Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Evolution of a Doll, Creating Yourself

 Every day, I feel like I am creating myself. Who I am as a mother, as an artist, as a friend and partner and sister and daughter. Who I am as a thinker and a doer.

It's an evolution not unlike creating... art, crafts, food, novels, business plans, outfits, papers... whatever.


Like this here doll I made my daughter for Christmas.

Here she is, nothing but a sketched out pattern and some upcycled t-shirt material.  I took my scissors to it and cut away everything that she was not.

Leaving her with a basic, disassembled, empty shape.
 In this scene, my doll has been sewn up and filled with stuffing. I've begun to MAKE her, to take the ideas of her and put her into reality, give her form and shape. She's a doll now. Anyone could look at her and say, that's a doll. (Here she's sitting next to another gift, unformed, which turned out to be a pink kitty.)

You see the thing is, nothing we create will ever get to BE anything until we actually start, until we put it through that sewing machine, and take it all the way, see what happens with all that machinery and sharp pointy things and fears of what might go wrong or how the machine might break down (mine did) or how we might forget how to use the mighty machinery (I didn't) or maybe my doll might not look like what I wanted her to look like (she didn't really look like what I imagined at all, she became her own thing.) You just have to do it. Put yourself out there and say, YES, I will do this thing.

Once you have the basic shape of your doll, that's when you can start putting your personality into her. That's when you can start giving her the colors, trying out different ways of making her look. Here, I'm giving a go to see how the different colored felt pieces might make her look, trying out some placements for her cheeks and eyes and lips and hair. This was not the first combination I tried. I held up different colors, cut out many little circles, tried different shapes and sizes. And this was not the first time I'd made this kind of doll face, either, she is just another variation on work that I've already done.

 Here I have committed to my choices. I've gone and pinned them down. Made them real and permanent. There's no more changing my mind on the color of eyes or lips. Again, did she turn out like I thought she would? Not quite. But in the sewing, in the doing, she became her own thing, not just an idea, but a doll. This doll.
 Then I tried some of the stuff I'd never tried before. Always in the past, I'd made hair with yarn or embroidery floss, but this time I knew I wanted to try felt. How would it work? I didn't know. It was an experiment, something new to try, a risk. And I gave it a shot.

 Here she is with face and hair, after all my giving it a go and planning and making my ideas come real and trying out different variations and committing to my choices and stitching it all down and making it real.

She's a doll.
 I like her.

Originally, she was inspired by two things... the scrap fabric I had, aka brown t-shirt, and the vintage doll dress. I made the original pattern so that she would fit into this dress. After that, I allowed myself to be inspired by the various dolls I have seen and loved and by what I had already done with doll making. I mean, this is why you have a daughter, right? To make girly stuff for them?

It doesn't matter that she didn't like the yellow dress on this doll and made me make her a pink dress out of scrap fabric, right?  Or that she'll probably change the scrap pink dress, even though she designed it, and put her in a different vintage doll dress.

What matters is I went all the way in and trusted my abilities and my judgment and gave it a go. What matters is I took it to the end of the journey and didn't give up. What matters is I made it. I thought of it, dreamed it, planned it, trouble shot it, detailed it, put it all together and then put it out into the world, I mean, gave it to a five year old.

Make a doll. Make a craft. Make a painting. Make a novel. Make a home. Make a business. Make a life. Create yourself. Those things are not you, and yet, the making of them makes you.

What are you making?

1 comment:

dandelionlady said...

Awww, she's adorable! I made my girls birchbark mushroom houses for solstice. Love your blog, it's nice to be reading again.

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