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Welcome to my dollmaking journal. I write doll stories, share tips on this creative journey and so much more. Hope you enjoy your visit!.

Explorations on Movement, Part 2.

Explorations on Movement, Part 2.

Unbeknownst to me there seems to be a theme sprouting up in this blog o’mine. Somewhat of a series on exploring more body movement in the art doll arena. Let me show you what I have been up to.

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If you remember correctly, back in February I experimented with adding a moveable knee “joint” of sorts by stuffing the doll’s leg in three parts. This proved a success but the experiments stopped there. I had so much to do with an impending summer full of workshops and a two-month trip to Europe, that it was very unlikely to continue said explorations with so much at hand.

But curiosity and eagerness to try new things never leaves me. I just put those thoughts in a sketchbook and I dive to explore them later on. This time I wanted to create a head that moved in all directions: up, down, to both sides, all manner of tilt, etc. And here are the results. As you can see another success!

Rye is made in my Petite Fig pattern, but we probably will call her “improved” design a something else. Maybe “Floppy Petite”? hehehe. I have been toying with the idea of a fully articulated doll, in the likes of my Mannikin, but with more “stuffing” in the creation process and less “sculpted all around an armature” sort of idea. As much as I love the Mannikin I have to take care of my wrists and that’s why making one-per-year has been my motto.

So how did this sorcery happened? How was I able to achieve the moveable neck, you ask? Well, first I contemplated and it was my firm intention to use a wooden ball to joint the neck. Seemed like the most amiable road. However, due to a slight miscalculation in the length of her neck this just didn’t turn out the way I envisoned but instead provided an avenue for a different idea to spring to life and here you have it: a socket joint.

The head is nested atop the neck, there is a wee handmade joint there (very safe! I have tried to snap her head off to no avail…she was offered plenty of cookies afterwards I promise). Through this exploration process I have created something completely new to me: a head that swivels in all directions.

 Natural fiber art dolls: made with cotton cloth and wool. by Fig and Me.

Natural fiber art dolls: made with cotton cloth and wool. by Fig and Me.

 Neck-jointed fiber art doll. By Fig and Me.

Neck-jointed fiber art doll. By Fig and Me.

Now of course, getting the fabric to conform to the socket, and sew everything nice, was a very lengthy process but I was so excited to see her come to life that I overused my hands and now we are taking a break. She is fully assembled with hair and a hat to boot. Yesterday she had to choose between two very different colour palettes and I think she has made her decision, so if the sewing fairies are on my side she should be ready to find a home very soon (though I must confess, I really wish I could keep her!).

Rye, made with cloth and wool. Art doll by Fig and Me.

I am so pleased with how everything looks so neat. I was really afraid of trying this because I just couldn’t wrap my head around fixing all the fabric inside the socket. Then I remembered how I was so afraid of making the Mannikin because I thought all the seams would pop once I moved the armature in positions and they never did. The elasticity of the knit fabric and how much you can pull it and contort it is pure magic and a wonderful aid in cloth doll making adventures.

 Rye, natural fiber art doll by Fig and Me.

Rye, natural fiber art doll by Fig and Me.

Now of course, you can also achieve this with a wired neck but you just don’t get the same range of movement. All my dolls already sport some sort of neck mobility due to the way I make their necks, they can be slightly tilted, but they can never turn their heads to the sides because they are sewn in place. With this new method all movement is possible.

Next I am going to try it on the shoulders and maybe even those dreaded knees again. I shall keep you posted.

Rye, an October girl.

Rye, an October girl.

Online Doll Making Class: making a fairy doll with Fig and Me.

Online Doll Making Class: making a fairy doll with Fig and Me.

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