Tag Archives: dolls

Once more unto the breach

 

DeriDolls William Shakespeare

DeriDolls William Shakespeare

Today is the sort of traditionally celebrated Shakespeare’s birthday. We don’t know the exact date. We know he was baptized on the 26th of April 1564, and that he died on the 23rd of April 1616. I’m not sure when it became a tradition to celebrate his birthday on the day of his death.

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Filed under Books, Crafts, Historical Facts and Trivia

A Few Features

Shannon of Abstract Lucidity very kindly nominated me for a creative blogger award. While honored, I’m not sure how that sort of thing works so far as the tagging others or who to tell, etc. So instead of nabbing others, I’m just going to use it as an excuse to mention a few favorite crafty blogs. I also have to apologize, I’ve been having trouble getting links to work and while they’re back I’m still having issues getting images to show. Sorry, you’ll have to click the links, but they’re worth it, promise! Just beware, you might get sucked in for hours…

 

I’m not supper active in blogging, and some of these people aren’t either, so they might not be updated as often as you hope. But they’re all worth a visit when you want some inspiration.

 

Deri made the fantastic Tut I showed off last week. She has a way with tiny details (and I mean *tiny*) and distilling intense historical research into a deceptive simplicity. She seems utterly fearless about tackling difficult places and times for inspiration. She’s probably best known for her brilliant, mad, and sometimes morbid series of Tudor dolls. (Deri’s also a lot of fun to mess with when it comes to giving her more doll ideas than she can sanely cope with…)

 

Rhissana is always so nice, patiently sharing and explaining doll and general crafting tips. She’s recently got me looking at too many cheap things to play with on ebay… (fair warning, they might start showing up on here…) Her dolls have amazing, delicate details both in their bodies and costuming. She’s also upcycling royalty-Queen of the dollar store steampunk and Duchess of Kitchen Drawer (and everything but the Sink) magic. Beware, if you click, you’ll never look at yard sales or spray paint the same way ever again. And you’ll want to try everything.

 

The first doll artist I started watching was Cynthia. Like the others, I first found her on deviantart and she is wonderful about sharing her knowledge and joy of dollmaking. One of my first entries showcases two of her autumn themed dolls and their fantastic photosessions. She always gives them the best props to play with. It makes me wonder, do you need the right garden and library before you can adopt them? I love the gentleness in her doll’s faces and the delicacy of their wings. (Okay, and envy it too. Those wings, *sigh*) She’s done some wonderful character adaptations.

 

One funny thing, I hadn’t thought about it until I was typing this up, both Cynthia and Rhissana have done variants on Alice in Wonderland. Both adorable and such different takes. So here’s Tea Party Alice and Miss R. White and her Alice Doll! For another set of contrasts The Little Prince has been ‘translated’ by both Cynthia and Deri. So it seems like I’ve a bit of a theme of artists who like to play with cultural touchstones! 

 

Chris is a polymer clay artist with an ancient (scavenger’s) soul…. Her works have the most amazing textures I’ve seen in clay-you want to pet them through the screen. And I love how she uses upcycled elements and turns them into treasures. It’ll make you want to run to the craft store and clear out the shelves. Her work has such a natural growth feel that makes it look so easy. If only!

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Filed under Crafts

Through the Looking Glass Invite

I’ve had my dolls in the Wesleyan Potters annual juried show for the past few years, but this is the first that some of my jewelry will be joining them at the exhibit and sale. I’m really excited. (And perhaps a little terrified, I hope it goes well and they make a good impression!)

It opens this Friday. To my great regret I will not be able to attend their little mid-morning champagne to-do, but consider yourselves invited if anyone is in the area!

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Filed under Crafts

On stories, spelling, and 1001 nights…

“The Sultan Shakriar, convinced of the falsehood and inconstancy of all women, had sworn an oath to put to death each of his wives after the first night. However, the Sultana Sheherazade saved her life by arousing his interest in the tales that she told him during 1001 nights. Driven by his curiosity, the Sultan postponed her execution from day to day, and at last abandoned his sanguinary design. Sheherazade told many miraculous stories to the Sultan. For her tales she borrowed verses from the poets and words from folk-songs combining fairy-tales with adventures.” from Rimsky-Korsakov’s preface to his Sheherazade score.

My friend Jenny convinced me to enter a doll in the Eastern States Exposition this year. (After two years of trying and me wimping out.) I decided to enter one of my fairytale inspired dolls, and opted for Sheherazade.  She has (possibly too) many friends. It started with the blue one, entirely Disney’s fault, that blue=genie. Then came the mix of modern comic artists and Victorian illustrators, and I had to do a multicolored rush of them, and a Sheherazade to tell the tales. She ended up taking a red ribbon at the show, so once the holidays are a distant memory I’ve got to start plotting how to get a blue one next year. (To at least color match Jenny’s many fiber ribbons. She even spun the red highlights in Sheheradade’s hair; how many dolls get custom highlights?!)

Color and shape-wise I was first influenced by the vibrancy of P. Craig Russell’s  work in the story Ramadan. (This is a story in the amazing Neil Gaiman’s  Sandman.) Then I saw the work by Mark Buckingham and Daniel Vozzo in the series Fables, not as striking as Russell’s but great movement and hints of detail. (Disclaimer: Yes, I’m a bit of a geek. These are both wonderful comics/graphic novels steeped in art, history, literature, philosophy, and the liberal arts in general and seasoned with complex story arcs and an off sense of humor.)

I like using the more brilliant colors of modern influences in my dolls, but really want to catch a hint of the delicacy of the Victorian/Edwardian illustrators.  For example, the gentleness of the fabrics in Dulac’s Sheherazade.  I also want to figure out how to make her curled Turkish slippers.

I will guiltily admit that I’ve only read the Burton translation of 1001 Nights and that only in pieces. I find a distressing number of the characters really annoying. Sinbad especially. He goes on an adventure, everyone dies but him, he marries and becomes wealthy, then gets bored and goes on an adventure and everyone dies…rinse and repeat. You’d think he’d learn…

I’d heard that a conductor I liked was going to be working with our local symphony, and how two of the pieces were interpretations of the 1001 Nights. So of course I had to go. They played Ravel’s song cycle based on three poems, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s suite , both called Sheherazade. I enjoyed them both, though I’ll confess that I’d like Ravel’s cycle better without the poems!

*note on spelling* Sheherazade and Scheherazade are two different anglicized varients of Shahrazad. It’s a Persian name that means ‘person of the city.’ I tend to use the one without the ‘c’ just because that’s what I’ve run across, like these two music pieces. Apparently with the ‘c’ is more common among certain translations, and is the one microsoft prefers.

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Filed under Art, Books, Crafts

Boo!

 

Halloween is my favorite holiday. Candy, costumes, and creativity running amuck with bats, owls, ghosts and stories it’s a winning combination!

I never really get to celebrate it with as much drama as I’d like, but I love living in New England and getting to watch the remnants of fall leaves drift by the decorations that people make. It’s also fun to ogle the outfits and the treats.

I’m not much of a costumer, I’ve a few iffy renfaire type costumes under my belt and some somewhat better Harry Potter costumes. (I work in a bookstore, it’s an occupational hazard!) So I drool over other people’s costumes and channel my costuming urge into my dolls. Besides, face painting seems more worth the time when it’s permanent 😉Here’s one of my dolls. Obviously going Halloweeny black widow, though her mask is inspired by a broken venetian one I’ve been trying to repair. I’m pretty proud of her, even though it’s a fairly simple outfit. I really want to make a mask like that for myself someday if I can’t fix the broken one.

I lucked out in running across a really inspirational doll artisan through deviantart awhile back. For a miniature Halloween parade of charm and whimsy and art, go admire the Fairies’ Nest .

She’s a wonderful artist, and always seems to be so inspired by fall and Halloween. I adore everything about her dolls really, but what seems to stand out the most to me is how wonderful and open the faces are. And how stunning the details she works into the wings.

An All Hallow's Eve FaeOkay, and I love the way she displays her dolls. Their little accessories add so much personality. Take the details on Jinx’s grinning jack-o-lantern. And look at the book Clarissa and her daemon are posed against.

Her dolls are great examples of how projects don’t have to be dark or creepy to be perfect for Halloween. Sweetness works as well!

It’s not that she can’t do scary, some of her pieces are spooky, but ever her spooky is charming.

Since we’re likely to run across a surfeit of vampires this season, a poem from Charles Baudelaire seems an appropriate close for this time of year. (From a 1936 translation by George Dillon)

The Vampire

Thou who abruptly as a knife
Didst come into my heart; thou who,
A demon horde into my life,
Didst enter, wildly dancing, through

The doorways of my sense unlatched
To make my spirit thy domain —
Harlot to whom I am attached
As convicts to the ball and chain,

As gamblers to the wheel’s bright spell,
As drunkards to their raging thirst,
As corpses to their worms — accurst
Be thou! Oh, be thou damned to hell!

I have entreated the swift sword
To strike, that I at once be freed;
The poisoned phial I have implored
To plot with me a ruthless deed.

Alas! the phial and the blade
Do cry aloud and laugh at me:
“Thou art not worthy of our aid;
Thou art not worthy to be free.

“Though one of us should be the tool
To save thee from thy wretched fate,
Thy kisses would resuscitate
The body of thy vampire, fool!”

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Filed under Crafts, Poetry