Technique

Each doll is a one of a kind cloth doll. The heads are needle-sculpted and the details of the face are softly enhanced with colored pencils. Hair is created using yarns, feathers, mohair, string, and unusual fibers. The hands are fully articulated allowing you to choose a special treasure for your doll to hold.

Costumes

Soft, earth-tone fabrics that include a variety of weaves, textures, and prints are chosen to dress the dolls. I love to incorporate recycled fabrics into the costumes. I work on a small scale, adding just the right amount of detail to surprise, but not overwhelm the doll. Beads, embroidery, quilting, fabric manipulation, and found objects are added to enhance the personality of each doll.

About

Welcome to Catskill Critters! My dolls are inspired by the incredible beauty of the Catskill Mountains, fueled by my love of folk tales and fairy tales and sustained by a strange sense of humor.

Each one of my dolls becomes a one-of-a-kind launching pad into a whimsical fairy tale world where stories grow and playfulness is nurtured.

I love being witness to how a one-dimensional material like cloth can metamorphose into a living creature with its own unique personality, attitude, and of course its own story. While I may have an idea of what I want to make, I have discovered that with time, and coaxing, and sometimes a bit of frustration, the doll creates itself.

I am a self-taught doll maker. I incorporate embroidery, traditional and non-traditional quilting techniques, beading, and fabric collage and manipulation into my work.

Betsy Holland

About

Welcome to Catskill Critters! My dolls are inspired by the incredible beauty of the Catskill Mountains, fueled by my love of folk tales and fairy tales and sustained by a strange sense of humor.

Each one of my dolls becomes a one-of-a-kind launching pad into a whimsical fairy tale world where stories grow and playfulness is nurtured.

I love being witness to how a one-dimensional material like cloth can metamorphose into a living creature with its own unique personality, attitude, and of course its own story. While I may have an idea of what I want to make, I have discovered that with time, and coaxing, and sometimes a bit of frustration, the doll creates itself.

I am a self-taught doll maker. I incorporate embroidery, traditional and non-traditional quilting techniques, beading, and fabric collage and manipulation into my work.

Betsy Holland
Critters of the Home

Pixies

Pixies are tricksters by nature. Surround their shelf space with stones, feathers, sticks, seedpods, and bits of moss that you find on your woods walks to make them feel comfortable.

Generally, pixies are harmless. However, please remember that they dislike greedy, cruel people and have been known to play pranks on these humans.

But…for those kind-hearted folks, who are fond of them, a pixie’s presence will bring good luck and blessings to your home.

Brownies

If you hear a shuffling sound at night, most likely you have a Brownie living with you. No worries. Brownies are loving, hard working, protectors of a home and the people they live with. Brownies are usually shoeless and a little messy looking. Leave a bit of food scraps out at night for your Brownie. But…don’t leave gifts! They take offense and often will run away or cause mischief of some sort in your home.

Hobgoblins

Hearth Folks, more commonly known as Hobgoblins oversee the peaceful existence of a home: smoothing over disputes, upholding agreed-upon rights and protecting the home from intruders.

When treated fairly and properly, Hobgoblins greet their humans when they enter the home with a broad smile and secretly help out with chores. Hobgoblins remind us to laugh at ourselves, have an open heart, be aware of others, and most of all, be kind.

Critters of the Forest and Mountains

Tree Folk

Tree Folk often grow right in the center of a faerie ring. Look carefully for a lone tree on the hillside or the oldest tree in the woods.

The Maple is a happy tree symbolizing balance, promise, and practicality. Ivy travels everywhere. It spreads happily and thrives in places no other greenery could survive. Its determination to reach through obstacles symbolizes strength.

Ferns are an ancient symbol of loyalty and sincerity towards others. Ferns symbolize independence, endurance, and defiance against oppression.

Toadstools are a sign of long life, happiness and rebirth.

Trolls

Ever since humans came to the forest, trolls have tried to stay hidden. They are difficult to see because they blend in so well with the ferns, mosses, rocks and tree roots. Most humans don’t believe that trolls exist. They think they are imaginary folk, the stuff of great stories, but not real creatures that share the forest with them.

However, if you are a human that knows how to walk through the woods without rustling the leaves or snapping twigs with your feet and you can move so quietly in the forest that even the birds and chipmunks are surprised when they see you, then you are just the type of human that will see trolls as they move about or visit with one another. Trolls are sometimes mischievous and sometimes they are unscrupulous. Most of the time, though, trolls very rarely trouble humans. They are frightened of humans until they get to know and trust them.

Trolls are very sensitive and have been teased about their looks. They have large, pointed ears that allow them to hear thunderstorms miles away and those large feet help them take giant strides over boulders and logs to seek protection from the storm. Their extremely large nose can smell roast beef cooking miles away — and roast beef is the trolls’ favorite food. The trolls’ eyes are sharp enough to detect silver and gold and precious stones deep under the mountains. But, look carefully and you will see that those eyes are also kind and sensitive.

Trolls become loyal friends. They are wonderful listeners and are comfortable sitting together in silence. Humans who have lived near trolls report that from time to time they will come into their homes and tidy things up. They have been known to become fast friends with family pets.

Occasionally trolls have been known to steal a princess just for the fun of it, but they eventually let her go. If you do have the chance to meet a troll, talk gently, avoid asking questions that are too personal, let the troll watch you as you work, and before you know it, you will have a loyal friend.

Story Tellers

Storytellers pluck the threads and fibers of our memories, dreams, and emotions. They weave them into a tapestry of images that provide hope and inspiration to us, the listener. Storytellers take us to the place where our past and our future meet and our conscious and unconscious come together.

October 16th, 2017|0 Comments

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October 10

October 11th, 2017|0 Comments

It still feels like summer here in the Catskills, except that all the leaves are now techno-colored.  Bear and I are still slipping out for long hikes, knowing that soon it will become freezing cold

Welcome to Catskill Critters

September 29th, 2017|1 Comment

I am so excited about the launching of my new website.  Thank you to the wonderful webmasters: Justin, Jason, Gavin, Shane, and Amore.  And...thank you Dan for the awesome photographs. Summer is coming

Contact me

If you have any questions, fill out the form below.

Contact me

If you have any questions, fill the form below.