I decided to pull out all the stops and created my most ambitious work to date. My self-portrait is a 3D soft sculpture, one-half life size, with a surreal beaded face and dragonfly wings. She is inspired by Jungian theory of an archetypical dream, in this case of flying, a larger-than-life dream that feels more intense than real experience.
Called Dragonfly Dream, she was a challenge to create and called upon many of my various maker skills.
I want to acknowledge the inspiration and technical guidance of the book Creative Cloth Doll Beading by Patti Medaris Culea that I borrowed from the Vancouver Island Regional Library. This book provided me with the basic body pattern which I enlarged and adapted, and with the technical guidance for beading the face.
To make the face, I started with a pastel self-portrait that I had done as a class assignment in my college art class. I photographed it and printed it out in black and white to give the basic position and proportion of the features. I used that design to apply the beads. The features are a bit oversize, because she is an insect, after all, and I wanted the features to "read" from a distance.
|This is the original self-portrait in pastel chalk. I have since added highlights to the eyes and softened the shadows, so she looks rather more cheerful than she does here.|
|Working on beading the face. The fabric is natural coloured linen, backed with stabilizer.|
|Here is the complete head and face with hair and earrings.|
|The body under construction. Note the slightly dumpy figure - verisimilitude!|
|I love the legs and feet. My feet are 10 inches long, and these feet are 5 inches long, so half size.|
|The arms under construction, with the book by Patti Medaris Culea in the background for reference.|
|The crocheted cap is sewn to the back of the head and the strands of wool for hair are attached in a circular fashion with a crochet hook.|
|Here is Dragonfly Dream, swaying in the breeze on the back deck of my studio, with my design wall as a backdrop.|
|Here two of the wings have been bound on the edges with strips of bias cotton.|
|The hanging frame from the topside. I have since covered the exposed screws with beads. Note the swivel hook at the top so that she can move with air currents.|
|I have since removed the hooks from the ankles and wrists, and simply doubled the fishing line through the eyes.|
|The ball of the foot.|
In addition to the books mentioned above, I researched so much on the Internet, and used inspiration, information and techniques from so many places, that I wish that I could acknowledge and thank all of them. I spent hours reading and trying things out, but I did not keep notes.
Some sites that I can recall are noted below:
All About Marionettes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-KL58zcabo
Labeled diagram of marionette controllers https://www.pinterest.com/pin/16958936069817156/