The Many Faces of Dolly

If at first you don’t succeed . . . just scrape off a face, and make a new one.

So, I decided to finally try to make one of Gritty Jane’s Cloth and Clay Dolls.  I haven’t provided a link (the link is just to a photo advertising the old workshop) because the workshop is no longer available.  First, it was an online workshop on her blog.  Then, it was part of a ning community, and then it transferred to Jane Spakowsky (formerly Gritty Jane)’s art ning The Trodden Path.  When the Trodden Path closed its doors, Jane sent out an email with the links to the tutorials to those who had paid for the class, and set up a private Facebook page.  So, yep, I took this class years ago, and am finally trying to make this folk art doll.

What stopped me before wasn’t the clay, or the painting, neither of which I’m particularly good at, but at least I have no fear,  but rather it was the sewing.  Back then, I was so inept with my sewing machine that I just couldn’t see sewing the thin little pieces, and getting them turned.  Everything about sewing before I knew what I was doing was a hassle.  Curves – right, no.  So, now that I have overcome my fear and inexperience with the machine, and with my current doll making kick, I thought I’d give it a go.

Of course, I failed to save the pattern.  I emailed Jane, but she didn’t get back to me.  And, I can’t blame her – at all – she has done everything in her power to make the class continue to be accessible, and it’s certainly not her fault that I failed (or lost, I’m not really sure anymore) to download the course materials.  So, I found another pattern based on an Izannah Walker doll (an historic cloth and clay doll)  on Pinterest, and plunged ahead.  I watched Jane’s sculpting videos several times, covered my doll in paperclay, and made an attempt to sculpt a face.


Poor thing – she has the nose that ate the world.  Jane starts her dolls with the nose piece, and then continues to add clay to shape the chin, jaw and cheekbones.  I think I used enough clay for her nose to make a whole other face.  Oh well.  She’s not so cute.

Easy solution – I just scraped the face off, and started again.  This time, I didn’t really follow a tutorial, I just tried to make the clay into what I thought to be a face.

And, while her eyes went goofy, as do all of my eye experiments, I was happier with this result – here she is in a painting stage –

And, here she is pretty much done – or at least on time out. I think I’ll probably still try to clean up her eyes, but since the clay is cock-eyed, they’re never going to be perfect anyway.

Overall, I’m encouraged – I see definite improvement from face 1 to face 2.  And that’s what practice is about, right?  Next time, I think I’m going to hollow out an area for the eyes, but I won’t put clay eyeballs in, I think I’ll just paint them in – maybe I’ll have better luck at making them the same size that way.  We’ll see.  In any event, I am going to finish this dolly up, attach the arms and legs, and make her a little skirt.

So, tomorrow starts my Popavacation – the Pope is coming to Philadelphia, and Philadelphia is closing up shop for business.  I’ll take it!  So, I’m off for six straight days – thanks Pope Francis.  Tonight, ironically, starts Yom Kippur, and I would have been off anyway tomorrow, fasting, but what a bonus that I don’t have to use a vacation day!

And what am I going to do with my six days?  When I’m finished fasting and atoning, I’m going to  . . . oh my!  so many things – I can’t even get my thoughts together!

You’ll just have to wait and see.

By the way – I love painting with the doll shoved in the jar!

Basic CMYK

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