Friday, January 16, 2015

Xìngfú- Happiness PT 2

The Details!

Last week, I shared with you about the body of the doll and its importance. Including how to read a costumed doll from top to bottom. link here to that posting

This week it is all about the details. I love the details, it is how my brain works zeroing in on the small tiniest things to create an overall interesting piece.

I started with my fabric palette centered around the  gift of the beautiful vintage skirt of Chinese brocade, changing out one or more of the fabrics for reasons such as weight for stiffness or flexibility, pattern design, or I find a more suitable color in another piece of fabric.

At this point I knew what fabric was going to go where on the doll to create a balanced piece that would hold a viewer's attention.

So let break it down into bite sized pieces as we look at each piece and how they all fit together 3-dimensionally.

Color Theory

To begin to understand how I choose my fabric palette, I would like to start with understanding color and how its use can create balance within a piece.

I usually have the idea of the main colors I would like to use- many times it is the client's choice of the color(s) they would like.

So, I start with a fabric that will be the foundation, sometimes it is a print, as in this case, and others it is a solid (as the piece I am working on now).

I like to create contrast in my costuming by using opposing colors from the color wheel. This will usually give you a warm and a cool color...such as below in orange and blue.
BUT- I like the colors that are off a bit from a true color...and I like to kick it over a notch turning my colors to a bit more "unique" color from the obvious of say- orange and blue to orange and green...then bring in one other color as the magenta.

I also pivoted off from the green to a more pea green as in the cuffs of the sleeves and the pants. This is called a split-color. read more here

The Dress

So keeping this in mind let's look at the Dress. My foundation fabric was from the vintage Chinese brocade. It held all of the color family from which I could spring board my costuming. I choose the orange, pink (magenta) and the green as my main focal colors.

As I laid out my dress pattern, I realized that I wanted to keep the beautiful design and flow of the fabric by incorporating it into by top piece of the dress. So, with much planning and fussy cutting, I was able to lay out not only the top portion but the sleeves also.

With this, I created a pattern flowing around the costume- not just focused on front only.

The sleeve cuff fabric was specifically chosen in this mossy bright green, which I feel give the costuming more antique appeal. I fussy cut the pink flowers on the green to appear centered on the cuffs picking up on the pinks within the foundation fabric. This was balanced in the brightness of the orange which helped me to bring in the magenta for the lining.

This same foundation fabric could of been also tied in with pastels...but I love the brights against the antique gold of the foundation fabric.

I used a vintage piece of kimono fabric for the collar, cutting the fabric just so to get the most use of the orange in it...I loved the soft pink of the petals within the foundation pink so decided to use soft pink glass beads teamed up with pearls for the closures.

The bright orange silk brocade helped ground the top of the dress and created balance with the hat, and pants which would come later in the designing. I hand-sewed a vintage cording around the orange skirting to give it a finished look.
Completed dress

The Pants

For the base of the pants, I chose a goldish dupioni with mossy green undertone. It reads as a neutral. This is paired with the same silk brocade of the sleeves.
Note: I centered the orange bamboo leaf design of the green silk to be front and center of the cuffs.

The band of magenta is an Indian silk with metallic gold threads woven in that ties in with the gold on the orange and as various accents through out the piece. Peeping out from the cuffs is the magenta dupioni lining as used in the dress.

The Shoes

I just love these little shoes! I used a sheer Indian silk with gold metal lined and soled it with another magenta dupioni that has a black thread subtly woven in.
Little Australian sequins and the same pink bead tip the toes.
 Soles are hand sewn into place to create the right curve and snug fit.

The Hat

By now you ALL know of my love of the hats! 
I was thrilled that I had the perfect (so perfect) tiny piece of vintage kimono to make this hat.

The flowers are hand painted laser cut metal findings that are stacked and attached with vintage pearls. The gold flowers are of bundled paper that was painted in gold leaf liquid, as with the cording that is hand-sewn around the edges or joining sections of the hat.
I also chose to create a curved front of the opening of the hat to enhance the flowers.
Top view of the two piece hat.
Hand-made tassels from various threads.

Front View. I used an uneven number- seven- of the flowers set in a asymmetrical design.

Although not seen, the lining is of a gold tone dupioni that ties in with the shoes...just a little surpise that I know is there and so does the owner of this piece ! ;)

The back of the hat displays the scattering of the Australian square sequins secured with matte gold beads. Hand-sewn cording repeats the details of the hat joining.

The Face

I love the sweet tenderness in these dolls that I create.
The face is the overlay of silk crepe and the head is jointed.
Eyes are hand painted to ensure the piece as much original that I can make it.
Shading done in pastels.

Very close up of the eye! I love the fabric texture against the glossiness of the eye!
I wear two pair of readers to see what I am painting on these small eyes that measure less than 1/4 inch across. I use 7 layering of paint to create the eye and 4-5 coats of gloss.

I am always surprised when my photography, Mark, takes the super close up and I see that I actually did it!!

From the Side and Back

So summing up the around the doll, I feel it is equally important that the sides and the back hold as much interest and attention to the flow and detail as the front of the doll, remember you are working in a three dimensional form, so use it!

Note: The flowers and sequined bead of the hat lead your eye to the opening of the dress with the little beads following the tassels downward to the green cuffs to the orange to the green pants cuffs!
The Back is just as important lending detail in the hat shape pointing to the hair style of a winged out bow and blunt pony tail bob.
Close up of the hair with a pearl topped (gold leafed) tassel mimicking the blunt pony tail. The front tassels framing the total shape.

I hope that you enjoyed this Part 2 of this Happiness Doll...
and learned a bit about my creative process.

Next week Behind the Scenes of Happiness 

with Mark Mortensen!

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