Saturday, December 16, 2006

A finished Doll

Yeah! I can call myself a doll maker again. It has been so long since I actually finished a doll that I was starting to feel guilty for hanging out on the Dollmakers lists...

I began this topsy-turvy doll ages ago... I made myself finish her this week, in order to get her in the mail to my sister on time for a Christmas gift. DS and her husband adopted 2 children from Russia and brought them home last spring. I thought this doll illustrating the Russian folk tale of Baba Yaga and Vasalisa would be an appropriate gift to welcome my new neice and nephew into the family. I hope they like it.

These photos are absolutely dreadful, I know, but they are the best I could get under the circumstances. I need a bigger light tent for dolls of this size!

Anyway, this is Vasalisa carrying her torch as she goes about her adventures fulfilling tasks set by Baba Yaga. I love her costume, but I wish her face had turned out a little more realistic... my tastes have passed beyond this type of character face, I guess.

The Baba Yaga half of the doll was just a blast to make! HER face pleases me in every way, though I wish I could get sharper details around her eyes. I used colored pencils and perhaps acrylic paints would have been a better choice there...

This is such an unfortunate angle from which to view her face as you can only see the tip of her nose. It would be better to get her in profile where you would be able to tell that her nose extends 3 inches from her face!

This photo gives you a better view of how this doll is put together. (Boy, I really do need a bigger light tent, don't I...)

The pattern is by Melinda Small Patterson of Smallworks. She also has several dragon patterns available, as well as a really cool hand pattern available free at her site. While her patterns are very detailed and time-consuming, they are also extremely well designed, and the instructions are well written and detailed. Anyone who is willing to devote the time and effort to creating one of her designs will be able to make a project to be proud of.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The end of a very long journey

The Doll Street round robin swap based on the character of Flat Stanley is almost over. Unless she got mailed out of order, my "Spirit of the Dance" should be coming home soon! This has been a loooooooooong process -- over a year and a half. I am looking forward to having her home and reading the journal of her adventures.

"Flat Fiona" is a lovely mermaid by Linda Danielson of Sooke, British Columbia. My original plan was to give her a complexion -- she is still wearing only her original coat of gesso -- but I couldn't paint over her tattoos because the tattoo ink isn't waterproof. You can see where I smeared the ink on her wrist just a little... oops!

I could have sealed her and tried again, but by the time of thought of it, I had already had another idea... this travelling mermaid is going to go home with her own portable body of water in which to swim, complete with swimming buddies.

The plaque is made in the style of Christi Freisen, from her new book, Under the Sea. I used 2 layers of polymer clay sandwiched around a sheet of wire mesh for strength. The "stones" on the sandy floor are lampwork beads along with some shells I picked up on the Oregon coast of the Pacific Ocean this summer. The waves are accented with pearls and beads as well.

I may have gone a little overboard, but it was so much fun that I couldn't stop once I got started...

I am already planning another one, this time a little larger and for ME.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Working through Trials

I haven't had much time to create lately. My grandmother suffered a stroke recently, and my sister's husband was diagnosed with a stage 4 cancer in his brain. Needless to say, it has been a worrisome time. DBIL came through surgery for the removal of the tumor successfully, and is now working with therapists to retrain his brain to control the left side of his body. I don't quite understand all the ins and outs of what he's going through, but my sister and my mom are keeping me posted and we are just praying as hard as we can for grace and strength to face all that is yet to come.

Thank you to ALL who have been aware of this for your continued prayers for his complete recovery.

In my usual way, I turned to my handwork to keep myself busy and my mind occupied with something other than worry...

I had planned to weave a blanket months ago and have had the warp measured, cut, and waiting to be put on the loom for ages. I hit a snag when I simply couldn't decide what yarn to use as weft, and then it got too hot to be working with wool, and the whole project got set aside. I decided last week to weave it up into a prayer blanket for my DBIL and started hunting through my stash to find a suitable color for a more masculine blanket.

In an effort to reduce my stash, I have been spinning up odd lots of old fibers and I just happened to be spinning the last bumps of this blend from Spinderellas . Hmmmm... I noticed how nicely it went with the warp. I threw in a few lines of the singles just to see what the effect would be, and WOW! BRAINSTORM! I could weave with these singles straight from the wheel! Talk about fast!

It is working up into a really cool sort of faux plaid design. If I can spin fast enough to keep up with the weaving, I hope to have it finished by next week and get it in the mail before Christmas. I have some reservations about sending an object that will require special care to my sister and her family, but Jake says it is too beautiful not to send and they will love it later. I hope so. I don't want to be the cause of more stress, when my only intention is to send a tangible piece of care and hugs, with prayers woven into every thread...

And lastly, I have to share my Christmas Moth. Because I am an idiot who loves to overextend herself, I signed up for a Christmas ornament swap on my sculpting list. I received the idea for this piece in a dream and HAD to make it. As usual, I overdid the whole thing. But I guess I can get away with it at Christmas where glitter AND pearl AND metallic all in one piece just sort of goes with the season, LOL.

The body is made of 2 layers of polymer clay with a piece of wire mesh sandwiched in between for strength. The embellishments are balls of clay accented with stones, pearls and crystals applied in the style of Christi Freisen. Let's see... this guy has carnelian, 3 different kinds of pearls, jade, gold beads, and Swarovski crystals. Oh yeah, and 3 colors of Pearl-Ex AND glitter!

I'd like to keep him, but then I'd have to start all over again for the swap!