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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Paper Clay Doll

All summer long I've been dreaming of a session with Paper Clay, a product that I was told would be superior to papier mache for making an art doll. With deadlines looming and a Thanksgiving turkey hanging over my head the muse tapped me on the shoulder and drug me into the studio. My name is Judy and I'm an artaholic.

The head was so lame that I almost quit but I'm not a quitter. Sure the next one will be better. But dear little Birdy (that's her name) begged me not to abandon her. And so we made friends and continued to play together.

I formed her head out of a big ball of clay on a stick and I'm sure it's still wet inside. After that I found directions online and found out that a wad of aluminum foil makes a good armature so I used that over a spray can cap for her body.

This is what the body stage looked like before I started smooshing on the paper clay. Those are her arms on the table. I rubbed burnt umber acrylic mixed with medium into the painted face and wiped most of it back off to age the head - naturally I will do that to the body too at some point.

I'm showing you the cap that forms the bottom of the skirt. She might need legs later on but right now she sits on the hem of her skirt.

After I had her all formed I realized I should have poked the wire for her arms through first. Fortunately it went through everything easily. I used copper wire because that's what I had.

After she was mostly done I took a few pictures to share. She has german glass around her collar and shibori silk ribbon for a belt (thanks, Lorri Scott!).

I used lots of iridescent and gold acrylic to highlight her clothes.

I have to think of a way to give her legs or I may just leave her the way she is and move on. To the turkey. Because eep, that's tomorrow that I have to start cooking. Ack.

John kept coming in and looking at Birdy with a look of consternation. Poor girl, despite her dour expression she was a good and loyal playmate. We had so much fun together and isn't that what it's all about?

BTW, I still prefer paper mache. This isn't out of my system yet. ;-D

46 comments:

Kelly Kilmer said...

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
*collective sigh*
I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE her!

*love*

Beautiful work, Judy...always from the heart (and soul).

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

mystele said...

she's awesome!!! lovely folk art appeal and the colors add a great funky edge.

misty said...

I LOVE her, she is so wonderful! very inspiring! and yes, i am an artaholic, too... is there any help for us?

i can see this turned into a video... with music and your voice... :-)
happy thanksgiving dear Judy. xoxoox

kelly rae said...

oh judy, i knew you could do anything, but wow, you REALLY can do anything. i LOVE her. LOVE her!

xoxooxox

Shawn Borror said...

how folksy fun is the ms. birdie (what we call our eldest daughter btw)! i love your words wrapped around your creations...they have such yummy appeal...ms. birdie is a lucky gal.

Lynn said...

You impress me no end. This doll is amazing to me...I love the colors and see legs that maybe attach under her skirt and stick straight out then bend at the knee so she can sit on the edge of a surface /chair with her lower legs showing below her dress. Or I suppose she can hang up and have long legs hanging straight down. I see boots with laces or buttons and laces. I know she is YOUR doll, but I got a little carried away with my imaginative helping.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

katie said...

sweet birdie is WONDERFUL - i like her neck...(and her hairline, and her pursed lips and her pointy eyebrow) i love her...
happy thanksgiving dear judy
xoxo

Pilar said...

Wow! This is an amazing doll for your first go! She is simple charming and a delight. : D I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving!xoxoxoxo

Jeane said...

my oh my, oh my! Judy, this is just wonderful! - I am so inspired to get some of this clay and try some things! this little lady is really very wonderful - have a wonderful Thanksgiving! and thanks for sharing!

Allegra Smith said...

I think she is horrible, and she looks like an orphan and she needs to move in with us like. . . tomorrow. I know you truly want to get rid of her so she won't remind you of all the trouble it took to make her so I will be sending Barry in the morning to get her. Am I not your BFF around here? Who else would do this for you?

Love you and love Birdie. I knew you would see through this. Can I send Barry anyway?

Sharon said...

Birdie is adorable! I love that you do and share so many different things. I've seen so many things that I'd like to try, and I look forward to having time to explore all of you posts. Thank you for sharing your art and techniques with us. Happy Thanksgiving!

Susan Tuttle said...

Yes, yes, yes!!! - I love her!! How fantastic to see your art rendered in three dimensions!!

Happy Thanksgiving to you sweet lady!!!

Susan
xoxox

MB Shaw said...

Very fun, I love seeing the process and hearing your inner thoughts. Yep, artoholics, what are we going to do, huh!?!?

missesbeames said...

Hi, I am Joan, and I have followed your blog since I saw your rug on yahoo rughooking site. I love your art and your spirit, and how you enjoy life and art so much, I am not sure if you can "friend" people on here, but I would like to if possible. I love, art but I have better intentions than results most of the time. Anyway, the doll is beautiful. blessings, Joan

Keet said...

I can't believe you are or were in any way disappointed with her head; I think it's completely fabulous and lends a wonderful folk art appeal.
How durable is paperclay once dry? Is it quite fragile, like porcelain? Is this a doll that shouldn't be handled much?

Amy Stoner said...

She is sooo cute!

Mary said...

Judy, I think she is precious!! Love her! Have you seen Gritty Jane's art dolls? Her website is:
http://grittyartsstudio.wordpress.com/

Kelly Snelling_Soulhumming.typepad.com said...

i am so, so grateful that you posted this judy. i've got a big paper mache project out in my garage right now. i have to finish it this week and i dread the mess. i've wanted to try paper clay for a long time but it is such an endeavor to try yet another new medium. but it doesn't look too cumbersome or troubling. and your friend you made (miss birdy) is a gorgeous pensive lass. you know that's my favorite sort. kudos and happy, happy thanksgiving!

Lisa said...

I think she is quite lovely! I read an article on paper clay figures and have been itching to try it with my girls. This definitley is the push I needed to give it a try.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ro Bruhn said...

Oh gosh Judy, now I have to give this a try. she has such an expressive face. By the way I don't think she needs legs.

julie king said...

birdie is just delightful! i'm so tempted to get some paper clay and give this a try. but collage commissions are calling my name! deadlines to meet. maybe after christmas. thanks for sharing!

femminismo said...

I agree with Ro, Judy. She doesn't need legs! She's a demure little thing who really even hates to show her feet. (She makes all the other girls jealous 'cause she has such small ones!) This is neat stuff. It's fun - and encouraging - to hear you do stuff like forget to put wire through for arms. I have been saving plastic creamer containers instead of recycling them. It's hard to hide them from the Mister, but this is perfect for paper mache. I can't wait to try it. Birdie's a doll! NPI. (no pun intended)

Judy said...

We are soooooooooooooooooooooo on the same wavelength judy - i have been wanting to play with the same stuff - bring on next week - no commissions - yaah. Your dolly id so divine - really truly ruly.
And happy thanksgiving to you, John and all your loved ones.
xox

Chris said...

Hi Judy!
Birdy is fabulous! I enjoyed seeing how you put her together. She is such a wonderful, expressive doll! Happy Thanksgiving!

Chris said...

Hi Judy!
Birdy is fabulous! I enjoyed seeing how you put her together. She is such a wonderful, expressive doll! Happy Thanksgiving!

Loretta said...

Oh, she's wonderful! LURVE her - must make one....

and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Lauren said...

wow, she's really beautiful! great job. i wonder how much time you spent making her?

Karen Cole said...

I love seeing how people translate their vision into different dimensions. I wouldn't bother with the legs you spoke of, she's perfect as is.

Happy T day, Judy.

Ruth Armitage said...

Judy, thank you for the bottom of my heart for introducing me to Birdy and for the inspiration. Maybe I can make an angel for the top of my tree, since I hate the one I have and can't find one I like. I saw one I liked Wednesday in Salem, but couldn't afford it, alas. You are so generous to share your angst & make all the rest of us artaholics feel better! If you feel that way, it must be ok, look how she turned out!

Serena Barton said...

I love her! I want to learn how to make a doll--are you going to teach this, I hope?

Maija said...

She is fabulous!!
I want her to live with me and make me smile!
oxox

John G. said...

SO beautiful!

Tara Ross Studios said...

She is amazing, I love her. Her facial expression is wonderful,,, and all the texture in her skirt. How long would you say it took you to make her?

Please make more!

Judy Wise said...

Hi Tara & Lauren,
I think she took around 7-8 hours but that's because I didn't know what I was doing.

The paper clay is very tough once it dries. No problem handling.

Try it. You'll like it!
xo

Laura said...

She's fabulous! I just finished my first paperclay and cloth doll and I'm definitely addicted. I love my first doll even though she's not much of a looker. http://www.flickr.com/photos/allaboutpretty/
Thanks for sharing your technique. I'm going to give it a whirl on my next doll. I'll also have to give paper mache a try. Blessings, Laura

donnaj said...

cool doll-may hae to try one this winter~

Funky Art Queen said...

She is absolutely gorgeous! Love her!

paulanm said...

Ha!!!!!! I've been having fun will dolls too! Sometimes it is fun to take a breather and try something new....

Deryn Mentock said...

Isn't she wonderful?? Paperclay...good!

Sarah said...

Birdy is beautiful, legs or no legs!

jasmoon-butterfly said...

beautiful...I have joined nancyes dolls cant wait to get creative :)
love & light
Tracey x

Liz said...

I googled "paperclay doll" and am delighted to have stumbled on her.... wow... she has so much personality! :D

Liz

D. Leigh said...

Hey! She's cute! A perfect Folkart Doll if ever I saw one! I, too, am researching to work with paperclay, and I stumbled across your blog entry.

POCKETFA said...

:)

Charlot of Dreamaginarius said...

gorgeous!!!

"I used that over a spray can cap for her body." You are a very clever girl Judy.. kuddos!

Mardiroz said...

She's lovely! Will enjoy following your posts.