For the past five years I have celebrated my birthday by making a doll. My goal is to make the doll on the big day, but life seems to get in my way, so this year I decided to make it sometime during my birthday week.
This year my friend, Alix, came over the day before my birthday so we could work on dolls together. She had started one in a class years ago but never finished it and I had not yet started mine. Because I am a process artist I usually work without any idea of what the finished product will be. I let the project unfold from step to step.
I started by looking though my Pinterest art doll folder to fill my mind with a multitude of ideas. When I started looking through fabrics I had thought I might draw a face on some unbleached muslin, but I found that I was drawn to several bright and shiny fabrics that did not lend themselves to drawing. So I cut out two colorful circles, stitched them together. The head was born. Next I stuffed them lightly and sewed on a bead face.
The rest of my process involved developing this sweet creature. I created a long pyramid for her body, expecting that the wide part of the pyramid would become the shoulders of the doll. I stitched and stuffed it and set it aside while I played with some yarns Alix shared from her stash. Once the dolls’s head was adorned with yarns and tied into pigtails I had a good sense of how I might finish her up by adding beads, arms and a sash. When I put her together I inverted the pyramid so that the wide part became the base.
I finished the doll by adding a small drawstring bag. All of my dolls except for the first one have bags or purses in which I leave a note of some kind. While I did not finish on my birthday, I did make it in about 8 hours, over a period of 5 days. Now she hangs in my studio next to her four sisters. Every time I look at her I smile. I think she is telling me that my 79th year is going to be a lot of fun and filled with playful opportunities.