Thursday, October 11, 2012

Doll #1 - Lotus

I would like to share my journey in creating Lotus...

She didn't start out as Lotus, she actually started out in my mind as Peony.
Much of the time, when I set out to create a piece, it is the word that drives me my creative jump start...and so it was to be with Peony.

I had friends in town and we ventures up to Boulder to a very fine fabric shop called Elfrieda's. Yes, indeed, this woman has the most beautiful fabrics and what a great place to find exactly what I was looking for!

I wanted Peony to be in various pink tones, with a hat (and it is all about the hat with me!) fabrics...
Below is the fabrics I found- an unusual dupoini (left) which was a bit more rustic in the weave and a embroidered piece of silk (right) with the stems holding a bit of the pink tones. Hand-dyed, bias-cut silk ribbons in the soft pinks that I felt would create the most delicate peony blossoms and flowers.
So that WAS the game I pulled out my other silks and started to go through them...Peony just was not happening...this is when you have to listen...quitely listen to your gut- your intuition.
Lotus kept coming to the fore front.

Chinese Symbol For Lotus Traditional Version 
Chinese poets use the lotus flowers to inspire people to continue striving through difficulties and to show their best part to the outside world, no matter how bad the circumstances may be. This is understood as being just like the lotus flower, bringing beauty and light from the murky darkness at the bottom of the pond.
Another symbolic characteristic of the lotus flower leads from the observation that the plant's stalk is easy to bend in two, but is very hard to break because of its many strong sinuous fibers. Poets use this to represent a close unbreakable relationship between two lovers or the members within a family, showing that no matter how far away they might live nothing can really separate them in heart.
more lotus here

Side note: I believe that dollmaking truly comes from your soul, where your life is at that point, and is expressed in the pieces you create. At this time of trying to create Peony, my dollmaking business needed to be redefined, I was struggling with the direction it was taking and I felt that I needed to make some changes...ok- not quite walking through mud but pretty close to digging deep to find the right path...and yes, I believe after many, many, many months of working through this I have found the right path...more on that in future blogs!

Back to Lotus,  sooOoo, as I was searching though my fabrics and I happened upon this beautiful sheer magenta fabric with the fine silk embroidery and the velvet-like tufts of the green flower- Lotus...there she was in the fabric just waiting to be created...My final fabric choices will be listed under each photo.


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: Dress; Silk Organza with embroidery, Lined with vintage Japanese kimono fabric in pink.
Collar and cuff- Black brocade silk (that I purchased in my visit to China)
Pants; Silk brocade in pink with metallic weavings, black silk brocade, lining of hand-dyed tussah silk

close up of silk embroidery on garment
Hat: This was the fun part, I just LOVE making hats! I created one hat and felt it just wasn't the right fit.
So did some pattern redrafting in paper and finally came up the right shape for more of a headpiece.
Now the for the fabric, I pulled out my cherished scraps and found the beautiful metal embroidered vintage sari piece for the base of the headpiece...

Embellishments were created with the center medallion of some very old and one of a kind Hare Krishna piece my Mom had given to me ions ago. It needed a center stone and I luckily had three Jade beads- perfect! One for the medallion and the other two for the tassels. I made the tassels from various groupings of threads, then strung the precious beads which threaded through the flower vintage sequin.

The headdress trimmings are of all vintage metal.  There is a very thin metal cording that I hand sewed to the entire outline of the hat. The crowning glory is the vintage metal lace that is also hand sewn through each tiny delicate loop onto the top of the headpiece. I just love the feel and look of the patina of the aged soft fabric.

Close up of sleeve. I left the sleeve unlined so you can see trough the sheerness to the jointing of the doll.  The cuff reveals the tiny black and gold cording that is hand-sewn to define the cuff and the collar line. Below, close up black Chinese brocade.

Lotus has a small delicate hand-made flower from the silk ribbon, this flower measured no more that 1/2 inch wide. The flower is nestled in the back of her hairstyling.

Close up of her pant piecing embroidery  and her tiny shoes of brocade and lined with a peach dupioni. I am most often asked- How long did it take you to create this piece? I actually don't really know, but I can tell you it took four-five hours to create the shoes. I just love the way the little lotus blossom in the fabric came out on the center of the shoe toes!
All in all, this was one of my most enjoyable dolls to create. I feel that my years and years of focus and sacrifice to become a master in my field has finally caught up with what is in my mind's eye! And all I can do from her is to push myself to be even better!! I am excited to see where this is going to take me!

I so hope you enjoyed this written story about Lotus.
Stools: custom made by Gary Leitch
Photography: Mark Mortensen
Lotus is held in a private collection
Silk fabric information: link here

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