Catskill Critters, Handmade Cloth Sculpture

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

Betsy Holland
Storyteller

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Hobgoblin

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.

Brownie

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 run away or cause mischief of some sort in your home.

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The Apprentice

Say Hello!

    Please prove you are human by selecting the Tree.

    © Copyright Catskill Critters 2021