Friday, October 9, 2020

Galah Baby?

 I've just completed this "galah baby" in recent days - another foray into oil painting heads. Why galah baby? Well, that's not her real name - she doesn't have one yet, but I've always loved galahs for their wonderful colouration and, well, their galahness. So the colour choices I made in the dressing of this new child.........soft greys and muted pinky mauves just reminded me of galahs, hence the "working title".

She's wearing a smocked grey cotton dress and knits from angora yarn that was gifted to me a while back. The doll has a jointed cloth body with a one-of-a-kind head sculpted from air-dry clay. To this I added a cloth covering, treated it with a special sizing mixture and then painted it with oil paints. There is a certain luminosity which comes from oil paint that you simply can't replicate with acrylics. I also like the fact that you can push the paint around for a long time before it dries. This doll also has painted hair.

I stained the muslin body with thinned-down acrylic paint mixed to match the head colour and there is a bit of blushing on the knees, hands and feet. The neck has a flange joint and it is attached to the body in such a way that it has side-to-side movement.

Here are a few details:

Smocked dress front

Crocheted slipper

Wired hand is posable.

Crochet edging on the petticoat

Fuzzy hat detail

And just for is a galah!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Some New Work

Although my doll-making has tailed off a bit due to the commitment I have made to renovating my house and garden, I'm still constantly making them, albeit more slowly.

Firstly, I have this brother and sister pair in their winter woollies. They are both about ten inches (25 cms)

Most recently, I completed this little child - she about eight and a half inches tall (22 cms) with jointed shoulders and hips and needle-sculpted fingers, toes and knees. In a departure (or maybe a return) I painted this doll's head with oils. I do love the different, translucent look of oils over acrylics. It is somehow more subtle and sympathetic. I'd almost forgotten how much I loved to look. 

It was looking at the recent work of Susan Fosnot an American cloth doll maker who makes exquisite oil-painted dolls that inspired me to re-visit oil-painting my dolls. More to come, I think.
Here she is - so much fun to make!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Little Oak Caps

A couple of weeks ago, I went for a know, all the right social distancing strategies in place and all. It being Autumn, I found a whole lot of fallen acorns and their little caps as I walked under some oak trees. I collected a few, just because I like them.
When I got home, I got to thinking that they would make perfect little hats for some tiny people, so I got out some materials and started to make some. The heads are tiny, because they had to fit into the little caps, so the bodies were made to suit the sizes of the heads. This is the first one, complete with some needle-felted toadstools:

Here's number two - I made him the tiniest jumper, using two-ply wool and then I thought he needed a chair, so I made this crookedy stick chair for him to sit on. I've had a lot of fun making these and I still have lots of little caps, so I can make a lot more, if I feel like it. It's not as if I don't have time!

Monday, March 23, 2020

A New World

Well, here I am and so much has changed since I last wrote a post here.......a lot of the world's population is in lockdown or semi-lockdown as countries try to stem the spread of this insidious COVID 19 virus. I've pretty much been just staying home, with brief forays to get essentials. I'm trying hard not to be a hoarder, because as we've seen in recent weeks, the hoarding causes problems for older and disabled people who cannot get to shops as easily as the rest of us. We've all witnessed terrible scenes of grown people fighting over toilet paper!

So what has changed for me? Not too much, actually, as I work from home and I like to cook rather than eat out........the biggest change is that both the band and the orchestra I play in have suspended activity for the forseeable future. So only solo playing for now, but plenty of practice time!

The other big change is that my resident grand-daughter is working from home for the time being. She's lucky that her job is one where that can be quite easily done (though it took a few days to get the tech glitches ironed out) At least she still has a job - it's just terrible to see tens of thousands thrown out of work on one day because suddenly restaurants, cafes, cinemas, theatres, hotels, any tourist venture etc etc have no patrons and have to lay off staff. I can't imagine where or when this is all going to end. Here in Australia, the inexorable trend of virus spread is still very much up and in the USA things are starting to look, frankly, quite frightening.

It's quite interesting to me to learn what people are impelled to do when confronted with an unknown and uncontrollable threat - it seems in some, the instinct is to hoard toilet paper or beer, but my first impulse was to dig more garden and plant what I could at this time of year. That's a bit limited as we creep towards winter, but there is always stuff that will grow. I don't usually bother too much with a winter garden, but this year I'm determined! So I've been digging, weeding fertilizing and mulching - hard yakka - but the exercise is good and productive. I'm making plans for how to enlarge the growing space even more, despite the fact that I only have a smallish suburban back yard.
Here's two days' work, with more to come when I pull out the remains of the spent summer vegetables. The wire cages are to prevent tha blackbirds from scratching out my silverbeet, Japanese spinach and bok choy seedlings. I've also planted broad beans, beetroot and coriander. I'm still getting tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchinis and digging over the patch yielded quite a few escapee spuds.

Anyway, all this digging time allows for plenty of thinking and the conclusion I've come to is that the whole of this Western capitalist system, where accumulation of wealth is god, is built upon a fragile, tottering pile of shards and it doesn't take very much to bring it all crashing down, As it has. As was bound to happen. An invisible virus - enough to bring the world to its very knees. I am reminded of how, fewer than twenty years ago, the country that is the supposed "leader of the free world" was similarly brought to its knees by the smuggling of a few box cutters onto a few planes.  It doesn't take much, does it?

I wonder whether we'll be more considerate and caring after we come out of the other side of this, whenever that might be, or whether we'll just slip back into our old ways of trying to accumulate ever more money and stuff and not give too much of a damn about how we are destroying the very planet that nurtures us. I hope the latter is not the case. 
I hope we emerge with a different mind-set, but I have my doubts.

In the meantime, here's a doll I've completed in recent days. No prize for guessing her identity!

Please look after yourselves, keep washing your hands and stay away from crowds. That's what I'll be doing.

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