The beautiful world of Hannie Sarris

Hannie Sarris, dutch doll artist

Hannie Sarris was a truly gifted doll artist from the Netherlands. I love looking at her doll pictures, as they are really magical and have something secretive about them. I think she really knew well how to work with paper clays.I think she mainly made fantasy figures. What I like about her is not only her style, but also the fact that she was a self-taught artist.

hannie sarris doll

Hannie Sarris wrote wonderful books on doll making

I would love to own two of her four books on sculpting (Fairy fantasy or Poppen maken), but for very good reason, they are all sold out. If anyone knows where to get a secondhand sample in english or dutch, feel free to contact me! I really love this doll and the whole picture:

hannie sarris paperclay doll

She was a member of DABIDA

Hannie Sarris was so good at doll making, that she was also a member of DABIDA, a dutch and belgian institute of doll artists. The institute promotes doll art of its members through the website and shows the work of DABIDA members together on shows, exhibitions and art related events. They also organize a DABIDA Annual Doll Award. Last but not least, they have a special DABIDA day once a year. Artist members show their pieces of art in a nice ambiance. They usually invite a famous doll artist as special guest. Actually, I recently read on their site that there’s also an Hannie Sarris Annual Doll Award 2014. Please check their website to check the details.

She gave classes and had free tutorials online

Hannie Sarris also had some classes for those eager to learn her techniques. I will post some free tutorials of her here to make it easier for you to find them:

Free tutorial on sculpting a fairy head

Free tutorial on sculpting a moon

Free tutorial on making a wig out of lamb

Hannie Sarris invented Premix

Hannie  created her own clay by mixing La Doll and Premier clay. As a result her new invented version of the mixture was brought out by the clay factory and they called it Premix.Hannie Sarris wrote on her site:

As was mentioned, Premix is a combination of La Doll and Premier clay and has combined all the benefits of both clays.I  have worked with the mixture for years and I am happy to say the the premixed clay is much better than the “mixed by hand”. Premix is stronger, better to work with and better to sand. It is a superb clay for the most delicate figures in air dry clay. The clay is fine textured with almost no fibers in it, very pliable and easy to work with. It hardly sticks on your hands. It is simply wonderful clay!”

She wrote about La doll clay:

I do not own this picture. Copyright HannieSarris

La Doll from Padico is sold in packages and is ready to use.
This clay is smooth and has a fine structure, so you can work with it very easy. It doesn’t crumble, so you can easily cut of little pieces. You can model with it as well as sculpt and carve. It is the perfect material to make fine and detailed work. After drying you can sand it very easy, so your work obtains a beautiful smooth skin. One disadvantage of La Doll is that very thin pieces like toes and fingers quickly break .
When you open the package of La Doll, it might be a bit tough, and when you take a piece off, you can see some fibers, this is normal. Sometimes the clay smells a bit.
Take a piece of La Doll and moisten your fingers a little, and knead the clay until it becomes soft. When it dries, it is normal to see some cracks in the clay. Don’t worry, just add smooth La Doll, and it is gone.”

Her decription of Premier:

I do not own this picture. Copyright HannieSarris

Premier is a rather new clay, made by the same manufacturer of La Doll, Padico.
It is sold in red packages (see picture) and is ready to use.
It is very light and has a fine texture, is almost without any smell. You do not have to kneed it at all.
Premier is rather firm, keeps its shape very well and can be used to sculpt very small and detailed. This clay does not stick on your hands, something that many people will experience as pleasant. It has a rather long drying period, what gives you opportunity to keep  working on it. After drying it is very strong, stronger than La Doll. You can easily cut pieces of, without the risk of crumbling. You can sand it very well, because of the fine structure.
Because of the white color, this clay type is very suitable for several painting techniques.
Due to the fact that Premier is extra strong, it can be used to sculpt fragile full sculpts without the use of other clay types for the fingers and toes.”

Check her website

Phew, that was a lot of information! Please make sure you check out her site to see her artwork. (A lot of you will know her already). I just felt like I wanted to give a bit of information about her, to introduce her to those of you who haven’t heard of her. If you like paperclay work, you should definitely have a look.

Hannie Sarris passed away on May 2nd, 2010. She will remembered through her beautiful art work.

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La doll,Premier and Premix

La Doll, Premier and Premix-What kind of clays are that?

Hello there!

In my last post I wrote about the clay I’m using for my ball jointed doll project,called La doll.

I just wanted to mention that I also have other paperclay types at home. I also purchased Premix and Premier,to be able to compare them to La doll and to know which clay I prefer.They where both slightly more expensive than La doll.

premier clay padicoPremier clay is soft when working with it, they say the results are really light but at the same time the objects come out  strong.


premix la dollPremix clay is also air drying paper clay and is a mix of La doll and Premier. The qualities of both clays are combined together. Hannie Sarris, a doll artist, had this idea to mix them and called the new product Premix. I will make an extra post on Hannie Sarris to tell you more about her and the paper clays.


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La doll stone clay

La doll clay for my ball jointed doll

la doll stone clayThis is the clay I’m using for my ball jointed doll project.

The official description of the  clay:

“La Doll is ideal for all sculpturing. Smooth consistency enables clay to be stretched out thinly.  It is water-based, so fresh clay can be added with water. Once dry, sanding will create a satin finish.  It is carved like soft wood. It renders beautiful results with most any painting, decorating medium and varnish.”

My description of the clay:

“I really like this clay and will finish my bjd project with it. I like the fact that it’s really smooth and I don’t struggle with it like I did with cernit polymer clay. La doll clay comes out of the package ready-to use. At least,the clay I bought from Claudine Roelen’s shop het poppenhuisje is really soft. The fact that fresh clay sticks to hardened,dried clay is perfect for the ball jointed doll process. I like all the qualities of La doll so far.”

Here’s the link to the doll artist shop where I purchased La doll clay: shop

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Here’s my blueprint

Ball jointed doll blueprint

nikeartdoll blueprint, bjd,ball jointed doll pic

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Making of the core with plasticine

Busy making the ball jointed doll core out of plasticine

plastecine body

plastecine core

This are some pictures of the body parts of my ball jointed doll.I’m making the core with plasticine instead of using styrofoam on the inside (what a lot of doll artists working with La doll clay do successfully).

plastecine body

The picture above shows the basic plasticine torso.I used wooden balls to get the hip and distances right. They’ll be removed later. This process with plasticine is fun!

The idea behind the making of an  inner core for a ball jointed doll is explained here and here

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How I will make my doll hollow

My idea on making the bjd core

In my last post I wrote about a little test I made to see if I could use plasticine inside my La doll clay doll.

My idea was to use plasticine as core instead of using styrofoam. Styrofoam is a material that  a lot of bjd tutorials advise for people who make their bjd with paperclay.

The test with the plasticine and la doll clay showed that it’s possible to make a bjd basic body with plasticine, cover it in foil and THEN as main step, cover the core with la doll and move on with the real sculpting of the body.

Yeah I’m so happy it worked: I simply cut the la doll ball I made, removed the plasticine from the inside, and voila!I then had a hollow clay ball.

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How do I make my doll hollow?

Test on making a core to make my ball jointed doll hollow

As you all know, ball jointed dolls are usually hollow because they need a stringing system. After making some experiences with a polymer clay called Cernit and  with Chavant plasticine, I decided to give La doll stone clay a try.

A lot of artists that work with La doll use styrofoam to make a core:

ball jointed doll styrofoam core

Picture belongs to aimi doll

Making a core of styrofoam is a lot of work. Although this method is very well known in the BJD world and a lot of artist use this methoda, I must admit that I hope there are other ways out there =)Ways that involve more sculpting and less scetching and cutting out styrofoam…I hope you get my point.

Could I use my chavant plasticine to make a core?

I still have some plasticine and made a test with it. I made a simple ball with the plasticine, put some transparent film around it and finally, I rolled some La doll over the plasticine ball.

I’m just going to wait till the clay ball dries and cut it apart to see if I can remove the plasticine clay without having a problem. I can’t think of a reason why this method shouldn’t work….wish me luck!=)

The clay that I plan using for my bjd core (if this method works)looks like this:

ball jointed doll core



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Quote of the day

“Every artist was first an amateur.”
Ralph Waldo  Emerson

Okay, with this great quote in mind, I can get some fresh motivation to start my new project in 2014 because it’s been a while  =)

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Happy new year!

After reading a mail from WordPress “Your annual report,your 2013 in blogging”, I went back to my blog and remembered i hadn’t really been active in 2013. I had an idea once, to make a beautiful ball jointed doll (hopefully) and share my doll wip pictures and the whole process with you. Well, I’ve been busy with other stuff but I want to get started with the whole project again and try to at least finish one doll this year =)

This time I’m trying La doll, because Cernit (polymer clay) and plasticine were not really helpful for my project, even though I like both materials in general.

All the best for 2014!

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Making my BJD-The day I learned NOT to use Plasticine

Huh? Is that really the title of my blog post today? The day I learned NOT to use Plasticine…. how can I write that. Let me explain.

There is nothing bad about plasticine or the Chavant Clay Medium that I am using for my doll making project BUT (and now listen closely) it isn’t very smart to use plasticine for a ball jointed doll. Yepp! I could have thought about that before, and I am sure some of my readers are thinking now “I could have told you”. Because, now that I have worked with the material for some days and made some experiences with it, I think it is quite obvious why you shouldn’t use it for a ball jointed doll. When it comes to Ball jointed dolls it is all about movement. And plasticine is a sticky material that doesn’t allow you to check if the balls/joints are moving.

Check out what I mean:

plasticine torso

So, this means: back to my cernit polymer clay that I still have lying around somewhere. I need a material that allows my parts to MOVE =)
It’s an experience I had to make and it’s part of the process, so I’m okay with it! I’ll show you new pics as soon as I have cleaned all my tools from the sticky plasticine and have a clean surface to work with Cernit. But I am grateful that I can still use the plasticine for my molds later on, they are sulphur free after all.

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