Friday, May 25, 2018

Sari Scrap Flower Child Fairy

Every artist has their default zone, the supplies and techniques they turn to when they don't know what to work on or where to start. Sometimes artists have the need to putter with supplies as therapy and make art that feels comfortable and familiar and makes them happy. Sometimes we want to stretch, to try something new, different or even scary. But sometimes we just want to putter and be in the happy, familiar place. And both the new places and the familiar ones are good and necessary.

For some people the default zone is journaling, for others it is splattering paint, or drawing, or collage. For me, the happy, puttery place is making paper dolls.

My worktable, covered with paints, ink, scissors and bags of doll parts.
Sometimes my puttering is not even doll making, it just finding scraps of leftover projects and cutting arms, legs and torsos. Sometimes it is cutting interesting faces or clothing from a fashion magazine that may later become doll parts. I often use a doll body template that is available from Retro Cafe Arts, an online craft supplier. I also collect images of vintage paper dolls from sources such as The Graphics Fairy.

I keep a bin of doll components, and within that bin, baggies of faces, wings, shoes, hats, tops, bottoms, legs, arms and unfinished dolls. When I feel the need to regroup and relax, it is very meditative to pull out the parts and give birth to a new doll.

On top, a baggie full of some favorite paper doll components, and below, the start of a doll.
As I rifle through the baggies of parts, I select the ones that--in that moment--really strike me. Next, I move them around and audition the parts until the doll begins to speak to me. 
The head, from a fashion magazine, was too small, the skirt too short, and shoes too big.

This head was a vintage photo reprint with strips of Jane Davenport washi tape.
This face looked good, but was unfinished.

I liked the arrangement above the best, but the face was incomplete. Her eyes, nose and mouth are strips of Jane Davenport's washi tape that were placed on watercolor paper. I sketched in the rest of her head and hair with a pencil, added a neck and shoulders, then used Derwent watercolor pencils to complete the face.

I thought about leaving the green background, but decided a square head would look weird, so I cut away the greenish background, leaving only the hair and shoulders.

Strips of Jane Davenport washi tape formed the center of the face.

I cut a half-circular slit in the neck so the torso could be inserted, then secured it with a mini brad.
A piece of orange silk sari scrap fabric made a wonderful skirt. I gathered it at the waist, pulled the strings until it was the right size, and tied it in the back. A little dab of gel medium was added to keep it in place.

Once the skirt was stitched on, I discovered a couple of tiny holes in the orange silk, so I added a magenta sequin and clear gem, hand-stitching them carefully to cover the holes.
A hole in the silk skirt was challenging to fix.

A sequin and a bead covered up the holes and matched the mood of the fabric.

Arms, legs and wings were auditioned, chosen, and attached with mini brads and the doll was nearly complete. The torso and legs I selected are made from florentine paper, available on Gwen's website. I used some cardstock underneath the paper for added strength. The arms have a combination of commercial scrapbook paper and fabric covered with recycled teabags.

The finishing touch was special accent chain that was part of a shipment of Turkmen Jewelry Parts. It made a perfect belt, and was hand-stitched in place.

Detail shot of the fairy doll on my worktable.
The wings were made from a butterfly stamp on watercolor paper, and little peach floral brads attaching the wings to the arm add charm and whimsy. Layers of Baked Texture Embossing Powder were added on top of the stamped butterfly image. Dots of gold fabric paint were placed on the wing edge for contrast.

With her pink hair, wings, and fluttering sari skirt, she is a magical fairy, evoking spirit of a1960s flower child--perhaps my own inner child!

If you want to purchase any of Gwen's fabulous supplies, now's the time! There is a sale going on; just use this coupon when you check out.


Gwen Lafleur said...

I love your paper dolls Linda, and this one is gorgeous! I think my favorite part is the belt you made from that chain. So cool!

sonja said...

love the gypsy fairy skirt !

ann barnes said...

I love your doll Linda and can only imagine what a special treat it is to pull out that bin and start the imagination flowing! Thanks so much for sharing this beauty, her skirt is amazing and that face turned out wonderful!

Kate Yetter said...

Gorgeous paper doll! I love how you have bags of body parts that you keep on hand for days when you need to relax. That totally made me chuckle. But that is certainly a great idea to make unique dolls. I love her Sari skirt!

Lynda Shoup said...

Love your use of that sari scrap for the skirt. I was particularly delighted to find that you had mended it. Fun to see your process.