Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Companions...Have Waist-Coats!

For so many of us, as doll-makers...
the entire journey and process of a doll "becoming" is sheer joy!
My "Companions Along the Journey" series 
have been no different in this respect.

They each have waist-coat jackets and sleeves 
(100% wool felt, which still need to be dyed) 
and funny little individual hats.  
Aren't the vintage spectacles a  hoot!

I think my favorite hat is the simple rectangle style 
that has been folded twice and then stitched along the back seam...
opened up like a little "Dutch" hat,  ink stamp and coffee-stained
with vintage buttons added to the corners.

Today I hope to cover their little boots with paper maché,
and then cover their little bodies with paper maché mulberry papers.  

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

"Wabi" Wednesday!

After publishing last week's "Wednesday's Whimsy"...

I realized that the whole notion of wabi-sabi is such an
integral part of my own life and creative journey, 
that a "Wabi-Wednesday" post would be far more meaningful 
(and fun) than a "Wednesday's Whimsy!" weekly post.
Soooo... all that being said: Why not have both!?!

That's my new plan: Offer either a weekly wabi-sabi photo
to inspire... or a bit of whimsy to revel in!

These three mottled oil cans sit atop a stately crackled
architectural piece on my work table... 
"There is an aching poetry in things that carry this patina!"

Sunday, February 7, 2016

They Are Among Us...

They are among us...   "companions along the journey"
That's the name I've given to the newest mini-series 
of paper clay and maché dolls I am currently working on.
Are they "other-worldly" or simply "kindred spirits" (or both)?

The inspiration came from two very different sources:

“Some carried their burdens well, some did not. 
And some carried very heavy burdens with gallantry and grace.”  
(Job: A Comedy of Justice by Robert A. Heinlein)


“I am a companion of all those who revere You...” 
(Psalm 119:63a, NASB)

This new series acknowledges those unassuming friends, 
who join us along life’s journey… 
while bringing a smile to our face and assurance to our heart!
And so, the journey begins... Daryle

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wabi... What?

Wabi-Sabi…  Pared down to its barest essence, wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. It's simple, slow, and uncluttered-and it reveres authenticity above all. Wabi-sabi is flea markets, not warehouse stores; aged wood, not Pergo; rice paper, not glass. It celebrates cracks and crevices and all the other marks that time, weather, and loving use leave behind. It reminds us that we are all but transient beings on this planet-that our bodies as well as the material world around us are in the process of returning to the dust from which we came. Through wabi-sabi, we learn to embrace liver spots, rust, and frayed edges, and the march of time they represent.

Generally speaking, wabi had the original meaning of sad, desolate, and lonely, but poetically it has come to mean simple, humble by choice, and in tune with nature. Sabi by itself means "the bloom of time." It connotes natural progression-tarnish, hoariness, rust-the extinguished gloss of that which once sparkled. It's the understanding that beauty is fleeting.
Sabi things carry the burden of their years with dignity and grace: the chilly mottled surface of an oxidized silver bowl, the yielding gray of weathered wood, the elegant withering of a bereft autumn bough. An old car left in a field to rust, as it transforms from an eyesore into a part of the landscape, could be considered America's contribution to the evolution of sabi. An abandoned barn, as it collapses in on itself, holds this mystique.

There's an aching poetry in things that carry this patina... x    
We Americans are ineffably drawn to old European towns with their crooked cobblestone streets and chipping plaster, to places battle scarred with history much deeper than our own. We seek sabi in antiques and even try to manufacture it in distressed furnishings. True sabi cannot be acquired, however. It is a gift of time.
(Excerpted from The Wabi-Sabi House by Robyn Griggs Lawrence)

Share the gift...   Daryle

Friday, January 29, 2016

Wanted: A New Home!

At just one day old and 13 inches tall... 
The Bear Blizzard Child is ready to "leave home!"
(I hope to offer him in the Gallery later this weekend)

He is made using sparse, distressed German mohair 
and a paper clay head inserted in the fabric.
He also has five traditional "crown joints" using cotter pins.
If you are not familiar with traditional teddy bear making; 
this allows his head, arms, and legs to turn 360 degrees...
(though I do not recommend this, as he gets dizzy... wink!)
He is stuffed with washed raw wool and wood wool (excelsior),
giving him a soft vintage, and yet, "crunchy" feel.

He carries his Little Leather Library book: 
"The Bear Hunt and Other Stories" by Leo Tolstoy
and dons three coffee-stained  hang tags. 
(Wednesday's Whimsy post... for January 13th!)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

It Must Be... Wednesday!

"Snap!" "Crackle" Pop!"

Let's talk: "Crackle"

I am asked time-and-again... "How do you achieve such
consistent crackling, in your dolls?"

The truth is... It's not about me!  It's all about
the crackle medium I have been applying to 
my dolls for years:

I use DecoArt One Step Crackle.

I have found that this medium consistently produces a desirable 
crackle finish on both paper clay 
(my primary doll sculpting medium) and wood.

I brush it on thick and am often guilty of over-brushing it; 
a big taboo with other crackle mediums. 
And yet, it consistently produces nice, even crackling. 

It is truly a "one-step" application:
Step #1. 
I apply the crackle medium to the doll/surface 
after the doll is painted and completely dry. 
Then, I allow the crackle medium to dry overnight. 
The product label suggests a 2-4 hour dry time; 
but I always allow it to dry overnight, 
even though you see “crackling” almost immediately.

Step #2.
Next, I brush contrasting acrylic paint over the entire surface
(that has the dried crackle medium applied to it). 
I choose a color that I want to fill all of the little cracks 
that have appeared.
Two of my favorite contrasting colors are: 
raw umber and raw sienna. 

Step #3.
Then... I immediately begin to wipe off the acrylic
paint that was just applied, using a soft cloth... to reveal 
the crackled finish.  I often leave some of the acrylic paint 
in cracks and crevices to give the finish a time-worn look.

Step #4. 
(Optional... only if you want a matte/dull finish)
The only thing that I do not like about DecoArt is 
it leaves a very high sheen/gloss finish, when dry.  
To remedy this... as an additional step, I use 
Plaid FolkArt Outdoor Matte Sealer as a top-coat (last step). 
Apply the Matte Sealer only after after Step #3 is dry.

My suggestion is:  You try this product on your lovely doll,
only AFTER you have first applied it to a "sample piece"...
to make sure you are satisfied with your results.

(Ben Franklin said it first: "Only two things are certain in life...")
Have fun! Daryle

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Der Bär... Cotter Pins and Raw Wool!

Well, after popping the seam in one of his arms, not once...
but twice (thank you "ladder stitch" to the rescue!)
Der Bär has raw wool stuffing and cotter pin crown jointed arms 
and a snuggly jointed head!

Next: stuff those little legs of his with raw wool,
then insert the cotter pins and washers,
fill his belly with wood wool and some soft raw wool,
sew his tiny ears on (Ugh! all thumbs here) 
and stitch up his back seam!

I'm planning on a bit of a wobble, under-stuffed neck... 
to give him a little added character.  Sigh!