Entries in art doll (19)


Cernunnos Unearthed

Do you remember my Cernunnos sculpture? I do. It's been sitting in my studio mocking me for a long time. I started it so long ago. 2010 I think? I could probably look back through this journal to find his origins, but that'd be depressing. Today I cleaned all the half-painted Christmas ornaments off my desk and dug him out again. I sculpted all the fur on his neck/head. I know it looks odd two-toned, just try to imagine him painted. I do the initial sculpture in polymer clay because I need the working time it affords me. Then when I feel like the difficult part is done (usually the face/eyes) I bake it and position it on the body armature. At that point it's no longer suitable for baking (either the armature has components that shouldn't be baked, or it simply doesn't fit in the oven any longer) so I sculpt everything else with epoxy clay, which has a limited working time. So the brown is polymer clay and the grey is epoxy clay. Anyhow, I think he just needs his left hand finished and then I could move onto painting and clothing him. Cross your fingers for me, maybe I'll be able to maintain the momentum to get him done!


The Plufo

I've been working on a bunch of little needle felted creatures lately. The idea behind them is that they are amorphous beasties that don't really have an identity until they pick a mask. Once they put on a mask, then they can take a shape. I want to make a whole bunch of them, because I have many ideas! So far I just have the three, but that's enough for me to share them with you. I must thank my friend, Misty Babcock, for giving them a collective name. I had no idea what to call them. Misty initially suggested 'Pluffo' which Brian then modified to 'Plufo' and I just liked it. So, Plufo they are!

This is Benk. He was the very first Plufo.

They are each between three and four inches tall, needle felted of wool. Their masks are epoxy clay painted with acrylic.

This is Tor. He'd like a carrot. Now.

This is Spec. He's not really sure what he's afraid of, but he's ready to run away just in case.They'll be for sale in the Etsy shop, and you can see photos with more angles of each of them there.


Cernunnos Gets a Body

Some progress on Cernunnos again. He's got most of a body now. The bulk of the body is wool needle felted over the wrapped wire armature. I think he looks so much better now than he did as a bare armature! Because he will be wearing somewhat bulky clothing, I don't need his body to be super detailed. I just need all the parts to be in roughly the right place, to fill out the clothing in a believable fashion. There's still a lot of hard sculpting left to do (hands, antlers, ears, neck), but I felt like changing gears for a while and this is what I accomplished.

I also had Brian take a photo of me working on him, to show the scale. This is probably the biggest art doll I've ever made. Most of them tend to top out around 18" to 20" tall or so. If Cernunnos was standing up straight, he'd be over 30" tall.


Cernunnos: Feet and Antlers

Cernunnos' feet are mostly done. I need to sand them here and there and maybe use the dremel to bring back some definition in the achilles tendon. I bulked it out a little too much there and now I think it looks too round above the heel. But that's the nice thing about the clays I use, you can always attack them with a dremel bit to carve down areas if needed. I want his feet to look rough, like he spends most of his time barefoot, but I hope to accomplish that more with the paint than with the clay. Wish me luck.

Then I started on the antlers. Cernunnos is supposed to have seven-tined antlers, so I looked at lots of photos of stag antlers and got an idea of what I wanted to do. I cut several armature wires and shoved them down into the holes I had left in the polymer clay head. The center of the head is packed foil, so the armature wires puncture it easily and stick a little bit. I squirted a bunch of glue down into the head as well and then had to let it dry before shaping the wire. Brian laughed because it made Cernunnos look like he had antennae, so of course I had to take a photo.

Once the glue was dry, I filled the rest of the gaps in the head with epoxy clay, let THAT cure, and then I was able to shape the wire into my basic antler armature. I've since also added some epoxy clay to the places on the antlers where the wires overlap, to help lock them in place before I sculpt the antlers fully. I love working in epoxy clay, but the way I use it does involve quite a bit of waiting for cure time.


Cernunnos: Hands and Staff

Small progress on Cernunnos tonight. I want him to be carrying a staff, or walking stick. At first I liked the idea of a scepter, since he is Lord of the Wild. But I think I prefer a staff, not least because it allows me to sculpt one more gnarled tree branch. I want his staff to be crooked like a twisted branch, but I also want the line it creates to pass through an imagiary center line that IS straight (if that makes any sense). So I used floral tape to wrap a length of armature wire to a dowel rod in four places, and then bent the wire around those four joints into a twisted staff. I covered the wire with epoxy clay to set the position, and when it has cured I will cut away the dowel rod so just the wire and clay remain. We'll see how it goes! Current state photo is as left. Cernunnos has been depicted in association with a ram-horned serpent, so that's what I will sculpt on the top of the staff. Hopefully when it's done it will all look like it's carved from wood.

Then I bent wire hand armatures for the figure. The right hand is going to be resting on a branch of the tree-throne, so I started curling the wire fingers into position there. As always, I have to adjust the plan as I go. I had wanted his hand in one particular position, and then realized that the branch is far too small to look natural with the hand position I wanted, argh. So I changed it. I'll get there. I think I will sculpt the hand directly to the branch, as well. Many of my art dolls I've created such that the figure can be removed from the base, but Cernunnos is going to be quite solidly attached to his tree! Then I can paint the hand and tree all at the same time (as well as the head, feet, etc.) before I clothe him. Speaking of which, I haven't truly figured out what he's going to be wearing ...

Anyway, the left hand will be holding the staff, so I made that armature as well (see below). I won't be able to pose it at all until the staff is completed, so I've just left it rudimentary for now. I hope to work more on this over the holiday weekend! Everything starts to fall into place in my head. Finish the staff, sculpt the hands, sculpt the feet, finish sculpting the head and neck, sculpt the antlers and ears, paint everything, bulk out his arms/legs/torso with wool, maybe gesso the body, finish the base, make and attach clothing ... so far yet to go.


Cernunnos' Tree: Branches


Yesterday began my holiday. The Christmas cookies and candies are all baked, packaged, and shipped away to family as gifts. The presents for Brian and Cloudy have been purchased, wrapped, and tucked under the tree. The last day to ship for Christmas arrival is fast approaching, so I've stopped making ornaments for sale in the Etsy shop. I'm down to three of four left and that's all I'll make until next winter. Many of my normal time-sinks are absent for a while; the garden long ago went dormant, the pig was sent to slaughter, we won't start incubating eggs for new chicks until late in the winter. Sure, I still have dozens of projects. There's a rug I need to finish braiding for the living room. The office really needs to be re-organized. I ought to make a couple of more window quilts to help keep the chill out of the house. But for the most part, I can now snuggle in and work on some me-projects for a month or two. Things I want to do for no other reason than I want to do them. Last night I dug Cernunnos out, dusted him off, and got back to work. I sculpted two of the branches on his tree-throne, and then tonight I sculpted two more. It's difficult to take photos of them on my messy art desk, but here they are. There are five branches total on the tree-throne, so I've got one left to sculpt, it's the plain looking one in the photos.


Faux Leather Tutorial

The NIADA Tips and Techniques page has all sorts of great tutorials and ideas for doll makers. I like this one by Susan Scogin especially, it's how to make faux leather clothing for smaller scale figures. So simple and yet so effective!


The Zombie Bunny Returns!

Brian and I revisited the zombie bunny idea we had back in 2009. He's back for sequel: The Return of Zombie Bunny! Thanks to astounding reproduction rates, the world's bunny population had returned to normal. What are the odds that another bunnypocalyse would occur? Doomed to an inevitable outcome, this is only one of billions of undead bunnies soon to be found in your neighborhood! For more photos, click through to my gallery. Whatever you do, don't go out into the garden unprepared!

edit: The Zombie Bunny is now for sale at The Odd Luminary.


The Creepy Bunny

Brian and I finished a new needle felted critter last night. I did some of the surface detail, but this one was mostly Brian's work (yes, he's weird). For every super-cute, flower-munching, whisker-wiggling, carrot-nibbling poof ball, there must be finger-biting, sharp-clawed, malevolent counterpart. Sometimes they work together. One distracts you with cuteness while the other hacks into your computer for personal financial information. The Creepy Bunny is about 11" tall, needle felted of wool, with a wire armature in his legs for support.


The Curiosity Beast

I've always got too many project ideas floating around in the back of my head. They distract me from whatever project I am working on NOW, which can be frustrating. Sometimes if I just give them a little life, they're happy to then wait in the corner of my mind until I can get back to them. This is one of those ideas. I have this image of something called the curiosity beast, which I'll have to explain in more detail later. But for now I'll post my quick little sketch of him, and maybe he'll go back to quietly waiting until I can get around to sculpting him.