The doll Tempest, made over

Mad in Pursuit Notebook

Tempest: "Earthy" Doesn't Mean Frumpy--A Makeover


6 Jan 2023 [cont'd. from 16 Dec 2017]. I enjoyed my makeover of the doll Eli, so I turned my attention to Tempest, another of my 2016 "seasonal" dolls. She's about 14" tall, needle-felted onto a wire armature.


  • With her earthy, hand-dyed silks, she represents the muddy, windy wreckage that is April on the north coast of the U.S. But she was looking a little frumpy.
  • I liked the mossy mudiness of her legs, but they are hidden.
  • Her original face was unintentionally frightening, so I gave her a new face in 2017. But I gave her simple black holes for eyes. Now they begged for some life.

Plan. My stash contained lots of hand-dyed wool, so I planned to use that to patch color on to her arms and torso. She does have a nice little figure. Many "spirit dolls" on Pinterest use string to create a breezy, organic look, so I planned to try that.

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  • White wool brought life to her eyes.
  • I gave soles to her shapeless muddy feet/boots (wool-covered cardboard, glued then slip-stitched on) and added more mossy wool to her legs.
  • The first new skirt I gave her was made from sari-silk yarn, but it looked like a hula skirt and didn't flatter her figure. It always pains me to rip out work I spent so much time on, but I think real artisans have the courage to do so. Yep. I was ready to try wet-felting and the result (fitted with little tiny darts) better fits her saucy-yet-earthy vibe. The antique button sets it off. (I even made a button hole!)

[continued below the images]

Tempest doll, with wet-felted fabric

Tempest doll, view of the back

Learning. I loved the wet felting! It was a mini-adventure to learn and fits the crazy early spring vibe, which isn't only about mud, but also about hope and renewal.

My intention this year is to keep challenging myself to improve my making and repairing skills. Tempest may yet see more changes!

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Books from Mad in Pursuit and Susan Barrett Price: KITTY'S PEOPLE: the Irish Family Saga about the Rise of a Generous Woman (2022)| HEADLONG: Over the Edge in Pakistan and China (2018) | THE SUDDEN SILENCE: A Tale of Suspense and Found Treasure (2015) | TRIBE OF THE BREAKAWAY BEADS: Book of Exits and Fresh Starts (2011) | PASSION AND PERIL ON THE SILK ROAD: A Thriller in Pakistan and China (2008). Available at Amazon.