Monday, May 30, 2011

And We're Falling Down Further... And Further... And Further...

Well, I broke down and created a companion piece for Joplin--a lovely little lady that I don't have a name for...  I'm calling her "The Singer" for right now.

I tried some different techniques on this one--a different kind of yarn for hair, a bit of beige paint in the area of the face, some polymer clay "shoes" to help keep the doll standing.  I couldn't use the same hook mechanism in the back to stand it up, so this doll stand was made with wires that wrap around the waist and close in front--a much more traditional technique, apparently.

I made a tambourine with the lid of a paper box and shell buttons with jewelry wire laced through the buttonholes.  There's a ruffled petticoat under the skirt that you can't see, and the brown shawl is sprayed with golden glitter (which you can't really see in the photos, but it's there).

I'm pretty happy with her!  I'll list her on my Etsy site, but I'm not expecting much response...  I think this is something that I'm going to have to bring to an art fair to actually get interest.  My perusal of "Folk Art Dolls" rendered over 6,000 results...  but I'm not finding anything that uses a wire doll armature the way I'm using it, so I'm pretty happy with that.  The prices range from ungodly expensive to unrealistically low, and it took me to page six in the search results to get to a price lower than $200.

There are a lot of dolls out there that are incredibly beautiful and only tangentially related to what a lot of us thought of as dolls when we were growing up...  Many don't have arms or legs, or only suggest a figurative form.  Barbies they ain't!  And they aren't Raggedy Annes, either.  But I think that's the magic of the whole thing--there are so many ways to make a doll!  Some of the assemblage versions of art dolls were quite unique and visually stimulating to me, using unusual elements to suggest torsos or arms.  There were a lot of dolls that reminded me of the work of Tim Burton with their long gangly arms and legs, and disproportionally large heads and small feet.

But one can't ignore the obvious skill required to sculpt proportional body parts out of clay or fabric.  And while I have a lot of experience draping and drafting up shapes to fit the human form, I've not worked on a scale as small as dolls require.  Oh, my goodness these clothes are small, let alone the body parts!!  Sewing, turning, and stuffing such small tubes with bunting is a special skill I have never practiced.  It's a little intimidating, frankly.

I made some searches on Google for instructions on doing wire armatures for dolls, but most of them are centered on "fleshing out" the armature after it's completed.  The wire is usually used as a support for padding or clay, not as the doll form itself like I'm using it for.  Most armatures are hidden by layers of batting held in place with a fabric "exoskeleton".  I've sort of skipped all that and simply wrapped my armature in muslin, creating a very "stick-like" figure that then needs clothing to provide a more three-dimensional shape.  So I haven't found many tutorials that have been helpful for me, but I'm still looking.  I'd like to compare/contrast what I'm doing now with other makers using similar techniques and view their results.

It's been interesting putting these two dolls together--I'm a little hesitant to continue because I have no idea what to do with them now that I have created them...  I would like to create more of a body of work, but I'm not sure if it's going to actually amount to anything other than a lot of dolls in my storage space!  Haha!  I need to explore the "market" for art dolls a lot more before I move too much further.  I can create in a vacuum for a while, but eventually I have to turn my attention to making something come of the time I'm investing in these endeavors.

Big Memorial Day sales were taking place in the US this weekend, and I took advantage of them by using several coupons at some of the craft and fabric stores that are here locally.  I was able to save a lot of money.

But I am turning my attention away from purchasing supplies and shifting it toward purchasing materials for my trade booth...  I've been experimenting with layout ideas, joined a few art fair and festival forums and websites, and I'm doing a lot of reading.  I need to start the slow process of gathering display equipment, making a banner, contemplating transportation to and fro, and arranging my very first participation in a festival.  I think if I have a deadline, it'll all be a bit more "concrete".  Now if I can only find the right venue...

My Etsy and Artfire shops have been garnering more attention than they ever have since I started on them--and part of it is because I'm trying to post something every day.  I'm running out of lace for my little Neck Laces, so I'm trying to turn my attention to other things.  I've cut out some men's double-breated vests with swallowtails in a "carnival" style,  and will post those as soon as I get the buttons and buttonholes in them!

After that, I'm not sure what to do.  I should go WAY back and make more black velveteen hand painted vests, seeing as how I have not made any of them in a long time.  But part of me is interested in making some ruffs, for some reason.  Costume accessories, you know?  Hm.

Anyway, thought I'd give you all a heads up!  If you have any ideas for resources that I can check out, I'd really appreciate it.  As well as any comments you might have on this little lady I just made...

Until next time--Live Life with Relish!


  1. Hey Corey, I think she is lovely! Your talent and skill with costuming, even on such a small scale, sure comes thru. It's encourageing that you are moving forward with the art fairs and festivals, just putting yourself out there to connect and get feedback on all your many and varied creations will benefit you greatly.
    Wish I had some useful advice but I can only send you good thoughts and smiles and remind you to have fun!

  2. Thank you, Susan! Just hearing a bit of encouragement that people like what I'm doing is an incredibly useful motivator!! Haha! I appreciate your thoughts!!! : )


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