Friday, July 15, 2016

Art dolls and Doll Maintenance

As I have been increasingly busy with studying for my insurance licensing exams, I haven't really been making much lately.  It's kind of hard to read the material and click through the online course work if my hands are full of fun colors/textures/materials.  At times like, I often get introspective about my own creative work - since I'm not creating it's an interesting exercise to look at older pieces and reevaluate.  Since I've been on a doll kick lately, I thought it might be fun to share some of my past and present art dolls, along with some more creative doll things!

I've been making dolls since I can remember - fabric, polymer clay, weeds, yarn, and anything else I could find got made into doll.  In highschool and college polymer clay and fabric were my medium of choice.  I was also fortunate enough to take some classes with doll making guru, Susannah Oroyan - If you make or are interested in making dolls, her books need to be a part of your collection.  I made these two cloth dolls back in college.  The bodies are ultrasuede with bead and fabric embellishment.  Now, the mermaid is unfinished and the dragonfly fairy man needs some repair, but in looking at them, I feel like they're too simple and flimsy.  I want more substance, both physical and visual now. 

These are all much more recent, and are all WIP's as well.  The mermaid is a more traditional cloth doll with wire armature, but I consider everybody else mixed media.  In the last several years I've been having a lot of fun combining unusual materials with beads to create dolls that are an amalgam of textures, materials, techniques and ideas.  It's really interesting to see how my approach has changed since college, isn't it?
When I need a small study break, I'm still working on projects and clothing for the ball joint and other dolls.  Check out all this mohair for making doll wigs!  I'm investigating different techniques so that I know what to do when I finally have time to get to making.  Do I want to make sew wefts from the fiber and stitch them to a wig cap?  Do I want to make glue wefts and try a hardcap wig?  Or do I cut the hair-on fiber to make a hide wig?  There are too many choices...and that's not even considering these delicious colors I have to work with. 
I've also been attempting some dolly maintenance.  Remember how I mentioned that ball joint dolls are really just a series of interlocking beads?  I needed to clean a couple of dolls for general maintenance and in preparation for doing their "faceup"s, so I thought you might be interested in seeing the individual body "beads" and how they all fit together.  I wiped their paint off, and gave them a thorough spa treatment in a tub of warm water with a little bit of dish soap.  It's impossible to see in the photos, but the cleaning made a huge difference in the mobility of the joints, and I was even able to remove some darker marks with a magic eraser.  I had recently restrung the larger doll, so I will be able to reuse his elastic when he's ready to be restrung.  The little doll however...I had to order new elastic for her, so I'll have to get her put back together later.
As I have these two ball joint dolls disassembled, i was able to investigate the joint structures a bit further.  When I had a little bit of free time on Sunday, and since I've made polymer clay dolls before, I thought I'd wing it and attempt to make my own ball joint doll.  Here are the steps, as far as I got - foil armature, covering the head ball with clay, creating the headcap and neck openings, covering the body with clay, creation of shoulder and hip socket joints.  It was at this point I realized that there is WAY more involved as far as engineering goes when it comes to creating a doll like this.  What I mean to say is, I already knew this...but sometimes I just have to try something anyway.  I mean, what's the worst that can happen?  I get part way through, realize it's just NOT going my way, and end up with a squished up, yeah, now I have a ball of nice copper clay that's conditioned...

I think I'll go back to my WIP dolls and retry some simpler construction next time I try the polymer clay.  So this is what has been rattling around in my brain as I take breaks from my study material.  I know the summer is crazy for a lot of people - how do you keep the creative spark flowing, even when you can't create?

1 comment :

  1. There is this sticky residue on some of my 20+ year old Barbie dolls (I guess exposure to heat and humidity over the years has melted the plastic coating)which I cannot get off even with a good scrubbing. What can I do to restore the dolls?


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