Sunday, February 13, 2011

Mavis Ready for Mardi Gras

Say hello to Mavis.  She started out as a bunner, then a pirate, and now she's a dancing skellie.  I have been looking at her armature for several months now, wanting her to be a pirate.  But she wasn't going for that.  I had her and her friends out in the open so I could constantly see them and they taunted me.  Only, not as pirates.  I didn't have a clue as to what they wanted to be, so I left them alone.  I knew not to put them away because I have a very good habit of keeping things safe and not being able to find them again.

Her body is needle felted.  See the previous post.  Her finges have pipe cleaners in them so she can hold her maracas.  Her eyes are felted, her nose and mouth are embroidered.  She's got such a sweet smile.  Her sandals are also needle felted.

I almost went crazy with the beading.  Almost.  She also has a beaded bracelet on.  I did add more earring gear.

She is the first doll I've made showing movement and I love it.  Thanks to a wire armature.

She is at the Hampton House Gallery, getting ready for her debut at the Small Art, Big Heart art show & sale.  Part of the proceeds benefit the AIDS Care Service.  This is my third year participating.  So far, all dolls have sold from that show.

I've learned something working on Mavis.  Besides waiting until the last minute to finish her.  For many, many moons now, I've worked on cloth dolls.  I really like them but it's time to move on.  To expand my creative horizons and see what else I've got.  I knew I wanted to do more 3D pieces and started my experimentations.

I have done porcelain before and I love the final result, it's just at this point in my life, I don't have the room to do it.  I've carved wood pieces and I don't have what's needed to keep my tools sharpened.  Polymer clay has a beautiful look to it.  Very flesh like but again, I don't have a separate oven for baking, and I don't care how safe they say it is, I don't like the smell.  I haven't totally given up on it but in the scheme of things, it's not high on the list.  I have also tried air dry clays.  Several types.  Even though it's messy, it can be painted, sanded, drilled, and whatever you want to do with it.  I have found several places for instruction and help.

For right now it's needle felting.  Not so quick, but relaxing in a strange sort of way.  The up and down motion of felting can be soothing and you can always get some frustration out on the wool.  I'm still learning how to manuever the medium and so far I like my results.  There are artists who make dolls completely out of wool, which is cool.  I, am a costumer.  The body is a place to put stuff.  It's still cotton, but that will change soon to some silk, satin, and other fancy material.

My flat cloth dolls were easy to dress.  Most would be sitting propped up or hang on a wall, so I really didn't have to pay too much attention to the back.  Once I started making things more 3D, I had to consider the other side.  It started when I made Koji, and then the Bunners.  It wasn't until I made Mavis that it hit me.

The basic forms are totally different.  From flat cloth to round neelde felted.  It was a little scary at first, but I continued and got a kick out of it.  I had to rethink how I was going to do a basic shirt.  The underpants needed more room in the seat.  Pieces had to be cut bigger to go around.  It was a challenge, my head even started to hurt a bit because I was using another part of my gray matter.  I do believe my brain has grown a bit because of this one simple exercise.

I am looking forward to Mavis' friends coming to life.  They are quite excited too.  Breakthroughs are awesome.  I hope you have some too.


Kim said...

what a great post Wendy. I love this doll. LOVE her. In fact, I secretly wish I could dress this way in real life- bright colors and beautiful flowing lines. Alas, I've never been good at fashion and I'm a bit of a chicken about it. I love how much detail you've put into Mavis- she will sell for sure. If it had been me, it would have been hard to let her go! I'm excited to see where your art will be going- you are such an inspiration to me. I need to get back to learning again too. First my health though- I get overwhelmed so easily :)

RockinBobbin said...

I've only just stumbled upon your far I really enjoy it! It's not only great reading, but I am new to the art of needle felting, so I hear you about using "gray matter"! I look forward to my own breakthroughs and reading more posts.
Keep it up - Mavis Rocks!!!!

Wendy Luane Barber said...

Thanks RockinBobbin. Welcome to my party.

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