Monday, October 10, 2011

The Problem Of Joints

No, I don't mean sleazy bars, the kind some people smoke or the arthritic ones that some of us are plagued by...........I mean the problem of creating joints in dolls.
There is no doubt that any form of jointing in a doll is a bit of a compromise - you usually have to sacrifice some of the sculptural purity of your piece to achieve that joint mobility.
Of course, you can completely avoid the problem by completely avoiding any form of jointing, but it could be argued that a fixed figure is more a piece a sculpture than a doll ("doll" to many people implies a degree of interactivity and it is hard to interact with a rigid piece of sculpture, but that is an argument for another day. Suffice it to say that some things occupy a space somewhere between "doll" and "sculpture".)

Fixed figure - is it a doll?

You can create successful joints quite simply by sewing hinges into your fabric limbs like this:

Simple hinge joints - dolls can be very posable

Sometimes I like to create dolls with disc jointed hips and thread jointed shoulders:

And neck joints:

Sometimes I experiment with knee joints, which require a bit of forethought to be successfully executed in fabric.

Cloth knees

Some people are complete masters of the jointing problem - I'm thinking of those patient people who spend months making a BJD (ball jointed doll) with up to fifteen joints all strung together with elastic for total posability.....I'm in awe of that prodigious achievement! Maybe when I have a lot of spare time I might have a go at making one myself!


merrijane said...

Hi Susie,

Is there any reason that the arms can't be disc jointed the same as the legs, the way they do with teddy bears?

I know what you mean about being in awe of BJD makers. In that regard, I only have two words - Marina Bychkova. One of her dolls sold on Ebay earlier in the year for $40,000 USD !

peggy aplSEEDS said...

i am already in awe of your dolls so i guess those BJD makers must out of this world!

Cody Goodin said...

Thank you for such an appropoe subject. I have been thinking on how to make my pieces jointed so that I can pose them. In my current project several characters need to be re positioned for various scenes. I am thinking of using a method that stop motion animators use. With a pose able rigid metal skeleton.

Susie McMahon said...

Thanks guys. Merrijane, I have done disc jointed shoulders in the past, but it really limits the arm motion to up and down in one plane - I like a more mobile and flexible shoulder joint - more like how a shoulder really works. That's why I do a thread joint. It's very strong with upholstery thread.
I've seen dolls by Marina Bychkova - very nice, but I think the $40 000 price tag is a bit OTT!

merrijane said...

Thanks Susie. You've answered a question, I've often wondered about.

Tina Eudora said...

I have always loved the simple methods for most things....when I have to struggle through a project it loses some of the magic for me.
You are so talented though Susie and each of your dolls are such masterpieces both artistically and in their mechanics, it is always a pleasure to see what you are working on!
Enjoy your day...
Tina xo

Healing Woman said...

Even though I will probably never make a jointed doll, at least not in this lifetime, I did enjoy seeing the pictures of the ones you have created. You have a lot of patience with your dolls and they are over the top fabulous!

softearthart said...

Wonderful dolls, cheers Marie

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