Our Lady of the Stars

I have a fondness for reliquaries.  A highly decorated container for relics.  Sounds wonderful, so Ive decided to create my own saints and objects worthy of worship.  Although I’m not a religious person I love the theatre and imagery that comes with old European religion.   This is my first shrine, ‘Our lady of the Stars’.  Sculpted with the fabulous Das air drying clay and moulded onto a canvas board. Then painted with acrylic paints.  Finished off with gold paste, no reliquary is complete without a little gold bling!

She has now been sold and has arrived in the USA safely.  She is to hang in my client’s studio as her muse…isn’t that lovely?!

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Mrs Miniver

I didn’t intend to create a Mrs Miniver she just happened! She looked very 1940’s so Greer Garson from Mrs Miniver came to mind. Her arms had to be adjusted but finally I was happy with her. Now off across the Atlantic to her new lovely owner.

Little head Lulu

In between endless hospital visits for myself and my Father I have just about managed to complete another little head.  Lulu is her name (Louise Brooks comes to mind) and she’s now listed for sale in my shop.  New doll Mrs Miniver is a work in progress still as her arms were too freakishly long (chimp comes to mind).  More pics of her to follow even though she has already been sold.

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Nancy Complete

Nancy is complete and I’m pleased with how she turned out. The hand tied joints worked out okay and I’m looking forward to making another doll asap!  She’s off to be with a lovely American lady who has bought other dolls from me before. Nancy won’t be lonely.

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Nancy
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Handmade linen skirt
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New joints

Nancy

My new art doll Nancy.  A work in progress that I’m enjoying very much.  Hopefully she will be in my shop later on today.

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Nancy
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Little red shoes and pink heart.
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Tied joints using thread.

Head mess

For the last week I have struggled with my work.  Ive had the need to be incredibly creative but somehow I think Ive tried too hard as what I want to do just isn’t materialising.  This may or may not make sense to you.  My brain has been fizzy, this is the only way I can describe it. I feel the need to change but after doing art dolls for three years now I’m a bit set in my ways.

Break through yesterday with a new doll (i just can’t break away from them!).  Made with air drying clay which I love for its non shrinkage and smooth appearance.  Photos show the current state of play.

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Blythe

Blythe started off as a fuller figured doll and I had in mind to create a middle aged 1940’s character.  Brogues, tweed skirt, that particular forties style of hair but she went her own way and turned into a rather pretty young thing with bright floral dress.  I get such a buzz from the way they sort of develop into what they want to be.  My lovely American friend Sue from Instagram bought her before I had even finished her dress.  Mauve netting was added to her underskirt as Sue is rather partial to ballerina netting (i’ll always make an exception for Sue!).  I also ditched the black pen in the detailing.  Its automatic as thats my illustration style but i ran out of pens! Couldn’t be bothered to wait till my next art shop trip so I used my paints instead. I rather like it and it got a good reaction on Instagram too.IMG_7185IMG_7186IMG_7187IMG_7188IMG_7189IMG_7190IMG_7192

The illustrated lady

The illustrated lady was a little jump into illustrating again.  I enjoy details so now I’ve started painting all of my dolls with a white gesso background it makes an ideal base for pen illustrating.  She has a lot going on front and back!  It will give her future buyer lots to look at!  The fox on the front is an important animal to me.  I find them a very mystical animal. They feature a lot in my illustration work.  The people represented on her legs are imagined ancestors that are watching over. Foliage, flowers and hearts are intwined.   I added a little bit of subtle colour, coloured pencil.  I don’t usually colour my black and white illustrations but this seemed  appropriate for the lady.  She hasn’t got a name yet…I’ll leave that to the new owner. For sale now in my Big Cartel Shop x

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The illustrated lady
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Her charms – bird, hearts and flower
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A cap decorated with flowers
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Boots and socks
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the illustrated lady
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Foxy top

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Working rhythms

Rhythm

1.a strong, regular repeated pattern of movement or sound.
“Ruth listened to the rhythm of his breathing”
synonyms: pattern, flow, tempo, regular features, recurrent nature
“part of the normal rhythm of daily life”
2.the measured flow of words and phrases in verse or prose as determined by the relation of long and short or stressed and unstressed syllables.
“the rhythm, pattern, and cadence of words”
synonyms: metre, measure, pattern, stress, accent, pulse, time, flow, cadence
“poetic features such as rhythm, rhyme, and alliteration”

How true the old saying of, ‘practice makes perfect’. When I first started making paper clay dolls way back in 2015 it seemed such a long making process.  I could literately spend weeks on one doll.  Nowadays I have developed a rhythm (see above the description – “part of the normal rhythm of life”,  I like that!). The basics of a doll – wire frame, tin foil bulk then paper clay moulded on can take me less than a day.  Since discovering I can oven dry the clay instead of air drying has made my life even easier, especially as it tends to make the end result a more smoother finish saving me horrible sanding sessions.  This has made me love making them even more as Im always eager to start on the next one as soon as the last has left.  If someone had told me at Art College 35 years ago that I would end up doing this I would have laughed!

My ambition is to make more dolls but maybe with a different form. I am keen to do some dolls without using fabric for skirts just using the paper clay to mould the shape and then hand decorate.  My current one is underway and she will hopefully be full of hand drawn detail on the hat and torso.  Here are a few pics of her so far.