Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Song of Solomon

I created these dolls for an English class that I took. We were assigned to make a creative project contrasting themes or characters in one of the books we read. I chose Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. The characters I depicted were Pilate Dead on the left and Ruth Macon Dead on the right. The two could not be more different. Pilate has traveled far and wide, and lives in poverty in a shack. Ruth was well educated and loves only her wealth. Pilate is independent and takes care of others. Ruth remains married to her oppressive husband for fear of losing her access to wealth. She suffers personally, and therefore is unable to care for others.

Pilate was the aunt of the main character Milkman. She was a bootlegger and a natural healer. She carried her name scrawled on a piece of paper inside of a little snuffbox that she wears as an earing (seen on the doll on her right ear.)

About Pilate: She spends her days fermenting wine, chewing on splinters, and fixing everyone else’s problems. Oh, and perfecting the recipe for the soft-boiled egg. Her secret longing is the wild cherry jam that she once made as a little girl living on Lincoln’s Heaven. The sum total of her belongings are a wash basin, three beds, a rocking chair, some magazine pictures, her dad’s bones, her geography book, a knife, and brambles. She wears things like quilts and knit caps, and sings soul-rattling songs. (from shmoop.com)

The pilate doll is wearing a miniature handmade quilt that I made, and a cap (although it was crocheted, not knit.) She usually is barefoot so I didn't make her any footwear. One of the character's unique attributes is that she doesn't have a belly-button, but most of my dolls don't have belly-buttons and it is hidden beneath her clothes so I didn't make any changes there!

There is less of a physical description of Ruth in the book, so I thought a fur-lined coat would represent her ties to wealth. In the opening scene it described her wearing a cloche, which I had never heard of before. I researched the hat and found out that it was a fitted, bell-shaped had typically made of felt, which first became popular in the 1920s.
This is an image of a cloche
Source: http://tuppencehapennyvintage.blogspot.com/
I created my cloche using felt and then fitted it using the steam from an iron. The style that I created it similar to the one in the picture above with a turned-up brim.

I decided to leave the dolls faceless. I decided to do this so that the reader of the book could still imagine their own faces and personalities for the doll. I know I have read books before and then seen a movie based on the book. Once you see the face of an actor depicting the character it is hard to imagine them any other way. By leaving the dolls faceless, I allowed the reader to create their own vision of the character.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Christmas Doll

I don't remember when the tradition started, but at some point in the last 5 years I started making a doll for my mother for Christmas every year. She has a doll collection of both dolls that she has made, and dolls that I have made, as well as others that my sisters and I played with as kids. This little dolly doesn't have a name, but I gave her to my mother for Christmas 2009.

Yo-yo hair detail with bow