Friday, August 12, 2011


I have been working on two art dolls with polymer clay faces.  The first of these dolls that I have completed is titled, ‘ Strength.’  I tried to approach the theme on many levels.  Her torso is hand printed Kona cotton, from my gelatin printing session.  I have embroidered the rune, strength, on her abdomen and have sewn garnet and agate beads, historically aligned with physical strength along the base of the torso.  I speculate that garnet and agate were symbolic for physical strength based on their likeness to blood and bone.  Her limbs are created from a stick pruned from one of the trees here.  I used the tree to represent the rooted quality and flexibility of a tree despite strong winds and rains.  The stick also doubles for her backbone.  A strong backbone is crucial for any character of strength.  I used a beaded fringe around her lower leg with green hearts for growth, love and compassion; all additional ingredients for strength. 

The figure’s face and feet are sculpted of rose colored clay and painted with opaque and translucent acrylic paints.  Her eyes and lips were then painted with high gloss varnish.  I felt the feet were a very important feature, not only to serve as a base for the doll to stand by but also as an expression of strength.  Feet are muscular, they connect directly to the earth and move us through life.  Feet do a lot of work and so are very representational of strength to me.  Strength’s hair is handspun wool that I picked up in Virginia at a fiber shop that is sadly now out of business. 

I really enjoyed creating this figure.  She is much more abstract than most of my art dolls. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Family Life Update

I haven't posted for a long time because the neighborhood telephone cable was stolen.  I had no local phone line and no Internet for two months.  The timing was really unfortunate since it coincided with the end of the school year for the children.  I had plans for them on the Internet!  As people say, this is Africa and sometimes these things happen.

What has happened in the last two months?  We went back to America and visited some of our cousins on my husband's side.  We got to meet our newest baby cousin, who was only nine months old. We visited Cape Cod and hung out in Boston.  There was a real heat wave with a heat index topping out at 105 F.  In South Africa, it was topping out around 50 F.  Even with the body melting weather, the cousins really loved seeing each other.  I wish I could have seen my side of the family as well but they live no where near Massachusetts.  Next year.

While in America we ate great volumes of junk food that we missed like: Chinese chicken nuggets (aka General Tso's chicken,) Dunkin Donuts Boston Creme donuts, bagels with cream cheese, Cape Cod fudge (from the Fudge Factory in Providence Town- best place on the Cape,)  pizza, burritos, Tostitos and ice cream.  I think we all gained a few pounds.

Back home in South Africa, the children and I kept ourselves busy at the zoo, playing, and visiting parks.  One of our favorite parks here is Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve.  It is near our home and has a lot of wildlife. We usually see ostrich, zebra, blesbok and springbok strolling about every time we visit.  You don't even have to go to a game park to get some great wildlife views here. 

We are looking forward to spring and hopefully some visitors in October and December.