My newest art doll sculpture features a young figure looking up with awe at her bright red balloon.
This mixed media art doll is a bit of fun, and another look back to an earlier piece. I wanted to feature gesture and expression with this figure sculpture. Guess I hit the mark, as one viewer commented that she “really looked alive”.
I created Balloon 2’s head and hands from paperclay that is lightly tinted with watercolor paint. Her costume is sewn in place over a padded wire frame that is anchored through her shoes to her base. I chose to wig this art doll with paper fiber as well. Her curly pigtails are secured with blue ribbons that match her blue top and polka dotted skirt. Balloon’s boots are hand sewn faux leather with purple chord laces.
Looking up again
My first balloon themed art doll figure was apparently being taken away by the balloon she was holding. This figure is being transported as well, but in a more figurative sense. I’m not sure what about her balloon is surprising her so. I guess that part of the story is up to the viewer.
I crafted the red balloon itself out of traditional papier-mâché, and used red tissue for its top layers to achieve its bright color. The balloon “floats” atop a string made of cotton string wrapped around a steel core.
I have left the base unfinished for the time being, but I think that I will most likely paint it before she takes a trip to the gallery. Balloon 2 will also make her official debut in June for my yearly Feature Artist show at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts.
I will probably not have a new sculpture to share next week. I am just putting the finishing touches on a commission piece, and she needs to go to her home first.
“Athena Sharpening Spear” is my latest art doll creation. This figure sculpture is a look backward and forward in media choices. She incorporates quite a bit more copper than I’ve included in recent pieces. The metal elements this time are found in her clothing and armor, not her face or hands like many of my earliest art dolls. I chose to sculpt the doll form itself from paperclay. I like how the plain sealed clay lends her the look of carved alabaster. Small details like toes in shoes clad in sandals are more effectively achieved in this media, as are the position of her hands gripping the spear and file.
Athena Sharpening Spear
Ironically, this sculpture pulled from ancient Greek mythology is inspired by current events. It can come as no surprise that an artist who was once a science educator finds anti-science and anti-education trends to be alarming to say the least, and completely infuriating if I’m being quite honest. The mood tends to not be fertile ground for light happy doll synthesis. So, my Athena is not the traditionally depicted serene goddess standing proudly, and ready to provide inspiration. Instead, Athena is seated, looking looking attentively to her task, and readying herself for battle.
Dressing a Goddess
Her dress is imprinted with symbols of learning and knowledge. I found editing these images to be one of the more challenging elements of design. What does one choose to depict knowledge and wisdom? I pulled from many sources and disciplines. I made a conscious choice to end with things prior to the 20th century. The technological explosion past that point simply overwhelmed me with choices. Likewise, I made a design decision not to flip images containing text horizontally before printing on the transfer media. I like that all the sources in different languages, alphabets, and scripts are slightly unreadable. In this way they serve as symbols of the knowledge they contain, rather than specific editorial choices on my part.
I mentioned Athena in some writing that was needed for early publicity materials for our yearly featured artists shows. Because of this, she will be hanging around the studio until my show opens during the last week of June.