Thursday, July 29, 2010

Traveling Doll Project: Simone

Simone was my last Traveling Doll Project doll to work on with the Art Dolls Only artists. I joined a small group of three artists, and we exchanged three dolls, working on each one before we passed them around. Eventually each doll has returned to the person who started it. Here's the Traveling Doll Project Blog (Simone's up there on the front page right now but I'm sure there will be others soon). You can see more abut the 28 artists who participated, and follow the journeys of each doll there.

Simone started off in Texas, and her first journey was a car trip to Iowa with Waxela. You can read about it here and see some photos of her beginnings. She then visited Nicole from Mealy Monster Land in New York state (read about it here).  Her third and final stop before returning home to Iowa was Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Simone's Arrival
She came as a roaring twenties gal, who enjoyed spent her best times dancing, traveling, smoking, and enjoying her existence. Life had given her a few gray hairs and some wrinkles, but she still kept her smile - was it cheer or cynicism?

She was set up in her spot on my desk, and she waited. And waited. And waited. She was very patient.  Finally, I woke up in the middle of one night and knew what she needed.

Simone practices flying
Feathers! From flapper gal to a woman in flight. Not to escape, but to soar beyond her limitations. She had a certain crow-like quality to begin with, and it came out in full force. Black feathers flow from her sleeves and a crow hat made of clay sits on her head. She can take on anything now!

Simone - full view
Through her sheer skirt you can see Nicole's yellow slip; Waxela's wonderful purple and red sandals peek out from underneath some fringe.

A crow is painted on her shoulder (and she has a crow tattoo on her ankle if she cares to lift her skirt a bit). A crow is defined as a "black bird having a raucous call" and the term is often used in a derogatory way toward women. They are sometimes seen as a liaison between life and death. But crows are really fascinating and intelligent creatures who have learned to live and thrive among us humans under all sorts of different circumstances.

I read this book not long ago. The author, Lyanda Lynn Haupt, studid the crows in her Seattle neighborhood. Haupt weaves her own observations together with myth, science, and history about the birds. So Simone became a crow of sorts, clothed in shades of black with her crow beak shadowing her forehead. Is she on her way to a costume party? Or is she going to climb to the top of a tree and build a nest, foraging for trinkets in your back yard before soaring off toward the clouds?

Simone and Peregrina
Before leaving New Mexico, Simone posed for a portrait with Peregrina, who also made the trip visiting each of the artists.

It was a wonderful collaboration, and a joy to work with Waxela and Nicole on the project. It was really invigorating and challenging to work with dolls made by other artists, and fascinating to see how they developed through their travels.

Looking forward to next year! – Melody

Friday, July 16, 2010

Time and Space in Wonderland

The sense of time and space in Wonderland is quite discombobulated. The rabbit keeps running past looking at his stopwatch, Alice grows and shrinks, and logic is thrown out the window.

Alice grows and grows while inside a house, and her arm went out the window and her foot went up the chimney. I was always fascinated with this image. What if Alice had actually popped out of the house? What if she never got smaller - would she have to walk around as a huge person wearing a house?

Here's my Alice in Wonderland doll, made in conjunction with the Art Dolls Only Wonderland Challenge.

She's made with paperclay, cloth, wood, mixed media, and painted with acrylics. She's about nine inches tall (sitting).

I was rummaging through my ribbon collection, came across this wonderful gold tassel-type trim and decided it would make perfect Alice hair. It kind of hangs in her eyes as her head tilts quizzically.

The silhouette of the rabbit is painted on her, surrounded by little watch parts.

The little wooden house with a porch was built by my husband.

She's listed and available for sale in my Etsy shop

And I must brag just a little bit -- the main reason I didn't finish my Wonderland doll in time was that I was trying to get the Art Dolls website up and running!  It was launched yesterday, and ADO members are now adding their info so that it will be a great resource for the group and for art doll aficionados everywhere.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Wonderland still in progress...

Still working on the Wonderland doll.... Sculpted, sanded, buffed. Started painting. Still lots to go!  Check back for more...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wonderland Challenge - in progress

Well, I'm supposed to be finished with my Wonderland doll today. But for various reasons (one of which is that I've been obsessively working on the brand new and fabulous Art Dolls Only web site), she's not done yet. But she's a work in progress. 
 Remember when Alice grew and grew inside the house and almost popped through -- well, what if she had actually popped through the roof?  Here's a drawing I made on a paper tablecloth at a pizza parlor the other day. (This gives you an idea of how pressed for time I can be.)  My daughter thought she should have a feather in her hair - don't know if that will make it to the actual piece. 

The Alice in Wonderland theme seemed to fit in well with my House Doll concept, so I'm making one of those. She'll be somewhat similar to my last House Doll

Here is how the piece looked earlier. I've done more sculpting since then. And I hope to have her done very soon - so please check back.

Last year's challenge was my introduction to the Art Dolls Only group and the realization that there were a wonderful group of artists out there that had some of the same interests that I do. Since then, I joined the group and have made more dolls (though not quite as many as I would like to).

Please visit the Art Dolls Only blog for a list of the other participants in this challenge!