I’ve been obsessing about art dolls since I discovered them last year and have been meaning to make one for ages. To me, they encompass all my creative interests; sculpting, sewing, embroidery, mixed media. I found loads of great doll artists online and even got Art Dolls Quarterly which I love.
I suppose my Halloween art project was when really started to experiment with dolls. I felt I got mixed results with them as I was customising a doll rather than creating it from scratch. I decided it was time to give it a try and stop putting myself off just because I was letting perfectionism creep in. So here is how I made my blue rabbit.
Materials & Tools
- Super Sculpey
- Glass cabochon eyes
- Faux fur
- Acrylic Paint
- Glue Gun
- embroidery thread & Needle
- Clay tools
I started by sketching some rabbits from reference photos and then creating a more stylistic bunny sitting on his hind legs. As this was going to be a sort of homage to my boyfriend, a magician, I played around with ideas for him wearing a top hat.
When it came to making, I started with the head first. I scrunched foil up and formed a almond face shape . I used thin wire for the ears and wrapped foil around them to keep their shape. I softened the Super Sculpey clay with my hands and a pasta machine and started adding it to the foil, building up the face.
Once I had a rough shape I added the cabochon eyes and worked clay around them. Working on details is my favourite part when making things with clay. I used different clay tools to mark the clay, make his nose and mouth and adding texture for the fur.
I left the head to one side and started making the front and back feet. I cut four pieces of wire and folded each in half. I added foil to each piece around half the way up and made a basic paw shape. I then moulded clay round the foil and used a tool to shape the toes. When I finished, I baked the head and feet together for 15 minutes.
Once the clay had cooled I was able to start painting. I used acrylic paints and they don’t need to be expensive. I liked the idea of him being blue and already had dark blue faux fur for his body. I gave his head a watered down mixture of blues and whites and built up the colour in layers. I did the same too his feet.
Putting him together was tricky to say the least! I used quilt wadding wrapped around a wire armature and glued his limbs with a glue gun. I made a small hole in the bottom of his head and glued the wire into the hole. He was very wobbly at this point!
I used the cotton to mark at a really basic pattern for his fur and this was tricky. I used this to cut out his fur and pinned two pieces round the rabbit. I then used embroidery thread to sew them and glued around the head and limbs.
While I was doing this, one of his ears cracked. I was gutted! But this is my first doll so I new there would be challenges and things I would struggle. I tried gluing his ear and added some blue wire to his face to make some whiskers. I then made a little top hat and carrot friend. I used a satin varnish to finish him.
He has flaws and I can see where I made mistakes, but for my first doll I think he is cute. I really like the carrot! I decided to call him Chester. Time to plan my next character!