Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Self Portrait Challenge Doll

"Interior View" (c) Penney Hughes 2014
This doll is my entry into the Dollstreet Dreamers self portrait challenge.  I have called it Interior View.  She not meant to look like me but instead represent a concept.  The first photo of the doll is closer to how I imagined she would look like.  She is intended to be a sort of inner self guardian angel contemplating layers that have been stripped away.  The exterior layers layers that have been stripped away are composed of fabrics I have designed.
The doll was a challenge to make.  She has a wire skeleton lightly wrapped with stuffing.  I have then wrapped Christmas tree lights around this base.  The cord exits the body in the lower back.  Next I added stuffing which I needle sculpted into shape.  She was then 'skinned' with lightweight knit jersey.  Her hair is wool roving and wings made of layered tissue paper.  I would love to make another doll that lights up but with LED lighting and a battery pack.
She was also a challenge to photograph since she is so dark and also requires darkness to see her lights properly.  I have included several versions to highlight features.

"Interior View" fully lit
"Interior View" lit up with outside lighting as well

"Interior View" in a well lit room with flash
Close up of "Interior View"

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tiny Thermomorph Owl

 Every once in a while Amazon pops up with a recommendation that is hard to refuse.  That was the case with Thermomorph.  It sounded like a very versatile product and I was curious to explore it.  Thermomorph is made of small plastic granules that melt at a low temperature.  The tip in the second video of keeping my water warm in a crockpot was very useful.  Thermomorph begins to solidify very quickly and so if you are interested in sculpting with it you may want to use an additive method. Molds work very well with the product as seen in the first video.   I made my little owl (2 in tall) very quickly with my hands, using my nails and a straightened paperclip to give the impression of feathers and other details.  If it is solidifying too quickly, dip it back in the hot water for a bit. 
There are color additives that you can mix with the plastic but I opted to paint my little guy with a couple layers of acrylic paint. 
I tried a couple of other experiments as well, not photographed.  The thinnest I could work the product was to granule size, about 1/8 inch. I tried making a wing for a doll and found that it is too heavy to be practical and it frankly looked like a lumpy plastic sheet.  I am curious if it would make a good ball jointed doll--maybe if I had a mold.   

I found these Youtube videos useful

Monday, August 4, 2014

Paul Jacoulet

Senegalese Lady with Sothiou and Bambara Fan
The latest ATC challenge was to design a card based on or styled after your favorite artist. It is difficult for me to pick a very favorite artist. It is like trying to pick a favorite color---so many are beautiful, how to choose just one?  I decided to focus on the work of Paul Jacoulet because he is one of my favorites I have not yet worked with.

An example of a Ukiyo-e print
First an explanation of my ATC. This tiny acrylic painting is of a Pulaar Senegalese woman dressed for a special occasion. She is chewing a sothiou (pronounced so-chew) stick which people use here as a kind of toothbrush (and I have heard that it really works for this purpose.) She is holding a Bambara fan which is a kind of woven wicker fan. Her dress is a loose flowing robe that is tie dyed bazin. She wears a matching headwrap. She wears golden beads sewn into her hair. The women may have indigo ink tattooed around their mouth and chin and this is thought to make their smile more beautiful.
I choose the subject, a Pulaar woman, based on Jacoulet's subject preferences of documenting different ethnic groups. He spent much of his career visiting many of the small islands around Japan and the greater Pacific and made prints of the indigenous people. These are important especially because many of the island inhabitants lost their traditional way of life soon after World War II.

Jacoulet was Frenchman who lived in Japan most of his life. His printmaking style is Japanese and he was influenced by Ukiyo-e prints. He was known for exacting standards and high quality materials. He used ground mica, metals and pearls in his prints to give them a luminous look.  Check out a few of his prints at the bottom of this post.
12cm x 9cm inset painted on glass, artist unknown
His work also reminds me of the traditional Senegalese souwere (painting on glass see my previous post.)  Here is a beautiful piece, likely a Woolof woman, inset into a mosaic tea tray that I purchased  from Kamal Mosaic in Dakar.  Sadly, no artist was attributed.

Les Jades, Paul Jacoulet, 1940, one of his Christmas card prints

Sur le Sable, Rhull, Yap, Paul Jacoulet, 1937
Vielle Aino, Paul Jacoulet, 1950
Le Pacifique Mysterieux. Mers Du Sud (The Mysterious Pacific), Paul Jacoulet, 1951