Behold: A large, ball-jointed, porcelain doll! And she is going to be beautiful! And, very expensive. This is my first face prototype, with the rest of the body still to be molded. I’m especially excited about the potential for detail this scale will allow me. Just imagine the kind of mind-bogglingly detailed tattoos I can engrave on her body! Or the eyes I could paint! I’m almost dizzy with new creative possibilities.
But there are plenty of challenges too. I still don’t know if the large porcelain parts can handle this scale without totally deforming during firing. Even tiny parts tend to sag and warp during firing, and have to be routinely discarded because they no longer fit their respective ball-joints, so I’m very apprehensive about all this work having been for nothing when I fire a torso, or a leg and learn that this doll can not be made due to severe sag.
Face painting too, was more of a challenge than I anticipated. It was a totally different ball game than painting a tiny face. I struggled a lot with eyes and lips, but I expect I will get better and better the more I practice. Quantity eventually transcends into quality.
Unfortunately, I won’t find out if the project works a few months from now, until I fire and inspect all the parts for sag. But, I’m going all in regardless; Buying a large kiln, making the parts and having an electrician install install a new plug especially for it. All of that could turn out to be a colossal waste of resources and effort, but that’s the price of admission to being an artist.
No risk, no innovation. Wish me luck.
Or, here is Gris’ version of how the trip went down. Yup, pretty accurate. I guess that’s me on top, waving an American flag. Love this poster! It’s a limited edition, and you can still get it from the Baby Tattoo Books, signed by all of us, of course. A few limited edition Enchanted Doll prints are left over too. I think you would like them, because they are beautiful.
Thanks for being nice to me, guys, I had a great time driving around America with you. Look forward to doing it again! And thanks for all the fans who came out to see us on the road. It was a blast!
America is beautiful! And huge. Here are my interstate highway impressions of each state we drove through. I loved them all. Even Wyoming, a little bit.
Wow, Los Angeles is…sprawl-y, and huge, but not very tall.
South California…after a few hours of this landscape, I began to think I was on Mars.
Nevada. Yup, must still be on Mars…with some space weeds.
Utah. Definitely Mars.
Colorado. We circled all the mountains and the rest of it was like this. With the storm coming.
Kansas. Holly shit, we’re driving straight into the first tornado that ravaged Oklahoma on May 19th. It crossed the highway just ahead of us. We didn’t see it, but we felt its presence in the distance as our van shook with the force of wind and rain. We pulled over on the shoulder, not knowing what to do. There was nowhere to go but forward, into darkness. It crossed all of our minds that we could die. I’ve never seen anything like this before…and I was terrified.
Oklahoma. I’ve never seen a lightning storm like this before either. It happened in the wake of a tornado. The massive cloud above us seemed to have been filled with fireworks that went off every second or two, setting the whole sky alight. We drove under it for an hour. It was scary-beautiful. Awe-inspiring.
Texas. We raced out of Edmond, a suburb of Oklahoma-City the next morning with more tornado warnings on the way, and faced the placid skies of Texas, while it raged behind us. I couldn’t believe what was happening just hours away as I stood in this field and stared out into the hazy-hot horizon of blue and brown. All I could think about, selfishly so, was what if the tornado had struck a bit earlier, back there…while we slept…
New Mexico. And we’re back on Mars.
Arizona. In Sedona, I discovered a whole different kind of beauty to the lush, rainforest-covered mountains of the cool British Columbia. Much like that thunderstorm a day earlier, it was awe-striking. I tried a Rattlesnake for lunch (which tasted a bit like chicken), and couldn’t stop smiling at the red rocky formations.
I must return there.
And we’re back in California. What a trip. Loved every minute of it. Now I must draw a map.
Thank you, Baby Tattoo, for taking us there!
Hey folks! We’re one stop down on our roadshow, and five more to go. Tonight’s event at the Trifecta Gallery in Las Vegas was so much fun, that I hadn’t even noticed the time fly by. Upon arriving to the gallery, I was incredibly surprised to learn that someone had sent me two dozen roses. That just made my day. Thank you, B!!!
Only a few dolls were shown at this venue. I’ll be showing a different variety at each event. All of them will be shown together at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live in Kansas City (May 17-19)
We’ll be spending the night in Nevada, but first thing tomorrow morning we’ll be on our way again to the next venue at Night Flight Comics in Salt Lake City from 7-9pm.
You guys, you guys! I love road trips and I love dolls. This year I decided to combine the two and take my dolls on a road trip, stopping and showing them along the way at various art venues. I’m so excited! Other amazing artists Coop, Ragnar and Gris Grimly will be joining me on this road show, so our tour bus will be jam packed with talent.
This morning the dolls and I and Chad, left the soggy and chilly Vancouver for the sunny and hot Los Angeles, where I’ll be joining the Baby Tattoo Books road show to promote my upcoming new book (to be released this summer)! Instead of a book, I brought my traveling Porcelain Collection with me.
These are the cities where we will be stopping. Come and see us!
Monday, May 13 (7:00-9:00PM)
(Coop will not be appearing in Las Vegas)
Tuesday, May 14 (7:00-9:00PM)
Salt Lake City
Night Flight Comics
Wednesday, May 15 (7:00-9:00PM)
Friday, May 17 through Sunday, May 19 (see website for show hours)
Spectrum Fantastic Art Live
Convention Admission Required
Monday, May 20 (7:00-9:00PM)
Tuesday, May 21
Lulubell Toy Bodega
Please allow me to introduce my brand new piece: The Princess and the Frog!
A spoiled princess Arabelle learns a lesson in keeping promises and finding true love after meeting and reluctantly befriending a Poison Dart frog, who challenges her self-centered world views and becomes her handsome prince. And she becomes a better person.
Based on the Grimm Brothers fairy tale “The Frog Prince”.
Materials and construction:
A porcelain doll with a one of a kind engraving and a limited edition head ornament customized with one of a kind accents.
Conical headdress carved in wax, cast in bronze, plated with 24k gold, enameled and set with 15 faceted blue Topazes and 5 pearls. Pendant is a blue Topaz in 18k gold setting with a 24k gold plated chain. Tattoo of a Poison Dart frog is a combination of engraving on porcelain and china-painting. Veil is soft bridal chiffon, set with 300 Austrian crystals. Doll is ball-jointed, china-painted porcelain, lined with leather and strung with 11 steel springs. Wig is removable, magnetic mohair fiber, permanently-styled into 15 braids.
After months in construction, I’m crazy about how it had turned out!
Inquire at Strychnin Gallery for details.
No, that’s not a title of a campy horror flick, though blood does get spilled in there from time to time.
I finish my metal works in that invaluable little glass ‘room’, which contains the heavy dust and metal shavings until they get sucked up into the extractor. Before I got this baby, I would loathe the thought of doing metal finishing, as my desk and my whole studio would get very dirty and dusty, but since I got this chamber for my debris extractor, the cleanup is minimal and working conditions are safe. I love safety.
I bought the main plastic shell online, and then extensively customized it to fit my needs better, adding side walls and leather flaps. The problem is that it’s plexy glass and it’s starting to get really scratched up by all the high velocity debris flying around in there, and once it gets too cloudy to see through it, I’m going to have get a new one and customize it all over again.
Luckily my little grinding chamber still has lots of hours on it, which reminds me that I’ve gotta go back ‘in there’ and set some stones into the cone for the upcoming show doll in Berlin. Stay tuned for the pictures in a few days!
This wax model is fresh from the CNC machine. I’ve got about 18 hours to hand carve additional detail and definition, and then it has to be rushed off for molding first thing tomorrow morning. I may or may not get to sleep tonight. My intention with this design was to create a look of embroidered brocade fabric. This project caused a lot of head ache for my CNC specialist, as we’ve been fighting with it since January. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he hates me. Although, he probably wouldn’t take on this job if he did. :)
…And now it seems like it’s finally coming together. I’m so excited about it, that I feel giddy, almost drunk. Or maybe it’s all that caffeine I’ve been guzzling to keep going… I really do hope that it will mold ok, then inject ok, and then cast ok. Still three unknown variables remain, and there is so little time left to mess around with it, that if one of those variables doesn’t go as planned, it will seriously jeopardize the whole thing. Having now crossed the point of no return, there is really nothing else to do now, but to plow full steam ahead and hope it wasn’t all for nothing.
Friends! I’ve got some great news for you!
News number One: The 4th edition of the Enchanted Doll book is being released this summer! It’s being published by Baby Tattoo Books, in Los Angeles!
News number Two: I will be promoting the upcoming book in person and showing my traveling doll collection with the Baby Tattoo Books roadshow May 13-21st in 6 US cities; Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Denver, Kansas City, Albuquerque and Phoenix!
Wow, I’m so excited! These are the dates for each city. Exact times, venues and other details will be announced soon. There will be other amazing artists too. Come and see us. On the Baby Tattoo Books roadshow!
Monday, May 13 – Las Vegas ( 7-9 pm at Trifecta Gallery)
Tuesday, May 14 – Salt Lake City (7:00 – 9:00 pm at Night Flight Comics)
Wednesday, May 15 – Denver
Friday-Sunday, May 17-19 – Kansas City (Spectrum Live)
Monday, May 20 – Albuquerque
Tuesday, May 21 – Phoenix
This is a hilariously accurate account of the doll-making experience. He gets me. So. Much.
For those of you who don’t know who he is, Louis C.K is a brilliant writer and a stand up comedian with a distinct style of existential humor. His take on life is brutally honest and can be dark or even downright depressing at times, but it’s very funny and compelling because it’s so real.
This is a concept drawing for a new doll I’m currently working on. It’s been in the works for almost 4 months and I’m very excited about it. This piece is for an upcoming show ‘Kingdoms of Twilight and Magic’, which opens at Strychnin Gallery in Berlin on May 10th. In just about a month from now.
And this is a partial 3D model of the cone headdress. It’s still being programmed into the CNC machine for carving, and I’m a little apprehensive about how it will turn out. The reason I had decided to use a CNC carver for this, instead of hand carving it myself, was the amount of minute scrolling details, which I did not think I could carve very well.
Next week this cone will (hopefully) be ready for the moulding stage, then casting…and then I can show you the whole doll. Quickly cross your fingers for me, and will this cone to come out ok. Thank you.