Portrait Dolls


Sat 4 & Sun 5 May

In stock


Sat 4 – Sun 5 May
Sat 10am – 4pm
Sun 11am – 4pm

Join world famous textile sculptor Johanna Flannigan, aka The Pale Rook for relaxing weekend of hand sewing, creating posable cloth characters in our ever popular portrait dolls workshop. Choose whether you want your character doll to be a self portrait, a portrait of a loved one, or even a figure from history, mythology or literature. As you sew you’ll learn how to recognise emerging characters in your doll making, and how to use the inherent qualities of your materials to bring these characters to life. Feel free to bring along treasured fabrics and trimmings to incorporate into your figure, such as fabric remnants or pieces of old clothing.

We’ll work from a cloth doll pattern designed by Johanna that you can adapt to represent any body type, gender, age or race, and your finished doll will be completely unique and fully poseable.


About Your Tutor

Johanna Flanagan is a Scottish doll maker, costumiere and teacher. She studied Constructed Textiles at Duncan of Jordanstone college, then an MA in Fashion at the Royal College of Art. Throughout a career that meandered from catwalk, to film, to theatre, to historical costuming, Johanna always made dolls in secret, never really taking them seriously until her mid thirties when she decided to bring them out of the shadows.

Johanna’s work is heavily influenced by the natural world, themes of decay and restoration, and is a deeply personal reflection of her own emotional world. Her design approach is often led by intuition and an instinctive response to materials and subject matter.

Johanna continues to work internationally in collaboration with fashion designers, artists, dancers and performers. She has been teaching and lecturing in colleges, art schools and museums for fourteen years, as well as teaching independently.


“Johanna really helps free you of pre conceived ideas of how to create. I found it extremely liberating.”

“This is what happens when you go on a Pale Rook doll making course. You shake loose and create from your soul.”

“I had in my head what I wanted to create and Johanna gently coaxed it out of me and enabled the process of bringing him into being. He’s a very personal creation, he’s mine”

  • All tools and materials needed for your portrait dolls workshop are included in the course cost
  • Tea and coffee are provided but participants should bring their own lunch and utensils
  • All of our classes are suitable for over 16s, younger crafters may be accommodated if accompanied by a participating adult but please contact us before booking
  • If the workshop you were looking at is fully booked drop us an email and we’ll add you to the waiting list. As restrictions ease we might be able to add more spaces to some of our courses. We will add extra dates to our most popular workshops too, join the mailing list to be the first to know