Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Miss Mousey Says Goodbye to some of her favorite toys before she leaves for France

Catherine and I have become friends. Thanks to Blogger and Google translate. Which can be a bit confusing in its email translations.
Last summer we started talking about a mouse for the gorgeous French mouse house she is working on. She thought she would like to have a little girl about eight to ten years old. One that bared a family resemblance to the portraits Catherine has painted of them for the house. Which she explained had more of a rat like face.
Having never made a doll or dressed one, I wanted to give it a try. The first problem I knew was the fact I didn't have anything to dress her in. Catherine sent me a box of fabric. Many pieces were over 100 years old. 
The challenge began.
I had no idea what the body of a child REALLY looks like. You have to begin a sculpt with a drawing or a photo. So as usual I went to Google.  
Ah-oh! The last thing you want to do is search for....dare I even say it here...NO, I can't. I don't need the FBI at my door thanks. So I searched instead for little girls in a ballet class. That I thought would be fine. Children in leotards. PHEW!
 Refining the body sculpt. OOPS....Her bottom got a little flat. I left her on it while I was away.

I spent many hours sculpting a body that would be hidden under clothes. I printed pictures of all the portraits on the walls of Catherine's house.
I needed to understand what sort of face Miss Mousey should have. She was going to be 45 to 48 inches tall in RL 1: 1 scale.
 The sculpt finished, it was time to dress her. I was worried, I played with fabrics for ages. Never cutting into anything. I quickly found out that fabric has a mind of it's own. I didn't want to torture these beautiful fabrics by using some stiffening agent.
I drew my patterns and first tried them in something of my own. The only fabric in Catherine's box that would act right turned out to be a cotton print and it was new (not antique). It would hold a finger pressed pleat. You can't iron pleats into place without making them look unnatural. Asking fabrics to become 1:12 scale curtains is one thing but this was a lot smaller. 

I gave her leather boots that had to be built right onto her feet and legs. I was very happy with how those worked out.
It is very hard to capture what someone has in their minds eye. Perhaps it is impossible. It is too bad they take so long to make. You usually come a lot closer after five or six.
Please visit ' Suzanne' in her GORGEOUS new home on Catherine's blog at the above link.