Saturday, 1 November 2014

How to... Heads

The last few weeks I had a lot of questions on different platforms about how I attach the faces to the bodies of my dolls. This was always a very tricky part for me since fabric and clay are two very different materials. But this was also the reason why I was using these two materials, because you can do different things and transport a different feeling with both of them and marrying them in my work just felt like the right thing to do.

For a very long time (which is not that long, I have not worked on dolls that long yet) I was just glueing the dolls faces on. As you can see, in the time frame from Rodrik to Hedwig, the faces are a bit flat and they have ruffles around them to conceal the seam.
Only recently I overcame my fear to ruin a whole doll and tried a different system. Since I am not great when it comes to explaining how this works, I took some pictures while working on my latest dolls.

I always start with the dolls face, since I am arranging the rest of the pattern on how big it turns out in the end. When I start sculpting I always have a plan but nothing is set in stone so things and sizes can always change. When I am done with sculpting I add a ridge around where I want the fabric to start.

When the pattern is made and cut out, but before anything is sewn together, I assemble the parts that go around the head and tightly put a string around them. The string should slide into the ridge around the sides of the head. Sometimes I use glue before that but it is not always needed. This part in general is very tricky and I am still trying to optimize it for myself.

And this is how it should look from the front after everything is sewn together. The string in the back should sit tight and after stuffing the body there should be no way for it to fall off or get torn off. 

And this is it, stuffed and painted. The problem that this new way of adding the face brings is that there should be a similarity in the colours from the paintjob on the face and the fabric. There are no ruffles to conceal differences. Which is a challenge, especially when using a fabric with a pattern. It is a hard choice if you wan to add the fabric pattern or just match the colours of the fabric. This cat lady got parts of the pattern painted on its face. But Cordelia for example has no pattern on her face and I only tried to match the colours. 

I hope this post made the whole process a bit clearer. It is a bit hard to explain.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Tiny Wise Owl Papercraft

This papercraft is only half the size of the normal papercraft boxes. It is very simple but I loved working on it. The wise three-eyed owl perches on a branch, overlooking the world.

Friday, 26 September 2014

"Sacrifice" Papercraft

I love doing Papercrafts, but between university and my dolls there is just not much time for these. Often I have ideas and sketch them out to just forget about them again. I had this one planned for some time and finally found the time to prepare my workspace, which means getting rid of my sewing and sculpting stuff. This piece is still available in my shop.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Cordelia the Unicorn

This is Cordelia. Cordelia is a child of summer, born in the days of the first warm sunbeams. Sometimes the summer heat is too much for her and she hides in the depths of the woods, spending her time swimming in hidden lakes and looking for the perfect caves and crevices to build her home. Her horn is pure crystal and gold, giving her the ability to cleanse and heal the bodies and spirits of critters and plants living in the woods.

I did some things different for Cordelia, and I learned a lot of things. I am still not good at making patterns, the arms and feet always turn out way too slim. It is the same mistake I make with every doll, but one day I will learn! Her face is not simply glued on, which was a real challenge. And I changed her face halfway through but I really like how the crystal horn and the leaf gold accents turned out in the end. I fell in love with this little one, her colours and the lace-y cape and the beautiful fabric I used for her.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Hugo and Hedwig

"Hedwig, the Sower of Stars"

When the sun decides to settle Hedwig awakens in the depths of her cave. She and her sisters and brothers leave their home and start to place the stars while day turns to night. When the last ray of sunlight disappears behind the mountains, Hedwig is done with her work and enjoys the stars while training her whistling skills.

"Hugo, the Bringer of Spring"

Even before the last snow melts, Hugos work begins. He soars through the sky, dipped in moonlight, sprinkling the earth with seeds and dewdrops from his pouch. Even though one might not think of him as the sensitive type, given his grim exterior and sometimes grumpy behavior, he enjoys caring for the fragile seeds and plants and newly blossomed flowers.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Work in Progress Roundup

This week was filled with me trying to make a pattern for the unicorns body. I never learned how to do this and I am often having a hard time. It is much easier to think about something and sculpt it than sew it. But I will learn to do this perfectly over time. I learn with every mistake.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Work in Progress Roundup

This weeks roundup is rather sparse. There were some health issues and I did not get as much done as I wanted, but I finished this little lady bat (she already made an appearance on this blog) and started working on something a bit out of my comfort zone. It's going to be a unicorn but since I have a beautiful ornate fabric for its body I sculpted this filigree into its head and... it is different and I am not sure I know what I'm doing... or even like it... my last deer doll was kind of botched and I am a bit scared working on them now, but I have to get over myself. I love deer and I love drawing them. Time to learn doing deer dolls....

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The Bats

I am very fond of working on rabbits. I don't know why exactly but they always creep back into my work, as sketches, dolls or drawings. My childhood was filled with stories and fairytales with and about them. Since I worked on the black rabbit and Snowdrop for quite some time I had to force myself to do something else, something new to me.
So I came up with the rough sketch of a bat. The progress on this critter was very smooth, there were no problems with the materials and while I was working on him a whole story evolved in my head. These are my favourite critters, the ones that come to life while I work on them. The first bats name was Hugo and he was the Bringer of Spring. I had the idea for his profession while watching a documentary about pollinators.
The second bat found her way in my mind through the idea of a bat sowing seeds, having a little bag and all. So why not sow stars? She has sparkly stars on her black velvet wings and in her felted bag. I am still not sure about a name for her. Was toying around with Hedwig, since I like the sound and it would sound nice together with Hugo.

Here are some progress and detail pics of Hugo and Hedwig, all together in one post.

This was already pretty far in but one can still see the stages it went through, felting the paws, sewing the wings and so on...

Hugo and his flower crown... I really like that crown...

This picture is nice to see the general size of Hugo... I am not so good with taking selfies...

A nicer pic, not taken with my mobile phone. It is just too easy to take pics with your phone sometimes and not care about the quality...

I only recently had everything I needed to fill Hugos pouch.. Now he carries around a bag of seeds and a vial full of pollen...

The beginnings of the second bat. The choice of fur really came back to bite me in the ass later on. All the fluffy-ness made sewing the body very tedious...

I did not intend to make the second bat bigger than Hugo, but it still kind of happened. A size comparison between Hugo and the unfinished Hedwig.

The sculpted face before and after painting it. I was not sure where I was going with her colors. With Hugo I was pretty sure what to do and how I wanted him to look but Hedwig was a surprise when I had finished her. But I came to like the dark browns and blues I worked into her skin and fur...

Hedwigs felted pouch. It is embellished and filled with beads. I wanted the star theme to be very obvious. 

To go with the over all theme Hedwig has stars on the back of her wings as well. Thinking about her story gave me the idea that she could melt into the night sky to sow her stars, and not be seen by predators. And when she and her mates hang out in a cave at daytime you can see the night sky in the darkest corner of the cave...

She looks like such a classy lady.

Seems like I already got used to the name Hedwig. I like how she looks a bit like a grumpy victorian-era lady. Hedwig and Hugo will get their own post with story and nice pics and all, for now I just wanted to have a place to post all the progress and thoughts, so I don't forget anything...

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Work in Progress Roundup + Easterthemed Pics

With birthdays and holidays and the deadline for my taxidermy paper all falling into this week I am surprised I made progress at all. But here it is, the white bunny trophy only needs some varnish, as does the bats face. Then I can start to add the details to the bats body. The bunny got some sculpted fur, since I was not into the smooth look it initially. It was fun to try and sculpt fuzzy fur since I usually only add texture with a needle to the existing form. But it was very time consuming as well.

After sculpting the fur...

... and priming the surface.

The finished rabbit... I decided to add some lace but no ruffles...

The black bats face is rather dark and, like always, it is hard to take nice pictures of it...

And as an extra, since it is Easter Sunday today, here are some themed pics of Snowdrop and Hugo. 
Happy Easter!