Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Waiting for her ship to come in

I was working right up until the deadline on my mermaid for the Doll Street contest.
I already showed a peek on here and explained the tale of her being tattooed in my last post.
Judging has been done and I can now share pictures of my finished mermaid.
She did not place in the contest, but you can see the winners on Doll Street.
The whole lot of 39 entries is here 

When the conest was anounced I set out to find some inpsiration. I could have just made another of my pregnant mermaid dolls that I designed when I had my first child, but I love coming up with something new.
I started a Pinterest board and quickly fell in love with Twin/Double/Split tailed mermaids.
These mermaids have been around since the Middle ages, and it is likely you see one very frequently as the Starbucks logo

So I now thought about how to pose my girl's tails. I decided to go with an upright position, and since I had fallen in love with George Barbier's mermaid illustration for Les Liaisons Dangereuses I thought it would be fun to go all out with an 18th century pannier and corset., the skirt pulled back so that you could see she had tails rather than legs under those skirt. Sort of like these two inspirations, but that wasn't going to be, like many dolls she had her own idea.

I drew up my pattern by hand, for some reason I still like making my doll patterns with pencil and paper. I didn't even bother making a test, and the body worked out just great the first time. I bent a wire hanger into an armature for her.
Yes she is quite hippy! One of the things I like about her tails is that they do not stick straight out to the sides, but slightly towards the back, this was accomplished with the pattern pieces, not the armature. I am pleased with my pattern drafting skills in that regard. Her breasts turned out perfect, her backside was a bit flat, but that should be easy enough to change for the second doll. (yes I am already planing a second one!)

I stuffed up the body and got to work on sewing the lace to make her scales.
That took FOREVER! I spent much of my "free" time (being a mother to young children out of school, there wasn't much) sewing yards and yards of lace on to her tails. I carted her around to swim lessons in a bin, and as the deadline grew closer, got up early and went to bed late. I don't know how many yards of lace I used, it was gathered, but I pulled that off and regathered it. I used three different laces to cover the tail, all of which were gifted to me, in fact This entire doll was made from stash materials!
I used one lace for the tail fins and around her waist (carefully shaping around the motifs.) another for the majority of the scales, and a third for the upper thighs, mixed in with the main lace. It got to be very difficult sewing the lace up between the tails. but I got it all evenly covered, and hopefully with only a few weird looks from the fellow parents at the pool (she is putting that needle where?)

After I had all the lace on, I only had about 3 days to make the head and arms. I had not patterned them when I patterned the body, so back to the drawing board I went, first batch didn't work. I had forgotten how to properly turn fingers as I hadn't made a doll like this in years.

I eventually got a good set of hands, upper arms, head and ears.

I pined the head and arms on and played with positioning them. I had wanted to create more movement with her upper body, so I used a two-piece arm pattern. This was my first time doing arms this way, I normally make a shaped single pattern or a jointed two piece pattern.

I stitched lines in the palm of her raised right hand to sculpt it, but not the left, which is on her hip. I am pleased with how her arms turned out and will have to use this technique again in future!
 I also sculpted around some beads to give her elbows. Just like I had done so around smaller beads to give her nipples.

The face was done with paint, markers and pencils. Her ears are sculpted. I do so love adding ears, it is a nice little treat behind the hair. I learned how to make ears from a Soft Dolls & Animals article "Cloth Dollmaking Techniques: Let's Hear it for Ears" by Gloria J. "Mimi" Winer in the APR/MAY 2002: Volume 6, Issue #3
She has a pompom in her nose and her features are needle sculpted.I have misplaced some of my pens for doing faces, and will need to replace them. Ah the perils of moving, I am still looking for things, and half my stash is in storage still.
I debated giving her jewelry, she could wear earrings and rings after all, but decided to keep things simple. Maybe later she will find something she likes.

Of course by now I knew I wasn't going to get to make a corset and panier for her, so when it came time to give her some hair, I pulled out all the choices. I ended up going with Wavy Locks by All Cooped Up Designs in Light Brown. I gave her a side part by using clear thread, the rest of her hair is needle felted down.

I gave her a second tattoo to go with  sailing ship. She may recieve more later, it is her skin after all. I felt like my mermaid is waiting for her Sailor love, which is why I kept with the nautical theme for her ink. She doesn't have a name yet.

I added a bit of color to her scales at the fins and waist with pen, at my husband's suggestion. the color of her skin was chosen to be close to the color of the lace I used for scales.
 She is actually balancing on her own in these pictures due to the background I gave her, but in reality she needs a stand made for her. as she does not stand on her own.
I hope these last photos give you a sense of just how her tails are positioned, I am really happy with how well she photographs from different angles, each is an interesting perspective in it's own.

So I spent a lot of time working on my doll, and right after I had submitted my form that evening I was redirected to another webpage (which I can't get to any other way off the main website) that informed me that my entry was half an hour late! There was no time due on the original rules page. Now I am used to other international online communities hosting competitions with times due in a set time zone, YWU and FR do this, and I had double checked the rules that morning to check that info.

I was greatly upset and I hastily sent of an e-mail to admin with all my entry information and the fact that I was disappointed the time was not on the original webpage. I received an e-mail back from the admin stating that my entry would be accepted. I hope that the next contest has the time issue sorted out and posted in a more obvious way.