I started to experiment with this idea a few weeks ago quite by mistake. Perhaps my "prim" figures are a reaction to the very cute girl dolls. Or, maybe I'm just feeling a little bit of Halloween! Whatever the reason I am having fun with them.
Most of the figures will hang and have a full body with arms and legs. This is the only one that has made it to completion so far. At 28" tall he doesn't fit into the photo very well. A Stick, parts of a cedar trellis found in the back yard, pieces from a coconut mat, metal, beads, bone and buttons make up his body.
I've started a few more faces just to try out different materials and ideas. It is really hard for me to stay away from the face I usually make. I have one more head ready and some others with details that are just too funny. The head on the left has hair made from rusty staples removed from the trellis. I used tacks and clay to make bug eyes. In the center is a mouth I love. (The rest of this head is a zero.) The head on the right has clay "ears" that I made early in the process, instead of adding them at the end., and a great nose.
I still plan for most of these to be heads on hanging figures, but I also tried a few heads on 4" x 6" boards, painting a striped background. These would be great hanging on the wall in groups of 2 or 3. I love the wire hair!
And, guess what. I need to get out and find a bunch of sticks! I had thought maybe I'd moved past that. But, no.
This is the second doll I have made in my quest for simple hanging doll. I wanted her to be a bit abstract and she is! Her flat pillow body/dress is sewn from hand painted fabric. The arms and legs are sewn from a knit fabric. I eventually figured out that I could use the cut off legs of some clothes pegs to fill the legs, making a pointed toe, and to make the hands. I'm surprised that the grubby marks on her face show up so much more in the photo than they do in person. Note the eyebrows! I've avoided making eyebrows in the past, but now that eyebrows are "the thing", I'd better practice making them.
I'm happy to report that the doll I wrote about a few weeks ago is finished! For some reason the process was more difficult than expected. I kept making body elements that were too small for the size of the face. (The total figure is 23", with a 3" face.) I sewed several bodies and made 3 different sets of legs before I gave up and used the second pair. These are sewn from light weight canvas, stuffed and covered with many coats of gesso, tissue paper collage and paint. The simple arms are paper mache over wire. The wire loop that connects each leg to the torso was more awkward looking than I had hoped, so I added the tutu skirt to cover it up a bit.
In the end I have a hanging figure that can twirl around with dangling legs. And, on the plus side, I have 2 extra pairs of legs that I can use for something.
I feel like I have this idea under better control now and I look forward to working out some other variations and embellishments. Before I do that I plan to return to the idea of a very primitive hanging figure that I started exploring in the most recent post..