WITCH CRAFTS

WITCH CRAFTS

Thursday, January 21, 2021

GOTHIC BEAUTY

 Hi All,

Well, it's been a while since I've posted. It's almost the end of January, and that means starting on the Halloween dolls for Roger's Garden.

Here's a candlestick doll, titled "Gothic Beauty".




She's about 24 inches tall. She wears a magnificent bat wing headdress in sequins and crystals, highlighted by a small bird skull in the center (a real pigeon skull).


I dressed her all in black with silver/crystal accents, with spots of red.



This was my inspiration-- she's an Edward Gorey character from the opening credits of "Masterpiece Mystery" on PBS. 

I start off with a basic torso, arms, & head in a cream-colored deer suede fabric. The pattern is straight and symmetrical, so after it's stuffed, I twist, pinch, and bend the body, neck, arms, & wrists in a pose I like. I stitch little darts to hold the pose.


Starting with the torso, I chose a black velvet and sequin fabric, with black beaded trim for a belt. That stitch at the top of the neck is holding the wire armature "spine" that's inside the torso.


The arms and hands are almost finished, including beaded bracelets, rings, & painted fingernails; before I attach them to the torso. I put chenille stems (pipe cleaners) in the fingers to pose the hands.


The almost finished torso, complete with a dramatic cut-velvet stole ending in beaded tassels, with some necklaces and a rhinestone choker.


I needle-sculpt the head and color it before I stitch it to the neck. (I haven't added the false eyelashes yet.) I use colored pencils, pastel chalk, gel pens, and acrylic paint to color the face.


Adding rhinestone trim to the sequin "wings". The headdress is made of thin cardboard, with wire glued to the top edges. After all the trim is stitched on, I cover the back with felt. When it's all finished, I stitch & glue it to the head.


Adding sequins to the lace & ribbon collar that has been gathered to fit around the neck.



I hope everyone had a good New Years. I hope 2021 will be a better year for all!

-Arley



Sunday, November 29, 2020

AN OPERA DOLL

 Hi All,

Sorry about not posting for a while. I was taking a break after Halloween.

I've finished a new (non-witch) doll, "Carmen". She is the lead character in the opera of the same name. She is all cloth, with a clay sculpted face mask. I haven't done this style of doll in a very long time, so it took me over a month to complete.



She's a much larger doll than I usually do -- about 28 inches tall. "Carmen" is a Spanish gypsy in the opera. She flirts with all the men and causes a solder to fall in love with her (much to his demise). In the opera, Carmen goes to a bullfight, then meets (and flirts with) the matador in a bar after the fight. It's traditional that Carmen dresses in the style of a matador's outfit for this scene.




I made the face by first sewing and stuffing a basic cloth head without details. I had to create a hole in the front of the cloth head for the open mouth with some needle-sculpting. I then covered the cloth head with plastic wrap and draped an 1/8 inch layer of paper-clay over the face area for the base of the mask. Once the clay had dried, I was able to remove the clay and now had a base for the face details. I continued sculpting the face off the cloth head.



As you can see, I used lots of reference photos to help me sculpt a face that looks like it's singing. I inserted glass doll eyes from the back of the mask. (You can hardly see the eyes, as I glued several false eyelashes on the eyelids.) 



Once the mask was finished, I glued it to the cloth head. I added more clay to the edges to blend into the cloth head. I used acrylic paint (matching the base color to the fabric) and pastel chalk to color the face.

I sculped the teeth separately out of polymer clay. I did this so I could paint the inside of the mouth first, before gluing in the teeth.

Meanwhile, I started working on the body. It's  a "stump" doll, with no legs (why bother making legs, feet & shoes if a long skirt covers it all?) I wanted her to lean to the side & back slightly, while cocking her head to the side. I felt she needed to have at least one hand on her hip. I stitched a body that started out symmetrical, but was able to changed the pose by hand-stitching darts at the knees, waist, & neck to achieve the pose I wanted. There's a thick armature wire running down the center of her body (like a "spine") that helps hold the pose and supports the head.


When designing the costume, I purposely made an outfit that was way "over the top" and as glitzy as possible, as I wanted it to look like an "Opera Costume" (not something a real gypsy peasant girl would wear). This woman is a very famous opera DIVA, and she insists on looking glamourous in every role she performs.



She wears a full skirt with ruffles with a small train. She has a black sequin corset with gold embroidery on the front (two appliques stacked together stitched to the front). Tied over the skirt is a velvet and lame' shawl with several rows of beaded fringe. On top, she wears a red velvet bolero jacket with black lace jeweled appliques. The shoulders are adorned with epaulets made from two half-circle be-jeweled appliques trimmed with black beaded "dingle-ball" fringe.






The hair is a doll wig I re-styled. Getting those spit curls was a real challenge. I finally cut the locks off the wig and styled them separately (using LOTS of hairspray) and glued them directly to the face to keep them in place. That's a real Spanish-style comb in her hair, covered with a lace and sequin veil/mantilla.


And, as a final flair, I made a black lace fan she flourishes by her head while trying to hit the high note.








Have fun, be safe, and wear a mask! (It won't be forever.)

-A.B.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

DAY OF THE DEAD

Hi All!

I've been making some "Dia de los Muertos" (Day of the Dead) dolls. 

This is a piece I call "Teatro de los Muertos" (Theater of the Dead):

It's a re-make of a doll I made many years ago. This was a commission piece a client requested.

This piece is all cloth, except for the skeleton figures, which are sculpted from paper clay. The sign on her dress reads, "La Guerra entre el Bien y el Mal" ("The War between Good and Evil"), which is the name of the puppet play she is presenting.

The clay skeleton puppets are attached to the base and to the skirt (by a rod) -- the strings are just decorative.

Here's a work-in-progress shot.


And, here are 2 Dia de los Muertos cloth busts. 

I like making these busts -they are so colorful!


As you can see, I liked the floral cloth I used for the dress of the "Theater" piece so much that I used it again for these busts.



Dia de los Muertos is celebrated November 1 & 2. It's a holiday that started in Mexico, but now is celebrated in Central & South America, and some parts of the U.S. It's a 2-day festival celebrating loved ones who have passed on. Privately, people make "offrendas" (a shrine of offerings) to their family members who have died. Publicly, people gather in cemeteries, parks and march in parades to celebrate.  

Because it's comes the day after Halloween, many Americans confuse the holiday, thinking it's a Mexican version of Halloween, and (because of all the skeletons) supposed to be scary. 

Dia de los Muertos is not scary or spooky. Instead of mourning the loss of loved ones, it's a time celebrate their lives. 

Friday, September 18, 2020

NEW WITCH -- "HARVEST HOE-DOWN"

 Hi all!

This is a DANCING witch! I call her "HARVEST HOE-DOWN.



She is for sale on my Etsy site (here)  SOLD



She's about 22 inches tall. She's balanced on one leg and glued to a wooden base.


She's decked out in fall colors (I even stitched fall maple leaves to her dress) with a green petticoat and bloomers.

The face is cloth and is needle-sculpted. I used acrylic paint for the eyes and lips, with colored pencils and chalk for shading. Her eyes have eye lashes.


The hat is full of fall foliage, including some small pumpkins!


Making the body was a challenge, as she has to stand on one leg. There's a heavy wire armature inside that goes from the neck down through the standing leg and into the base.




I like how her boots turned out. I patterned the cloth feet in the shape of the shoe, and then covered it in cotton, leather, and spandex.



I'm also listing the VOODOO QUEEN, which I wrote about in a previous post.


Have Fun, and wear a mask -- it won't be forever!