Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Doll Making Rabbit Hole

How on earth did I let you all talk me back into doll making?!?

Must. Resist. Temptation.

Oh, I give up.  I'm doomed!!  I know even less about the doll market than I do about the garment market...  I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing...

But I was so excited to just Go and Do and Create that I took what bare minimum knowledge I did have and dived off the deep end...  I have spent the last two days completely obsessed with creating art dolls, and loaded up a slew of bookmarks on my web browser, and my mind is melting out of my ears...

I have no clue how to sell this doll I'm working on.  But for some reason, I just can't stop working on it... It's taking on a life of it's own!!

Albeit, I did use it as an escapist activity to keep my mind off of what was happening near my home...  I'm originally from Missouri, a state known for being in what we call "Tornado Alley", and a town about 2 hours from my home was wiped out by what is now being classified as an F5 tornado a couple days ago... I couldn't escape the devastating pictures on CNN, so I had to run and make something pretty to keep me occupied.  I didn't know anyone from Joplin, but I know plenty of people who do.  My brother-in-law's family is from there, and they lost their house...  Thankfully their 3 newborn triplets were still in the hospital...  Hundreds of people are still missing...

Ack.  I had to turn it off and Make.  To contradict the destruction.

So I dove into this doll.  It's not done yet--it has a lot of finishing to do, and I've learned a lot while making it, for sure!!!  I've had to do a bit of internet research, and discovered some inspirational pictures that I'd like to emulate.  I found some better techniques for making "artsy" hands and dolls.  And doll stands--my poor doll won't stand up on it's own!  It's too top heavy--I have to figure out how to make a stand that clips around the neck under the cape...  

The face isn't painted yet--it's not proportional to the body, and I think I like that.

Judy, from Judy's Fabrications, sent me a couple emails that were brilliantly helpful in pointing me to some doll resources that were incredibly inspirational.  Thank you, Judy!!  I will use her face painting as an inspirational source for my own when I get to that point... Her dolls have such character!  She included a link to some fabric patterns for doll figures--I may end up going in that direction, too!

Anyway, I've included a couple pics of my progress...  Again, not done yet.  Hat still in progress, as well as face, stand, feet...  I also want to add a mandolin or a primitive string instrument.  I want to keep him abstract, so we'll see how far I get into detail.  I also may leave him shoeless.  Hm.

I had constructed a wire frame which I wrapped in muslin, leaving a large circular "hole" in the center of the chest.  I strung copper colored jewelry wire around a rose polymer clay cabochon, which I suspended in the middle and then took wire and wrapped it around the torso a bit...  Then I took tin foil, made a large disproportionate head shape, and wrapped it in muslin strips--looks rather "mummified" right now until I get the fabric painted.  The thin arms and legs are all wire, wrapped in muslin strips.

I have a ways to go.  I'm not sure if I should leave the feet as is or not...  I may invent a pattern and construct a shoe that I like.  There's the rabbit hole again...  Haha!  One thing leads to another, which leads to another... 

I think I may name him Joplin, the Traveling Bard.  If I can't find a mandolin or guitar that's about 13" long, I may have to make something that can pass as a suggestion for one...  I know I'm going to have to make a guitar strap anyway...

I'm going to enjoy this.  A LOT.  It's soft sculpture, lets me use all my costuming knowledge (albeit on a small scale), and demands a "jack of all trades" approach to problem solving.  I've always loved being a generalist.  This could play right into that...

The one downside is the scale... Goodness, doll clothes are not easy to make!  They're so small!  I can't use the knowledge of construction that I have because these pieces are too small for it to matter!  Everything is so tiny!!  Argh!  I'm gonna develop carpel tunnel syndrome, I know it!!

I'd really appreciate all your comments--I'm sorta going out on a branch here...

Anyway, thought I'd keep you updated!  Live Life with Relish!


  1. Wow. that is amazing and I think the oversized head with those teenytiny legs look brilliant. I know what you mean about the danger of doll making. I am a quilter and beader and I have just finished my first doll. I am already planning my next... like I need another hobby!! good luck and I look forward to seeing the finished piece of art!

  2. Thanks so much, Sarah!! I just zipped over to your blog--Andromeda is beautiful!!! Well done! She's really got a lot of personality. I love dolls that you can just keep looking at and ponder what they're feeling, you know? And that Hair! Wow!! LOVE the texture!

    Yes, doll making is going to be a danger for me, too. Darn it. Another glorious adventure. Sigh.

    Let's go! : )

  3. Hey Corey, good for you! you don't waste any time, do you? I love how you jumped right in and have this awesome start, maybe a whole group of musicians! You have good ideas and crazy talent.
    There have been so many sad weather things going on in so many places, it makes my heart hurt.

  4. HOW EXCITING!!!Yeah..the only way to start is to Jump in the Deep End!
    There are lots of cloth doll patterns on various sites for free. I will e-mail you.
    Have you seen the doll book on my blog that I am using for inspiration at the moment. I have almost completed 2 Journal diolls. These are going to be more than the two I've almost finished.You could branch out into all sorts of Doll Journal Books.he,he..(wicked laugh) once you Start on Dolls they sort of develop a life of their own! It's so much fun.
    Talk soon...

  5. Oh, Judy... J-journal dolls? I... I...

    Folks, I may be falling out of contact for a while because JUDY is tempting me with too much interesting stuff. You hear that JUDY? It's all your fault. Everyone, just blame JUDY. I'm going to become a hermit all because of JUDY. Let's make no mistake.

    Just poke me a bit if my drooling gets too messy. I've never been good at multi-tasking. And I may be a bit distracted for the time being as I explore this fascinating rabbit hole...

    : )

  6. Keep us posted won't you?I hope to post pics of Journal Dolls this weekend.
    I have almost finished 2 with another planned...MUCH bigger and with wings!!
    I have been inspired by your entry to Doll Land, and have been looking through my doll books.Also cut out 16 blocks, and started 4 for my first Crazy Quilt. It is going to take Forever!!!A bit daunting..

  7. Good grief, Judy!! Remember to breath!! Zooooom! Haha!

    He's all done! You can find him here:

    Tell me what you think!

  8. It is addictive, isn't it? The process is always surprising to me. I've enjoyed visiting and seeing some of your marvelous work!

  9. Thanks so much, Jenclair! Hope your dry down there in Louisiana--your stuff is beautiful, too! : )

  10. It is addicting!! Don't give up!! you will love it, plus your wonderful garment experience can make your dollies wonderful and whimsical pieces of art!! So far it is already looking great!

  11. Karla, it's gonna be an obsession, I know it!! Haha!!! : )


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