In this class, we’ll design, sculpt and costume our own one-of-a-kind Mouse from Creative PaperClay. After air drying our mouse’s clay parts, we’ll hand-paint them with watercolor paints, seal them in beeswax, and hand-sew an articulated cloth body with integrated costume, decking him out in his coziest pajamas, bed jacket, nightcap and slippers, befitting a “Mad Tea Party.”
Recommended for intermediate skill levels and above; students are advised that this project is of an extremely small scale for its level of detail, which can present some challenges for sculpting and sewing, and while I do demo some of the steps on my sewing machine, the project is small enough that the entire doll can be sewn by hand, and the air-drying PaperClay does not require a kiln or oven to cure.
The workshop is divided into eight Lessons; to be released once a week:
1. sculpting armature & PaperClay Bust;
2. sculpting armatures & PaperClay Limb parts;
3. prepping and painting with watercolors;
4. waxing PaperClay & color adjust/Oil Pastels;
5. pattern-cutting & sewing Cloth Body parts;
6. mini-crazy-quilting for Costume parts;
7. sewing Costume parts & making a Furry Tail;
8. Final Assembly & attaching Furry Tail…!
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I’ve been sculpting, drawing and sewing since childhood and have pursued doll making all my life. For more than 30 years I’ve explored the anthropomorphic genre of figurative sculpture and was the first artist ever to be inducted into NIADA with a completely anthropomorphic portfolio. At the heart of my daily practice is an abiding sense of sustainability—a commitment to using organic, archival materials. My dolls are constructed like antique china dolls, with heads, hands and feet or shoes directly sculpted from high-fire porcelain or stoneware clay (as might be done with a potter’s wheel), pigmented with high-fire ceramic stains, then fired in a kiln and finally sealed in pure beeswax. They are then sewn onto an armatured or articulated cloth body. The costume is either fully removable, or integrated into the doll’s body design, depending on my intentions.
Likewise, vintage apparel and linens beyond restoration are the mainstay of my fabric stash and costuming impulses. Every component of a piece informs my process, and often a nuance of personality will arise out of the fabric remnant itself or from a button, buckle or bit of lace—my subtler way of doting on both the planet and the palpably silent past of such storied objects. Since moving to New York City in 2008, I have been incrementally learning various aspects of stop-motion animation, towards the ultimate goal of creating my own short (and feature-length) films.