This year's Reno Retreat with the incomparable teaching team of Jean Bernard and Sherry Goshon featured what was (for me at least) their most challenging project yet. "Diary of a Mad Artist" is a doll built upon an altered book. You can see the class prototype here.
I confess, at the end of 3 exhilerating and exhausting days, I was a little worried about my book. It was unfinished, but I was also unhappy with the way I had constructed the interior compartments - there was just WAY too much empty space in there, and the whole thing looked like a craft project from a beach community senior center. I took it home and set to work.
4 weeks later, I *think* she is finished.
Here is the finished book, closed. The "porthole" is inset with a layer of mica and sealed with Envirotec.
The real complexity of the piece is revealed once the book is opened. Assemblage is new to me, so I wanted to stick with a defined theme. I am a Pisces and have always loved the water, so I chose to go with an ocean theme. The whole box is stuffed with shells, coral, crystals, pearls, and lots and lots of drippy things. It took a looooooooooong time to get those drips done to my satisfaction, but I am so happy with the way it all turned out that I don't care.
I forgot to take a photo of the inside cover and you really can't see it very well here, but it features a drawing of a seahorse done by my daughter Lydia.
The doll itself posed her own set of challenges. I covered the face with a layer of japanese lace paper, which reacted very unexpectedly with the Inktense water soluble pencils I used to color in her features. I suppose I could have filled in more features with acrylic paint instead, but I like the "rain on the window" feeling that the bleeding inks created. I LOVE accidents when they have such happy results!
I'm only sorry I couldn't get a good detail photo of her crown. It's my favorite part, but I just can't capture the detail. One of these days I am going to sit down and figure out how to photograph sparkly things...
The details in the interior of the book made for an overwhelming photograph, so I separated the upper and lower portions into 2 views. The "waterfall" down the inside spine of the book was created with Envirotec and cling wrap. I learned the hard way that the Envoritec is best applied in smaller amounts, letting the layers build up slowly - I'm afraid I got a little carried away when I first began on that part and actually overflowed the space to the point where the book wouldn't close. I was able to rescue it with my Dremel and a cutting blade, but I was worried there for a while.
The little face sculpted into a shell is a piece I have had lying around for a while now. I never knew what to do with it, but I am so happy he has finally found a home.
The upper portion of the interior features a photograph printed on transparency of me as a little girl. The bird skull was a gift from a friend and is very special to me. The "drips" are built on a base of angelina fibers coated with Envirotec and absolutely slathered with glitter and microbeads. SO much fun to do!!
I can't wait 'til next year!