Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Doll With Purple Hair

Another doll that I am making is on her way.  She is getting closer to the fun bits. To me, this means that I am getting to the point where I can work on fixing her hair in a fun style, working on her headpiece, jewelry and other little accessories and details.  The big "doll making" part is over and wow-that sure takes me a long time!  I guess I have been trying to figure out for many years how to make my process much faster, but that is just not the way my dolls work. 
It took me so long to develop my process that now I kind of guard it.  It was such a long and painful process(many dolls have had to be torn apart and started again and again and again-I had to keep asking myself what I was doing and was all this worth it?).  But, finally one day, I made a doll that made so much sense to me and that looked like "me".  It incorporated my style, my history, my travels, my favourites things, all my hard work with building my own style of mannequins for museums and all of my study of ancient Greek and Egyptian sculpture. 
Plus, they had my love of fairy tales and folklore as well as my love of the bold use of colour that I had loved when I studied art in a little old town way down south and right in the middle of Mexico.  
They also looked like my paintings and other art.  I like to draw a black line and "define" all of my art. Some artists are very good at making their art more "airy".  I need enclosed in this black line.  So, this is why my dolls look the way they do.  Finally they are the way "my" dolls are supposed to look.  I always loved the description of "Snow White" with her blood red lips and pale face so I often give my pale dolls this colouring.  I have made dolls of every colour though-Maasai Women, Asian Princesses, Greek Goddess and I also love mixing everyone and every race up-why can't we all just get along?
Do I wish my dolls looked different?  Honestly,  I wish I could make them very realist and very precious, but this is what they are so I will continue on this way until something in them starts to change on its own.  My art is always surprising me.  This can be frustrating, but it is only partly up to me.  I will let the art go where it wants.  Trying to control it too much will just drive me mad!
So, here is the doll in teal with the purple/black hair.  There is another waiting in the wings. "Wings" being the key word here!  
This doll in teal with the purple/black hair is taken, but I am always willing to do commissions so feel free to contact me if you are interested in a special doll of your own. I have made all kinds of dolls-Cats playing the violin, mermaids, many fairy tale characters, fantasy kind of self-portraits of folks, faeries,  mermaids with wings, busts, a horse with a lovely lady riding it, cake toppers and more.  My feeling is that if you can make one thing you can make another.  Also, this is art and I am sculpting and sewing these pieces so anything really is possible.    Hope all is well with all of you!

Friday, March 26, 2010

I'm gonna Let It Shine...

 THIS is so seriously funny and so dear at the same time! Thank you Red-Handed!

Hey DJ! This one is just for you!  It's me with little itty bitty Tobias Greenmoss!  And, we are both wearing new headdresses! We look so darn FIERCE don't ya think?  Aren't you so excited!  Well, of course you are!  Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer!
Anyway, I have to thank my crazy(seriously) friend DJ for an amazing package he sent me months ago. This winter was a hard one and his package of his original Art and Writings was just the most awesome thing to find in the mail.
He sent me a beautiful Pre-Raphaelite postcard, a very cool fold out original story that he wrote and illustrated all on one piece of paper which folds out(fantastic illustrations!  fantastic story!) and one of the coolest biz cards I have ever seen.  It also folds out and includes several of  his very unique line drawings.  Fabulous!
Also included was a hand painted Date Book(he doesn't understand that I see this as a work of art and would rather frame it then scribble appointments inside it but he is dense like that-oh well).  And, I love this super cool calender with magnents on the back.  It has a gorgeous painting behind the calender.  Gorgeous colours and I always love a masked person(in art, not some boogie man in my house or anything like that) and this mysterious lady has a gorgeous plum coloured mask on.  My twin will want this but she can't have it!
But wait, that's not all!  One of the biggest mysteries wrapped in a riddle was yet to be seen!  It was this innocent looking journal-no big whoo right?  Oh no, the cover of this journal is top secret!  My twin, younger sister and 2 boy cousins have made a religion around this saying on this cover-no kidding!  It started when we were very young.  It was our mantra and benediction.  We repeated it over and over and often mixed up the parts as a test of faith.  We each get random phone calls to this day.  They are very brief and very mysterious.  The person on the other end will simple say, "A loaf of stick" and hang up.  We all nod in silence knowing that our secret is still strong and that we are keeping the faith.  We all know that this saying will bind us more than blood, more than duty.  It is etched on our brain(well, we tried to etch it on each others' brain with the light bright, but that is a whole different story).  Say it proudly and loud or silently mumur it, but never stop!  A LOAF OF BREAD, A CONTAINER OF MILK, AND STICK OF BUTTER! So mote it be...
Tevlin! You don't have to cry about it!  The force is still strong with us all!  The best thing is when my mom saw this journal that DJ had made.  She picked it up and said right away, "Oh my God!  There is another one of YOU WEIRD KIDS OUT THERE!"  I couldn't stop laughing about that one for days.  Yes DJ, you are now officially ONE OF THOSE WEIRD KIDS OUT THERE!  Prepare yourself.  My cousin Tevlin and I are the only ones who look a bit, well, "unique" and act that way too.  The others are quite normal looking, but don't let that fool you.  Underneath their career clothes, Dr. lab coats and family cars beat the hearts of WEIRDOS!  Welcome to the family!
And, the surprises keep on coming!  Inside of what I thought was the "Weirdo Kids" journal, DJ had actually snuck in another one of his stories called Parachute Man.  Very sneaky indeed.  I have read it forward and it is very good.  I am going to however read it backwards for any secret messages about light bright and the 6 million dollar man or to see if there are instructions for going down to the corner store to pick up a "loaf of bread" wink, wink...
I just may be onto you DJ.  I also wanted to show you some photos of your gorgeous painting "Finally, She's Ready" hanging in my house.  I do love this painting so much!  I call my place "Mo Town".  I think she really suits "Mo Town" and I also think she is in good company.
All kidding aside, Thanks so much for the lovely gifts and your thoughtfulness DJ.  I hope all is well with you and that you are still creating away.  The world needs you Art-both your writing and your paintings and everything in between.  I personally need your humour and I am pretty sure I am not alone in that!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Week 3 of the Divine Diptych Project

(Another Alternate)
        (The chosen Diptych)
For Week 3 of the Divine Diptych Photograph Project, I was paired with the lovely and talened MFayre of MFayre Photography and our theme was "Movement".  You can see her amazing photographs at her website HERE.
(An alternate version-I love this one as well!)
And, You can visit the Divine Diptych's Blog HERE to learn more about this Diptych and see the rest of Week 3's Diptychs.  They are always a surprise which has turned out to be a lot of fun to see.  I really love how each photographer interprets the given theme and then to see how the pairs photographs look together.  It is truly alchemy which is really cool!
For our diptych, I dressed up in a very loose historic outfit which included a sapphire blue velvet coat, a cream and dark green striped silk skirt with a bustle back, black granny boots, and a gorgeous chenile scarf that MFayre had given me in a lilac/mushroom colour.  I also brought out a large piece of turquoise silk.  It was my plan to play with the silk and catch it moving in a photograph.  Another idea was to jump and catch myself at the perfect second with the timer on my camera so I would look like I was flying.  I almost caught this effect, but it was hard!  
MFayre was busy with many other things so I sent her some of my photographs and she added them to photographs she had already for this project. Her goal for Week 3 was to set a long exposure and capture the movement of the river and she really achieved that beautifully.  MFayre is a truly talented photographer.  She has a very natural talent for it and she also works very hard to keep improving her skills.  I could only hope that my photos would be good enough to go with hers.  I was really happy and amazed at what our combination came out looking like.  I also wasn't surprised as MFayre is very dear to me and we have many things in common and many of the same likes and dislikes.  So, this was a fun pairing as they all have been!  Thank you so much May!  What a dream!  I also did other "Movement" photos and will scatter them about for your viewing pleasure. 
Hope all is well with all of you in blogland.  Hope you are having a nice weekend.  I am slowing getting better, then having little relapses into my illness which make have to slow down and that makes me really sad as I can't do everything I want to do and I still haven't crossed everything off my list.  Again, 2 steps forward, 1 step back.  I think that doing a few photos is helping my creativity though-please let it come back!  My next theme for this project is going to be an interesting one.  I hope I can at least do part of my vision for it!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

One of the New Dolls

It seems like I have been working on a group of new dolls forever.  Their work keeps getting interrupted and I have to put them down and then getting them going again is really hard.  Plus, for me, making my dolls takes forever.  I never knew how to make a doll the way I wanted to make it and there were no books about it when I started(only just a little ways back because I am only 21! I was living on an island where there were no books). 
  "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.
Here is a sneak peak of someone else who is on their way...
Happy Saint Patrick's Day! And, time for me to get busy on other art.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Week 2 of the Divine Diptych Project

It is week 2 of the "Divine Diptych Project" so there is a whole new set of Diptychs on our blog which you can see HERE.
This week I was randomly given the theme "Jewelry" and paired with the amazing photography Bogna aka Quizz.  Bogna is what I call a "Rock Star" photographer so I was again nervous.  I keep getting paired with these Goddess photographers!  But, the good thing about this, is that I am only given a week to get my photograph in so I don't have the time to worry and fret over it. 
Bogna and I didn't talk at all before we did our diptych.  We just set a square size.  We were surprised at how well our photos fit together and I really like the outcome.  I love the colours and the way we are facing each other.  Thanks Bogna! Let's do another project soon! 
I took more photograhs with this theme.  I forced myself to get out a gorgeous beaded gown my ex got me in Glastonbury, England from Monsoon that we found for steal(we called it the 'Klimt" dress as we thought the beading looked like something in one of his paintings).  I hadn't put it on for a very long time and wanted to get it out for photos.  I also put on a bunch of my handbeaded jewelry including necklaces, bracelets and one of my crowns.  Then, I put on rings that my ex had given me-rings on all my fings to catch the light.  These are things I don't know what to do with.  I was going for a "Miss Havisham" look.  I will include some photographs below. 
The more I force myself to take photos, the more my creativity comes back slowly and am starting to get back into doing sketches and hopefully new paintings soon.  Plus, I have new beads and beadwork to do and am ready to make wigs for dolls! 
Today I would like to just bead and make wigs but my house-ick! What a mess!  OK, I will clean a bit but I really want to just get these projects done and onto the next!  Time to wash the windows too!   Hope you are all well!
Yes, it is a dress for a younger woman, but I can dream...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Divine Diptych Project

I finally got my camera out and started a new project.  Here is  a little bit about it from the blog we have started about the project;
"The Divine Diptych Project is a collaboration between 37 photographers some of whom pair up every week and in each pair take a photo each on the same theme.  The diptychs you see here are the results of these collaborations.  Feel free to comment on what we have done, and tell us what the stories they tell you. "  
This is the opening statement for the new blog for the Divine Diptych Project.  You can visit the blog 
 (one of my other possible choices-I made the headpiece from fresh flowers and vintage lace and also made the big tulle collar from a soft, shimmery deep cream coloured tulle)
I was paired with the lovely and talented Heather of Heather Evans Smith Photography.  Her work is just inspired and amazing.  Please check out her website and other amazing photographs. You will love them!  Find her siteHERE.
 I have just copied what Heather had to say about our pairing. She is so sweet and talented. She was so right about our photographs;
"Merle and I didn't set any rules except for a square format. We both adore vintage styles. Merle went for a 1920s-30s feel and I channeled the 1960s. Both of us used flowers in our hair and neither one of us was surprised to see that the other had done the same, seemed like a no-brainer based on our interests. Merle has become quite a confidant of mine lately and I was excited to pair up with her on this project."
My Itty Bitty Baby Boy Tobias Greenmoss!  Love this Green-Eyed Sweetheart! He is my little Fae Creature for sure and for certain!  I found him as an orphaned and abandoned 3 week old kitten on a big lump on moss crying for his mother-that broke my heart. He was very sick and the runt of the litter.  For me, that meant he was all mine and I was the luckiest person ever!  That was 8 years ago!  He is still a tiny cat, but oh so wonderful and funny!  A Blessing indeed!
   With one of my dear Parrish Relics by Jen Parrish.  Visit her amazing jewelry 
HERE.  And, more variations on the theme...
I hope this post finds you all well!