Monday, 30 May 2016

Steampunk Mechanic

A while ago (well many months ago) a good friend asked me to make him a Ferrari Mechanic in the "Steampunk" style.  I was up for the challenge.  My friend is a car aficionado and especially loves Ferrari.  He owns one and has a room that is dedicated to his love of this Italian jewel.

When he asked me to make him a doll that would compliment his collection of Ferrari memorabilia, I started thinking of steampunk and mechanical bits that could be used in a doll!  My biggest challenge was keeping the doll to under 14".  I spent a great deal of time looking at photos of Ferrari for inspiration.  As luck would have it, while in Toronto visiting my family, I found a Ferrari car model in red that would be perfect in my piece!

Once I returned to Victoria in May, I assembled my materials and forged ahead (well I did travel for a workshop before I actually started, but this doll was in my thoughts).

I am very happy with Francesco (the new Ferrari Steampunk Mechanic) and he stands only 12" tall!  He wears a medium blue mechanic's outfit that is complimented with steampunk fabric.  Under his jacket he has a fine Italian Merino sweater and an Italian wool vest.  He sports a brown leather pouch and a black felt cap that has the "Ferrari" prancing horse symbol, of course.  He also wears a steampunk magnifier to help him catch fine details in his work.  His boots are black and brown faux leather with steampunk gears:

A close up of his face (I used doe suede for the doll as it is easy to work with and has a natural "olive" tint that would be ideal for this Italian stallion):
A side view with a good look at his funky hair and his special steampunked eye piece magnifier.  His ball cap is felt with stitching in the Italian flag colours:

 The back of this piece shows the mechanics jacket with "Ferrari" spelled out on his back:
Notice that I covered the platform with "Tim Holtz" steampunk fabric.  I used "Sobo" glue to attach the fabric to the base.  I used "Scrabble" game tiles to spell out "FERRARI" on the base:

 Francesco has a leather pouch around his waist to carry additional tools of the trade.  He is holding gears and his boots are also festooned with metal gears!
 I found great metal tools and tool buttons to decorate his jacket.
I hope my friend enjoys his piece and I hope Francesco enjoys his new home among the Ferrari books and Ferrari models!

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Kate Church Part II

Last week was great as I shared a fabulous beach house with 5 other ladies and was able to take lessons all week from Kate Church with delicious lunches and snacks provided!  Who could ask for more?

This week I finished all three dolls that we started in class.  The first I call "Midnight Rider", a young lad who is finding his adventures while travelling on the back of a crow!

We used polymer clay for the figure and made a cloth crow with clay beak, tail, claws, hat and eyes.  I love this wee fellow.  Unlike last year's workshop, Kate was showing us how to create a younger figure.  I think I achieved the goal!

The second figure is based on a bunny.  I used an embroidered pillowcase for the bunny and tried to make an even smaller younger face for the rider.  I call this piece "Beach Bunnies (on Kye Beach".  Kye Beach in Comox is where our rental beach house was located.  We loved it and had fun walking on the beach at low tide looking for treasures.  I used some of my beach treasures to decorate the base of this bunny piece.  The wee bunny that the figure is holding is made in cloth from the white portion of the same pillowcase from which the bunny is made.  

The stands for the following two pieces were made by Peter, a fantastic woodworker and friend.

Once again, I was very pleased with the entire effect:

Finally, the third and final piece is based on a rider on a horse or pony.  I chose a striped upholstery fabric for the pony, as I loved the colours.  Once again the pony has clay eyes, hoofs and hat while the rider has all clay features except the body and clothing.  This piece measures about 13" in height and is the tallest of the three.  I added the most embellishments on this piece and I am happy with the result.  I call this piece, "My Painted Pony" for obvious reasons:

The saddle blanket and stand features are all in wool felt.
So, do I have a favourite of the three pieces?  I cannot decide as I like all of them for different reasons.  I love the crow because of the sweet face of the rider and the mystery that crows provide.  I love the bunny because the embroidered fabric worked so well and the rider is also sweet.  Finally I love the Pony because I was able to use the most colour and fun embellishments!

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Kate Church Workshop

I have just returned home from a fabulous, creative week of sculpting with Kate Church at the Blue Moon Winery in Courtenay, British Columbia.  This time around, instead of staying in a motel, six of us rented a beach house on Kye Bay in Comox.  The house and view were beyond words: (here is a view from our deck)  This area of the Bay is a Heron feeding ground and every day at low tide herons can be seen standing in the low water and sand banks staring intently at the water, searching for food.

A view from our living room up to the second floor.

Every morning our resident bald eagle flew over the water and back up to his perch in the pine tree behind the house overlooking the beach.  Need I say more!  The house was perfect and the views unbelievable (my photo does not begin to capture the magic).

Our gazebo and fire pit where we roasted marshmallows,  hot dogs and made smores!
This class of Kate's involved choosing to make an animal figure (raven, horse, or rabbit) in cloth and then adding clay features using polymer clay.  The animal has a wee clay rider on top.

Here are some candid photos of the week with my fellow artists (10 of us in total) learning from the master, Kate Church:

Preemie clay in translucent, white and ecru ready to condition:

 Some wee heads ready to bake:

 Colouring with Panpastels, a new colouring medium to try:

Kate's demo on making a wee hoof for the horse:

This is Kate's raven and rider in progress.

Kate's horse and rider in progress.

A preview of our dolls in progress:

Three bunnies frolicking and waiting for their riders

Ponies in progress
Stay tuned for more photos and close ups of my pieces as I finish them.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Art Doll Quarterly

I am so excited to share the news.  I was just published in "Art Doll Quarterly", the May/June/July 2016 issue.  My doll "Little Red Riding Hood" was chosen and can be found on page 103 of the "show and tell" section of this great magazine.

The story of how Little Red became  "Big Red", the town mayor is included in the article!

Art Doll Quarterly is a premiere magazine for art doll enthusiasts and makers.  It is chock full of inspirational articles and photos of dolls from artists from all over the world.  I would encourage everyone to have a look at this magazine if you have not done so previously.