In the last post, I shared pictures of the finished doll project, “Infinite Pursuit of Beauty.” I’d like to share some photos I took as I worked on her. Please see the previous post for images of the finished doll and the inspiration. Click to see post in a new window.
The most distinctive element of this project is the bell shaped skirt. After some experimentation, I used Amaco copper wireform mesh, gently manipulated over a Styrofoam half-sphere. Generally, this mesh is used as a support for clay or paper mache. Using the Styrofoam mold, I shaped it, cut it and soldered it to sturdy wire so it would hold its shape. Caution: the mesh is extremely sharp! Seriously – get some bandaids ready.
I made another support form because the first one got wrecked from the heat of the soldering iron. I tidied up all the solder joints and seams. The entire surface is coated in solder to make it nice and rigid. Trims are glued on for a tailored/finished look.
I assembled an assortment of lace, jewelry, and silk flowers to embellish the skirt, top and shoes. Paint the skirt and all the ornaments with layers of gesso and primer:
And then a base of gold paint:
Glue and sew the embellishments to the mesh. Paint with various colored highlights to give the painted surfaces depth and interest.
I spent hours trying to engineer a way for this skirt to come apart in sections so it could be easily removed and put back on the doll. I couldn’t think of a simple and clever way to do it, without ruining the look. Then, I decided to keep the skirt elegant as one piece and just take the doll apart at the torso to put it on and take it off. Hey, it doesn’t have to function in the real world, so take advantage of the fact that you can disassemble parts of the doll to make a fashion work.
Make a pattern for a body suit using masking tape. I use a paper towel to protect the doll’s body then I cover it tightly in torn strips of masking tape – like paper mache. Carefully cut it off the the body and use that as the basis for a pattern.
I’m using an pale beige mesh for the body suit.
The net underskirt will help support the metal skirt. The cummerbund is metallic bronze colored leather and it laces up the back through eyelets.
Sew painted embellishments onto the top.
She needs an interesting faceup and nice body blushing. This doll is French resin and she’s about 12 years old. French resin is known to yellow pretty badly. I’m lucky and this doll is only slightly yellowed. A thorough cleaning, very gentle buffing and nice blushing will make her look very fresh.
I added a brass fan, beads, and feathers to a wig with short black hair. Fireworks was the inspiration for the hair ornaments.
The eyes bring her to life.
The shoes are commercially made and I just added some bling:
I made a custom stand to fit her properly (modifying the saddle shape of a stand from a Tonner doll) and I signed the underside of the leather cover so that it would show through the Lucite bottom.
Time to assemble her:
And finally, the photo shoot:
The End 😊
I always enjoy when artists share pictures of their process. I hope you found something interesting or inspiring. There are many more pictures of this doll project on my Flickr site:
All my project photos on Flickr! Link to open a new window.
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