Tuesday, October 25, 2011

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

 I've finished Rowan, the witch doll.  She was almost done when I abandoned her for other projects.  Then I noticed her again and felt a little guilty, so I made her some shoes,  mounted her on a wooden block, then finished painting and sealing her.  She is holding a little ghost poppet, who looks a little tired.

Another cloth and clay doll in the Izannah Walker style is also being neglected.  All she really needs is clothes.  Her head and body are done, face and hands painted and crackled, but choosing fabrics for her clothing stalled her progress.

Inspired by Akira Blount (my favorite doll maker), I've been working in cloth for the last four or five days.  Long days, too, as the process (learning, making mistakes, etc.) is relatively slow.  Pulled out my Susanna Oroyan books and have been giving them a great deal of attention.    Ordered a DVD by Akira Blount and found even more enthusiasm for cloth dolls and needle sculpting.

There are four dolls in various stages of progress.  I plan to handle all of the heads differently, but have gotten one head through all the stages except for doing something about the baldness.  She has a light coat of paper clay over the cloth.  The other heads be finished differently without paper clay, as I experiment with various methods, including a "skin" of gauze.

I've made quite a few patterns lately for the stump dolls, the Izannah style dolls, the Bitter & Boo twins.  Now, I've made dozens more for these newer dolls.  The arms...too big, too small.  Try again.  Hands too big.  Try again.  And again.  Shape of the heads, shape of the torsos.  Keep trying.  I've discarded a lot of versions and am still not happy with what I've got, but I'm getting closer.

  Haven't even decided about legs yet.  And clothing and hair,hats, or head dressings of some kind.

The pattern I made for the neck needs changes.  I liked the way Cindee Moyer made the neck part of the torso, but all of the above have separate heads, necks, and torsos that have to be sewn together.  All of the heads and necks have been sewn together, but I still have two heads/necks left to attach to torsos.  They are all pinned and waiting.

  I'm reading The Tin Ticket:The Heroic Journey of Australia's Convict Women and discovering the horrors of the poor in Scotland during the early 1800's and the unbelievably dreadful conditions that existed in the factories where children as young as five were put to work for 12-18 hour days.  The book follows the lives of four of these women who, for the crime of poverty alone in many cases, were shipped off to Australia where they were imprisoned in another factory.  

I have to take it in small doses because what happened in the "civilized" world during the 1800's is so sad and shocking, but the book is fascinating, and I know will be ultimately triumphant because the descendants of these women have been interviewed.  The book was sent to me as an ARC and will be released Nov. 1.

Enough of this, there is housework, laundry, and grocery shopping to be done.  Have a great day!


  1. My, my you are a patient woman! That video/story is so interesting! I could see why you have to take it in small doses.

  2. It is slow going when you have to invent at every step. I often get bogged down with that part of the process too. So, I know how you feel.

  3. Love your witch doll! I have that same green hair on Monday mornings!

    I'm reading "Then she found me" which is a bit slow and I really am not enjoying but want to finish anyway. I may have to find this book when it comes out. It sounds compelling and would make a good addition to the school library.

  4. Nancy - I'm not usually patient, but sometimes there isn't any choice.

    The Tin Ticket documents such an interesting period.

    Debra - This part of the process tests my grey matter! :)

    Mary - I'm glad you like little Rowan. Thanks, Mary.

    I think there is a movie of Then She Found me, but I haven't seen it or read the book. Like you, I often need to finish a book whether or not I'm really enjoying it or not.

  5. Rowan is awesome!!! I love her!!

  6. Love her hair-great texture. You keep so busy, I need to find time to read again~one of my loves but I have to confess I love fiction more than anything. Especially a good mystery! Cute card-hope y'all enjoy Halloween, it's supposed to get pretty chilly!!

  7. Suesue-- I was expection to wake up to cooler temperatures this morning, but the front isn't here yet.

    In August, temps in the mid 80's would seem like a cold front, but in late Oct., it feels like an extended summer.

    I love fiction and mysteries, too. They tend to be the majority of what I read. :)



    Sara Dane

    Book by Catherine Gaskin

    A girl unjustly transported to Australia for theft in the late 18th century marries an English settler. Based in part on the life of Mary Reibey. Google Books

    Published: 1954

    Author: Catherine Gaskin


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