back to retreat

modern handmade dolls
workshop details



DAY 1 : Friday, august 2

The day begins with  an open conversation with Jess and overview of the rag doll project, and reviewing The Making of A Rag Doll. We'll begin work on the doll, stuffing and creating the doll's personality through embroidery on their sweet faces.  

Doll making continues, as we fine tune the doll face embroidery and add hair to bring out the uniqueness. We will also begin selecting doll accessories and materials to be used for each. 

DAY 2 : saturday, august 3

Jess will lead brief morning conversation about sourcing fabrics, inspiration and how she designs her doll accessories. This morning we'll begin work on the accessory project, selecting fabrics from beautiful scraps brought from the jess brown studio.

This session will be devoted to working individually on doll accessories. Students will work at their own pace in a very fluid/organic process completing one to four accessory projects over the course of the weekend.

We will share an optional group dinner at a favorite restaurant spot in Norwich.

DAY 3 : sunday, august 4

We'll begin this day with a self care conversation, a candid /open conversation surrounding how we each seek balance in our creative, work, and personal lives… what works and how we juggle to find meaningful time for ourselves. There will be optional time for journaling, sketching or meditation. Following this session, we'll continue work on the doll accessories. 

Our last session will be devoted to adding all final touches and details to rag doll and accessories. We'll do a mini photoshoot of completed dolls and accessory collections and take time to share our creations with each other before our final farewells. 

please note: daily schedules and workshop content are subject to small changes to
accommodate our group's pace and progress.

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Jess has always been inspired by beautiful textiles. She began making dolls for her children 16 years ago using cashmere sweaters and antique remnants. She carefully developed a line of signature handmade ragdolls based on her original doll design. Each doll is cut to order in her Northern California studio and always made using the finest materials. Jess also collaborates with several designers, creating limited edition dolls for each season. Although originally created for children, the dolls have a simple sophistication that has moved them into the women and lifestyle markets as well.

As a natural progression, Jess launched Jess Brown Pieces in 2012. A collection of carefully edited timeless pieces inspired by vintage flea market finds that Jess has collected throughout the years and worn threadbare.

Each piece has been redesigned with a modern aesthetic while keeping the integrity of the original design. Jess carefully hand picks natural fiber fabrics, such as khadis from India, cottons from Japan, and classics from Liberty of London to create timeless staples that are intended to build a wardrobe, with new pieces and fabrics introduced each season to compliment. The jess brown women’s collection includes select pieces for home — hand quilted pillow shams and linen throw size quilts with the same level of detail and timeless sophistication.

The ragdolls and women’s collection are available in select shops worldwide. Jess lives in Petaluma, California with her children Stella and Tiger and her husband Erio.