"Art dolls" wasn't really a term yet and people still wanted their dolls to look well, "doll like". I wanted to combine sculpture with textiles and my dolls is what I came up with. I had no idea anyone would be interested in them or that other folks were trying to figure out the same thing themselves. Here is one of the dolls I have been working on. She is on her way to being finished, but is not there yet. Right now she is simply "the Red-haired Doll" for now and is wearing one of my hand beaded headpieces.
I kind of made up my own technique and based the look of my dolls on ancient Greek and Egyptian sculptures I studied while living and going to school in Athens,Greece and the Greek Islands. I took the idea for my little dolls and made into a much larger scale to make mannequins at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis that could be made larger or smaller to fit the textiles which would keep them from being damaged by mannequins that came in only one size. No more squeezing precious textiles into too big mannequins. I also made wigs which were complete sets of hair made of yarn so they could be styled and restyled. One day a long blonde wig was styled up in a Victorian updo and the next it was done and a bit wild looking for a Viking-cool!So, my 312 step process probably needs to be updated but, I am not very good at cutting out steps. All of my dolls have wire armatures, I sculpt with Creative Paperclay and wait for each layer to dry. I sew on "muscles" with batting and then start my costumes.
Each doll(if a lady in a dress-I have also done animals and other beings such as mermaids and faeries, you name it-it's a doll, I can figure it out hopefully) gets a pair of bloomers and a corset first. Then there are petticoats. Next, there is an underskirt followed by an over-skirt. Now I can add a bodice and sleeves and more details.
Finally, I move onto making a wig for the doll. This gets difficult if my little cats won't leave all my balls of yarn alone though. After the wig, I go back and add more details and accessories like capes, scarves, jewelry, crowns, and hats. I also paint the arms and feet of my dolls. After years and years of making teeny shoes, I went a little nuts so now I paint on the shoes-I so hope this isn't cheating! Here are her little pointy green Medieval shoes.
I hope this lady is done soon! She has been awfully patient! Here she is with my little girl cat Sister Blackberry Bijou! "Sister" guards everything and everyone. She is the big boss around here and to her 3 older brothers. Do not mess with Sis!
I think she looks so lovely sitting in my favourite antique aqua velvet chair(I guess it was teal at some point. Both colours are great with me!). Sister Bijou is still hanging out above her.
Happy Saint Patrick's Day! And, time for me to get busy on other art.