Category : Work in Progress

8 years, 2 months ago 16

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Concept sketches for the shoes.

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Wax models of the shoes in the works. I hope to finish the second one by Wednesday and begin molding. It’s probably the most challenging pair I’ve made so far. I’m worried about the mold design and the inject-ability of these molds and hope to find out if they work by the end of the week.  Tonight I’ve got lots of writing to do, but it’s hard, because I can’t stop thinking about these unfinished waxes sitting on my desk.

8 years, 2 months ago 30
Posted in: Work in Progress

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For the last few months I’ve been concentrating on completing several one of a kind projects I started a while ago, but never finished for one reason or another. I don’t like having unfinished business; it weighs on me like a brick tied around my neck, and so, finally completing two of my grandest projects is a huge relief to me. Cixi is nearly there, but there was another unfinished costumed doll I’ve been working on simultaneously. It’s just about done and I hope to finish her next week. Care to guess which one I’m talking about?

8 years, 4 months ago 72

Like I mentioned before, there were three contestants who’ve actually guessed my current projects. It felt weird; as if these people were peering into my soul. Here is guess number one, made by Noxy. This is her entry.

And this one is my current project: Domestic Abuse.

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Although our concepts are a little bit different, the theme of captivity and abuse are shared. In my project this captivity is emotional and figurative, while in Noxy’s proposal it is physical and literal, with a bit of a kinky slant.

Noxy, you get a little gift for guessing this doll!

I wasn’t going to show her until much later when she is finished and costumed, but when I saw your proposal, I thought it was a sign from the universe to unveil and expedite this project.

Actually, once I had taken this photo, I became really disturbed by it, as it reminded me of the infamous murder and crime scene of  Black Dahlia. It was unintentional on my part.

My doll is not supposed to be dead; just battered by her abusive, controlling and jealous husband. It’s still in progress. I’m deciding what kind of costuming would me most appropriate for a message of awareness. It’s scary for me to think that there are many, many men in this world who objectify women as if they are only dolls to be possessed by them and shared with no one.

Well, on that note: Guessed project number 2 is coming up.

8 years, 4 months ago 48

Now that I had a few days of rest from the contest-related work, I would like to come back to it with some thoughts. Like I said before, some contest ideas really corresponded with my own and reminded me of some drawings I had made for them over the course of a few years. I thought it’s a good time to review them alongside with the contest entries I received from others. Go to the link to see their submissions. The following are my sketches.

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Eliza and I had the same idea of a conjoined twin doll. Well, similar.

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A few people (Els, Carmelo, Kelly S., Ana S., Yana, Signe (Jon), had similar ideas to my own, of captivity-themed dolls, particularly the chastity belt was popular.

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Maura, Gretchen, Maria, and Clemintine, also thought about the hybrid tree-female. It’s a captivating idea, that doesn’t translate well into a ball-jointed doll. It’s not impossible, but it would be difficult to make.

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Amarilli, Petya, Laura, Maria, Katrina have suggested a cage dress idea, and I dug up that these drawings in my sketchbook. Although I’ve been trying to work it out for a long time, I haven’t really committed to this project yet. It has a lot of potential, I think.

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Little Red Riding Hood Enchanted Doll was suggested by Kate, Maria, Jessica, and Alessandra. This is my sketch from 2007. I should make it into a doll already.

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Invisigothgrrrl proposed a Minotaur doll, and I found this sketch in my traveling sketchbook dating back to Florence, Italy 2007.

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Sara and Tatiana amongst some others have suggested a warrior doll, and I remembered when I dreamed about this armored doll and then waking up and drawing it down in the corner of my sketchbook.

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Christina and Petya proposed these head dresses, and here is my version of them, also from a while back. I haven’t had time to develop them further.

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Adriatzin submitted a proposal for a miscarriage doll and I was blown away by how similar the representation was to my own. Except my wasn’t pregnant and had a Gothic cathedral tattoo on the torso. But the blood swirl tattoos are remarkably similar. Only my concept for this doll was not a miscarriage, but an abortion in favor of reproductive choice. And now the cat is out of the bag. Too bad it won’t be a surprise. Oh well.

There are three other entries who’ve actually guessed the projects I’m currently working on right now. I think I will save them for the next post, sometime this week perhaps. I think you’ll like them.

I noticed there was a recurrent problem of noncompliance with the contest rules regarding the word limit.  Some participants have either ignored or misunderstood the limit, and sent me whole essays about their entries. The word limit was in place to 1) force people to be concise with their entries, and 2) because I’m just one person and can’t spend weeks reading through entries. By not-complying with the rules of the contest, you, my dear contestants, may have accidentally sabotaged your own chances to win.

Please read the rules more carefully next year. They will be different.

8 years, 4 months ago 51

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I almost can’t believe it: After two years of work and with only a few more weeks of embroidery left to go, Empress Cixi‘s extravagant robe is almost complete! This is a bad snapshot, though. But I was too impatient to set up the proper light kit for an unfinished piece.

Over the last two years, it required a ridiculous number of hours to embroider this mammoth; so many, that i lost count somewhere after six hundred. This is my Titanic.

I haven’t began making the shoes yet; a pair of pretty Manchu slippers on tall pedestals. However, I’ve been having second thoughts about them lately. This is supposed to be her ‘wedding’ night robe when she became Xian Feng Emperor’s concubine, and I’m beginning to think that the shoes would be almost inappropriate in this composition. But I do love making shoes just for the sake of making shoes….so…it’s a tough call for me. Perhaps it could be some sort of a variation of high pedestal bed chamber slippers, I donno…..What do you think: shoes or no shoes?

8 years, 4 months ago 23
Posted in: Work in Progress

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Nothing new, just assembling lots of shoes for February orders. This and sorting out the contest entries have been my primary objective for the past week.

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Annina, this one is for you.

8 years, 5 months ago 60

Thank you all for such warm and emotional responses, and for sharing with me some of your own experiences with breast cancer. I should confess that, although I had finished this doll over two months ago, I was very hesitant to show it, because exposing my fears this way to others, made me feel very vulnerable. Creating a physical embodiment of my fears with my own hands felt both frightening and cathartic.

But the breast cancer doll didn’t start out the way you see her. She started out like this:

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At first, I wanted to explore the idea of metastasis, the most advanced stage of cancer, where cancer cells spread to different parts of the body through the axillary lymph nodes. After having studied many horrifying photographs of women with visible lesions, I made this first version the the doll.

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Basing the look of the lesions on the real ones, I wanted to draw the comparison to something living and invasive, like some sort of a cunning, parasitic organism, such as a spider or a flesh-eating beetle. But, for some reason this didn’t sit well with me, partially because it was rather horrifying and nauseating, so I decided to abandon that angle and choose a more open-ended and a much more optimistic approach.

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It’s as if I didn’t want to give my doll a death sentence. I realized that, for my own sanity, she had to be a hopeful doll, with many subtler layers of meaning and symbols.

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One of the cancer survivors had given me this idea for a henna crown, that she herself had done, and I thought it was very beautiful.

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The Surviving doll is also in a way a Christian martyr Saint Agatha of Sicily, who was tortured and had her breasts cut off in punishment for her faith. Having first seen it in a museum a couple of years ago, I was very stricken a painting of St.Agatha, holding a platter with her amputated breasts and to my astonishment, gazing down at them calmly and peacefully, as if she wasn’t bothered by the ordeal at all.  It was impossible not to see this as symbolism for struggle with breast cancer, double mastectomy and survival, and it made me think of how other women experienced it and how I might experience it myself, if I’m ever faced with cancer.

At one point I almost titled this doll St.Agatha: The patron saint of breast cancer victims, but that didn’t sit quite right with me for some reason….don’t know why….perhaps in part because I’m an atheist…..just didn’t have the right message in it, i think.

Does any one have any thoughts, opinions or a preference for either title?

What do you think about my decision to go with a double mastectomy symbolism instead of the severe lesions?

8 years, 6 months ago 15

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This is a part of a concept sketch for her tattoo.

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And this is a side view of the wig model.

I’m assembling the final pieces of the project today and hoping to finish shooting by Friday or Saturday. The carving of the wig and preparing it for molding took almost an entire week on non-interrupted work. It was hard on the eyes. On day five, around 10 in the evening my vision began to blur so much, that I could no longer see the texture  properly. It’s like, my body just said: “Ok, enough. You’re crazy and I’ve had it. Efff this.” So, I took a day off and drank a bottle of wine while watching Lord of the Rings again. And then R.E.D. Again. What a fun movie.

Anyway. Completion of Twenty To Midnight is pending. Then, the 2011 rules for the upcoming, annual Birthday Contest.

8 years, 6 months ago 35

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This New Year for Enchanted Doll begins with a group exhibition at the ShowStudio gallery in London UK, titled To Bed.

I’m contributing one doll to this show, which will include photography and video installations by various artists, including Andy Warhol’s Sleep. I don’t have the full list of participating artists yet, but I’ll be posting more information about this exhibition. The show opens on January 26th.

Above, is a snap shot of the new wax model for the show doll. She is in the last stages of completion, and I plan to finish her by the middle of next week. This piece, titled Twenty To Midnight is a nude, featuring a monochrome, one of a kind tattoo on her torso and thighs, the new Marie-Antoinette shoes and of course this fabulous, new ultra-limited edition head dress with one of a kind accents. I already have it cast and everything. Can’t wait to show you.

I will post purchasing details next week, after I send her on her way and get some down time. In the meantime, I think I’ll post a concept sketch for her tattoo in a day or two; as soon as I get around to scanning it.

For those who are not acquainted with this doll face yet, she is my wax-modeling head and not the doll which will be featured in this show. That one will be much better.

8 years, 7 months ago 16

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Wax models for Marie-Antoinette and Hopscotch shoes.

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I have my own little superstitions when it comes to metal projects: I don’t like to show pictures of any wax models until I have my first successful cast. That way I know I have tangible results before I disclose it, but I also have this irrational belief that if I show progress shots before the end result, it might somehow jinx everything. This refers almost exclusively to metal projects though. I know it’s silly, but I don’t like to deviate from that.

Below is the inspiration for the Hopscotch shoes.

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This beautiful illustration was my very first exposure to Sulamith Wulfing’s work in 2001. It reminds me of a Siberian Winter landscape so much. I think that the contrast of her uncharacteristically light outfit and particularly her little shoes against the coldness of the setting made a really strong impression on me. “Why is she wearing those summer shoes in the snow?”- I kept thinking as I held the book in my hands: ” That’s not an appropriate outfit at all. She’ll die of exposure!” There is probably an evil stepmother involved in this business somehow.

It actually reminds me of one particular Russian fairy tale “The Twelve Months”, where a stepdaughter gets sent to the forest in the dead of winter to pick some flowers and instructed not to return without any. In the middle of this suicide mission she meets human representations of each of the 12 months of the year and they save her, setting up further event in the story.

Anyway. Every time I look at this picture, it makes me want to drink hot chocolate and wear warm socks.