Thursday, July 18, 2013

Doll #1 Elephant

This year dolls for NIADA consisted of four pieces. Three are from the Story Hat Collection and one is fro the Alma Benita Collection.
Over the next weeks, I am excited to share each of these pieces with you!
To read more of the inspiration behind these hats and to view other dolls  
I learned that when a Chinese Mother was with child, she would create a hat from carefully chosen fabrics, embroidery and appliqué. Each choice held special symbolic meaning, wishes or protection.

Every stitch of embroidery was the manifestation of her deepest love of her child, a way of embracing her child with a good life.

I love the idea of taking thoughtful stitches in fabric, inspired from the depths of my heart, to create with my hands a story for you filled with the symbolism and legends of ancient Chinese culture.

The Elephant

Making these Story doll with the hats is something that speaks from my spirit and I do let that be my guide...ok...I try to let that be my guide when creating these pieces!

As I dug through my silks and vintage pieces, I came across this wonderful lavender dupioni for the base and the peach vintage piece that has a simple flower design woven into the fabric, this worked nicely for the special lining...perfectly unexpected combo! I so love the Chinese and the Japanese in the way that they will add an unexpected color into their pieces, I find it lovely and charming!

While making these hats, it is such a wonderful process to sit and hat-sew these pieces together...each stitch added together creates such detail and in a sense movement in the hat.
photography: Mark Mortensen

The Elephant is a symbol of stability, strength and wisdom. The word for Elephant in Chinese is pronounced and written the same as the word for “sign” or “things to come”. 

The fabric chosen for these series is black...very traditional. I used a poi de soie  for the skirt- very stiff and holds the embroidery well. This year, I added in a textured black for the pants and the jacket.

Doll:Head from hand-sculpted clay overlaid with silk crepe.
Body armatured, silk crepe lined with cotton batiste.
Costume: For the individual costume, I choose the fabrics of 
varied silks  to bring forth the best for each piece. 

Detail of the Elephant.
Each embellishment is hand-made...even the fringey eyelashes!
Crown is from Chinese silk brocade trimmed
with vintage metal cording.

Detailing of face. Hand painted eyes.
I LOVE the texture of the fabric in this very close up photo!
My Story Doll all have pierced ears...
believe it or not making
and setting in this earring is one of the hardest parts!
The wire is so delicate that I must be careful that it holds its shape
when I insert it with the pearl.

The wigs are silk and mohair. The hair is very very fine to work with,
these braids can take up to an hour to get just right.
But it is worth the time because the sheen is just fabulous.
Note the hand-made tassel for the Elephant's tail!
Close up of jacket with vintage fabric.
I like in this close up how if you look closely, 
you can see the hand stitching between
the colored fabric and the black textured fabric!

Detailing of arm and embroidery.
Shoes are made from another Chinese silk brocade.
Lavender duiponi repeats itself in the shoe lining.

The Elephant

  • happiness
  • longevity
  • good luck

Some Asian cultures also believe the elephant is a cosmic creature, and carries the world upon it's back (much like the tortoise does in some tribal Native American myths).
As a dream animal, elephants come into our dreams it is a message that we are able to deal with any obstacle we are faced with at this time. Dream elephants represent power, sovereignty, stability, and stead-fastness. If you dream that you are riding an elephant this suggests you have a tendency to be the leader of the family, and others are heavily depending on you. If you dream of elephants in a circus this suggests you have a cavalier attitude about a situation in your life and you may want to invest more attention to it.
We gather more symbolic meaning of elephant by observing it in nature. Specifically, the elephant is considered a symbol of responsibility because it takes great care and responsibility of its offspring as well as their elders.
The elephant also has immense determination and loyalty - always standing up for others and always defending members of the group in its natural habitat.
Elephants also express advanced sensitivity and social connection, particularly during time of death - they travel to a specific place upon their death - fulfilling personal responsibility - even at the end of their days.

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