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!