Sunday, November 22, 2015

Documenting the process -- the constraint of time

Limitations and constraints are often beneficial, when it comes to the artistic process. I sometimes wish I wasn't quite as accomplished at creating time constraints for myself, though!

A call for submissions came in from Two Rivers Gallery a couple of months ago,and I spent quite a bit of time perusing ideas in my head as to what would fit the theme for the proposed exhibition. When I answer calls for submission with new works of art, I generally want to be sure that what I create will add to my own artistic development, either by refining or expanding upon a skill or process I have used in the past, or trying a new technique that pushes my abilities forward.

This thinking process took quite a while, and it was only in the last few weeks that the ideas solidified, and doll on my "to do" list made it onto the "make it now" list. This, of course, introduced a time constraint, as the deadline for submission is in 7 days, and I am still a ways away from finishing what I started not so long ago.

Add to that the fact that the Christmas season is fast approaching and my baking needs to be started, so I can send off a cookie parcel or two. In addition, there is a staff party with a Secret Santa handmade gift exchange in two weeks, so guess what else I'm doing at the moment?

The benefit of all of this is that I don't have time to do what I usually do, which is to dither and dawdle and procrastinate. My ideas are now crystallizing quickly, and being put into action much faster than if I had weeks left on my agenda. The results may be different from what I first imagined, but I can already see some interesting things happening that I hadn't predicted when I started.

Only time will tell if I get this project finished on time to answer that call, but even if I don't, I'm enjoying the process and making something that I have wanted to make for quite some time.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Documenting the process - the hands

Well, turning the body parts right-side out went pretty well, until I got to the hands. As I expected, turning the fingers was a challenge. The first set of fingers, which I had reinforced with a fray-stop product, didn't turn at all, as the passage through each finger was too narrow to accommodate the fabric.

Today, I went to Plan B, drew up another pattern for the forearms and hands (same as the first) and then sewed the arms and hands only to the mid-palm region:

Then I turned each forearm right-side out, and cut out the fingers. At that point, I unpinned each finger, one by one, and sewed the fronts and backs together by hand, turning the edges under as I went. That was still quite the challenge and took several hours, as the jeans material was thick and wanted to fray faster than I could turn and sew it. Needless to say, there are many stitches criss-crossing back and forth along the seams, and the effect is still rather rough:

Once both hands were turned, I could add the "skeleton". Here you see one hand, complete with skeleton, ready for stuffing. The skeleton allows me to bend the fingers of the doll to fit the activity she will be doing.

Next step: stuffing the body parts, attaching them, then posing the doll.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Documenting the Process

A person always hears how people document their art processes, filling sketchbooks with plans, notes, thumbnails, etc. I don't tend to work that way, but have, in the past, wished that I had a record of the path an artwork has taken, from conception to completion. I had the presence of mind, with this piece, to take photos right from the beginning and will endeavour to do so until the end, regardless of what mishaps arise and what detours I might need to take.

The idea for this doll has been brewing in my head for a while. Having finally percolated long enough, the idea materialized on my table two days ago, rather than in a sketchbook. I'll have to cut that piece of the paper out if I want to keep the actual hard-copy of the sketch:

Today, I thought I'd try out a "test" doll to make sure the pieces of the head and body fit together properly, so grabbed some old blue jeans and started to sew and cut and assemble. When those pieces fit together well, I threw out the idea of a "test" and proceeded to sew and cut limbs and digits of the other body parts, getting more creative with using the jeans as I went along.

It remains to be seen if I'll be able to turn the fingers right-side-out. I think I set myself quite the challenge there. I've put fray-stop on the edges in the hopes that I don't rip the fabric out of the seams when I get to that step.