Creating Beauty

As a child, I was frightened by a humongous Kissy doll. At 3, it was as big as I was and when you pulled it's hands together it made a smacking or a supposed kissing sound. I was sure it would get up and get me......making smacking sounds as it neared my bed.

Now I make dolls.....some are supposed to be scary, but most just reflect how I look at beauty. To me we have a very narrow view of what beauty is and is not. I have cerebral palsy and don't think I'm whining about it I'm not. I'm lucky my case is very mild compared to some people's. But you can pick me out as different, I walk awkwardly, but my arm and leg work correctly.....for someone with a partially paralyzed arm and leg.

I look like someone with CP is supposed to and in my way I'm attractive. I try to reflect alternative beauty in the dolls I create and so in some ways I'm still dealing with fear, but now it's not my own.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sewing Freeform Figures - Captured

The way I work can seem very involved. In this tutorial, I wanted
to share how I
made one of my favorite pieces, CAPTURED .

I've always loved the colors of the Egyptian Funerary Art and the textures and spiraling shapes in Gustave Klimt's work.

I've always done
sketches to
help me
plan my
but I have never let the drawings get too involved though. The fabrics and the sewing itself often dictated changes in the finished piece.

After I collected up different shades and textures of fabrics in the the Egyptian inspired colors , I chose the wires I wanted to use for the armatures.

I wanted the starfish to act as a base and it needed to hold the mermaid securely. Even though it was only 8 inches in diameter, I chose 14g galvanized steel wire for the basic framework because it was stiff enough to hold the shape I wanted. After making the basic shape, I wrapped the 14g with 22g wire.

This texturing of the armature made it easier to cover the wires with acrylic yarn. I used a buttonhole stitch for this step. The yarn covering made it easier to attach the strips of batting used to plump up the starfish's shape.

The mermaid may have been a smaller piece, but her construction was much more involved. The process was basically the same as the starfish, but I worked in layers on this figure. After setting up the armature, I covered her with batting and started sewing fabric on the tail.

Once I had a stable fabric base I used more pieces of batting to create breasts and the facial structure . More fabric was then whip stitched over top. On the head, the eyes were sewn on and the forehead, nose and chin were then shaped and sewn down.

On the torso, the breasts were formed by sewing batting around a marble and sewing it in place. Once they were covered with fabric, I continued the spiraling fabric shapes I started on the tail up the torso and over the breasts.

The final steps on the starfish were to secure the resin eye in
place, sew on an eyelid and embellish the entire surface with beads.

The mermaid's finishing touches were beading the hair and embellishing the torso with seed beads. Elastic trim was used to bind the mermaid in place.

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