This beautiful doll has been long in the making, it has taken me over two years to complete, with many tear outs, and several give ups. But finally I think she is done. She is a survivor and one cannot even imagine how strong she is, stronger even than one might give her credit for, she has survived the worst fires. I once heard that the only living thing to survive Hiroshima were the ginkgo trees at a Buddhist temple so the outside of her cloak is blackened ginkgo leaves, but the inside of her cloak is the stuff of life, leaves and spirals, and passionate purple flowers, the spiral a symbol of enduring life. And yet she is an homage to death, her belt is made of silver leaves and white skulls, and the skeleton of a dead fish. And as a nod to Kali the goddess of empowerment, of death and destruction, but also of time and change. The closure of her cloak is two daisies, side by side, right as they should have been. Her shirt is made of handspun yarn, a nod to her origins, her craft, her intellect, and her inner belt is made of a silk ribbon, a gift from one she holds most dear to her. Her necklace is the actual vertebrae, a symbol of having back bone, strength against adversity, great inner strength. She stands with her arms outstretched, here I am, as I am, with no apologies. Mouthless she does not speak, but she has eyes to see, and in the palms of her hands the eyes of wisdom, such as it is. In her hands she holds two talismans, with secret messages.
You have no idea how strong she is. You have no idea what she has endured. More than you can ever imagine, she was knocked off her feet, and struggled to regain them, knocked again and again by the crashing of the ocean waves, and yet here, she stands strong.
Doll Idea inspired by a discussion with a person who hates Obama enough to repost something she knows is a lie just because she doesn’t like him. I was thinking that the idea is that ignorance is dopey, stupid and sappy, but it only has that appearance, in truth that is the false front of ignorance, but that kind of ignorance which maliciously attacks another out of fear, hatred and anger is heartless and vicious and pernicious. But the ignorant person clinging to that notion is actually blind to what it really is.
I have been teaching an after school class and I am really enjoying it. I am working with a wide age range of children, making dolls. Two groups are making things that are more three dimensional and the last group is making, at least at this point, dolls that are flat, like paper dolls. The later group is a bunch of boys really only a couple girls, and I thought they would just hate paper doll making. but they seem to love it. They are little enough that they like action figures and Star Wars types of Lego dolls and so forth. Earlier this week we made clothespin dolls with fabric clothes, but then sticking with the paper theme, I decided to do popsicle stick dolls with this group. First we glued on the googley eyes and then after I had them draw faces on theirs. The next step was the hair and finally they made clothes and shoes out of scrapbooking paper. I let them choose whatever they wanted from three different books of patterned papers, showed them how to make a shirt, pants or a dress or skirt. I tried not to intervene much, wanting them to develop their own creative ideas. Sometimes they don’t just want you to make it for them, but also to tell them every single step how to go about it, as a practice I try not to guide them much, give them a problem thematically and then let them explore the materials and ideas on their own. The thing is this week some of the kids have really surprised me, the little guy who made a cowboy out of his clothespin, complete with a way cool felt hat! It was awesome, and this other guy who made a Luke Skywalker popsicle stick today, totally rocked!! I loved it! I was thinking of my daughter when I made this strawberry dress doll, but then gave it my hair. Then as I sat there I decided that I really wanted to make a pirate to go with it. Then I took a picture at the end of the day and sent it to my guy (the pirate of course). He totally liked it.
I think that teaching in the afterschool program with much smaller classes has been really good for me as a teacher. The big classes I have everyday are sometimes cumbersome, and I am unable to give children the individual attention I want to. I do circulate and sit with some kids, but not all. The messier activities are so much better served by small groupings of kids. And since I am not all that experienced with three dimensional stuff (am a painter or doodler by nature, and am only just in the last three years have I done much 3-D work) it is a safe environment for me to try out lessons and to perfect what works and doesn’t for the whole grade level. I love it. It is good money, but the best part of it, is the practical experience and freedom to step out of the confines of having to prove what a great teacher I am for the observer. The ironic thing is, I think the kids learn so much more!
Hi, my name is Booger, I was brought to life merely three days ago, the first word I uttered was not my name as most Fabric Americans do, but the words, raaahhhrrrrr wraaahhhrrrrr raahhhrraaaaarrrrrrrrrr. The very next day my new Flesh American companion decided to take me on an adventure. We traveled to a secret location in the Fingerlakes Region of New York to go on a Sasquatch hunting expedition. There was a rumor of a Sasquatch siting along the shores of this lake and it was time to do an investigation.
While I was riding on the console of the truck, I told my new buddy, the Pirate, that my name is Booger. To heck with the Princess of Art all she heard was me doing the Squatch call.
We actually ran into a couple and the man said he had seen prints along a marshy shoreline one time, so it looks like this lake is a good spot to do some Bigfoot Research. Looking forward to going back, but the humans said we would have to wait until it warms up. How on earth they manage without fur is anyone’s guess.
Last night while I was looking at Ed Hardy images, and then generally getting lost on the internet looking at tattoos in general and then apparently becoming an obsessed fangirl and looking for more deconstructed doll/pin-up images from NY Ink’s Megan Massacre, I realized that she is really the deconstructed doll/pin-up herself and so I started doing some sketches of her this morning. I tried for a while to make it look like her, but realized after a few failed attempts that the idea was the deconstructed doll, so I did a pretty good sketch. It has some issues and I will be trying it again at some point, but the idea for me right now is to be inspired and start putting stuff on paper and then sharing it. By the way this is not my usual subject matter at all, my art is usually very Raggedy Ann like, more in keeping with who I am. I am really digging the Goth Barbie Doll thing though, its freaking cool as hell. I want to deconstruct a Barbie, tattoo her and color her hair red and goth up her make-up. Dude, toy store? HA!!
I think I was inspired to get my first tattoo after watching several episodes of Miami Ink, this week while I road mile upon mile on the exercise bike, I started watching NY Ink I just love Megan Massacre’s deconstructed pin-ups. Now on the tattoo kick, it lead me to watch the movie Ed Hardy: Tattoo the World. I think becoming a tattoo artist would be very cool, I certainly have the hand for it, just maybe not the drawing skills. I started to think of what I might like to do for my next tattoo, saving money begins today. I wanted to get a Ganesh in the Mehndi style on my upper arm and shoulder, but I wanted him to be riding a deer and holding a cardinal in his hand. Then I saw some Ganesh tattoos and they are all so unelegant, so I thought maybe a tree of life in the Indian style, with tiny deer, elephants and birds in the branches. I couldn’t find anything I liked so I started sketching a tree of my own. It was not great, not really worthy of posting here, but as I was drawing the tree of life, this idea popped into my head.
For some reason her name had a very steam punk sound to it, even though the doll was kind of inspired by some lovely East African dolls I saw at a craft fair, and also inspired by my long running symbol of the Earth Goddess.
I believe she will be a doll too. It just looks like a doll begging to be made. I haven’t made any dolls since I made the pirate monkey zombie this summer for the Pirate, my awesome boyfriend. I think this one will have to be next. I have been exploring a bit with doll construction, and replaced the dead drill so now I can make stands and drill holes for the dowels. Lets see what I can come up with. New years resolution, make art every day!!
Finally after several weeks of not really making any worthy art I have started to get creative again. I have a friend who dresses up as a pirate for fun at pirate festivals and the Renaissance Fair. He recently bought this stuffed monkey to add to his costume (along with a cane toad purse which was very cool!!) He asked me if I would Zombi-fi the monkey for him. I wanted to get some ideas and inspiration, so I typed Zombie Pirate Monkey into Google and found there is a website by that same name, which is ridiculously funny to me. My friend asked me to do this and then, and then he actually took out a box of beads and said I could look through it. I found this to be a rather dangerous thing, I suppose trustworthiness does not pay on such occasions. He had some great skull beads and he also had some animal vertebrae, some stones riddled with tiny holes from one of my favorite places in the region called Chimney Bluffs. There were other lovely beads in the two boxes he had. He also had a bone that he said he thought was from a turtle. He is an avid hunter and fishes too, I wasn’t sure if he said he got the bone from one of his excursions or if a friend had given it to him.
Once I got the monkey back to my studio I started to look through my fabric. I love that time when you start to go through your fabric and you discover pieces you didn’t remember. So as I was looking for some fabric that would serve well for making the teeth I found some purple fabric with ghostly skulls running in a long line down the length of the fabric and made that into the scarf. I also had some fabric that is my least favorite color, brown, and it has pink skulls on it but the cross bones are knitting needles, a must buy the minute I saw it at Mission Rose in North Syracuse. I made that into the belt. My Mom was visiting and sewing at one table and I doing my hand sewing at another. She helped me sew a couple of items on the machine too. So the end result of a relatively normal looking stuffed monkey, with a hangman’s noose to hold it to The Pirate’s belt.