Passes Through the Looking Glass One Too Many Times
My work travels through Alice in Wonderland’s looking glass every once in a while. Alice makes a number of appearances, and the White Rabbit showed up once as well. My latest trip through the looking glass appears to have taken a number of trips. “Through the Looking Glass One Too Many Times” is a mashup of several of the Wonderland denizens. Alice, the White Rabbit, the March Hare, The Mad Hatter, the Red Queen, the Cheshire Cat, and Absolem all lend elements to the piece.
The sculpture not only brings together several different characters, but several types of media as well. The rabbit figure is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting frame. Her eyes are iridescent black glass beads, that give the illusion of eyes of many different colors. I created her long eye lashes by fringing black denim, and sewing them in place. Her apron is white cotton and lace with needle felted wool pocket, heart appliqué, and novelty heart button. The “Drink Me” bottle is a compilation of beads with a small paper craft tag. I made Abselom’s hookah from a wooden ball, glass and metal beads, leather chord and metal findings. Her curly Alice locks are dyed wool roving from Susan Hope‘s (HGA artist) sheep.
Take Two, Take Three
Some pieces emerge fully formed in the sketchbook on take one. I create some on the fly with just a concept in mind. Through The Looking Glass was a fully formed concept that I needed to sketch. The first drawing was just too much, and felt forced. My second try also missed the mark. I felt that the figure had to try to accomplish the challenge of combining the figures without getting drowned in costuming. My third sketch served as the basis of this final piece. I hope you’ll agree I found the balance I was looking for.
At The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts in September
Through The Looking Glass One Too Many Times will also make her debut at HGA in September. I will be sure to share when she and all her friends are available.
I think that to date I have created four different interpretations of Alice from her adventures in Wonderland. One of my newest sculptures, “Alice is Late”, is my first attempt at capturing her companion the white rabbit. One of the stars of my recent feature show, he is now catching glances and keeping time for passersby in the gallery front window.
Take a look around
Several of my needle felted creations from “April Showers, Art Flowers” have already made their way to new homes. A few, like “Alice is Late” can still be seen at The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts, but you will have to stroll around the gallery a bit to find them.
Alice and Some Buzz
Another of my personal favorites from my recent feature show is “Honey Dance”. Honey Dance is a queen bee figure that hangs from the ceiling. She holds a bit of honeycomb and sports a small crystal tiara. She is one of those playful sculptures that both evoke a smile and provide a sunny pop of color.
Some Other Things to Look For
I also have a fair number of new needle felted jewelry items available in my glass tower at HGA. I always like to create jewelry that reflects what is going on in my sculptures. You will find pieces from simple felted hearts on leather chords, to some more complex and colorful flower forms with hand forged closures. I find these pieces of jewelry unique and playful, and quite fun to create.
I did remove the remaining needle felted hanging ornaments that I had returned to the gallery for my show. Never fear, I will return them to the gallery in the fall with plenty of time for gift giving.
Chilly winter weather can sometimes serve to inspire new works. I created a piece titled “Snow Day” on a snowy day when I wanted to use mostly materials from my indoor workspace. My latest, “Questioning Alice”, isn’t directly the result of cold weather nudging me indoors, however I was inspired by the idea of curling up with a good book on a cold day.
I created an earlier art doll sculpture titled “Paper Alice” a couple of years ago. Though not completely a paper creation, I incorporated elements pulled from Adventures in Wonderland in her design. This time I wanted to work as much with paper and paperclay as possible. I’ve found myself enchanted by altered book sculptures, and wanted to create an art doll that had that feel to it.
Anyone who has read the tales of Alice’s adventures may have noticed that the stories contain a lot of inquiries and decisions to be made. Playing with that concept, I created this art doll sculpture.
I created my Alice primarily of paper mâché, paperclay, and tissue paper decoupage. I sculpted the main figure over a wire armature. The mushroom I formed over heavy cardboard rolls, and a corrugated support under the top. Alice’s clothes I created through tissue paper layering and tissue paper decoupage. I added printed images of the classic Sir John Tenniel illustrations within the skirt’s top layers. Text from the tales “tattoo” her paperclay sculpted face. Questions asked to and by Alice were fit to spiral paths and then printed on to orange tissue paper. Layered within more orange tissue these form the mushrooms “questioning spots”.
This Alice will be showing up at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts the last week of January for, “Now and Again”, the Gallery’s 10th anniversary celebration show. The show will celebrate the milestone and will include HGA’s current and former members.
Last week I shared some Work-In-Progress images of the newest art doll I was working on. This figure was inspired by a combination of my very first art doll, a snow day, and our yearly literary themed show.
Rather than playing with the idea of a rag doll that wasn’t quite floppy, I instead twisted the idea of a paper doll into a three dimensional figure. This idea sprung from my picking up paperclay to incorporate into my pieces after having used polymer clay for a face on a snowy day. Thinking of this figure as a 3D paper doll turned my attention to book illustrations. The images in a classic version of Alice In Wonderland became the literary basis for “Paper Alice.”
I purposely kept Alice’s color palette muted and almost monochromatic. I wanted the figure itself to feel as though she had been plucked off the pages of an aged volume. I used mages and quotes from the text to further this concept.
Metalwork takes a supporting role in this art doll. Her shoes, dress collar, and headband I fashioned from copper. The “drink me” tag on her bottle is tooled brass foil, and her eyes are torch fired glass enamel on a copper base.
detail of Paper Alice
I used an antique yellow parchment paper to create Paper Alice’s hair. I created this wig by hand cutting sets of strips that were then stitched on to a tiny stocking cap I created for her. A bit of curling on the edge of scissors set her coiffure in motion.
Paper Alice hands
I enjoyed experimenting with new materials and techniques with this art doll. I expect that I will incorporate them in other figure sculptures in the not too distant future.