Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wild Rag Doll Rumpus!

Let me say this up front...  I have completely loved Portland artist Junker Jane (aka Catherine Zacchino) and her wild and crazy rag dolls ever since I saw her Misfit Circus dolls in Art Doll Quarterly last spring.

They are unlike anything I've seen by ANY other dollmaker and they instantly gave me inspirational chills.
I've been following her blog and Facebook page ever since and continue to marvel at the new creations she comes up with. They are sometimes dark and creepy, which is just exactly why I love them... and can't look away!

Junker Jane's Monster Tibby
Jasper... by Junker Jane
 There is no mistaking Junker Jane's style... so while many of us have no doubt used her technique notes in ADQ to try creating our own versions, there is just no way to capture the essence of an original Junker Jane. But, that didn't stop me from trying! I kept one eye on the ADQ spread and Catherine's "how to" notes while patching together the rag doll I made for the 6-yr-old daughter of a niece of mine, and mimicked the Junker Jane style as best I could.

**Please Note: I would only EVER make one of these to give away (while giving full design credit to Catherine). I'd never sell one or let anyone assume they were my own idea.**

Ava loved her...right down to the blue pony tails & Junker Jane-style stitched mouth, which she thought was a "necklace". She named the doll "Sasha" and proceeded to include her while dancing to Lady Gaga!

Making this doll was fun and quick. The construction technique is to machine applique and hand-stitch everything on the flat base fabric surface, then stuff. I used vintage fabrics and vintage buttons for the eyes.

The end result made me happy, though I realized how far short it fell from the ideal of the original. (Which is as it should be, I suppose!) Mine is too cute, too tame... not quirky-weird enough. That is HARD to accomplish, believe it or not!

Another recent Junker Jane creation sparked my inspiration... her "Witch Marigold"...
Jane's "Witch Marigold"
I fell in love with this seriously intimidating witchy woman, and started pining for my favorite season (Halloween) to arrive. So, of course, I had to try to create a Junker Jane rag witch of my own.

Marigold's rather plain cousin, Mumphy.
As you can see, mine is more like Witch Marigold's mild-mannered, simpering cousin. This one was also given as a gift to the daughter of another niece of mine (again, with full credit to Junker Jane and never with intention to copy and sell). I bow down to the creativity and wonderfulness of the original Junker Jane. In my opinion, I haven't even come close!

I've learned a lot from attempting to re-create her style. I love the techniques, the upcycling of vintage bits... and just the overall grunged-up look. But, I've got a lot more to learn in just "letting go" of my need to make things perfect. Trying too hard gets in the way of creativity, and this was really difficult for me. I realized I needed to be able to let loose and access more of my spontaneous inner child artist, which is mighty hard to do at my advanced age.:) 

I can't wait to see more fantastic work from Junker Jane and hope you'll all check out her blog and her etsy shop!


Christine said...

Nattie loves the witch dolly! Thank you again! It was so good to see you and Katera the other day :) xoxo

Paula Guhin said...

Patti, you are so generous to share Junker Jane's work on your blog, and your own pieces are really very nice!
Paula at Mixed Media