Tag Archives: doll

Keeper of the nest

Last fall, I found this nest on the lawn of The Royall House and Slave Quarters, in Medford, Mass., after spending a night in the quarters as part of The Slave Dwelling Project (blogged about here). How could I NOT pick it up? And how could I not feel a little ambivalent about picking it up? It spoke to me of fragile lodgings and displaced homes. The act of scooping it up as “mine”, referenced ownership, improper and otherwise.birdnest-deemallon But I took it. And housed it with care.

Last week, this bird doll and the nest and a reading of “The Logbooks – Connecticut’s Slave Ships and Human Memory” by Anne Farrow all came together. (I am almost done with the book and sooo wish I had heard Farrow speak recently at The Royall House. She authored another book called: “Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery“). It felt proper to include some cloth that I dyed under Donna Hardy’s tutelage in South Carolina as part of The Sea Island Indigo Workshop (blogged about here and around there).  Afterall, the indigo we used had provenance to the time of slavery, and the land itself had been worked by the enslaved. I marked 25 places in the hem, so that I could stitch blood-red beads — with each one standing for a decade of slavery. I poked around my studio and found some rusty bits, too.
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IMG_1842To keep the nest visible, I selected a wide-mouthed jar for the base. (The white cloth was rejected).
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IMG_1869A certain somebody, who likes all of my cloth projects, seems to have an especial fondness for this one. He stole it off the table and chewed it down in the dirty back yard twice, and stole it from the living room coffee table once, and managed to eat three or four of the silk beads during yet another unattended moment (silly me! — I have more, beads that is, and well, also, unfortunately, moments of not paying attention). The doll will get made. Finn seems dedicated to calling HER ownership into question as well!
IMG_9446The next post will feature some content from “The Logbooks” and some ideas about dealing with this particular ambivalence.

Saturday

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A very cold day that included a brisk walk, raking (and more raking), and cleaning out some duct work. Polishing glass. Writing and sewing. Decapitation.
IMG_6377.JPGThat’s right: decapitation. I took the head off one of my figures. More on that later.

Meanwhile, Boy Mouse has his skates. His grey scarf is another one of my size zero knitting needle adventures. He’s more ready for winter than I am!

IMG_6375.JPGWhen I lamented to my husband that Boy Mouse’s skates were a little too big, he quipped, “That’s okay. He doesn’t have feet.”

IMG_6374.JPGThe pipe cleaner on his back is for hanging. He can go on a wall or a Christmas tree. His jacket comes from old pjs and old (clean!) socks.

IMG_6373.JPGI made a substantial salad with blue cheese, bacon, apple, romaine hearts and bitter greens for lunch. It was satisfying.

IMG_6370.JPGI’ll sign off here. Stay warm if you are in cold temps! IMG_6371.JPGDanny comes home tomorrow and there’s chili on the stove in his honor. Later in the week, I’m cooking for Thanksgiving, but only for seven, so I hope to check back in here before then!IMG_6376.JPG

Dashing

Dashing, isn’t she?  And so am I!
This is my double duty day – take a class in the morning; teach a class in the afternoon.

Then, I will have to decide: watch the VP debates live or catch up on “Modern Family”?!!  I’ve noticed that if I tape political speeches to watch later, I tend NOT to watch them.  Because I had such a lesser condemning take on Obama than the press universally has, I will probably decide I have to see for myself… live.

So apologies to my dear blogger companions, whom I have not frequented with as much regularity as makes me happy this past little spell!!

Oh, and, the sun is out.

P.S.  This doll is getting a jester’s hat.  I have bells to sew on the tips of the silk.  And then, she will be done!!

Snap!

When I first made this head, the adjective that sprang to mind was ‘snarky’.  But I am discovering just how changeable these physically immutable features are.  Sitting near one of the Berninas, it looks to me like she is snapping her fingers.  SNAP!!  Not in a snarky way, necessarily, just an EFFECTIVE way.  “Come here!”  she snaps.  “I have something to show you!!”

We all can be so easily misunderstood.

I am diligently photographing her creation so as to be able to eventually share the step-by-step process – perhaps my first online class?  Dollmaking?

I don’t have a lot of experience with hard heads (other than the Mallon side of the family – har har).  With a cloth head, hair gets sewn on.  I may have to finally get acquainted with my glue gun.

Do you think Craig Ferguson and Geoffrey Peterson would have a field day with ‘getting acquainted with my glue gun”?

Yeah, probably.

What is your most misunderstood personality trait?  I would have to say my directness frequently is construed as impatience or rudeness.  It’s important for me to remember that even though I like other people to be direct with me, that others don’t necessarily want that from me.

There are more traits in my bin.  But one is enough to share for today.

sneak peak and light

Here she is without body or hair yet – stay tuned! She is actually finished, just in need of a photo.

Do you think she looks worried or amused — or something else?  And what about names – I’m thinking about Greta or Elyana.

Could her look be a reaction to the falling away of the season, I wonder…. look how autumnal the light is on our dining room wall!
I love fall.  Do you?

playing with dolls

Dressing a doll can be a good place to gather ideas about garments.  The blue batik ‘shirt’, here, works off of the garment-as-a-series-of-rectangles idea (recently explored in Jude Hill‘s Boro class).  I learned that just by folding the ‘sleeve’ rectangle base in as a triangle, you achieve a class sleeve outline… simple, I know, but it is different to read, study, than to tuck, finger press, and stitch! (That’s Athena by the way, and I think I will give her a weapon or two).

This dreamer wears a fun assortment of charms, including a pewter, retro airplane.  I love that plane.  But, really? It’s her pigtails that make me smile. They are tied up with plastic-coated telephone wire. Remember hunting for remnants of that as a kid and making bracelets and rings?!  If she had arms, I’d give her a typewriter, just to keep the retro business going.  The blue floral linen was a dress, probably from the 60’s.


Here the garment idea is the basic triangle-shawl.  It is hard to get more simple than that!  This pristine doily came out of my vintage linens drawer.

Now the next doll is naked.

Every once in awhile, batik offers its swirls to the imagination in a very particular way.  Years ago, I saw a penis in the swirls of a yellow batik, and gave a two fiber-collaged primitive-styled men well endowed figures (here’s one below – not a great picture, but you get the idea).

On the new green female, however, the swirls suggested breasts… and as I wrapped red thread around the waist, it wanted to go up and circle one of the breasts, which turned into a meditation on mastectomy, which a good friend of mine’s sister had had just days prior (did you know that this is a seven hour operation?!!)

This started as the idea that playing with dolls can help one learn about garment construction, and turned into something quite else.