Tag Archives: art

Questions for Alice

A New “Alice” Art Doll

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.

Full length view of Questioning Alice art doll

Questioning Alice

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.

Questioning Alice

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”.

Detail of Questioning Alice art doll

Alice detail

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.

 

 

Work Back in Progress

I have been away from the studio for a couple of weeks traveling, so I do not have a new completed art doll to share with you.  However, I did have one figure waiting patiently on the work table for my return for completion.  I’m not completely set on a title just yet, but she is a new take off on an earlier art doll sculpture titled “Secret Keeper”.

Unlike her predecessor, who was costumed in sort of an “Earth Mother” type style, this doll is covered in rich fabrics in an ornate style. Perhaps she has more valuable secrets she is guarding.

work in progress image of Secret art doll

Work-in-progress of Secret

At the moment, she looks a bit alien without her hair. I will be sure to share some new images when she is complete in a couple of days.

More Work in Progress

Perhaps a few days late, but as promised, here is a completed image of the Lacing III art doll that I showed in progress last week.

Lacing 3 art doll

Lacing III

I’m not sure that the title will stay exactly the same. This art doll will most likely remain in the studio as part of inventory build up for my gallery show in September.  Available sculpture in the gallery will have a part to play in that decision making process.  The piece I shared two weeks ago, Cello, will definitely wait until that show, as I chose her image as my early publicity piece for that show.

Lacing III is similar to Cello in scale as well. I have been increasing the size of my art dolls slightly.  I find that it is easier to focus more on details of the figure’s features with a bit more room to work with.  Taking a step back however, I notice that I have increased the head and face much more than the proportions of the rest of the body.  This does give an interesting stylistic look, but I’m not sure I’m quite where I want to be.  I spent quite a bit of time soft sculpting Lacing III’s body, but she still looks thinner than I want her to be, and her hands and feet need to be increased as well.  I’m obviously not going for any form of hyper realistic rendering with these figures, but I want to avoid them falling into the realm of caricature.

I guess the next art doll sculpture will offer ample opportunity to address those design challenges.  Each work teaches me something new for its successor.  It is interesting to go back and look at the evolution.  This not only illustrates change, but highlights some interesting past design choices that I may have forgotten.  I just had such an opportunity prior to starting to write this post.  I was adding images to the gallery available for insertion into my posts, and updating the Art Dolls page of this site.  If you have not visited that page. I have most of the art doll figures I have made in the gallery there with prices listed for those that are still available for purchase.  I try my best to keep all those available toward the beginning so that you do not have to scroll through them all unless you want to.

I’m off to put in an order for the Professional Doll Makers Art Guild coffee table book.  It is only available to members at this time, but I will share a link in the future if you are interested.  In the mean time, the link above will take you to my page on their web site.

Art Doll Working Titles and Photos

Working in the Gallery

I took two of my newest pieces to work with me at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts today. In between welcoming visitors, and discussing the art, I can sometimes get little projects, like writing a blog post, done.

As I usually have several art dolls in various stages of completion on my work table, I decided to take two into the gallery with me so that I could share them with you.  I still have a stand to paint for one, and to decide on the second’s title, so phone snap shots will have to serve for the time being.

Red

Red Riding Hood art doll figure sculpture

Red Riding Hood in the gallery

The next addition to my series of fairytale dolls, is my interpretation of Red Riding Hood. My Red has a hammered copper face and hands, and torch fired enamel eyes.  Her hand sewn clothing also features a lace up bodice. I’ll need to remember to move her hair a bit when I take my studio photos, so you can actually see it. I think her basket also needs a fabric liner and top to finish it off.  You will see Red again once I get her on her own stand.

Oops

seated art doll figure sculpture with working title Oops

Oops

This second figure is officially unnamed at this time.  She is a youthful seated figure in a little smock dress similar to an earlier art doll named Lily. Her expression emerged wide eyed and thoughtful.  I saw her as carefully considering some choice or problem.  My two “first viewers” at home thought that she appeared to be a bit worried that she had done something wrong.  I’m not completely sure about that interpretation, so for right now I’m going with her having made just a small misstep, and so I have named her Oops.

Oops, Red, and several other art dolls and sculptures will be installed in a show later this moth.  More on that to come.

 

Commission of Commissions

A Couple of Commissions

This week is all about two art doll commissions.  One I’ve just completed, and the other went to its new home. Last week I teased you with some images of parts and pieces of my completed motorcycle art doll sculpture.  That piece is now titled “Steampunk Riders” by its owners, and it left the gallery yesterday,  so I can share an image without ruining any surprises.  I received a nice email of how wonderfully they were received.

completed commission sculpture of art dolls on motorcycle

Steampunk Riders

This was a challenging piece with lots of metal work detail and hand stitching on their clothes, and a complete blast to create. I like the movement and gesture in the final composition. It is such a good feeling to have a piece go where you know it is truly loved, and ties to something else that the owners enjoy and share.

Art Doll with a Book Leads to Another…

I first created a seated art doll writing in a journal that was inspired by a family member who was an accomplished author.  That seated figure lead to a similar seated figure reading a book commissioned by a friend.  The reader figure inspired me to create a doll lying on the floor reading as a child would.  One of my artist friends spied that sculpture prior to its sale, and decided that she needed a similar piece of her very own.  This now fourth in my series of literary art dolls is the second commission I completed this week.

reclining art doll figure with book

Reader commission art doll

It is curious how one inspiration leads to another.  In this case, I myself saw one person in a piece I created, and others saw a bit of themselves.  In this case a love of books tied all these art dolls and their eventual owners to one another.

Summer Break Over, Back to Motorcycle

Ok, so summer is obviously not over, but it is time for me to get back to work creating new work, and getting some regular blog posts up here for you to see.

Since I’ve returned from a bit of travel, I have had the chance to finish up the motorcycle commission I had been working on.  That piece happens to be a surprise from one person to another.  On the very, very off chance that the recipient would be among the dozen or so individuals that actually read my postings here… I’m going to hold off posting any full photos of that completed piece and just tease with some detail shots of bits and pieces until the sculpture is delivered. However, if you happen to be a Facebook friend, Instagram follower, or are part of any of the art doll groups I’m a member of, then you may catch a glimpse of the fully completed sculpture.

Close up of front of art doll motorcycle

detail front

Here you can see two pairs of motorcycle boots,  the glass gem headlamp, and other parts of the bike’s front.

detail of the passenger doll's bag

Passenger’s messenger bag

Lots and lots of little stitches on on the motorcycle seat, messenger bag, and passenger’s jeans.

close up of boots, and "motor"

close up of boots, and “motor”

Now, it’s off to the studio to start a couple of new pieces.  One of them is also a commission, but it is sort of a redo of an earlier piece, and definitely not as involved as this one. Not sure what I will share with you next week, I guess we’ll both have to wait and see.

It has been fun taking you “along for the ride” on a multiple piece commission.  As I stated before, they can be tricky for us artists generally used to creating exactly what we want when the inspiration strikes us.  It is gratifying to know that some patrons enjoy the work so much they want it used to capture something special to them personally.

 

 

 

 

Art Doll Motorcycle III

More Parts and Pieces

The little motorcycle sculpture is now ready for its art doll riders.  This past week I added all the remaining parts and pieces that a motorcycle enthusiast would expect to find.  The art doll riders will sit on their padded “leather” seat and grip copper, hardware, and polymer clay handlebars. The addition of a button shaped brad gas cap, knee guards, tank rondel, a glass gem headlight, and brass brad gauges complete this miniature steampunk machine.

steampunk mixed media motorcycle sculpture ready for art doll riders

motorcycle is ready for art doll riders

Now the Riders

As with most of my art dolls, the riders will start in my metal studio where I will hammer out their faces from a circle of copper stock. They are on the bench awaiting some sanding and polishing. In the meantime, I got started on twisting together the dolls’ wire skeletons.   Here you see the beginning of the driver sitting on the cycle.

wire frame of driver on cycle

wire frame of driver

Last Chance to See Art Dolls

art doll Media at HGA

Three of my art doll pieces in “Our Art Is…”

This is the last weekend for my featured artist show, “Our Art Is…“, with painters Eduardo Lapetina and Pat Merriman at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts.  The show runs through Sunday.  It has been a fun show with lots of wonderful feedback. Several of the dolls will be making their way to their new homes when the next featured artist show installs on Monday.

 

Art Doll Motorcycle II

Last week I shared WIP (work in progress) images of my current art doll sculpture.  The motorcycle for the sculpture is almost ready for its riders.  Here are a few more images of the motorcycle as it came together.

Parts and Pieces

Art doll motorcycle gains gas tank and motor

More parts added to art doll motorcycle

Here the frame gains a gas tank, engine block and some exhaust pipes.  I like the play of the different materials for each part. I enjoy the way it helps each part to pop more than if I fashioned the whole sculpture from copper.

Art doll motorcycle ready to get a concrete base

. Ready to gain a base

Next the tiny cycle gained some aluminum wheels with wooden hubs, and some copper handlebars. After a bit of grinding and cleaning the wheels were wired and attached to some hardware cloth for setting in a concrete base.  This will both anchor the piece firmly in its base, and provide reinforcement for the concrete.

Art doll motorcycle set in concrete base

Cycle curing in concrete base

Now some waiting for the base to dry and cure.  Next the piece will come inside for addition of details like a stitched seat, handle bar grips, headlight, gauges, gas cap …

This is a piece that is most definitely a collection of details. I can’t wait to get started on the riders.

Say hi and let me know what you think

Art Doll Motorcycle

I recently started working on a piece with two of my art doll figures having an adventurous ride on a motorcycle.  Though I’ve created a number of art dolls and figure sculptures that were perched on bicycles, this is my first riding a motorcycle.

I have been having fun so far researching and sketching the particular type of motorcycle, and then stylizing it into my steampunk interpretation.  There are a obviously a few more components than a bicycle to incorporate in to ensure it represents one particular type of machine over another.

First I braised together the basic motorcycle frame and produced a couple of types of wheel choices.

beginning copper frame for doll sized motorcycle and wheels of electrical conduit

Beginning of fame and conduit wheels

The most labor intensive process so far has been hand hammering out the two fenders.  Blacksmith and body shops have power hammers and english wheels to shape and smooth these types of parts. I found myself wishing I could find a Tinkerbell sized version of both to work with for these.

hammering copper fender for art doll sized motorcycle

Hammering out front fender

I added the fenders, wheel mounts, and springs. Next up will be handlebars, motor, and gas tank. I’ll do my best to take photos along the way.

copper cycle frame with fenders and springs

Frame with fenders and springs

 

 

 

Paper Art Doll

Art Doll in Progress

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.”

Full length image of Paper Alice

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

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

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.