Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Paper Doll Collage
These two collages started out as birthday cards... and morphed into gifts for my sister and her daughter, who celebrate their November birthdays just one day apart. I decided to let this project take me "along for the ride", knowing only that I wanted to use some pages and text from a box of my grandmother's writings. Once a journalist, Grandma has been gone for many years now, and I am in possession of numerous rough drafts and manuscripts of her short stories and articles from years of writing. Included in this box of treasures are several rejection letters from such prominent publications as The Saturday Evening Post and McCall's magazine!
Some of the paper is old newsprint school tablets, with her stories hand written in pencil. They've been rolled up and rubber banded for many decades, and now are practically falling apart in my hands as I unroll them and try to read the fading pencil marks on yellowing paper. I decided that since much of her writings will probably never be read by anyone, I would sacrifice a select few of the pages... either written in her own hand, or typed on her ancient manual typewriter... and create art! I wanted to bring the spirit of our Grandmother to life again, in a small way, by creating a collage that contained some of the phrases and words that she wrote long ago, no doubt with high hopes of being published.
I let her work speak to me as I skimmed through the pages... my eyes falling on a phrase or two. Sometimes just a single word would jump out at me. I tore these bits from the pages... simply because I like the effect of a torn edge, especially when dealing with vintage paper. Soon, I had a pile of phrases, and somehow, as I arranged them, a theme emerged.
I decided to create a jointed paper doll blank from card stock... and collaged the entire doll with random text, then highlighted individual words in certain spots. I used collage sheet photo images for the two doll's faces. One is the famous ArtChix "Spoil Me" girl, as many of you will instantly know. I've lost track of exactly which sheet the other came from, so my apologies for not now being able to credit it's origin.
Each of the dolls sports a skirt of pleated pattern tissue, which were a little smashed flat in the scanner, but in reality, add a nice 3-D aspect. The red and yellow piece, with red flower behind her head, was for my niece, Nicolette, who was turning twenty this year... so finding and including the phrase my grandmother had written, "scarce twenty years old", in some of her notes for a story she was writing about Rob Roy, was a stroke of luck!
Both collages are 8" x 10", on foam core, with wrinkled tissue paper as background. The paper doll's limbs are brad-jointed and fully pose-able. Gel medium both adheres and preserves all the vintage papers. The back of each collage is covered with pages from my grandmother's college notebooks from when she studied Journalism at the University of Missouri in 1927. I added a wire hanger and a small paper pocket, inside of which is a short note, describing the process and origin of the papers, and the occasion for which the piece was created.
Posted by Patti at 3:03 PM