I’ve enjoyed bringing some great talent to my blog in the form of Creative Features for eight weeks, and this will be my last for a while. Though keep an eye out – when I see something special, I’ll let you know! And – I hope to be making a creative announcement of my own pretty soon! Until then I’m leaving you with cute and traditional in the capable hands of Troodlecraft.
I’ve known Trudi for a while and interviewed her daughter at Flourish Buttons just a few weeks ago, so this is another family with creativity running through its veins! I remember, when I was small, getting a clothes peg doll kit in my Christmas stocking, so Trudi’s little dolls brought back memories of something I did once myself. Her dolls are cute and cheerful and a delightfully simple idea for gifts. Take a trip back down memory lane…
Trudi Cotton – Creative and Doll Maker
What inspires you?
I think it is very difficult to pin point exactly what inspires me. There are so many things that I see daily that give me inspiration, whether it be a piece of art, a positive quote, or whether I hear about someone who has done something remarkable with their life.
I can remember some particular incidences over the last year or so, when I have been inspired by a particular event or a person, which has perhaps just been a fleeting moment in my life, but even so, has had a huge impact on the way I think about myself and my abilities. These incidences have inspired me to be more creative or inspired me to be more courageous, to try out new things, be more adventurous and childlike…and, I know that without these special moments, I would not have had the courage to start Troodlecraft, or to keep going when I had feelings of self doubt and low self esteem.
What inspired you to make clothes pin dolls?
When I was a little girl, and attended what they used to call Junior School, which is now called Primary School, the teacher gave us some pegs and showed us how to make ‘peg dolls’. A few years back, I remembered how much fun it was making peg dolls and decided that I would like to have another go. At that time I had no intention of starting a business, I was just purely looking for a creative experience.When I went onto the internet and typed in peg dolls, I found the clothespin dolls with lovely big heads, and I loved them.
I see you make both clothes pin and cotton reel dolls, which do you prefer to make, and do you create any other kinds of art?
I love making both of them…they are so different, but If I had to choose I would say the clothespin dolls. With the clothespin dolls you can give them flowers to hold or a baby to cradle, whereas the cotton reel dolls are a bit restricted by their cotton reel hands!! (Awww poor things!!) So, I have a lot of fun with the clothespin dolls!!! In fact that is what made me think about putting together clothespin doll kits, so that other people could have fun with them as well!! I also make bendy doll fridge magnets, wooden signs and, at Christmas I make nativity peg people, mini wreaths and Queen’s Guard peg dolls!
Do you have a favourite doll design?
No, not really!! Although, I do like the brightly coloured flowery material I sometimes use because it makes me feel light and summery, but apart from that I like them all! I find that each doll’s design is different, and I love that!
What are your future plans with your dolls?
Recently I made some clothespin dolls for people celebrating a special occassion, a bride and groom for a wedding, a doll for a university graduation, and someone asked me to make a gardener as a birthday present for their mum. I think it would be fun to do some more of these and perhaps expand that idea a bit more, and make some dolls associated with other hobbies like reading, computers and cooking.
Lastly, if you could commission anything for yourself, money no object, what would it be?
I love fairies, fairy houses and gardens…so a fairy garden would be wonderful. Little fairy houses and miniature fairy gardens. My husband is always saying ‘I’m off with the fairies’, so no surprises there I suppose!! Or, I did have an amazing dream once that I was travelling through Toy Town…you know, where Noddy and Big Ears might live…and I was there to look for a house to buy. I woke up feeling really happy! So maybe, I could build my own Toy Town.
Troodlecraft is a small craft business in the town of Cinderford in the lovely Forest of Dean! All the Clothespin dolls and Cotton Reel dolls are handmade and painted, with wooden parts such as pegs and cotton reels. And for those of you who would like to have a go at making your own Clothespin doll, then please take a look in the Troodlecraft shop where I am selling Clothespin doll kits . All the dolls are sent to their new homes with a handwritten name tag and a description of their character.