Home » Art Cloth Doll Making

Art Cloth Doll Making

Suitable for beginners and more experienced stitchers alike, this doll making holiday is led by Angela Neilson, a retired GP who has a lifetime of experience in dressmaking and embroidery. Angela will lead you, step-by-step, through the whole process of making a basic art cloth doll.

You will start by drawing out and machine stitching body parts, then turn and stuff the parts, wire the fingers, needle-sculpt the face, draw or embroider features, make a simple wig, attach the arms and legs and finally dress the character doll. Basic sewing machine skills are helpful but not essential.

A bit of creative imagination and a willingness to let go of preconceptions goes a long way because, as these character dolls emerge, they develop a life of their own – whispering to you how they like their hair and what they want to wear.

You may wish to bring your own ideas that inspire you such as pictures, photos, books, vintage fabrics, jewellery and shells. But if you don’t know where to start then Angela will bring samples of her work for inspiration. Read more about this course on our blog >>

Dates and prices 2020

Sunday 4th – Friday 9th October – £695 per person (5 nights) – BOOK ONLINE

Dates and prices 2021

Sunday 7th – Friday 12th March – £725 per person (5 nights) – BOOK ONLINE
Sunday 7th – Friday 12th November – £725 per person (5 nights) – BOOK ONLINE

Above is based on single occupancy of an en-suite room (full board basis), should you wish to bring a companion who is not taking part in the course, then they will receive a reduction in the above price; please contact us for details.

Prices updated December 2019.

How to book

Should you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact our team.

Payment, Terms & Conditions
A £100 per person deposit is required to secure your booking. Full payment is due 6 weeks prior to arrival. For craft & activity breaks booked within 6 weeks of course start date, full payment is required at the time of booking. Craft & activity breaks are subject to availability and subject to change.

What’s included?
Courses are based at Gartmore House; all rooms are en-suite with tea and coffee making facilities and many have wonderful views over Flanders Moss Nature Reserve, towards Stirling. Your course includes full board; all meals are freshly prepared by our chefs. Enjoy a glass of wine as you relax in the dining room looking out over the views and discussing your day’s work. Bar facilities are available during dinner. 5-Night (or more) courses include an optional visit to Loch Katrine (with one hour cruise) or The Scottish Wool Centre in Aberfoyle (transport is provided).

Complimentary transfers from Stirling train station are available on the arrival and departure days (pick-up from the station at 15:30, departs Gartmore House at 10:00).

16:00 Arrive late afternoon to afternoon tea in the lounge
18:00 Welcome talk in the lounge and meet your tutor
18:30 Dinner
21:00 Tea/coffee in the lounge

Monday & Tuesday
08:30 Breakfast 10:00 Course begins (course will run until 16:00)
11:00 Tea/coffee and cake/biscuits
13:00 Lunch
15:30 Tea/coffee and cake/biscuits
16:00 Course ends for the day, however you are free to continue your work in the studio if you wish
18:30 Dinner
21:00 Tea/coffee in the lounge

08:30 Breakfast
10:00 Course begins (course will run until 12:30)
11:00 Tea/coffee and cake/biscuits
12:30 Lunch
After lunch there is an optional visit to either Loch Katrine (includes a 1 hr sailing on the loch) or the Scottish Wool Centre in Aberfoyle Alternatively you can opt to stay at the House and continue your work in the studio (untutored)
18:30 Dinner
21:00 Tea/coffee in the lounge

08:30 Breakfast
10:00 Course begins (course will run until 16:00)
11:00 Tea/coffee and cake/biscuits
13:00 Lunch
15:30 Tea/coffee and cake/biscuits
16:00 Course ends for the day, however you are free to continue your work in the studio if you wish
19:00 Celebratory dinner with entertainment
21:00 Tea/coffee in the lounge

08:30 Breakfast then check-out
10:00 Latest check-out

All materials needed for the course will be provided by your tutor, however please bring your own sewing machine with you. Your tutor will bring a couple of sewing machines with her, which she will use to demonstrate on. These machines can be borrowed by students, but you will probably feel more comfortable using a machine that you are familiar with (and this also means you won’t have to wait to use a machine).  

Tutor – Angela Neilson

Angela has been sewing since before she started school, thanks to her Mother and sister’s encouragement at home. Even before finishing Primary School, she had made a pair of pink and white gingham shorts on an old treddle sewing machine.

More sewing was to come at Secondary School, with memories of sewing a sleeveless cotton blouse and a pin-cord mini dress with puff sleeves! Perhaps more significantly Angela was taught Art by a Miss Tate, who introduced her to silk painting and creative embroidery. During Angela’s teenage years she made her own clothes, pencil cases, bags etc. and as a young wife and mother, continued to dress-make for herself and the children.

In the early 90s Angela was re-introduced to creative embroidery by Ness Walker at classes run by Aberdeen City Council in Westburn Park. Ness’ classes were both inspiring and disciplined – spending a week or more on one stitch and pushing it to the limits with texture and/or colour. While waiting for a space on that class, Angela spent two terms studying life drawing & painting. Ness encouraged Angela to join Aberdeen North Embroiderers’ Guild and she has been a member for over 20 years.

As a Embroiderers’ Guild member Angle has had the privilege of being taught by many of the “big names” in embroidery circles in the UK, including Isobel Hall, Maggie Grey and Jean Littlejohn. In 2011 she signed up for the City & Guilds Craft & Design (Embroidery) course at Moray College and was awarded the Certificate in 2013 and Diploma in July 2015 after a very stimulating and full, 4 years of tuition by June Hyndman, a textile art graduate of Glasgow School of Art.

Angela looks forward to sharing her extensive sewing experience and passion for art cloth doll making with you on a course at Gartmore House.

‘Just loved it all. Will certainly come again.’ Harbert, Doll Making Course, March 2019

‘Exceptional value for money. You made us feel welcome from booking to departure. Nothing ever appeared too much trouble and that level of service is something to be exceptionally proud of. We will return next year to enjoy the house and crafting courses. With heartfelt thanks.’

‘A lovely old house brought back to life, well done.’

‘Lovely atmosphere for learning and relaxation. Afternoon tea ‘treats’ much appreciated.’

‘With regard to the accommodation, this was more than comfortable, the food delicious and plentiful and all the staff warm, friendly and helpful.’

Our team is here to help with any queries that you may have about the course. You may also like to take a look at our FAQs blog post to see if we answer any of your queries there. Don’t forget that our team are happy to assist with any questions – please feel free to get in touch.

Join Our Mailing List