Introducing Mitzi and Donette. Sophie helped with Mitzi, who is a cousin to Mimosa, and has brown eyes, red hair with gold highlights and red and white striped arms and legs with black boots, a la a sophisticated Raggedy Ann. She has a navy blue and white polka dot dress, tied in back with navy blue satin ribbons and a stiff, white petticoat, cut from the gigantic wedding petticoat from Goodwill. It was really hard to cut into that petticoat, because you never know when you might need one, especially one with a label that says "One Size Fits Most."
Mitzi was to have been the first of the Tomboy Dolls, but I couldn't resist giving her high-heeled, black boots instead of the more athletic look that the Tomboys will have. Mitzi also has a black back of the head, instead of orange, so you can see her scalp when she does cartwheels or hangs upside down from a tree. (You see, she's a tomboy anyway, as are all the dolls.) This is an example of one of those "flaws" that Erika mentioned, which all our handmade dolls have.
Last night, I finished Donette, who is Tonette's twin. I accidentally cut the legs shorter than intended and had to redo them. But now she is perfectly proportioned and all that is left is to finish the dress and make her petticoat.
People often ask how long it takes to make a doll. I have a hard time answering because, as you know if you've been following this blog, I make a doll in stages and sometimes work on several at once. So, while it may take seven or twelve hours for one doll, they actually are made over a period of days, weeks, months, or, as in the case of Donette, years!
Another reason it's so hard to determine the time is the decision-making process. Which face do I use, or shall I create a new one? Then, I pin the pattern on the fabric and cut out the head in one color and the back to match the hair color (unless I change my mind, as in the case of Mitzi).
Next, I transfer the drawing of the face to the fabric, then embroider the face, which takes about an hour. I love doing this because it looks like a painting. Donette's face was embroidered several years ago and took less time than usual because her features are more childlike. As she is a duplicate of Tonette, I wanted a different hairstyle for her and finally settled on the curly hair you see here. This style took several years of trial and error, but I love it! You'll be seeing it on more dolls soon, including Delphine, who is due for another "do." For now, here are some pictures of the latest dolls, and a couple of me, "blogging" at the Farmer's Market.
We would love to hear your thoughts on doll making, embroidery, things that you make, and art in general, so please send comments. Sophie and I hope to add a longer "Comment" page soon.
In the meantime, have a great week!
On January 24, 2012, Raphael and I went to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's preview
of "In Wonderland," an exhibit of surrealist women artists from Mexico and the U.S. which
includes several works by Frida Kahlo and friends. "In Wonderland" is a reference to Lewis Carroll's "Alice In Wonderland" and the introductory notes state that the works show a different perspective, as if these artists had been "down the rabbit hole," both in the sense of their personal lives and trauma that happened to them as children, as well as in the fact of their being women.
We arrived at 8:00 p.m. on a beautiful Thursday evening in L.A. where we met the friend who had invited us, Meg Hunt. (Nom de Plume alert!) After some wine, a delicious salad with walnuts and apples and a visit with our tablemates, two women who had driven up from Palos Verdes for the event, we ambled into the exhibit and each lost ourselves in the art, bumping into each other occasionally over the next hour. The show, which is part of the ongoing Pacific Standard Time series, consists of paintings, sculpture, photography, "constructs" and architecture. Not surprisingly, many of the works have dolls in them. There were lots of paintings of women, but no female nudes in the manner you might expect to see in paintings by male artists.
At ten, I found Raphael and Meg, whose feet were hurting as much as mine were, as we both
wore heels. [Meg and I, not Raphael!] On the way to the parking lot, we discussed our favorite works and artists from the show. It was liberating to see women depicted from a female point of view. I liked Frida Kahlo's wedding portrait with her husband at the time, Diego Rivera, where he is gigantic and she is tiny, and a painting by Dorothea Tanner, who looks strangely modern in a 1930's era self-portrait in black pants, sitting astride a stool, looking young, beautiful and powerful. There were too many works to adequately describe here, so I want to go back and delve into this exhibit in greater depth. I also want to explore the connection between Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" and some of these works. More on this soon!
Well, Veronica has thrown down the gauntlet. Again. First, I am to make a friend for Winifred. That's the easy part. But also, Vera tells me that Winifred wants a puppy. And it has to be a St. Bernard. And three-dimensional, with tee-shirt "fur." It's always a challenge, but I'll give it a try.
First, the dolls: Vera has already named this one "Cordelia," who will be a variation of Mimosa. [see pictures of Mimosa on the "dolls" page and in an earlier blog post, where she models Winifred's studio outfit.] Another doll, Hyacinth, a red-head, is named after a character in Mary Gaskell's 19th Century novel, "Wives and Daughters." [More on that next week.] These dolls will be the first in the "Tomboy" series. You can pictures of Cordelia, Hyacinth, Donette and Mitzi modeling their current hairstyles here. It's fun to imagine how to redesign their shoes, bodies and clothes to make them more tomboy-like. I'll be posting pictures as the dolls move from the drawing board, literally, through the creative process. And there's a new Raggedy Ann in the works, who'll have brown eyes and brown curls. [Wait till you see the new curly style!]
Liz [Nom de Plume alert!] and Malekai are working on some wire-framed dolls, Also, Liz
promised to send me one of her drawings for a new doll and I can't wait to get started!
It's going to be a busy year. Now, go see some art! Till next week….