Friday, November 14, 2014

Little Sisters of the Grasslands


It can come in many different forms...sometimes it is the fabric, sometimes it is from a chance discussion or words, sometimes nature...and sometimes music.
Unlike my husband, Mark, who can hear a song and then play it, I am not musically inclined. I find this whole phenomenon of the brain so interesting. I can see a doll in my head and *poof* out it comes into my is quite a  different story. I can hear a song in my head and it sure does not come out as the tune in my head!

I still find inspiration from music, it can touch my soul and speak to me. So, my form of interpretation comes out as a three dimensional piece...

The Chinese Opera, Little Sisters of the Grasslands is one such inspiration. First off, just the name itself, I found needed to be in doll form...then the story of the I found the opera is something that I cannot recall now, but I will listen to music that does move me while creating certain pieces.
Photography: Mark Mortensen

After I listened to the song, I set out to find more information...inspiration. It is with diligence that I came across this publication...

expert from the The China Journal No. 42, Jul., 1999

I am finding that hardships can lead to searching and finding beauty...this may be a rare case above but it does show determination to make it through the "storms" of life. You may come away with some "dings" but it does open your eyes to life's possibilities and your inner strength.


For the costuming, I took some liberties in color theme. I did choose the indigo of the Chinese workers which I chose as a very deep indigo silk paired in with the pattern design of the cross over jacket and loose trousers. But I did spice it up for the visual sake adding not quite khaki as tradition would hold, but more of a golden grain color for balance.
Each has a handmade straw hat that most of us recognize as a Chinese style.
Fabrics were of course, more luxurious than worker/sheep herders would and linen but I believe it still carrying an earthiness.

At this time, I was using a Chinese dupioni silk for the bodies. I also, was using horsehair for the wigging. My purpose was to relate the horsehair to the Mongolian horsemen.

I have now switch to a silk crepe for the bodies mostly for esthetic reasons in that the crepe has a more matte finish with a texture that I really love and the wigging is now from silk and mohair.

I love working with bringing texture visually to the forefront. I find you can use texture as contrast or even color in your work.

Close ups


 Everything I was I carry with me,

everything I will be lies 

waiting on the road ahead.

Ma Jian

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