Doll abstract

Discussing design and cloth doll making, by Fig&me.

That little word up there gave me so many thoughts. Good and long, the kind of rumination that keeps your eyes on your work and time flies by, not knowing in what day you are living or if it's time to start supper, you know? you are in a different world all together. Abstract.

This last group of dolls is touching many nerves. I wonder sometimes what is coming my way, when the dolls start pushing my hands, and I start seeing things come out of my fingers and I recognize the initial drives, sometimes I even find sketches or fumbled beginnings in dolls made a long time ago. Then I see the new detail, in its full glory, and I know exactly where it comes from, how long I have been dreaming with this idea, yet my hands were not yet ready until today. It is a most wonderful process this they call creativity.

On designing a doll, by Fig&me.

Every single aspect of my dolls has a story to tell. Not just of why is there, but how it came to be there. If you came to visit me, and asked me questions of why this is here, and why that is there, and why this doll has this type of belly button and this other doesn't, why this one has very hard legs and this other one doesn't, I can tell you all about it. I am not sure you ever want to ask those questions as the avalanche of detail and thought and ideas behind every design aspect of my dolls is going to come out pouring with a diluvial flow. 

A doll and her shadow, by Fig&me.

Doll back, by Fig&me.

I wasn't ready, for example, to embrace the lower parts of the human body. I know I am being pedantic about it, but to me dolls are an abstract of the human body, just "barely there" so to speak. As the dolls have evolved, I see more and more details, more and more sculpting, and more curve, concave, convex that illustrate an idea, that anchor a thought.

And the dolls themselves tell so much, even when seen just like this, with no clothes, no name, without me telling you anything about them you can already start understanding them, where they come from, who they are, who they want to be. I am not saying that the more sculpted and realistic the doll, the more she has to say. What I am saying is that doll design has a very clear voice, and sometimes very simple designs, when done properly and with intent, speak volumes, and some other times, a cacophony of details and sculpting can fall too far from a true connection between you and your doll. 

I believe that putting thought into your design, however minuscule the curve, the roundness of the belly, the soft or hard thumb, the small stitches you take when you hand-sew, the sculpting or no sculpting at all that you choose to do, is what tells a story about you and your "pride of ownership". Leaving visible threads, dodging a seam or taking an easy tuck can of course be left to a mistake, I am not striving for perfectionism, I actually think that is an impediment to creativity. You have to start somewhere. But I do believe that taking time to form the doll from within and from scratch, spending some of your precious life energy into a design that is aesthetically pleasing to you, that you feel connected with, is what makes a doll yours. Taking design elements from another doll can be a temporary avenue for learning techniques (we are after all connected and mutually inspired) but they can never truly form part of your design until you understand the construction and until you are connected to the creation of your doll, otherwise your design falls a bit too short. 

Left and right feet, by Fig&me

A doll in the buff, by Fig&me.

She lies with the sun at her feet, by Fig and me.

There are a few design elements making themselves present in my dolls as of late. Usually I change something little by little and then I have to stare at it in the face. I want to acknowledge some of these new elements while the thoughts are still very much fresh on my head. Oh yes, rumination on the abstract. For sure.

Posted on November 28, 2013 and filed under dollmaking.