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Excellently unusual portraits

This morning I saw a particularly brilliant Facebook post by Emma and Sarah, my lovely neighbours that they have kindly given me permission to share.

Their friend's mum – Bath-based Liz Ladd (contact details below) – has knitted them a pair of dolls in their images. Sarah, on the left in the photo below, is a barrister – and so is knitted wearing her courtroom wig and gown. Emma has a swish of bright, bleached hair and massive glasses. Aren't they brilliant?

The Emma doll was made a while back – the FB post was to show off her newly woven partner. Now here are the neighbours in the flesh (you'll have to imagine Sarah in her work-gear). Spot the difference – haha.

I've written about unusually executed portraits before, but this got me looking for even more alternatives, which I'll come back in a sec – but first, if you didn't nose around Emma and Sarah's very beautiful little flat first time around, see it here – and see Emma's amazing stone carving and sculpting work at her website

Right then. Now for some more excellently crazy portraits, all of which you can commission from the artists in your own likeness. And I must make an advance apology for any non-Etsy shoppers reading (though if you don't, do! God it's brilliant): this is a shameless Etsy bonanza.

Ximena Carreira – or Zine – is an Argentinian-based artist, from C√≥rdoba (but she ships worldwide). These teeny, tiny hand-painted dolls are around £16 for a child or pet and the adult figures are around £23 – they come in any configuration you like. Just send her a photo. Zine

"I can do beards, glasses, guinea pigs, plaits … you name it," says Sonia Lyne aka Dandelyne, who makes these miniature embroidery hoops – below – in Melbourne, Australia (if that's not your neck of the woods, her postage fees outside the country are very reasonable).

They come in 10cm, 12.5cm or 15cm in diameter, depending how many people and pets you want to squeeze in – and she has a check-list of information she'll need from you before she goes ahead (details of the beards, glasses, guinea pigs and so on). The portraits start at $45 Australian dollars (just under £30) for a wall hanging hoop – you can also get littler ones as necklaces and brooches... but that would surely be taking the weirdness a bit too far, no? Dandelyon
Now this, above, is the kind of thing I'd totally get a couple as an unsolicited wedding present. Only I'd probably choose the wrong sort of couple to give it to and they'd be really freaked out and cursing me for deviating from their wedding list instructions... do you think? Surely anyone would love to receive a pair of these, with their faces on them, freaky or not? Mm. Well. Watch out soon-to-marry-couples I know – these have your faces on them. They're made by North Carolina-based illustrator, Jordan Grace Owens, whose other work – for example – you can see on the left.

I like her. We might revisit and give her work a stand-alone post shortly. Meanwhile, find the dolls at Jordan Grace Owens

I'm a sucker for anything animal related. I love how the dog portrait, above, really captures that pathetic glimmer dogs give off when they want something. (It's working even in canvas form isn't it?) I've covered some different pet portraits before that you might like (and which deliver to more destinations), and these ones start at around £100 but they can only take US orders/delivery addresses. Red Tile Studio

Finally, a great gift for a girlie teenage girl? I reckon. But she'd have to be very special, because they're also around £100 a pop (no postage though – as the designs are emailed to you unless you want paper versions posted – $15 extra if so). These digitally designed 2D dolls are made to order by Kate Gabrielle in Princeton, USA, and she says she's "not great yet at doing guys" so won't yet recreate chaps (in case the budding David Beckham in your life was springing to mind). Sweet & Lovely 

If you'd like your own knitted doll portrait, please contact Liz at


  1. Love the dolls!

    As for the unusual portraits, they reminded me of Danny Brito's Polaroid project of lovely commissioned, polaroid-sized pencil drawings:

    (Funnily enough, image 11 in the gallery is of my good friends, also called Emma and Sarah!)

  2. Belated thank you for this - and the link to Danny Brito. His polaroids don't seem to be on the site any more but I tracked them down - what a lovely idea!