad-if you have one- and pencil is a must! And a bag lunch for each day. I will send a list of nearby hotels and more details upon receipt of your non-refundable deposit of $50.00.

I will only have 6 openings for this workshop.

call Gretchen at 762-0447, or email gretchen@GretchenLima.com

Beaded Protective Spirit Workshop

Not Scheduled at this time,
$75.00 all materials are included

Students will cut out, sew and stuff their Protective Spirit from a pattern and fabric, supplied by Gretchen. We will then create the sculpted face. The doll is then beaded by hand using beads which are included in the price. Of course, as always, you may bring favorite beads of your own to use, but it is not necessary as they will be provided for you, as well as the special beading needle.

Bring a bag lunch.

To reserve your space (with a $20.00 non-refundable deposit) and receive a supply list and map to my studio in Vail, AZ, call 520-762-0447, or email gretchen@GretchenLima.com

Medicine Man Workshop -- 10-3 each day $195.00

Not Scheduled at this time.

Experienced Sewers

This is a new workshop where students will make a male companion for their wall hanging, women dolls. This piece is 17" tall.

The TWO day workshop begins with a slide presentation followed by a guided imagery meditation during which the participants are taken on a search of their Medicine Man. As time allows, a brief sharing of individual experiences is followed by creating an image of this Medicine Man, using my pattern for the body, and wovens and suede for the pants from my private stash. I will demonstrate the sculpting of a MALE face. All materials are provided, however you may bring special totems if you wish. Bring a bag lunch for each day.

The Small Quilter Woman Workshop, 16” tall.

Not Scheduled at this time.

This s a new Workshop which is designed for the “Quilter” inspired by all my quilter friends.

You will have some homework to do before you come to the workshop. Bring about1/4 yd of 5 different fabrics which will be the skirt of your Quilter Woman. All the specifics will be mailed to you after your $20.00 non-refundable deposit is received.

Also, as usual, bring your pincushion, scissors and needles/sewing kit. You may bring any other fabrics you wish, but it is not necessary as I will have all kinds of hand-woven fabrics and beads for you to use.

Each student will cut out, stuff and decorate your doll, create the skirt, as well as learn how to sculpt the face.

Your quilter will hold a basket, which I will supply, with fabrics from your 5 skirt choices. She will be made to hang on the wall in your sewing room!

The requirements for this workshop are knowledge of the use of the sewing machine. It is for the more experienced sewer ONLY.

I only have room for 6 students for this workshop so you must sign up early!

To reserve your space (with a $50.00 nonrefundable deposit) and receive a supply/tool list, call Gretchen at 762-0447, or e-mail her at gretchen@gretchenLima.com

Design your OWN Grouping Workshop

Not Scheduled at this time.
Experienced sewers ONLY.

This is a new workshop where the students will design their own “grouping” of dolls to make a self standing piece. It could be anything you want--like a Mother and children. Gretchen will show how she goes about designing and creating a piece. You will learn how to construct a grouping of your own design.

The requirements for this workshop are knowledge of the use of the sewing machine. It is for the more experienced sewer ONLY.

I only have room for 6 students for this workshop so you must sign up early!

To reserve your space (with a $50.00 nonrefundable deposit) and receive a supply/tool list, call Gretchen at 762-0447, or e-mail her at gretchen@gretchenLima.com

"Making Faces" and Chachka Woman Workshop.

It was a successful Day with each student making 4 different faces and then using one of them on their "Chachka Doll." Below are pictures of the 6 students and their completed doll.



Projects completed
Quilter Woman Workshop January 2011 in Gretchen's studio

Click Here to see a slide show of a workshop at the Creative Needle Arts & Gallery in Traverse City, MI.

Artist's Statement

I have been creating dolls for 30 years. During that time, I used the twists and turns life takes to create positive images of women. Strength, courage, and wisdom are all recurring images in my work.

Over the years, I have discovered a great connection with women of all ages around this theme. I feel that is part of the joy of dollmaking.

People at art fairs ask me how I got started in dollmaking. I believe it's a 50-year old story, interwoven with a need and a passion to create, using detail, color and a sense of spirit.

My work is not only an expression of what I see, but of what I feel. I create the messages and give a voice to a girl inside who has patiently waited to be heard.

Workshop Description

Slide Presentation:

The slide lecture includes slides of my work over the past (almost) 25 years of my dollmaking career, and slides of drawings and the dolls made from the drawings. I explain MY creative process and share the personal challenges which inspired my work.

Guided Imagery:

The guided imagery is my way of calming and quieting the rest of my life so I can listen to messages from within. I have given this guided imagery to mostly women who have never experienced it before. The vast majority enjoy it and say it is their favorite part of the workshop. It is what I do that makes my workshop different, I believe.

It is my belief that you must listen to yourself, go within (guided imagery is a great tool), in order to create from your heart. For some people this may be a bit intimidating, but once they try it, very satisfying.

Basically, guided imagery is this: I play some very soothing Native American flute music, and read a story I have written. The participants close their eyes, if this is comfortable for them, and listen to the story. Afterwards, we talk about what they saw and/or do a primitive drawing of what they saw.

It helps to set the mood for the rest of the workshop.

Demonstrations:

During each workshop, I demonstrate the sculpting of a face. I also give gentle assistance with the construction of the doll and show techniques for decorating. I want this to be an "out of your box" experience for each person so I allow as much personal freedom of expression as needed.

Some Comments from Workshop Participants

  • I cannot believe how much I learned ... and not just about doll making. What a journey! I will be following your work and can't wait to take another class... This was better than a therapist and a day at the spa combined.
  • ...just loved making the doll. I, for one, never thought that I would be able to make a face. You made all of it seem so easy and relaxing!
  • It was very relaxing, inspirational, and a great one day get-away. In addition to your wonderful creative abilities you are an excellent teacher.
  • Don't think I've ever taken proper time in thanking you... It is such a treasured memory for me...the inspirational meeting with my "Wise Woman"... thanks to your kindness in sharing. All could not have happened at a more appropriate time... and as I learned further from you.. is so true in all of life if we would only choose to recognize and accept this. Thank you for TEACHING and SHARING ...your art, your passion and so much more!
  • She was very patient with non-sewers, nicely presented.
  • This was fabulous! The highlight of the retreat for me. I loved the guided imagery.
A student works on her doll during the May 2008 workshop in Vail.

The January 2002 Shaman Woman Workshop at Gretchen's studio produced many empowered Women/Shamen.

Face sculpting
Gretchen demonstrates face sculpting, March 2000
Click Here for images of the Traverse City, MI Workshop from May 2003

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This page last modified 5/28/16
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