Friday, May 16, 2014

"Petals" my May project

Ahh, spring! Gotta love it! Especially after this long gray winter that we just suffered. I was so happy to see bright sun and fresh green grass!

One of my good friends just got married, and now is getting ready to move far, far away… This little quick project ( it WAS quick) is for her, as a wedding gift.

I called this charming girl "Petals". She is inspired by May flowers and my friend Olga, the very girl "Petals" is created for. Olga is a wonderful dancer. Although "Petals" is not a portrait doll, I wanted to reflect Olga's light spirit and grace in this work.
Petals is 18 inches tall. She is mounted on flexible plastic armature ( my first so far). I found that I like it very much. Flexible plastic armature is easy to find in doll supply internet stores, it also comes in different sizes. It is not very expensive and easy to use. If you want to create "posable" doll, it is much better than wire. "Petals" easily changes her position. She can stand or sit without any trouble.

The lower legs, arms and head are hand sculpted in "Fimo Puppen" polymer clay.

The wig, dashing hat and dress are made with "recycle" materials:
I love to visit thrift stores that often carry devastated, broken and dusty porcelain dolls. I buy them very cheaply and reuse all I can. The dress went trough a lot of cleaning, alteration and change before it was refashioned for the doll.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Tips and Tricks of Sculpting Clothes in Style

One of my wonderful "art doll" friends asked me how do I create clothes for my dolls. I am happy to share my knowledge and the result of experiments with you, hopefully it will help some. First, I have to say, that I "build in" the clothes into my dolls. So the clothes are not removable. That is one of the reasons why I like to make "soft" bodies, I sew the costume directly on.

If there is one thing that years of painful experience taught me, it is that you do not start without make something new without preparation and research first. For example, my latest project was intended to be the a"lady" in medieval style of clothes. It took me a while to surf the "Pinterest" and whole bunch of other sites to find the reference, which I did, and even managed to find simple pattern for the dress.

 Which brings me to tip # 1: if you are not very confident with sewing, do not try to make complex patterns, go for basic alternatives or simplify.
Pattern bliaut
Here is what I found and decided that , yes, I can do that.
Tip #2 (from my own painful experience)
Make sure you carefully measure your doll and allow some extra for the seams,at least 1/4 inch, it will take extra fabric. Better to err on the larder then smaller side.

If you prefer, you may do the sewing entirely by hand, but I  sew largest parts on the sewing machine, which I think is essential, if you work with fabrics. Here is mine.

I love to add a little embroidery and bead sewing to my costumes, it is such fun! Almost therapeutic, if a little time consuming. I usually do embroidery on the machine, then sew beads in while TV watching in the evening.  Lovely!

Final alteration happens directly on the doll…

Then a little florist wire on the hem of the dress ….

…and this magic stuff that stiffens the fabric, letting the hems and folds of the dress to "float" and preserves it from dust and color loss. I use "Paverpol" transparent hardener. It almost doesn't change the color. HOWEVER…
Tip #3: ALWAYS try the hardener on a small sample of the fabric you are using first, to prevent unpleasant surprises, such as change the color and texture. I mix "Paverpol" with quite a bit of water (for this project I used three table spoons of the hardener for a cup of water)
then I evenly spray the stuff directly on the sculpture.

Still, the finished fabric lost some of the laster, however, added more contrast and emphasis on the texture. It also lost some of the "newness" and looks more "worn" that I think, looks more natural for this project.

Soon! Very soon You will see "Lady Marie" in her full glory! Right now I am working on her headdress.