Sometimes, the third time can be a charm. My latest addition to my portfolio of art doll sculptures is a rework of a rework.
How she started
I created the first incarnation of this art doll, Mermaid’s Song, in late 2014. She was a steampunk mermaid with the hand sewn tail you see. I fashioned this first figure sculpture the way I did the majority of my pieces at the time, with a hand-hammered copper face and hands, and a fabric body over a padded wire frame.
Sometimes, there are certain elements of a piece you really fall in love with, and others, not so much. This art doll definitely fit that description. I was quite proud of the tail that I pieced and sewed from some faux leather from the Scrap Exchange. I weighted this tail with an internal sand bag that would allow the sculpture to lean her upper body back a bit to sing out loud. Her body I wasn’t as enamored with. In an attempt to make my mermaid more androgynous, I think I just made her kind of spindly. Also her face, though satisfactorily wrought, I applied with just a bit too much space behind it. This had the effect of creating very deeply set eyes, that appeared a little mad.
So I changed her
I decided to rework this sculpture with a paperclay head last year. This second version I thought possessed kinder eyes and a mouth more open in song. I left the torso of the piece the way it was, but changed the fabric to a more “watery” color and pattern. This version was an improvement over the original, but I wasn’t completely happy with the face I had created. She appeared a bit too caricature-ish to me, and was still quite spindly. I think that the fact that I can’t find an image of this version tells a bit about my satisfaction with her.
Mermaid Song needed another makeover, so I kept only her tail, hands, and the internal wire frame. I re-sculpted the rest of the art doll out of papier-mâché and paperclay. The surface color and her hair I created through tissue paper collage, and I also changed her proportions and positioning.
I am renaming this art doll sculpture 3rd Time Charm, and she now seems aptly titled.