This week I unpacked some dolls I made a few years ago and found Elaine. It was easy to see that she needed work. Her face seemed a little too big and her smile a bit ghoulish. The shape of her skirt didn't really suit me and the color scheme was kind of a harsh yellow-green. I started to take her apart and it didn't take much work. The glue had dried up in several spots and without too much effort her skirt was detached. The sticks at the hem of the skirt has become brittle and very soon the finials broke off, one crumbling away. Did I say I removed her face? So, this was a lot like starting over, except that I had the body with the stick arms still intact and some fiber still firmly attached to the head.
I was encouraged throughout this process to realize how much my design and craftsmanship has improved in the past 5 years. I now build a double wire armature to create the the skirt shape instead of using a single coat hanger wire. This is much more sturdy, especially where it attaches to the body of the figure. I now wrap the wires with cotton batting so that I can sew the skirt to the frame to create a smooth transition without so much glue. Last year I started treating all my found wood with several coats of gesso to make a more stable surface under the paint. I've tried every type of glue to finally find a couple of things that work very dependably. I also have a new method of making the head and attaching the face which I could not use in this makeover.
Elaine has a new skirt, too. I painted this one in a series of monotype prints working into damp fabric, and then embellished it with free motion machine quilting and bits of commercially dyed fabrics. With a new skirt she need a new shirt color, and then a new necklace. Is Elaine still Elaine? I think so.
Elaine before her Make Over