Sunday, September 2, 2012

How do you Solve a Problem like Maria? - Life sized Paper Clay head - part I

For some time now I have been threatening to remake Maria - the life sized doll I created and dressed in indigenous costume while I was in Ecuador.

I call the remake project (which may or may not include some ball joints at elbows, knees, shoulders, and ankles for ease of posing)
" How do you solve a problem like Maria".  You are humming it right now, aren't you? You will be humming it for days now.  :-)

I slapped her together rather quickly so I am not proud of how she turned out.  On top of that she and infant son Jose traveled in a rather undignified manner to Canada.  Maria lovingly cradled Jose in one arm and my computer in the other as she sat wedged into a cardboard wardrobe container.  Miraculously all survived the trip, even though the box was torn open to reveal a disheveled but still smiling Maria.  I always marvel at her ability to smile in the face of all life can throw at her.

Perhaps someone suspected a body was hidden in the container? It would give you a start to see this "person" staring out at you from a shipping container!

I didn't want to pay for an extra seat for them and Maria has never forgiven me for that.

Here we see Maria cuddling Jose in my living room. Yes I do live in a simulated Gypsy Caravan cum Berber tent. Bite me.

Sadly Jose succumbed to one of my charitable endeavours. Parts of him live on in various stuffed bunnies, cats and dogs which will find themselves at the Salvation Army Family services around Christmas time.  I featured some of these in an earlier blog post.

So anyway...I had been wrestling for a long time with how to make a plausible face and hands for life sized dolls. The soft sculpture just doesn't cut it for me with faces, and hands are difficult at the best of times.

When I discovered paper clay I thought this may be the answer to both problems.

In these photos you will glimpse my cat Reg; a great fan of flour in its many delicious forms.

Here we see him sampling the initial layer of flour and water and newspaper strips that I had positioned  on a Styrofoam head form  (used for styling and storing wigs.)

Sigh............. it is not easy being an artist when your fans eat your work when your back is turned.  Unless you are the Cake Boss.

PS It has come to my attention that some initial nibbling that I blamed on Reg was actually the work of a mouse.  Said mouse lured by the delicious aroma of flour and newspaper entered the house and was dispatched by Irma this morning.   Here she is having a cuddle with Brother Reg. Thank you Irma.

The following are photos of the prototype head.  I intend to make a much older Maria this time. Having nubile young beauties watch me do yoga in my living room only serves as a taunting reminder of my own aging body. 

Here Reg contemplates the best way to open the container of flour and water.  His usual method is to knock it off the counter and let it smash open all by itself. Voila! Instant snack. And healthy at that as I used Whole Wheat flour.

I am attempting a pleasant twinkly eyed but wrinkled elderly woman.  If I have to age Maria has to too.

Good to see a photo so I can correct the wonky eyes, add some jowls and more wrinkles.  It is easy to get lost in the details and not really see the piece as a whole.

Here is what came next.  Eyes a little more aligned.

 Below you can see the initial layers of paper mache at the back of the head. The front is the only part where I have smoothed on some paper clay so far.  I have split it apart for easy removal from the form. And it may end up that I only use the mask portion.
?Quien Sabe?
Still requires a lot more jowls,a turkey neck, ears, insertion of  acrylic eyes, eye lashes and brows, maybe teeth, hair and finally paint.

Note to self: don't forget to pierce her ears for earrings.

I will keep you updated on the progress.


Anonymous said...

that is the creepiest doll iv ever seen in my life. I thought it was a horribly deformed person at first. WHY!!!!

down to earth said...

Sorry I did not see your comment till tonight. So brave of you to post anonymously. What did you think would happen if I knew who you were?

If it creeped you out then I met my goal! Either that or you are very easily creeped out.

Surprising how many people speak to her when they come in the house so she must look realistic to some.

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