Last night at our doll club UFO night I decided to experiment with heads. I took a profile drawing from the anatomy for artists book that I have and I reduced it so it was more 'doll size'.
Then I sliced it in half, made some modifications, and sewed it up. It always amazes me how fabric acts. How it can stretch, and stretch, and stretch. The head really elongated - and not vertically. My friends thought it looked like the creature from the Alien movie. Susan thought I should make a body for it. Not pretty. I knew it would be strange just from the size of the skull - but it was a fun experiment. After I made the Alien, I made another head for my Crash Test Daughter and today I sculpted it. It's okay and instead of making five dozen more I'll use it. I must have some idea stuck in my head regarding these little heads I've been creating lately but I have no clue what. I'm just not satisfied with anything. Sharon says I'm a perfectionist .. Shirley says something similar. Funny, I never see myself that way. I see the little things I don't do and hope no one notices.
I'm working on the head design for my Crash Test Daughter. I haven't got it to where the picture in my head is yet but it's getting close. Yesterday I made a head that was really wide and right when I was finishing stuffing it my husband came down to my studio. I complained that the head was too wide so he told me to sculpt it smaller.
"What?" I said "You can't sculpt a head smaller"
"Sure you can"
"Thread me a needle and I'll show you"
So he proceeded to sew from side to side and it sure did pull the sides of the head in. When he was done I asked what I was supposed to do with the huge dimples he'd created on the sides of the head.
'They're for ears"
You know you don't have to go far to get inspiration for art. If you've been reading my blog you know that one of my daughters got in a car accident - and that sparked the idea for the Crash Test Dummy doll. Well, same daughter got paid off by the insurance company - more money than the car was worth so she had extra after the loan was taken care of - and instead of using it towards buying another car she's spent it. So now the second doll in the Daughter series is going to be Money Burns. I think she will be standing looking into an empty wallet while a rain of red-hot coins fall unnoticed from her pockets to the ground.
I'm a little confused about how to scan fabric. Maybe I need to learn about my new scanner. I scanned some of the postcards I made on Friday and when the scan is at 100 percent it looks great and you can even see all the grain in the fabric.
But when I try to reduce the image it gets all these fuzzy lines on it that looks really strange. I have been told that when you scan images to post on the web you should scan them at a lower resolution - my scanner is doing it at 300 dps. I tried to reduce the resolution in Paint Shop Pro but it looked funny there plus it made the picture the size of a stamp. You can see below that it looks strange when it's reduced. Click on it to enlarge it and it looks fine. I don't want to learn software, I want to play instead! Pooh. Here's a postcard I made with this really fun fabric I found - it's called Drama Queens and it's like a comic strip.
I posted earlier about Susan's Bendi doll being in Art Doll Quarterly - what she missed was the Odd Doll page - the last page in the magazine. My very good dolly friend Sharon's Bendi dolls are there! She even has a credit on the table of contents - which I think she got more of a kick out of than the photo page! Guess when Susan and Sharon flipped through the magazine they both missed the last page. Another gal found it and told us. To think I know all this about the magazine and I've yet to see it, sheesh! But Susan's bringing her copy over for 'Sewing Sunday' ... so I only have to wait untill tomorrow ...
I've used this design before to make an 'I'm thinking of you' present. This little angel was made for a woman who is battling cancer. This is the second time I've made one of these angels for the same reason and I hope I don't have to make any more!
It's quick and easy to make up and can really be embellished if you want. I did the tulle fantasy fabric thing for her body - you know, put snips of threads on the base fabric, cover it with tulle and stitch it all down. When I do this now I use an embroidery hoop - it works much better than bunches of pins and holds everything nice and taut. Then the wings were free motion embroidered with a quasi-feather design. Did that in yellow so it would tie in with the body color. Her hair is just ribbons that I looped and sewed down to the head - easy and elegant. This angel could probably have some beaded dangles added to the underside of her arms - that would look cool. But I want to get it to the owner-to-be so I'm not going to do that this time. The tassel was made with funky fibers and ribbon. Finding charms with healing words is rather difficult. I finally found a charm that says Courage on one side and Hope on the other - it's hanging in the tassel. I found it in the scrapbooking section of a craft store. I'm afraid that she looks kind of worried rather than hopeful - but that's just my opinion!
You can find an online class for this angel at Di McDonald's website.
One of my friends who I sew with on Sundays called me today ... she was all excited ... her altered Bendi doll was one of 17 picked to be featured in the summer Art Doll Quarterly. It was fun to hear the happiness in her voice ... I had a big grin on my face as I listened to her. Guess the magazine hit the quilt store today and there it was ... sharing a page with another doll. It's a thrill to be published and I'm really happy for her! So look for Susan from Fairbanks' doll when you get your copy!
If I'm lucky my subscription copy will get here in about a month ... sigh.
One of the things I did today was make some scissor fobs - finally. I had bought the charms for these back in February - planning on making them as gifts. But as usual, they got forgotten - out of sight, out of mind!. They sell these things in the shops for $10 and up but you can make them yourself for about $1.50 and a little time.
They're really easy to make. I have these everywhere - on my scissors, on all my hemostats. They're fun to make - it will take you more time deciding what beads to use than it will making them. Plus they make great gifts! Hey - just remembered something .. I saw these in the clothing store being sold as hip hugger jewelry - the kids clip them to their belt loops - and they were EXPENSIVE! So - lots of reasons to make them, eh?
Update: Feb 2006. I taught an on-line class on how to make these. The class isn't up anymore but if you would like to purchase the instructions I used it is only $5.00. I will email you the class file - it is an Adobe PDF file.
Another post that has nothing to do with art! Oh no - is this a trend? I got a new dog recently - he was my daughter's dog but she decided she didn't like him so I inherited him. His name is Zach, he's a miniature American Eskimo dog, and he is six months old. He's a real sweetie but he's like having a real little boy! Saturday enough snow had melted to expose a tiny little square of grass - guess who found it! He came in the house with one entire side of his little body green. Puppy shampoo doesn't do squat for grass stains! Then today he got himself stuck under the generator while exploring the deep recesses of the garage so now he smells like fuel. A little green gas guy - jeez. Guess I know what I'm doing tomorrow (again!).
This September my club is supposed to be bringing Arley Berryhill up to teach costuming. I am soooo looking forward to it! I can't sew a costume from scratch to save my life! For the class we have to have a body already sewn to use as a mannequin. So the Dragon Ladies decided to get a head start on it!
I'm really impressed with the body so far ... I mean, look at it, it's still completely unstuffed and she has breasts! It's a really cool pattern. We really had to pay attention to what we were doing though as it takes careful sewing. Lots of pinning too in my case - the pieces looked like a porcupine got hold of them! In four hours we got the pattern cut out, the body cut out and sewn, and we got most of the legs/feet done. Not too bad for a snowy afternoon!
Okay - this is kind of silly but thought I'd do it anyway. Found this on Teri Springer's site ...
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don't search around and look for the coolest book you can find. Do what's actually next to you
I'm reading Black Wind, a Dirk Pitt novel, by Clive Cussler ... here's my sentence:
Always turning heads as it roared by, the vessel was an admired fixture on the Han River in and about Seoul.
Speaking of Clive Cussler .. guess the movie Sahara is based on one of his Dirk Pitt novels and I've been hearing really good reviews on it. I'll have to see if my girlfriend wants to go see it - as my husband doesn't do movies!
Happy Tax Day! This past Monday at doll club one of the gals gave a demo on wool felting. We took wool roving and using soap mixtures, window screen, and non-slip rubber matting created a cool looking piece of fabric. Here's mine.
Mine didn't get the wool fibers as compacted as it should but it's still usable. When I pull on it the fibers don't separate. This was a lot of fun and it was fairly easy to do. Didn't take long either. I think it took about half an hour to make this piece. My fingers looked like prunes when I was done though because it's a very tactile process. There's an article on how to do this in a recent Quilting Arts Magazine. The current issue has an article on how to embellish your felted piece of wool.
What we did was take the pieces of wool roving and separate it into long thin pieces. Then we put two layers of the roving down horizontally and another two layers of the wool roving vertically. Wet it with a 'wetting agent' that was a mix of pure soap and water. Then using the ends of your fingers you patted the water into the roving. After that we put the piece of window screen on top and put a thicker soap solution on top, and using the pads of our fingers made circles until little bits of roving showed through. Then we changed the direction of the piece and rubbed some more. By now it was supposed to be fairly compacted. Then we took the piece of rubber matting and rolled the piece up in it - did this a bunch of times - you change the direction of how the piece is laying inside it so it gets rolled in all directions. Hard to explain. Then we rinsed all the soap out - and you have a strong piece of fabric to play with!
I'll make a postcard with mine. I'll do this again as soon as I get some roving. Of course soon I'll need another room to store all this stuff in!
Today I went to a thrift shop and bought a Barbie sports car. I was hoping that my crash test daughter doll would fit it in - but - NOOOO - she's too big. She looks good sitting on the back of it though - if I changed her arm and hand position to the Princess Di wave she'd be all set! Maybe a ribbon across her chest too, 'Miss Airbag 2005". The name fits right now - she only has one boob sewn on ... okay.. it's late, what can I say? Change of subject!
I also joined some online swap group called Nervousness. I'm on 'newbie' status there.
Nervousness is a LMAO swap group. LMAO stands for something like Land Mail Art Object . Here's what they say about themselves: Nervousness.org is our online presence, where we try experiments in Land Mail (also known as Snail Mail), to see if we can find new ways for people to interact and communicate.
They seem to do all types of swaps and other projects too. Like this one teenager said he went to a bar mitzvah and got a plastic license plate with his name on it as a party favor. So he's going to mail it around to 6 people so they can alter it artistically. He'll get it back when they're done.
What's different about this group is that they rate you. You actually have to be nominated by someone and then seconded by someone else before you become a full member and can participate in all the activities. Then you get points or something for being a good player. To get nominated you have to post to the forums and do some 'newbie' swaps. There's one for the month of April that seemed pretty quick and easy - do 3 Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) and send them to the hostess in Canada. If you play nicely you'll get nominated. So at 11:30 tonight I started making ATCs. Got all three done too! Funny - because I had thought I'd put away my paper arts after a bad altered book round robin. I"m not that good of a paper artist but I'm pretty happy with at least one out of the three. I'll try to take a photo of them tomorrow.
Man, am I a glutton for punishment or what?
If you've been reading my blog you know that I have a lot of extra heads hanging around. A while ago I took the cap from a glue bottle and stuck it into the head opening of one of them. Kind of silly but fun!
Today I finished up the body design for the Crash Test figure. I still have to make another head as I was screwing around with needle sculpting and did some really strange things to it. I really like the pose though. In this photo she is holding some floral tape to simulate a steering wheel.
I think I'm going to use Sculpey or Fimo to make a steering wheel for her to hold. I'm also going to make a brake pedal and maybe a gas pedal out of clay too. The base is going to take some thought. I want the car seat and the pedals to be attached to the base. I had thought of making the seat out of Sculpey but I think I might be better off using fabric. Make a 'tuck and roll' type upholstery, using stiff cardboard or wood for the base. My husband's friend was over today and he wanted to know if I was going to paint her black and blue. Snicker. I think I might. Of course I'd have to add pink, purple, and green in there too!
Oh - the little brown pieces that are visible are bits of a wine cork -I finally got smart and capped the pins that are sticking out all over.
Well, she's done! Now I have to figure out what to do with her. This was the mermaid that I talked about earlier. The project from Margaret Ball's Embeadery book. Glad she's done so I can take her to doll club for show and tell tomorrow night.
Four of us made these mermaids. We're not sure what to do with them now. None of us wanted to make a necklace to hang her on as is shown in Margaret's book. Susan thought she'd make a great fridge magnet but I think not. I'll probably see about putting a pin back on her. I'm not big on wearing pins though - so she will probably be pinned to my design wall. My design wall doesn't have room for any designing anymore - it's covered with pin dolls, practice faces, and random other pieces of fabric art. I do have 4 quilt blocks that have been up there for a year. They were part of a mystery quilt by elinor peace bailey. Full of fairies and other fun things. One day I might finish it - but if not I might just finish the quilt blocks separately and give them to my nieces as gifts. It's a thought. What this has to do with the mermaid I have no idea.
On one of my email lists there has been a lot of talk about taking knitting needles on airplanes. Seems that it's kind of random as to whether you're allowed to take them on or not. I've flown twice recently and this is my experience with those weapons of mass destruction.
February - On a recent shopping expedition to another city my three friends and I all bought bamboo knitting needles and had started scarves. When we got to the airport we asked if we could take them on board. The lady at the check in counter asked if we had knitting on the needles or if they were empty. Seems that if you have some work in progress you are less threatening. So that's one trick to try ... load your needles and knit a few rows. I think the fact that they were bamboo and not metal helped too. Of course I had a wicked water buffalo horn in my carry on that would have made a bigger hole in someone that a knitting needle would but they didn't blink an eye at that either.
Then a week later I flew to California and I took my knitting again. I put it in a clear plastic bag and made sure I had some work started. They didn't bother me at all.
Moral of the story? Who knows? It's all arbitrary. But actually having knitting on the needles seems to help. Maybe the security screeners relate knitting to little old ladies sitting on porches, serenely clicking away. They just didn't know granny had a shotgun by the door and moonshine in her teacup!
Well, this really isn't fiber related but in a way it could be. On Tuesday our road was cleared of hard packed snow by a contractor for our road service area. Unfortunately the contractor didn't clear the snow to the shoulder of the road and I have a 5 foot wide berm of hard pack in front of my mailbox. The road service commissioner isn't being very helpful and we don't have a way to clear away the ton of snow ourselves.
Now this really bothered me because I'm totally anal about getting mail lately as I'm in a fabric postcard swap plus I'm the hostess of an ATC swap and everyone is mailing their ATCs to me this week. Yesterday I didn't get any mail because the mail lady couldn't reach the box. Total freak out. What to do, what to do?
One cardboard box, three dowel rods, lots of duct tape, and, voila, I have a mailbox extension! Can you say 'redneck mailbox'? The mail lady left me a note saying she thought it was cute. At least it worked! My mail today had one fabric postcard and two packages of ATCs. Big sigh of relief. Until it gets windy!
So today I've been working on refining my own design for a doll I want to make for my 18 year old daughter. She was in an auto accident a couple of weeks ago and she decided it was a major event in her life. She totaled her car, got horrible bruises from the air bag but she walked away from it, thank goodness . She took pictures of everything, including her bruises, took souvenirs from the accident site and is keeping it all in a keepsake box. The figure is going to be seated, holding a steering wheel, with one foot extended to the brake, and it will have a surprised look on it's face. This is what I've done so far.
I'm pretty happy with the proportions overall. I've made the bottom really flat so it can sit easily. I might make the arms a tad bit wider but other than that the basic design is good. Next up is modifying the boot - the boot/foot is too long and I'm not thrilled with the shape. Made another one - just the boot part - no reason to make a whole leg but it's still not right. So it's out with the In Style magazine to see if I can find a good silhouette of a boot. If not - a sandal with a foot in it will be a good reference. It's been fun making this today. I started with arms from another doll I designed and modified the body from it too. The legs I had to draw from scratch though. Only made one leg - why waste material on two until one is designed the way I like it. Didn't wire the fingers yet either so they look a bit strange. I'll pull the stuffing out and do the arms when the design is finalized. She'll get boobs applied later too. What do you think?.
Whoo hoo .. I'm just totally excited .. my husband's laughing at me because I keep grinning. Today's mail brought happiness! I received my advance copy of Patti Culea's new book and my doll is on page 88. It's been a long wait but this book is worth it! All the dolls are fantastic and the face painting instructions are clear and concise. I just love the doll books that have lots of artists' dolls in them - so inspirational! Anyhow - I hadn't been allowed to share any pictures of my doll due to the publisher's rules but I think it's okay now. So here's the doll that's in the book. Her name is Miralys - the Halibut Queen. Her tail reminded me of the shape of a halibut, hence her name. Hope you like her!