Friday, November 2, 2012

Doll #3- Kitsune

As you well know by now, I love Asian folk lore and legends!
This legend comes from Japan...kitsune...the fox...
Kitsune is the Japanese word for fox. Foxes are a common subject of Japanese folklore. Stories depict them as intelligent beings and as possessing magical abilities that increase with their age and wisdom. Foremost among these is the ability to assume human form. As they grow in wisdom they will grow another tail- up to being the most wise with nine tails!
Ever since my friend Judith shared this legend with me, this doll has been waiting ever so patiently to be created! 
read more here about kitsune

This piece started out with one piece of steel blue dupioni fabric. I was at Elfrieda's and spotted it from across the room the most icy beautiful blue on the roll. I bought it with mind. I know that Japan can have chilly weather, so I knew was on the right track to were I wanted to go with this

I set out gathering the rest of my supplies; fur, silk velvet, vintage kimono, my crepe silk for the body...still in need of the fabric for the outer kimono.
At the same time as I was gathering, I had my student, Denise, come to my studio for a private lesson. She noticed the doll body and the fabrics it was nestled in. We started talking and she said she had seen the perfect bamboo print fabric...
So back to Elfrieda's. You know a project is meant to be when I was there, looking...looking through the masses of cottons when one of the sales girls from the back of the store heard me talking about this specific fabric and she came right up and pulled it from all the other fabrics!  It was so perfect!!!! It all went together like kitsune had already happened!

Body: Sculpted DAS stone clay head, head overlay and body of  silk crepe.
Body lining of cotton batiste.
Wigging of mohair and silk.
Wooden beads for jointing of head, arms and legs.
Costuming: Kimono; cotton, lining of duponi silk, hem band of silk velvet. 
Obi; Vintage kimono lined with dupioni. Shoes; peau de soie silk
Hat; Rabbit, dupoino silk, hand tipped ears. Tail; Rabbit.

Stool: Hand-made by Gary Leitch.

The hat under-structure was created first to form fit to the head.
Then two piece of rabbit where added to create the right flow of the nap.
The ears were hand tipped with black.

The ears where sewn separately and hand sewn into place.
Back view of hat
 The kimono was lined with the icy blue dupioni and made as a traditional kimono is made.
The obi (tie) was created using a beautiful vintage piece that I had...take note  how I centered the design in the front and on the back of the bow. I thought the design represented a paw print!
And... I just love how her tiny hands positioned perfectly on her lap.
 Back detail
 I styled her hair into pigtails to frame around her obi bow in the back 
and to balance her ears on her hat. I blunt cut the ends of her pigtails for a sharp clean line.
Her eyes are hand painted and her face is softly color with pastels.
Even though you cannot see them- she has embroidered eyebrows under those bangs!
 I love the texture of the silk fabric, I feel that it gives to much life to the doll!

I get a thrill of letting the materials I use do what they are  created to do...
such as using the nap of the fur to create that point in the center of the hat..almost the nose forehead area that would be on the fox head. Also the using the grain in the fur in creating the tail to kick out at the end. I weighted the tail to give it more fluid motion.

I hope you enjoyed reading about Kitsune as much as I enjoyed making her!
more to the Story...
I mentioned Denise coming to my studio and seeing Kitsune and how this was all meant to be...her daughter lives in Japan in a town that reveres the fox, it is always a bit chilly and they need to dress warm...and with that...
Kitsune is now held in the private collection of Denise!
Photography: Mark Mortensen
Silk fabric information: link here
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