Enlightenment : Hydrangea
I have so much to share with you about the process of this doll and I believe, some interesting details of the history in the Chinese culture, so there will be several postings of Hydrangea!
I have had this wonderful soft blue Chinese brocade. It is a very unusual pattern for the traditional Chinese fabric...and that is why I think that I was drawn to it- breaking boundaries.
I pulled it out this year to make my doll that I knew was going to be from the flower series. It presents itself as delicate and light almost lace-like. I immediately knew that I wanted to make a Hydrangea.
Photography: Mark Mortensen
Hydrangea symbolizes expressing love, gratitude, heartfelt sincerity, and enlightenment.
It is said that the observer can easily get lost in it's abundance of beautiful petals, and thus gets lost in one's own thoughts – gaining higher thought and reaching enlightenment.
Symbolism of Makeup
To start, I thought we would zero right in upon the face...sculpted in DAS (air dry) clay with an overlay of silk crepe.
Many of you have asked about the coloring...especially the red lip shape and if we have been in person talking I then show you the red dots above the eyes!
The one thing I find fascinating about the Chinese culture is the many many layers of symbolism or distinct long held traditions that are so very precise.
Each and every movement, pattern, and shape holds meaning...as well as the animals, flowers, bugs, and personas- all deeply layered. As I have been studying this part of the Chinese culture for 15 years, I will continue for the rest of my life and hope to gain some understanding of what it means.
If you notice I make a "Y" shape on these dolls' lips- I love the sweet shape...over the years, it has become a trademark of mine as well as the dots.
"The shape and colour of the lips were used as an almost personal signature, referred to often in poetry, and purposefully unique.
The technique was applied by impressing a red dot onto the supple bottom lip, and by improvising a point or distinctive line onto her upper lip, a style that each beauty would adopt as her own. The rest of the lip would be powdered on to blend in with the rest of her facial complexion, emphasizing with fragility and elegance."
When I create my dolls they are about my personal interpretation from the Asian culture. It is my own inspiration or essence that I derive from the studies I have done. It is not a exact replica of any specific region...my hope is convey an overall general sense of beauty.
If we look at the lip makeup from many of the dynasties you can see where I incorporate from two- the upper lip from the Tang and the lower from my favorite the Qing dynasties.
The eyes are the mirror to your soul.
I read many years ago while doing research of Chinese and Japanese makeup that the red dot above the eye is to keep evil spirits away.
I love this simple yet meaningful little dot and as an artist always looking for balance in no matter how small this makes a lovely triangle balance of delicate color between the lips and eyes.
In the study of this highly decisive culture, I have gained the appreciation for balance and meaning in every part within each doll I create...down to even the smallest detail as above...
I find a peace and sense of a soulful foundation within this journey as a work along...thoughtfully.