Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Artist Talk Part 9

After selling my dolls as "pillow monsters", I discovered that name was already trademarked, and so I changed my shop name and identity to Pink Cheeks Studios, because it conjured up images of sweetness, and also a baby's bottom (I think that will be too strange to say out loud, so I may nix that).
I started moving away from monster-esque dolls and sticking mainly with versions of people.

One of my favorite parts of the doll making process is mixing and matching different fabrics.  It feels a lot like painting to me.  And, it is not all about patterns and colors, but textures as well.  This guy has a linen bow tie and rough denim pants as well as wool in his hat and light cotton for his skin---all the textures give it more depth.  Also, all the mixing and matching set these dolls apart from the mass-produced variety, where they don't seem to bother with variety of textures.
Fake fur is also very fun.

When I design these costumed dolls, I always have shy children in mind.  I would like for them to be my biggest clients.

Sasha was raised by penguins in Antarctica. She finds the penguins to be quite friendly. She also believes they are persistent and nurturing parents. In Antarctica, Sasha doesn't see many colors, but she sees about a million versions of white and on a rare occasion a rainbow created by the sun. She loves the snow and how it looks different throughout the day. She draws in the snow using an icicle as a pencil. She loves incorporating snow angels into her drawings. The penguins are in awe of her talent.

When I am laying out the design, I am always surprised at how much the personality of the doll changes just by moving the eyes an inch down or out.  It's amazing the range of emotions you can get with the placement of simple shapes.

These are blocks designed by a creative duo in England.  I found them while looking for toys for my son, but I think they would be very useful for character development. 

Here is another product by the same duo.  This time all the eyes, noses and mustaches, it's only above the eyes where they change.

I fill sketchbooks with these little designs.  Often to get going, I make outlines of shapes and then fill them in from there.  Some outlines never feel right, so they just stay as ghost shapes.  It is a quick process.  A lot of the same shapes get repeated over and over again----I am a big fan of the "stout tooth shape" as I like to call it.  I repeat it often.   That is why I think those blocks would be so useful, it would help you discover happy accidents that will force you out of your comfort zone.
This girl is the result of me noticing a shape that I liked better upside down.  Her hair was intended to be a set of legs.  I like her strange hair though.  She is supposed to be a Super Girl and I imagine her secret super power to be connected to her hairdo in some way.
These are wooden dolls designed by Alexander Girard, my greatest design hero.  I am drawn to the bright colors, simple shapes and features, and bizarre way of depicting human characteristics.  I love their arms and stringy fingers.  Sometimes things have more life the less you "describe" them.  Why is that? 

Here is a group shot.  My favorite is the man on the bottom right with the squished face, as well as the man directly behind him with the grid pattern for sleeves.

I also have a book of hand puppets made by Paul Klee.  He made them for his son.  I think his puppets and Girard's dolls are second cousins. 

Here he is with his self portrait puppet.

You can tell he had so much fun while he made these.

I like my dolls to be more bright, colorful and cheerful, but I find Klee's puppets to be so, so beautiful.  They are dark, mysterious and otherworldly.

This has been the hardest entry so far.  I kept staring at the computer.  Now that the "plot" of how I came to sewing dolls is told, I don't know what to actually say about them.   The talk is in 2 weeks.  What should I say about them?  Any advice would be greatly appreciated


unsightly said...

First off, I think you should leave in the baby bottom comment. It's cute and funny. As for what you should say about the dolls- maybe walk through the entire creative process for one specific doll. Or talk about the connection that the dolls have with the children or people they partner with. You could talk about the emotional side of creating and then letting them go. Hope this helps!

Wendy said...

Thanks so much for providing a peek into your design process. I always find it so inspiring to see how the designers I love come up with their ideas and piece them together. It makes it feel more do-able to me. I have not yet made any new friends, but I hope to one day!

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