When I moved to Northern California almost 20 years ago, I joined the art doll group called the Phoebe’s and met the most creative group of women artists that I had ever seen in one room.  Betts Vidal was part of that group, and I saw immediately that she was a master artist.  This month my blog is all about art dolls and who better than Betts Vidal to start this blog.  I’d like to share her story and some of her work with you.


I love beautiful things.  My joy in life is finding beauty in simple things that to me….have wondrous possibilities.  Nature shows me clouds, landscapes, an arrangement of hag stones, or sea shells and sea glass, which I’ve gathered from endless beach combing.  If my camera isn’t with me, I call these observations memory photos.  If it’s handy, I do my best to capture their beauty.  I have a treasure trove of photos to inspire me, as well as trays, vases, and apothecary jars filled with gifts from the sea.  All art exists in nature.

When I was a girl, my mother designed and made all my clothes, until I was able to make my own.  I watched her remake her ballroom dance gowns into my prom dresses that were the envy of my girlfriends. It was from the gown to prom combinations that I learned to salvage and savor fabrics.  That eventually led to designing cloth dolls, and combining fabrics into something unique that gave me great pleasure.  Clever remaking offered many ideas for my doll couture.  A no longer worn silk blouse could become a petticoat, pantaloons or gown for my next doll…a beautiful new life for both doll and blouse.

In my travels I discovered the beauty of buttons, their history and varieties.  My heart skips a beat when I acquire a gathering of ‘like’ buttons.  This is what inspired me to create my Button Vignette cards.   Rare buttons, silk ribbons, and even fragments of vintage laces, are used to enhance my dolls gowns.  Collecting is an obsession I have no desire to remedy. I collect things that give me visual pleasure and  conjure up memories of my travels.  My dolls have benefited from both my experiences and my collections.

Doll making introduced me to a treasured collection of life long and dear friendships.  We have shared and encouraged each other in all of our creative efforts.  These friendships flourished with our many travels to teach in other states and countries.  Because of our shared interests we also shop together…here and abroad.  Finding that perfect card of buttons, or a vintage lace that would make Marie Antoinette weep with envy, makes for a fortuitous addition to the creative palette.

These creative experiences have given me so much pleasure…a pleasure that should be shared.  This is why I teach doll making.  I find each class a most gratifying way of sharing my joy, and inviting others to my wondrous world of beautiful fabrics, laces and buttons…oh my!

This is an example of BETTS’ Button Vignette cards.

















Here are some of her collections, beautifully displayed and ready to inspire.

20170223_154036  20170223_163101  20170223_164708

This doll ,  Mayan Goddess of Weaving, Ix Chevel Yax, was made by BETTS in the early nineties. It was featured in Suzanne Oroyan’s book, Fantastic Figures, and included in numerous gallery shows.


This is where she enjoys using pieces from her collections.

20170223_133808  20170223_134405  20170223_130602

20170223_132944  20170223_133614  20170223_131934

20170223_105820  20170223_120522


Here she combines her love of nature and and her love of dolls.

20170224_080747  20170223_114321

I hope you enjoyed BETTS’ work.  Since this month’s blog is all about dolls, I’d like to share work from some of my other artist friends.


BONNIE is one of the most prolific and original artists I know.  Her work is well known  for her unusual embellishments.

bonnies-doll-5-2-15-17  bonnies-doll-2-2-15-17  bonnies-doll-2-15-17

 bonnies-doll3-2-15-17  Bonnie #1  Bonnie #3

Bonnie#2  Bonnie #4  snaps

IMG_6905  IMG_6916  IMG_6820 (2)

IMG_6962 (1)  Bonnie's flat beige star   IMG_6960 (3)

IMG_6915  Blog pictures 11-2015 039  Bonnie's flat beige star


DAISY  is always reaching for something new and different.  Seeing where she is going with her art is always a surprise.  She was an art teacher in the public schools for many years and must have been an amazing motivator for her fortunate students.

Daisy's Unicorn  Daisy's lady Godiva

Daisy's mother with baby  Daisy's lovers  Daisy's brown doll sewing

Blog pictures 11-2015 031  Daisy's Yoga  Blog pictures 11-2015 020

Daisy's riding a bird  Daisy's birds


MARY works long hours at her job and still manages to put out the most extraordinary dolls.  Rich in imagination, with quality at it’s finest.

Mary's puppet  Mary's Hiro-san - at the onsen 01    ObaaSan

mmm 001  Ma 004  mmm 002

Believe 12mp - 1  20170224_105952


SHIRLEY taught doll making classes for many years.  She began with beautiful porcelain dolls, moved on to cloth dolls, and now that her sight is failing, she has moved on to mosaics.  It’s a loss for the doll world because her dolls are some of the most exquisite I’ve ever seen.

Shirley's picture #2  Shirley's black doll  Shirleys doll #3

Shirley's doll with beaded stocking  Shirley's doll on chest


It’s difficult to find words to express DONNA’S work.  She is so gifted and multi-talented that I don’t know where to begin.  Her work is always GORGEOUS and she never disappoints.

donnas-turquoise-doll-12-16    dscn1021

Donna's red black doll 12-16  Donna's Vintage doll 12-16  donnas-shively-doll-green-9-16

Paris5LR  DSCN1263MR2  Prince5LR

Donna's belly dancer  Perry_Frida2


I first saw CHRISTINE’S  work when I went to a doll show.  The place appeared empty until I saw the long line in front of CHRISTINE’S booth.  People were standing with 2 or 3 dolls in their arms, protecting them as if they were babies.  I was an immediate convert and was delighted to be able to take one of her workshops.  I have yet to see anyone make doll faces quite that beautiful.

IMG_5624  Christine-blue La Demooiselle de Fluer

Christine #1  Benjamin-2713

Benjamin-2682  Benjamin-2674 (1)  Benjamin-2695


KATE has the most marvelous whimsical style .  The story her dolls tell can only make the viewer smile.  When KATE teaches a class, the doll makers know they are going someplace they have never been before.

sitting pretty lg  Little Alice Series

C R O W  Kate's Saddle Shoes

the turn above sm  Gull 2

Kate Questioning #6  Passing By


SUZANNE is a doll maker, a quilter, a mosaic artist, and an artistic creative force.  

Suzanne's Troll BrothersSuzanne's Otto OgaSuzanne's Girl With Key

suzannes-mother-nature  suzannes-sally-lampi-workshop


ZANAIB knits and crochets like a mad woman.  You will always find her with needles and yarn in her hands….and she still has time to make beautiful dolls.

Blog pictures 11-2015 044  Blog pictures 11-2015 019  Zanaib's gold doll

Zanaib's green doll front (2)  Zanaib's green doll back


SUZANNE is relatively new to the art doll world but her enthusiasm has no bounds.  Her motto seems to be ‘I can do that’ no matter what it is.

s-rad-dolls-12-5-16-003  s-rad-frog-etc-12-16-002  s-rad-red-ballerina.


COLLEEN seems to paint her own rainbow.  She works with colors and color combinations I’ve never seen before.  Her work is enchanting.

Colleen's pretty doll  Colleen's doll with glass head  Colleen's doll 3

Colleen's ceramic dolls  Colleen's doll 1

Colleen's pepper tin    Colleen's cinnamon tin wall doll


KELLY’S teeny tiny elves definitely qualify as dolls because dolls come in all shapes, and sizes.   I so admire someone who can make a 2″ doll with so much personality. 

Blog pictures 11-2015 026  Blog pictures 11-2015 022  Blog pictures 11-2015 025

FullSizeRender (1)  IMG_3255

Kelly's Nola doll  kellys-harliquin-doll


BARBARA is BETTS teaching buddy.  They have traveled all over the world together sharing their work and love of the doll.

100_0995  Barbara's Petaluma doll  musette finaljpg

flat dolls (1)  odette 1

Barbara's Juliette  Barbara's Monique


ROSIE’S work is always colorful and whimsical. How can you look at those faces and not smile.

Rosie's blue doll  Rosie's white doll  Rosie's dolls

FullSizeRender (1)  

Blog pictures 11-2015 056  Rosie's Nuns


STEPHANIE is another one of those multi-talented and prolific doll artists.  When I first met STEPHANIE she was new to the cloth doll world, but she is an experimenter and was already teaching us new ways of doing things.  Doll makers with limited sewing skills envy the magnificent garments her dolls have the privilege of wearing.

100_0933  100_1719  100_2305

100_0975  100_2498 100_2382

ja;sldjfasdl;j  stephanies-doll-2-2-17  stephanies-doll-12006-01-01-12-04-09

100_1204  Blog pictures 11-2015 002  100_2510


I enjoyed making fabric dolls, but I discovered mosaics. Now I’m making dolls out of glass..

Wanda_04_MG_0129  Wanda_01_MG_0066  Wanda_08_MG_0197

Wanda's Mexican lady  Wanda's Frida for blog

Wanda's 2 ladies


To show you that you can make a doll out of anything,  MARGARET made these ladies from her worn out kitchen scrub brushes.

M's Dishbrush doll #2  M's Dishbrush doll#1

I hope you enjoyed seeing work from previous blogs as well as new work by these artists.  If you are interested in purchasing someone’s work, let me know and I’ll put you in contact with the artist.  I can be reached at

I love hearing from you so please continue to leave your comments regarding the artists or the blog.

I’ll be back next month with more exciting art and artists.









  1. Thank you for allowing us to share our doll creations along with yours in this artful Blog. The joy we all receive from inventing these diminutive creatures is something we all like to share… either in classes or exhibitions. I have the pleasure of knowing all these artists personally and have admired all their works. A beautifully presented Blog!


  2. What an incredible group of talented women. What a joy it must be to share your art and passion with each other, and thank you to all the artists for sharing it with the rest of us –


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