Accessories for a travelling art doll
So, I have to be honest and say that the traveling dolls have been getting more difficult for me as we get closer to the end of the project. I can’t imagine having more dolls to work on after these last two because I’m reaching a point where I’m stumped on what to add to these dolls since they seem so complete already.
Of course, that’s usually just my first perception as I pull a doll out that’s clothed, wigged, painted, and fully sculpted. What could I possibly add that would mean anything to this figure? That’s the first question I had as I watched Pierre rooting around through the junk in my studio and exclaiming over his many finds. It took me a couple of weeks to realize that there are three things he would benefit from the most–a walking stick (the “terrain” in most studios has to be pretty rough for any doll of Pierre’s size), a travel journal for taking notes, sketching, and keeping track of his thoughts, and a suitcase (for any souvenirs he might pick up along the way). By the time he left here, he had two of those items. Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out the mechanics of making his suitcase in time to include it with him, but I’m still working on it and will do a post about it sometime in the near future.
For today, though, I thought I’d share about how I made Pierre’s walking stick. I ran across the coolest wire at Michael’s one day in the floral section (or maybe it was the wedding section), probably a year or so ago. As soon as I saw it, I knew I’d find a use for it one day. It’s a thick wire that’s covered with some kind of paper that makes it look like a vine. Funny thing is that I’ve had it for so long, I kind of forgot about it. I considered a few different options for making a walking stick for Pierre before I finally remembered the wire vine I had.
As someone who’s ingrained the idea of armatures into their brain, my initial idea was to use some kind of armature for the vine because I knew that a single piece of this wire might look great but it wouldn’t be stiff or strong enough to act like a real walking stick. I didn’t have any wood that was thin enough but I found a small metal rod that I thought might be okay. It would end up being more of a staff than a walking stick (the rod was about 5″ tall; Pierre is probably around 7″ tall) but I thought it could still work.
This first stick was a bust for several reasons. First, the metal was shiny silver and every part of it that wasn’t covered by “vine” glinted through the rustic looking “stick.” Second, it really was too tall to work for Pierre. It just didn’t suit him at that height. Finally, it was way too thick because the metal rod was too thick to begin with. Once I’d wrapped three or four layers of vine over it, it looked completely out of place with Pierre. By the time I got done with it, the walking staff stood at 6″ and was around 1/2″ thick.
Yep, it looked to me like he needed two hands just to hold the thing, so it was back to the drawing board. I realized that I was underestimating the wire vine I had. It’s not like Pierre would literally be putting his weight on it so it didn’t have to hold up a full-grown doll and the vine was pretty sturdy once it had more than one strand to it, so I started over with a vision of something much smaller in my mind.
I think, by the time I finished, it had about four “strands” throughout with a big knob at the top for Pierre to handle it easier. I also put a slight bow in it to give it further character and make it look more natural. I really enjoyed playing with this vine stuff and can think of couple of different possibilities for it (topiary? art doll with vines for arms, legs or body?).
Next installment will be about the suitcase. I may or may not have it finished by the time I do the post but there’s quite a bit of fiddling to get things the way they should be for it, so there are plenty of pictures of info to fill a post, whether it’s completed or not. Keep an eye out on the ADO Traveling Doll Project blog, too. I plan on sharing the rest of the details there on binding the journal that I made for Pierre.
One last picture of Pierre enjoying his walking stick: