Monday, October 26, 2009

Miss Clara (aka "Pink")

Dolly redux... finally finished. New arms, new legs... properly baked and strong as can be. I decided to collage her torso with vintage text, similar to Judy's "Grace", which I had so admired in class.

I just happened to end up with a small snippet that said "Miss Clara", and it seemed to want to be applied front and center. So, that is how she got her name. All the text was clipped from an 1891 newspaper from near Davis City, Iowa, where my mother's parents lived. The paper is so old, it's literally crumbling apart, but matte media and an acrylic varnish work wonders for adhering, coating and preserving old paper.

I put tiny pads of wool felt in between the limbs and torso at the joints, just for smooth movement and less chance of chipping the still underbaked torso clay. I also added an aged, gauzy underskirt and a satin cord choker.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Beautiful Iris, and other stories

I've departed a wee bit here from my usual focus on doll making. Art & Soul was such an infusion of creative energy... and I had a fantastic time making my very first Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) for an official ATC swap there. I challenged myself to this new mini-format and made some collaged ATCs that didn't turn out half bad. More on those later...

The process was so much fun, and the result so inspiring, that I decided to make a collage for my granddaughter, Iris, for her 10th birthday. This was the first larger collage that I've designed and finished as an art piece, and I'm really happy with it. I used the following: Tissue paper, water color paper, watercolor and acrylic paint, paper and miscellaneous ephemera and gel medium. Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

And here are some of the ATCs that I made for the Art & Soul swap... which were traded away.

I now have a small collection of other unique ATCs made by other Art & Soulers, and have been e-mailing back and forth with a few of them. A great experience... and probably stretched my creativity more than the doll making classes!

Art & Soul recap

Art & Soul Portland was September 30th through October 5th this year, and it was a blast! This was my first time... yes, an Art & Soul virgin. I only wish I could have taken classes every day. I took just two... Judy Wise's "Dolls for Big Girls", and "Who's Your Dada?" with Linda and Opie O'Brien.

Here is one of Judy's great dolls...all of hers inspired me, but this one in particular...

We had some technical glitches during the class, resulting in incomplete curing of our clay, and so many doll parts ended up crumbling... mine included.

Here's mine... let's call her "Pink". Her tutu is an upcycled Art & Soul trading badge. (If you were there, you know what that means!) She has one shoulder joint hot-glued together, and broken left leg propped up just long enough for a photo session. I've gifted her to Iris, but she won't get her until repairs are finished. I will absolutely be working soon on a re-do... baking new limbs tomorrow!

I'm excited to incorporate collaging some vintage text to my next doll, as Judy has done with her "Grace" (pictured above). I simply ran out of time while there. It was an easy technique and Judy is a great person... really easy to be around and fun-loving. I met some wonderful new friends in class and enjoyed it immensely.

"Who's Your Dada?", with the O'Briens, was such a good time! We had a small group, so Linda and Opie were able to devote a lot of individual attention to each one of us. Linda was extremely encouraging and supportive. Opie did all of our drilling and figuring out how to attach various pieces and parts. These two are an inspiring and remarkable couple, who work so well together. We all loved spending the day with them.

Some of my classmates made truly FABULOUS Dada dolls!
Here is one from Diane in California:

My doll looked like this when class was over, however:

... definitely not "fine art"!

I realize now that I was not well-enough prepared, and should have brought a lot more of my stash of crazy-ass junk, and had a better concept of what I intended to make. I kept thinking of all the stuff at home that I wished I'd had there! Soooooo.... my "Dada" doll now looks like this:

Stripped down to bare basics! I took the giant key out of it's back, now allowing for the finished doll to hang on a wall, and installed it into the hole in it's cranium, which Opie so patiently drilled for me in order for my tea set sugar bowl lid to serve as a hat. Well, good idea, Patti... but it just didn't look right after all that trouble. So, now, everyone agrees that the key looks just right, and we'll work from there!

The only negative to my full day class with the Amazing O'Briens was that it was over far too soon. I bought their new book "Who's Your Dada: Redefining the Doll Through Mixed Media", and it is a real gem. Probably the best doll making book I've ever purchased. Can't wait to sign up for more classes next year, and only wish I could join them for the upcoming Art & Soul cruise in the Mediterranean. THAT would be something downright incredible!