Sunday, October 04, 2009

Progress on the Gourd Doll

I finally got going on this gal during a miserable rainy day. As you can see from the pictures, I am just trying to get the rough shape in and have lots of refining to do, but I can see where I am going with this figure. I am sort of disappointed since I had a very specific idea in mind when I started her, but my hands created something else. I am not disappointed, as much as irritated that I spent so much time thinking about how I wanted this doll to look, and now its going in another direction! I count this as evidence that I am still quite a beginner in this doll making adventure since I don't seem to be able to design. My fingers just do what they want to do. I intended for her to have a primitive folk art look, but she's looking a little Victorian to me right now... maybe the painting will help! I want to put put some tiny dolls in the space in her skirt. I have a nice collection of Gail Wilson miniature dolls that would look like nice, but of course I want to try my hand at making my own.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Surprise doll using a Gourd

This doll has been in my head for a long time, and is coming together at a frustrating slow pace. I know part of the problem is I have been thinking of her for too long, and have too many ideas. The other immediate problem is I have a finger in a splint, and can't even hold a paint brush, let alone sculpt. The original inspiration came from antique and antique reproduction surprise dolls, similar to one Jean Nordquist's describes in her 'Alice' booklet. When I started sculpting with gourds, I knew I wanted to try this using a gourd. So in summary, this is where I am at. I started with a gourd that had a nice shape for a skirt, and cut it. This gave me an estimate of how tall the doll would need to be I next create sort of stick figure armature of the doll, with simple wire legs, arms, and body. I added some polymer clay to the body region, mostly to give the whole unit some substance so that I could stick it into the gourd and judge by eye dimensions. I then cut the opening to the gourd that will contain the inside portion, or surprise area. Constructing the inside piece that will contain the little scene in her skirt was a little fiddly, but I did it with card board, snipping here and there so that it will fit inside the gourd. To give structural support to all of this , I covered the cardboard with apoxie sculpt ( that grey stuff). I did this in stages, in part so that I could keep adjusting the shape by checking if the unit still fit inside the gourd skirt. Its actually a tight fit, and I may need to trim it back carefully. The last element, of course is the the dolls head, and here is where I am going nuts. Originally, I wanted to use the head I sculpted and made a mold of (see last blog entry), but I admit I started sculpting another head before I injured my finger. I am still leaning towards using the head I sculpted and molded, and for the mock up picture have included a painted version. The head seems a little large to be in proportion, but I know I can compensate a little when I sculpt in the torso... so I am not sure. Right now I am off to the drug store to get some latex gloves to put over my splint to see if I can work with the apoxie clay... I just can't stay away from this doll any longer
So what will go into the the little niche in the gourd skirt ? Well this is a problem, since I have come up with way too many ideas. I think I will wait until I have the components sculpt and then choose my direction. I have decided that it will have a fairy tale theme, but I don't know if I will sculpt tiny miniatures, or use my collection of paper ephemera and do some type of shadow box type thing.... or should I paint my scenes? I do have the silk fabric to make the dress and some pretty velvet leaves, tiny silk miniature flowers, etc. This should be fun!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Starting too many new projects

I know I haven't been posting. I also haven't done much doll making since last March and not any sculpting. The black-out was coincident with starting a consulting business (programming, not art!). Ironically, the sculpting bug has come back with a vengeance even though I am really busy right now with work and preparing for my son's wedding. But when Lady Muse talks, I can't help but listen.

On the right is a sculpt I did this past January to take along to a mold-making class at Gail Wilson's New Hampshire workshop ( I know the picture isn't much... but I figure it was important to post something! I had a semi-private class with two other artists. The idea was to bring a piece, and Gail would teach us how to make plaster molds for casting sculpts in either paper mache (FLUMO) or even porcelain. I did this head, a shoulder plate, hands and feet. She will make an 11 inch doll. I have successfully poured the molds with FLUMO, and papermache slip that Gail sells and am cleaning the parts. I hope to show pictures as I work on her. Cleaning has ended up being a huge job, since I didn't listen to advise and sculpted separated head and shoulderplate so that her head will move. Now I have to sand/refine the shape of the neck and shoulderplate so the head glides easily. Not a big deal, but its painstaking work. I have a new programming assignment ( I work at home) so that I sneak off to sand the parts during my trips to the microwave to zap my coffee or during bathroom breaks..... then feel guilty since I need to be programming. I wish I could justify taking a week off just to play with my art projects, but that would be irresponsible.

The other two projects are still in the gathering stages, so I will post them when I have photographs of something in progress. One is a challenge to a Fantasy Art Guild I recently joined, and it will involve an idea that has been in gestation for over a year. I feel like an overdue mother, just dying to give birth to this doll.. The last project is an online sculpting project with Marilyn Radzat ( My intention is to post more frequently, and try to regain some focus on my art now that the business side of my life is in stasis.