Thursday, July 31, 2008

Daisy Doll

I mentioned my favourite fashion doll from the 70's a few posts back, the Daisy Doll by Mary Quant. I imagine everyone knows who Mary Quant is, but just in case... Quant was the hippest London fashion designer back in the swinging sixties and, I'm pretty sure, invented the Mini Skirt. Her logo was a simple 5 petal daisy and in the mid seventies she worked with a doll manufacturer in Hong Kong to launch her own dress-up doll with a fantastic range of funky fashions.

I think production continued into the 80's, but the classic Daisy look and most collectible clothes are from the 70's. I had one as a kid and she was my absolute favourite, she was a few inches shorter than Barbie with a much more fashionable figure and way better clothes. Barbie always had that top-heavy silicone breast implant thing going, which I never liked, even as a child. I wasn't keen on her big, vacant grin either. She always seemed a bit trailer trash, no matter how sparkly the gown. Daisy on the other hand had a whistful, enigmatic expression and such delicate features. And she was British!!! I was never keen on our other Brit doll, Sindy, because of her swelled head and stumpy limbs, but looking back now she seems kind of innocent and cute.

Here are some photos I took of my daisy collection a few hot summers ago. Proof that the sun does actually shine on Wales occasionally. Sadly the dolls are all gone now, I needed the money a few years back and auctioned them all on Ebay. I really wish I had hung onto them, but maybe will start collecting again, who knows.


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Sewing machine blues

Just what I need, the sewing machine is broken again. Well, I say "again" but it was never really fixed unless stitching about 3 inches fine before going berserk counts. It wouldn't be too bad if it hadn't cost so damn much to get it done in the first place. I seem jinxed as far as getting stuff finished to list in the Esty shop is concerned. It has to go back to the Sodding Singer Shop later, lord knows how long it will be gone this time.

I concentrated on doing the hair for the latest fairy doll last night, synthetic streaked blonde, with a lovely wild soft twisty cream yarn and fine silky twisted ribbon in creams and pale greens. I plaited two strands around her forehead to hide the synthetic hair seams and she looked really sweet. Sadly though, I had to glue on the ribbon & yarn threads and the glue-gun blobs kept poking through the fine layers of synthetic hair. Couldn't think of any way round it and so the whole lot had to come off. I always find that the crown of the head is the hardest part with this synthetic hair, so have decided to bypass that completely and give her a cute little felt pixie hat. That can all be hand stitched, then I can finish of 4 more Wilfs and photograph some bags I made a few weeks ago, then thats it, all I can do until the sewing machine is back.

Well, obviously this is the time to concentrate on the artwork!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Baldies

Things seem to be coming along really slowly at the moment. I have been taking a scattershot approach, working on lots of things simultaneously, everything is progressing but nothing is finished. Since things have quietened down on the freelance front I have also been catching up with friends, one of the best things about working from home is deciding to take the day off (tomorrow, for instance) and go into town for lunch and gossip. Too much work makes Jack a dull boy... no idea who he was but, it's true all the same.

Here is the next fairy nearing completion, she just needs her hair. Until recently I have always used lots of funky wools to make the hair, mohair gave my goth dolls a great mad backcombed look for instance. Earlier this year I bought a whole mixed bag of synthetic hair and really like the way it makes the dolls look. I don't want to get too reliant on it as it is more expensive than the wool. For this little fairy, I am hoping to do a mixture of synthetic strands and a wool that has satin ribbon twisted through it.

The other doll looks a bit Ronald McDonald at the moment, but it's early days. I've used this maroon curly wurly stuff on the polymer clay dolls before, to great effect (see the doll on the blog logo, for instance). I am hoping to get a Daisy Doll look (Mary Quant fashion doll from the '70's, my favourite, so funky in comparison with Barbie!) but only time will tell. I have been known to finish the hair on a doll then strip it all off and start again. So watch this space I guess.


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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Work in progress

Here is a pic of the finished fairy and behind her another one still needing to be dressed and wigged. I love their enormous feet, it seemed fun to give delicate little creatures big feet but think it's time for a change. The next dolls I make will all have much smaller feet, even the ones in boots.



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Below is the Pirate doll, he still needs a long waistcoat, possible a leather front and satin back, leather turn-ups for his boots, a tricorn hat... and of course - a sword! I'm still puzzling over how to make the sword, think it will be polymer clay. He will have to wait for that until I'm ready to bake another batch. I also need to model and bake a new set of limbs for 2 more polymer dance-hall fairies (similar to the one on the upper right corner picture). I modeled 3 new dolls a month or so ago, but the limbs came out all misshapen. I think I overwork the clay sometimes so it is practically liquid and it kind of flops just before it hardens in the oven. I was happily making clay dolls a few years back but this problem put me off for quite some time. I loved the dolls that I managed to make, but kept them for myself and thought the process too hit and miss to try and make them for sale. Then about a year ago I discovered the wonderful Spookbot dolls on Esty and was inspired to give it another go. I've tried not to complicate the shapes too much so I am not over handling the clay, that seems to be when it gets too fluid. I've put a link to the Spookbot dolls as they always make me smile and want to continue.



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Below are some faces that I've painted ready to be sewn up as dolls ready to stuff. I use artist's acrylics and wonderful glittery Pegeo fabric paints. I paint the faces flat then iron them to fix them and then sew them up. I started to make dolls without researching how other people approached it and realise now that a lot of doll makers make up and stuff a doll, leaving the face painting until last. Someone accused me of printing the faces, but this is how I get them so uniform. Up until early last year I was always experimenting with the faces, sometimes the eyes were buttons and features stitched on, but I wanted to make them more like the characters I was drawing and give them a subtle Manga/Blythe influenced look (the big eyes). I am happy with them now although I am starting to think about making some darker looking dolls, mine always look so innocent, even if they are little demons.



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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ongoing saga...

Back again finally. Have been unable to blog because of general computer eccentricity. Keys that do nothing when you hit them, etc... That was using my old back-from-the-dead eMac, certified a gonner prematurely a fortnight ago and now resuscitated. But like something from a gothic Victorian novel, it came back from the brink, kind of "altered". Nothing works right when it comes to mail or the internet, probably because it's got an older Operating System (Tiger?) and now most web browsers don't support it. Had to wait for Virgin to send me a new router so I could connect on my new shiny Mac Mini.

As I work in my bedroom and this new Mac has a remote control, I've sneakily realised that I will be able to check my email's from under the duvet of a cold winter's morning. How cool is that? Or warm in this case.

Back to the dolls - have been busy with design work all week so was really looking forward to the weekend and getting some more dolls finished for the Esty shop. Have finished a fairy, she's kind of cute. That's a bit of a problem for me to be honest. I prefer the darker, odder dolls and never feel really happy with the straight fairies. They work much better in polymer clay to my mind - the ones I've made so far have all look like slightly tarty Burlesque dancers just dressed up as fairies, which is more what I was aiming at. the rag dolls always look sweet and innocent, which is why I more often create "Spook Elves", naughty, dark and dangerous little winged mischief makers.

The 2 pirates are coming along slowly too. Slowly being the word, I tripped and twisted my ankle yesterday and so I am fighting pain-killer lethargy and hobbling round on a walking stick. That shouldn't cause too much trouble in theory, when I'm sat at a desk with everything I need around me but in reality there have been paint spillages and lots of things I've forgotten which are just out of reach. Chaos, my natural element. Will have to take pictures and post on here tomorrow

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The continuing adventures of...

Here we are again, another week another blog. My Mac died last weekend taking all my passwords with it to the grave and so I can't continue blogging at "Freaky Little Blog". This is now my 3rd attempt at keeping a blog going on this site, begining to think I'm jinxed!?!

My last entry was on the 1st of July and concerned the opening of my shop on esty (see the links opposite). Since then I have been snowed under with design work and haven't had time for the dolls. Within the first week of opening, though, I sold one of the 2 dolls I'd listed (Dotty Witch below) to a old friend of my Freaky Little Dolls. A big hello and Thank you to the lovely Witch Betty :o) xxx

There is no room for me to work at present, as the new apple Mac is on one desk, piled high with work folders and fabric samples for the freelance job, and the old mac - I'm typing away on it right now - it on the sewing table. I have managed to get the old faithful working again although I had to completely erase the hard-drive and lost a fair bit of work. I have no idea how much longer it will last for as it is still behaving eratically, and typically, the new wonder-machine is too new and advanced (with its Intel Processor, whoopi doo) for me to connect to the internet. Waiting on a new router. Included in the "gone forever" pile, unfortunately, is the Freaky Little Things mailing list... so if you were on it, or would like to be, convo me at the etsy shop and I will send out the next newsletter to you.

Think that's it for now. I know the etsy shop is a bit dull with just one doll, but within the week there will be more listings and I aim to list something new every week from August onward. I've got lots of stuff half made so that should all start to come together.

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