It's AGES since I made a doll and it's rare I get as far as dressing them! I made this as a gift; I hope the recipient likes it…
Earlier this year, I made my first attempt at making a doll using some form of sketch or design before I started.
First of all I sketched out the basic body shape:
Then I covered her with polymer clay, baked her, and painted her:
She’s still waiting for me to put hair on her… :o)
Well, I needed to do something about the road kill doll, so after an email conversation with a friend, I came up with the idea of using shrink plastic.
Stupidly, I forgot to take a photo before I put the heart in the bottle – and for some odd reason although the heart went in, it won’t come out! But here’s the new version:
I made this heart on clear Shrinkle paper – I’d forgotten how much fun it is to see it shrivel up, fold up horribly, and then finally flop flat – so much smaller than the original size.
I want to be a dollmaker. I want to make art dolls. I really, really do. Or maybe a ceramicist making little people from clay, but I thinks that’s a similar thing really. I just want to make art people. Of every craft I look at, this is the thing that drags me back time and time again.
I want to be able to create characters: striking little people with a whole story to tell from their clothes, their expressions, their postures. I want to create a life I don’t lead – and don’t want to lead – through my people: ethereal girls with floating dresses and flowers in their hair, sinister dark haired men with a glint in their eyes, slim waisted woman wearing layers and layers of decorative fabrics. How wonderful to be create character after character, to create a whole world if you fancy. And unlike a novel, there’s no need for a beginning and an end. No need for the timing and pacing of a plot. You can create something that speaks for itself. Fantastic.
Now, the last thing I need is another hobby. I already don’t have time to do the stuff I do: the drawing, the clay people, the polymer dolls, the paper mache. But then, as the lovely M says, I really have only one hobby and that is ‘creating’. I might cycle through the things I want to create and through the media I choose – photography, clay, sewing, pencil, paint – but I’m still just creating. I love it. It’s not even that I’m good at it (yet) – I rarely produce anything that lives up to the picture in my head. But I love creating things and I love thinking about creating things.
In fact, in many ways I love thinking about creating things even more than I do actually creating them. In this way I am like my mum. One of the things that made me feel very sad when she died was that she never created the things that she would so often talk about. But as I’ve grown older I’ve understood how much pleasure there is in thinking up the ideas for a project & planning what it might look like, and how this can sometimes be even better than the frustration of making it happen.
And I realise that I often do exactly the same. I love to dream about what I might make one day. I love to buy books and surf the web, and look at what I could do, one day, when I have the time. I love to gather ideas. I love to see what else people create and the utter range of skills and talent out there. I’m blown away by it.
This morning, I received in the post a copy of ‘Introduction to Cloth Dolls’ by Jan Horrox. Wow! I’m blown away. I love the creations in that book, and with what seems like clear step by step instructions. Her dolls are very striking and full of character. It’s a long time since I’ve sewn in earnest, but I’m very, very inspired.
Will I ever make one? Possibly. Probably. But in the meantime I can dream and think. And plan.
And dream about the day I can put a sign outside my house saying ‘Hill and a Tree. Art doll maker’….
Drum roll…. I’d like to present: Monsieur Legume, my very first primitive polymer clay doll! He’s very loosely based on Nancye William’s tutorial for primitive folk dolls but he just started to emerge so I let him. I’m pleased I did. I like him.
He’s so flawed but he’s kind of endearing all the same. I had so much fun making him. I had to make bent limbs rather than straight as they wouldn’t fit into the baking tin I was using, but I like that. And then I overcooked the clay and it turned quite brown, but that didn’t matter too much as he was always going to be painted. The black was originally just an undercoat for a more exciting colour but I think I like him just the way he is.
Why Monsieur Legume? Well, M thought he looked a little like the character Mr Bean, so it just kind of fitted…