Correction: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Kim Hoxworth’s name.
Like so many fiber artists, Kim Hoxworth always held onto leftover materials after making a project — things that might come in handy for that next work of art. But for the recently disabled Farmington Hills resident, storing those extra craft supplies has also allowed her to continue being a productive artist during a difficult time in her life — a time when she finds herself faced with an uphill battle.
Diagnosed with a seizure disorder, Hoxworth, 40, said, “It was something that was kind of gradually developing over the last few years, but it was only in October that I got diagnosed for it. I stopped working and started making more things to keep my hands and mind busy. It helps give my mind something to focus on, so that I’m not quite as focused on my physical limitations, and it’s given me a sense of accomplishment, even if I can’t get off the couch that day.”
Without a steady job, she can no longer afford to purchase new materials, but, thanks to those leftover supplies she’s able to continue filling her need to be creative. One day, after streaming numerous episodes of “The Golden Girls,” she pulled items from her stash and began making a doll in the likeness of each. “Sophia” holds a teenie weenie “wicker” purse that Hoxforth made with “a really fine wire,” embroidery floss and beads. She also made her wire-framed glasses. The dolls bear a striking resemblance to their character.
“They were made entirely from stuff I hoard, and hang on to in case I have a project I can use it with. I made them as a gift for friends of mine who are also big fans of the ‘Golden Girls.’ The faces are made out of Sculpey (clay), and the rest of the body is needle-felted,” said Hoxforth. She used wool roving for their bodies and hair, and she even made a miniature replica of the wicker couch, often seen on the show, to seat them on. It took her about three weeks, working several hours in the evenings, to complete the four 6-inch-tall characters.
Before her diagnosis, Hoxforth earned a degree in photography from Michigan State University. “When I was healthier, that’s primarily what I did. I still do it, I’m just not as prolific as I was when I was healthier,” she said. And, between selling self-portraiture photography, she often filled much of her leisure time with such arts and crafts as sewing, hat making, costume making, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, multimedia work, and more. Doll making is a new skill she recently added to her growing repertoire.
Hoxworth’s fondness for miniatures is what inspires her to create dolls. “I’ve made miniatures for various other projects and art shows which led into the doll making. I just have a lot of varied interests, and I’m fans of interesting people, so they’re just fun to make.” She’s working on a doll of the late singer/songwriter/actor David Bowie. She also enjoys making dolls because it lets her use many of her craft skills in one project, including hand-stitching their tiny clothes and knitting their sweaters. “That’s what’s been fun about the dolls. I can do a lot of that with them.”
Hoxworth plans to open an Etsy shop (WeeSweetmeats) in the very near future to accept commissions for her whimsical little characters. Prices will vary depending on size and amount of work.
Detroit News Columnist Jocelynn Brown is a longtime Metro Detroit crafter. You can reach her at (313) 222-2150, firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/DetroitNewsHandmade.
Contact Kim Hoxworth at kimhoxworth.wordpress.com. Etsy shop: WeeSweetmeats