Sunday, January 16, 2011

My History of Doll-making

I remember making dolls when I was a child. My mother made simple doll bodies out of fabric scraps which I would color and add features to with magic markers. And then there was the time I tried to construct dolls with various types of nut shells (pistachio, hazelnut) and scotch tape. They weren't the prettiest dolls, they fell apart often, but I made them and to me (and my fourth grade teacher), they were special. Quite a few years passed before I considered making dolls again.

My mother-in-law gave me my first issue of Stampington & Co.'s Art Doll Quarterly two years ago for a Christmas gift. I was hooked, I was obsessed, I wished Michael's was open on Christmas so I could purchase and start playing with these new materials explained in the pages of ADQ right away!

For two years I have been experimenting with dolls. I have made a series of hand-sewn angel dolls. I have made some large cloth and clay dolls who still haven't told me what hair style they would like to wear! I have made a doll out of a beer bottle.

I have been experimenting, searching, discovering, and exploring several doll styles that interest me the most. And finally, I fell into a very happy creative groove! Miss Sophia Maria came to be...she makes me smile from ear to ear! And so with this in-depth introduction, I give you Miss Sophia Maria:

Miss Sophia Maria is 11.5 inches long and 5 inches wide from elbow to elbow. She is hand-sculpted with Creative Paper Clay over a 12 gauge wire armature and a 1.5 inch styrofoam ball. Her arms are sculpted over 18 gauge wire while her legs are sculpted over the 12 gauge wire. Her limbs are attached with looped and twisted wire (which is the most challenging part for me at this time.) I then gessoed, painted her with acrylic paint, and sealed her with satin varnish. I like the slightly gritty look, so I typically don't sand my dolls.

My favorite part is next! I have a stash of fabrics that I have collected from flea markets, craft stores, thrift stores, and friends. I don't use patterns to design my doll's clothes. Instead, I pick out the fabrics I want to work with and then I hand sew them directly to the doll. I use superglue to attach accessories like her hat.

Finally I make her accessories to match her dress. A necklace and bracelet made of glass beads, as well as a little heart-shaped purse complete her outfit. I secured her purse directly to her so that she is always properly accessorized and ready for the town.

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