Meet the Artist

Sherry Watkins has always known she was put on this earth to make things. She says she is never truly happy unless she is busy making things with her hands. Bill and Nancy Hawkins, her creative and resourceful parents, always supported and encouraged their children’s creativity. Together they taught, Sherry, Steve and Wendy, to use their imaginations. Nancy, a Girl Scout leader throughout Sherry’s school years, inspired Sherry and many young girls’ creativity, resourcefulness and independence through the scouting programs—from basic life skills to setting goals and how to make them a reality. Sherry’s father, Bill, a master craftsman, machinist and boat builder, drafted each child into apprenticeship building the many projects around the house, including a 28’ skipjack and a 40’ ocean-going sailboat. Reminiscing, Sherry says, “We never did anything small around the Hawkins house, and we always did it as a family.” 

Through the Years 
Sherry has constantly nurtured her creative skills studying commercial art, ceramics, calligraphy, watercolors and flower arranging in college. Eight-years in the US Air Force brought Sherry the love of her life, Jim, and their beautiful daughter, Kryssie; together they lived and traveled around the world with Jim’s 30-year Air Force career. 

In 1985, while in Texas,  Sherry started her first art venture with Needles and Pens, a combination of calligraphy and quilted pieces. The business continued to flourish during their assignment in Cairo, Egypt, filling a much needed void in the English stationery and gift market. She also worked at the American Embassy in Cairo as the newsletter editor and taught calligraphy and quilting classes at the expatriate community center. Traveling through Egypt and Europe she studied the ancient art of illumination at fascinating places like the library at St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai desert and the British Museum. 

Embracing the Computer-Age 
When Sherry and her family returned to the States, she continued doing art shows on weekends while starting a full time career in real estate marketing. As computers steadily turned calligraphy into a home-based print shop process, the call for calligraphy as an artwork declined.  Sherry, too, embraced the computer age and taught herself how to use it as an art tool.  Fifteen years later, she is now quite accomplished with the computer, creating top-notch marketing materials for Realtors® in Montgomery, Alabama; as well as developing and maintaining the website at  When Jim retired from the Air Force, they settled on the shores of Lake Martin, Alabama.

Sherry Talks About Her Work

Somewhere along the way, the idea for the Tussie Mussies started brewing. A bit here, an inspiration there. I knew I wanted to make a doll, but why? There was no apparent reason. Our daughter was grown and living in Charlotte, NC with her husband, Gary, and their three children; and besides I had never made a doll before. What had started as a mere spark soon became a fiery passion. I had to make a doll. Not a toy, but more of a sculpture, an inspiration piece; beautiful, yet not perfect; nature-based, either in the woods or by the lake; something no one had done before; and finally, it needed to express God’s love. With the help of other artists, friends, entrepreneurs through their mentoring, visiting studios, studying doll-making books and videos and lots and lots of praying…Tussie Mussies evolved.

Messages From God 
All along, there were little messages from God. Visiting an artist’s studio there was a little voice saying ‘you can do that’ (encouragement). Searching for ideas and she ‘happened’ upon an old file on floriography (direction/focus). Remembering the love and wisdom from her grandmothers (desire). Her life experiences through work, living around the world in the military, their travels, craft shows, and volunteer work (experience). A ‘Jesus Freak’ in the 70s, growing away from God for 20+ years and coming back to God, closer then ever before, developing a true ‘relationship’ with Him (inspiration)—it all has helped prepare me for this venture. I’ll never be too busy for my God again. My life has changed so much in the past few years, coming back to God… centering my life around Him. I have been successful in most of my ventures. When God became my coach, well, let’s say, I am more focused and disciplined than ever. 

Working with Tussie Mussies  
Through the years, I have tried to portray a personality, grace and God’s purpose in each Tussie Mussie. Much research and prayer goes into each arrangement. Once I have a scripture passage, the selection of flowers, fabrics, clothing, hair color and doll features, comes ultimately from God's inspiration Using Victorian Flower Dictionaries for the flowers that will best portray the message God wants to send out with her. Then locating or creating the silk flowers that most accurately resemble the actual flower. Their faces and hands are individually sculpted from polymer clays and hand-painted. Costumes are custom designed from a variety of new and gently aged fabrics and trims, many from garments and trims found in antique stores and second-hand shops for their warm, soft appearance. The dolls are approximately 14" tall and stand on a 6" x 8" base with felt pad feet. The entire arrangement is approximately 16-18" tall and 10" wide. 


I love working with the Tussie Mussies
I am truly amazed at what God has been able 
to do with them through my hands.


Tussie Mussies as a Ministry  
Each doll comes to 'life' with a unique personality; I never know what she'll look like until she's complete. God has a plan for each doll (just as He does us) and the message within her will glorify Him and touch the receiver (just like us). Unlike us, where our message is hidden our hearts, a Tussie Mussie's message is in her flowers and once is His glory revealed! 

My hope is that through the Tussie Mussies people around the world will come to know Christ and his love for all of mankind. These enchanting conversation pieces offer believers an opportunity to gracefully share their faith while encouraging others with their story.

Do you have a story to share about how a Tussie Mussie 
has encouraged you or a friend in their walk? 
I would love to hear from you!


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Tussie Mussie Creations

1020 Smith Mountain Drive, Jacksons Gap, AL 36861 USA

Tussie Mussie Creations (C) 2005. All rights reserved.
Created & maintained by S&W Designs