Happy Halloween everyone!! My favorite holidays!
I've just finished decorating my front porch. I don't go crazy with lots of props and effects, but I spend some time & effort on my decorations (more than my neighbors do!) My neighborhood has lots of kids, and trick-or-treating goes from 6 to 9pm. -- I even dress up to pass out candy! I wear my Grave Digger/Vampire outfit, which I tweak and add to every year.
I'll try to take photos and post later.
Last weekend I took a class with polymer clay artist Joyce Cloutman from Austin TX (sorry, she doesn't have a website or blog).
She was teaching a mixed media doll, using polymer clay, plaster cloth, & paper clay! It was so good to spend an entire weekend just sculpting!!
Her class is called "Belle Donna". It's a lovely angel doll with a message of hope. Here's her class sample:
The face is made from Joyce's face mold, using polymer clay. The body is a beer bottle! That's what's covered in plaster cloth/bandages.
Well, Joyce is a wonderful artist, and her "Bella" doll is very sweet-------But, ..not my cup of tea.
I took the class because I've heard great things about Joyce, and wanted to make an entire sculpted doll (no real fabrics used). I tried to work around the cute Angel theme, and had planned a whole Byzantine-theme doll, which I would completely encrust with jewels and metal.
But, it didn't turn out that way. Here's an account of the journey I went on to "discover" the character I was to make:
First thing we did in class was start on the face. Joyce gave us her face molds, and we went to work on the head & face. After we pulled our face masks out of the mold, Joyce told us we could re-sculpt the face to what every we wanted.......
Well, as long as she gave me permission.....
So, I started aging her a bit. (Still not knowing who or what she would become). A witch? An old Crone? I knew I didn't want to make her evil -- I've sculpted that face many times, and wanted to do something different.
Could I sculpt an old, sympathetic face, but with a quality of mystery???
Here's what it turned into:
The face is about 1-1/2" tall. (the whole doll is 14" tall -- a smaller scale than I'm used to working.)
I love her profile! I gave her a hook nose and a small hump on her back -- she looks like a bird of prey!
Since we didn't have time to spend sculpting the hands, Joyce designed a simple "mitten" hand for us to make, so the character could hold something. We were told to bring a small trinket for our doll to hold. I didn't have a clue what that would be. After putting the head on the body, I started to "see" who this woman is.
She became a great Seer - a wise, old woman who can see deep into a person's soul. --An Oracle! So, of course, in her hands she needs to be holding a crystal, into which she can see her visions clearly.
Luckily, I had an old glass marble at home, which I brought to class the next day and added to the sculpture. So, it was this little "trinket" I needed to have that helped me define exactly who she was.
To Joyce's credit, see really encouraged me to follow my own direction, and not do "her doll". She was very pleased with my work, and was happy to see me take inspiration from her work and add to it, making an original work of art.
Here's the process: The head had an aluminum foil armature covered in polymer clay with a sculpted face added. The body is a glass beer bottle covered in plaster bandages (strips are wet with water to activated the plaster embedded in the cloth.) The neck & arms have wire armatures covered in foil, then more plaster bandages. Hands are polymer clay. The head & neck are "draped" in more plaster cloth. The body is decorated with cotton lace & trim, glued to the plaster body. Everything is painted with acyclic paints and "stained" with watered down paints.
Or, would that be "SteamPumpk-In"?? Anyway, I made 2 little steampunk/robot guys this week. I bought those little plastic candy cups that look like Jack-o-Lanterns (6 to a bag at Michael's). I added some wooden arms & legs (shaker pegs & spools - also from Michael's), and lots of steam punk gears & stuff (mostly Tim Holtz products).
After doing both, I decided I like the one with the shorter arms better. Since the little nut-cup didn't have a top to it, I improvised and used the top of a water bottle to finish his head.
I will be teaching how to make this guy at the "China Phoenix 2" stamp store in Albuquerque next month. (More info later when their site is updated).
Here's a photo of my WITCH PUPPETEER doll in progress. I've pinned her arms & head on, plus some extra trims:
The marionette characters are roughed out some more. Plus, I think she'll end up with tiny glasses. (The wood hand control & strings for the puppets will go on last.)
But, no time to finish her right now. I have to move on to my next project -- the "Treasures of the Gypsy" challenge. This year's theme is "Masquerade Ball". It's due at the end of Sept, (I think). Although I don't participate in the judged competition, I will send in a doll just for the exhibit at the Houston Quilt Festival.
Here's my idea: Goblin Masquerade. It's a take on that wonderful masquerade ball scene in "Labyrinth"-- where all the extravagantly elegant & decadent guests are wearing horrible goblin masks. Only, my idea is a horribly ugly Goblin wearing a elegant lady mask. (I love using the juxtaposition of beauty & ugly together in one piece.)
Here's a quick sketch of the basic concept:
This rough sketch tells me if my idea will work. Plus, I decide on the basic silhouette of the costume.
Then, I got my fabric from Gypsy Pamela. ---The challenge is to use fabric from the Treasures of the Gypsy to make a doll with.
I mixed her new fabric with the rest of my "Gypsy" stash of fabrics (I've collected fabrics & trims from the Treasures of the Gypsy for many years.) Armed with my chosen fabrics, I am able to make a finished sketch, rendering the colors & fabrics:
The dress will be green silk, with an underskirt of deep orange dupioni silk layered with a pale green lace embroidered with sequins. The border will be a wide trim of heavy gold lace embroidered with orange sequin flowers. Lots & lots of trim piled on, as well. The headdress will be based on the tiny peacock feather fan. (Besides fabric & trim, Treasures of the Gypsy also sells fabulous appliques, and wonderful miniature crowns, fans, and various tid-bits --all made in India by local craftsmen.)
After the dress colors are chosen, I could decide on the color of the Goblin lady's skin. I was thinking of an olive green skin, but changed it to a dirty beige/brown color, so it would stand out against the green dress.
I've been wanting to do a new "puppeteer" character ever since I made this Day of the Dead puppeteer 2 years ago:
I want to make a Halloween puppet show character. So, here's a quick sketch of the basic idea:
It's the same idea as before, only the puppeteer is a Witch, and the puppet show will have a Halloween theme.
Here's the basic body, with the hand-painted background for the "theater/skirt":
I painted this background with acrylic paint on a white canvas fabric & stitched it to the bottom half of the her body -- which is a basic "stump" doll (solid body, no legs) patterned to look like a wide skirt.
Here's the beginning of the 2 Halloween puppet characters (just wire & cardboard hot-glued together). I will be adding Paper Clay to these armatures to fill out the bodies.