- Arts and Design
Lifelike polymer clay dolls
A hobby that saved my mind and soul...
Sculpting one of a kind polymer clay dolls has got me through some rough years in my life. Creating these figures, each one with their distinct personality and style ,gave me the strength and satisfaction I desperately needed to overcome anxiety and depression. Every time I get my hands on the clay all my worries are gone and I only focus on the task at hand (literally). So here I am, sharing this hobby of mine with you , along with photos of my most recent dolls. I know they may not be perfect to everyone's standards but to my eyes they are perfect, same way a mother thinks of her child as the prettiest child of them all.
The creative force within me..
Since I was a child I kept making things , messing around with every possible craft, or even inventing my own crafts. Usually this was in expense of my studies so I had to do my crafts secretly, to escape the wrath of my parents. The years went by and after completing my studies (finished the university, got my diploma) I knew that the time had come to actually start doing something that I liked and wanted, for once. So I begun doing all sorts of crafts, from crochet to painting, from woodworking to macrame. And finally I anchored to clay (and polymer clay later on). Bringing something to life from a chunk of clay holds immense joy for me, it fills me up and makes the everyday life less painful and miserable.
Enjoy your visit here !
Some of the books I use to improve my sculpting techniques - and draw inspiration from
More like a holy bible to me, every doll that I make is based on instructions and techniques from this book.
I never believed that sculpting animals could be that easy, with clear instructions for some amazing results!
This is the book that inspired me to begin making the trolls, an abundance of ideas and inspiration.
Contains well written instructions and many projects to begin with, offering hours and hours of creative sculpting.
it's always a mess...
I mostly do much of the work in my room , with two air purifiers constantly working at full, since dust and lint is the greatest enemy of any polymer clay project. All of my drawers are filled up with findings, beads, accessories and fabrics, organised until I begin a project. Once I start with a doll the whole room becomes like a bombarded town. Most of the times I make more than one outfit for a doll till I decide which is best, and the same goes with all the other embellishments... So every now and then I take a break for a couple of days, re-organise everything, catalogue what's left and what needs to be replenished and start over.
During the summer I have the air conditioning 24/7 ,since summers here are long and hot .Working with polymer clay when it's too hot outside can prove a bit of a challenge, as it gets very soft and sometimes it's almost impossible to sculpt with it .
My latest creations
Without further delay ,I present you my most recent dolls. As I continue making new dolls I shall be adding them here on this lens ,so check back again from time to time !
Leila, the belly dancer - A glimpse of life in the harem...
I was always fascinated by the belly dancers. The glamorous (and often revealing) dresses, their graceful movements and their exotic beauty is what motivated me to make Leila. I used Cernit (flesh color) for a clay and various fabrics to dress her up, from spider tulle to silk and nylon stockings.For the throw pillows I used some of the fabrics that are in my stash (which has outgrown my room's storage capacity..) along with some trimmings I had. The wooden base is part of an old knives storage, which I sanded ,painted and then lacquered.
Jewellery consists of gold plated and silver plated chains and rings and the hair were made from a kanekalon fibre wig.
Eyes are small white glass beads that are hand painted and eye lashes from black marabou feathers (this took me hours to complete...).
A short video I made - from shots of Leila
Japanese culture has always had a distinct place in my heart. So making a Geisha was just a matter of time for me. I have to admit that I was faced with quite a few difficulties, mainly because of the hair and the dress. Both had to reflect and represent the kind of doll I wanted to make and I had to venture into new waters for me. So after a lot of experimenting I finally ended up using black wool roving for the hair, which I needle felted (a painful experience -literally- that required a lot of band-aid...).
For the kimono I followed my own pattern after looking many photos from the internet and a couple of books I had. Since my sewing skills are not that good(I still have a lot to learn) I had to come up with something that was both relatively simple but also effective in giving the doll the distinct look. My choice of a fabric was red Chinese silk with a dragon pattern ,I immediately fell in love with it once I saw it.
The sandals are made from polymer clay canes which I had in storage (from some beads I had previously made) .
The traditional umbrella was something that took me almost as much time as making the rest of the doll. It;s made from craft paper and white florist wires, carefully cut and glued together, along with decorative beads and other accents.
I'm currently in the process of designing a new Geisha doll, more gothic and dark. Once completed I'll add photos of her on this lens!
More photos of Madame ButterflyClick thumbnail to view full-size
And here is the video of Madame Butterfly
Nalia, the fairy
Being a huge fan of fantasy I couldn't resist the urge to make a fairy. Actually this is the third one I made and was a gift to my mother (the previous two were sold before I could take some photos of them).
So this is Nalia, a fairy who the orcs set a trap in the forest and captured her, and now lives in a dark dungeon, trying to escape.The chained ball is too heavy for her to lift but she keeps trying anyway.
The challenge with this sculpture was to create both a dynamic feeling/effect and also to achieve the necessary balance (there is a thick wire running down the ball behind the chain which actually supports the doll). The base was filled with steel nuts to increase the weight and then flooded with cement.
This is my latest creation, finished it a couple of days ago (April the 15th,2013). Making a period doll was a real quest for me, as I had spent the previous months researching on the subject and making the designs of the outfit.
The fabric I used is cationic chiffon, which is ultra lightweight and is bi-colored, depending on the point of which you observe it. It took me about 2 square meters to make the dress, a lot of patience and many many hours of work. Underneath there is a miniature crinoline, made from steel wire and small chain. The back fan is actually a very wide decorative lace trimming which I shaped and stiffened with a fabric stiffener.
Some more pics of Queen IrisClick thumbnail to view full-size
My little trolls!
These little guys were an experiment with a different method of sculpting. Their head ,hands and feet are made with polymer clay and the rest of the body is batting over a wire armature.
The clay is painted over (with a very diluted paint) using water soluble oil colors and the clothes are cheesecloth which I dipped in paint. The eyes are black onyx beads.
Whenever a friend of mine sees them they always ask me to make them one so I guess I'll soon have to start making a couple of trolls .
The frog was my first (and only attempt) in making an animal (an amphibian to be more precise) .It turned out darker than I wanted but I still cherish it. Some time in the near future I was thinking of sculpting a princess giving him a kiss ,to make this a set. If I do, I'll add the photos here, promise!