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Home » Activity Holidays » Doll Making 2021

“It took me a lot of time to find art cloth doll making classes near me but thanks to Gartmore House my wish has been granted.”

We’re so glad that we decided to add art cloth doll making classes to our programme.

If there aren’t any art cloth doll making classes near you, then why not do it on holiday at Gartmore House? With a craft focused holiday like this, you’ll have the chance to destress and have time dedicated solely to learning new crafty skills or perhaps polishing up some old ones in a relaxing and laidback atmosphere. What’s more, you’ll be surrounded by some of the best scenery that Scotland has to offer. Inspired yet?

Isn’t it amazing that not only are you able to learn new things like art cloth doll making, but that you get to enjoy our picturesque scenery as well?

Under the watchful guidance of tutor Angela Neilson, who has a lifetime of experience in dressmaking and embroidery, you will be lead step-by-step through the whole process of making either a basic art cloth doll or rag doll.

Suitable for beginners and more experienced stitchers alike, our holidays offer an introduction into the art of doll making. If you are completely new to the subject, please don’t be anxious about any of the techniques or parts of the doll. At every stage, Angela will be on hand to help you find a way to achieve a good result in a way that is comfortable for you.

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 sources of inspiration such as pictures, photos, books, vintage fabrics, jewellery and shells. Why not start a small sketch book of ideas using words, pictures, cut outs, scribbles, photos, drawings, scraps of fabric etc. But if you don’t know where to start, Angela will bring samples of her work for inspiration

Read more about this course on our blog.

To see pictures of the course please visit our gallery

Dates 2021

Our art cloth doll making holidays run for 5-nights from Sunday to Friday and start from £849 per person.
The above is based on single occupancy. A £100 per person discount is applied for art, craft and activity guests on a shared occupancy basis.

November 7th to 12th 2021

If you’re coming on one of our holidays and would like to bring a friend, partner, or member of your family who doesn’t want to do one of our courses, then we have you (and them!) covered. Accompanying guests can enjoy full board catering and shared accommodation with you. Please add them on at the checkout stage.

How to book
To book online, please click on your preferred date above.
For any questions or to book direct please call 01877 382 991 or email mail@gartmorehouse.com
If you have any questions, you may like to take a look at our FAQs but if you have any further queries, please contact our team directly.

To confirm your holiday:
A non-refundable 25% deposit is required to secure your booking.

Payment of your holiday:
The balance of your payment must be received no later than 3 months (90 days) prior to the commencement of your holiday. In the case of non-payment, we reserve the right to cancel your booking and any cancellation fees will apply.

If you cancel your booking:
All deposits are non-refundable. Should you need to cancel your booking up to 3 months (90 days) prior to the commencement date, we will refund any monies paid, less your deposit. If you cancel less than 3 months (90 days) prior to the commencement date, no refund will be given.
We do advise you to take out holiday insurance for this reason.

Opt to make either an art cloth doll or a rag doll during your stay.

Art Cloth Dolls
With the guidance of your tutor Angela you will begin by drawing out and machine stitching body parts. Next, you will turn and stuff each body part, wire the fingers, needle-sculpt the face, draw or embroider facial features, and make a simple wig. Finally, you will assemble the doll – attach the arms and legs and dress the character doll. Please note, construction of your art cloth doll will make up the most part of the week. You will have a small amount of time at the end of the week to dress him/her. True art cloth dolls are decorated, adorned, or even dressed by applying fabrics, ribbons, beads, embroidery directly to the figure itself.

Basic sewing machine skills are helpful. Hand stitching the doll is of course a much more relaxing and meditative option, but progress will be significantly slower.

Rag Dolls
Why not create your own unique rag doll?! As an alternative to the art doll you can choose to make a basic rag doll, suitable as a child’s toy. It will have no complicated joints and almost no shaping or contouring. The basic pattern is provided, while demonstrations and written instructions take you through all of the steps listed above, not all of which are needed for a basic ragdoll.  Angela will offer handy tips and hints to avoid the pitfalls.  Personalising of the doll is encouraged and you could even make it more contoured body if desired. The skills learned can later be translated into art doll making should you wish. Within the 5 days there should be time to make a start on creating a wardrobe of outfits for your new friend. 

Check in is from 4pm where you will receive a warm welcome from our team.
Once you are unpacked and settled, we invite you to enjoy some tea or coffee and home baking in the lounge where you can relax after your journey.
If you have never been on a holiday like this before, we understand how anxious you may be. That’s why, come 6pm, everyone will gather in the lounge for the Welcome Talk and Meet & Greet, giving you the chance to meet both your fellow guests and your tutor before the start of the course on Monday. Your tutor will talk you through what to expect from the week, discuss what you would like to achieve during your stay, and answer any questions you may have. 
From there, dinner is served at 6:30pm in the downstairs dining room.

Monday to Thursday*
Throughout the week, tuition runs from 10am to 4pm with regular breaks for tea and coffee so you can relax and have a natter with your fellow guests about everything you’ve been up to so far.
All your meals are served in the dining room.
Evening tea and coffee is available in the lounge at 9pm.

After a few days of working hard on your craft, you may like to take a break and head out to explore a little bit of the local area with a scenic sail across Loch Katrine. If you would prefer to stay in the house, then you are free to pursue your craft at your leisure but please note that your tutor will not be on hand for tuition on the Wednesday afternoon.

Check out by 10am

What’s Included

  • 4 days of specialist tuition from Angela Neilson
  • All materials required for the course
  • Full board catering
  • En-suite accommodation
  • Complimentary afternoon trip to Loch Katrine
  • 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). Transfers from Glasgow or Edinburgh Airports are available at an additional cost.

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! 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 children and made her first rag doll for her daughter.

In the early 90’s, Angela was re-introduced to creative embroidery by Ness Walker at classes run by Aberdeen City Council. 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. Ness encouraged Angela to join Aberdeen North Embroiderers’ Guild and she has been a member for over 20 years. It was here that Angela was introduced to art cloth doll making and she was instantly hooked! Since then she has been inspired and challenged by other doll makers in books, on the internet & in workshops. Angela has went on to develop her own styles, preferences, patterns, and techniques.

As an Embroiderers’ Guild member Angela 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 creative holiday at Gartmore House.

Reviews from previous doll making guests:

  • ‘Just loved it all. Will certainly come again.’ –  Harbert, Art Cloth Doll Making Holiday
  • ‘Had a super time – thank you very much.’ – Guest, Art Cloth Doll Making Holiday
  • ‘A wonderful experience. Perfect atmosphere and environment. Friendly staff. Loved it. Many thanks.’ – Guest, Art Cloth Doll Making Holiday

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