May 13, 2010

Art Dolls

The recent flooding (flooding is really too severe a word for only 2 inches of rain...) of my art/craft studio saw Mark and me hustling a variety of objects to drier ground. Here are a few dolls that I made a while ago, some decades ago, that I've been wanting to post photos of online and will do so now in chronological order.

At left is my first painted doll. This figure is based on a painting of a little girl that was in an art book in our home library. The painting was an example of Early American art.
I loved her pink dress and the toy that was hanging around her neck. She is eating a strawberry. I painted this in the late '70s or early '80s. The color has held up well, but the whole doll has a faded, antique look which is intentional. If I can locate the original painting she was based on, I will post the link. She was painted on natural muslim fabric.

The doll at left is a peddlar doll (chair was store-bought) that I made in 1989. I was so pleased that Dolls magazine published a picture of this doll!

Her head was made of Cernit. (Here is a link with info on Cernit and other polymer-based clays that harden in your oven.)

Her body is made of felt. She is wearing felt blue slippers with lace edging. Her hat, scarf and the inside of the basket are pink lace. Her dress was made from an old dress of mine. The items in her basket were purchased at a store in Sarasota, FL, that specialized in doll house items. (I don't know if the store is still there, but this person might know, she has links to shows featuring dollhouses and miniatures and is based in Sarasota.)

After making the peddlar doll, I made this little man whom I imagined was French. He also had a couch that I made for him, but the couch has been lost over the last two decades. Jacques' head is also made of Cernit. His eyes are painted, as is his mouth and beard stubble. He has grey fuzzy hair and a white shirt. His hands are also scuplted of Cernit as is his little dog. I crocheted his sweater and found a neat button which I really like a lot. (If you live near Ann Arbor and need a unique button, check out the Found Gallery, profiled in my previous post.)

Jacques' slippers are made from an old blue leather purse. His body, legs, and arms are felt and stuffed with polyester stuffing (fiberfill) and also with the small plastic pellets that give him a nice weight.

My favorite thing about the contruction of this doll is that his head turns left and right because I placed a joint at the bottom of his neck and in the base of his shoulders.

The art doll at left with the red beaded necklace was made in the '90s. Her face is painted muslim or canvas. Her body was made from bendy foam curlers! I thought these worked better for dollmaking than for curling my hair (I could never get them to stay in long enough for my hair to dry.)

I avoided the whole how-hard-it-is-to-sculpt-hands issue by making her hands and fingers be lengths of colored, wrapped wire. She has no hair, but wears a little veil. Her outfit was crocheted from the same blue yarn used in Jacques. Her little feet are covered with tan suede slippers.

Sometimes, a certain piece of fabric will be the reason for an entire creative endeavor. This was the case in the doll at left with the dusty pink, silk coat. This fabric was a garmet I'd bought at a secondhand store. It did not fit me and so I decided to make a doll using it. The button, too, was very special to me. It is an old button, square, and while I don't think it was made of Bakelite, it seems to be an old plastic, or perhaps even some type of bone.

This doll is one of my favorite things I've ever made. I just love her sweet expression and her jacket.

Her pants were made from black suede and there is some fake fur around the top of her boots.

Here are some links related to Art Dolls for visual delight and for instruction:

Art Doll Quarterly Magazine

The Professional Doll Makers Art Guild

Dolls Magazine

Art Dolls on Etsy

The Art Doll Ring

Original Doll Artist Council of America

Index of various doll artists

The Artist Doll (gallery)

1 comment:

Janice Phelps Williams said...

I just discovered a wonderful doll artists' website:

Post a Comment

Comments are closed at this time. Thank you for visiting Appalachian Morning. Please connect with me via my website:

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.