Off and on over the past year I have been working on an idea for my version of a Catrina doll, quite unlike the traditional Catrina.
Here in Mexico the Catrina doll is a character that has become a part of the big celebration Dia de los Muertos.
La Catrina as we know her originated with Jose Guadalupe Posada, considered the father of Mexican printmaking. Born in 1852.
Since her beginnings in illustrations of political and social satire during times of revolution, Catrina has moved into a role of literal and metaphorical poster child for the Day of the Dead, symbolizing the joy of life in the face of its inevitable end.
Now La Catrina is the beloved grand dame of Mexico’s dance with death 365 days a year, appearing in movies, drawings, sculpture and taking on such roles as mermaids, brides and the all-around icon of celebrations.
The dolls will be on display at the boutique gallery Lujo Lifestyle in Bucerias, Mexico and will be sold through my Etsy shop and Facebook.
If you are interested in purchasing one please contact me here through the contact us form or facebook. Fully poseable she about 14 inches tall to the top of her head and 19 inches including her hair. She can be displayed on or off her custom doll stand.
The Maribel sculpt was originally done in paper clay and then cast by myself in white resin. Please note that these artist casts are not perfect and may have a bubble or 2. I have incorporated any imperfections into the design of the doll so they look like they are supposed to be there. It actually worked out beautifully making the resin look porous in places like naturally aged bone.
Maribel comes with her own custom stand and her mask of her former alive self. Her custom wig is made of wool with metal decorations and finished with an amethyst and crystals. I made the wig with magnets so it is detachable for easy shipping.
The stockings and shoes are painted on, and her clothing and eyes are not removable.
All the jewellery, clothes and tiny details were also made especially for this doll.
“The days of the Dead” is a time of celebration which refers to the Days of October 31 – November 2. October 31 is Halloween or All Hallows eve. November 1 is “el Dia de los innnocentes” or the day of the children and All Saints Day. November second is All Souls Day or the Day of the Dead. During this time candles, flowers and the favorite foods of the deceased are placed on the grave and the family visits, eats, sings and tells favorite stories about those who have passed.
Altars are usually decorated with flowers, candles, pan de muerto, ceramic skulls, and most importantly pictures of loved ones.
Drinks should be placed in the altar to quench the thirst of the dead after their long journey back home.
Salt is considered the spice of life and is one the staples that are often left at the altar.
The rituals used to celebrate the day are varied and colorful. Yet, all carry the same message, celebrating the day of the dead is a true celebration of life.
Here are some pictures of her progress. I am also working on 2 more one of a kind dolls in this series.
A little about my vision for Stella, OR more correctly, Stella’s vision for herself.
She is about 40cm tall with a slim type body and an oversized head. Normally this size body would have about an 6-8 inch head (measured around the top of the head) Stella’s head will be about 11 inches.
I am now working on the 5th head for her as she didn’t approve of the first 4.
Fussy girl she is, she knows what she wants and it took me a while to get it right 🙂
Yay!! We finally got her a head that we are both happy with, now we can get on with the rest of her 🙂
This would be a great time to give awesome thanks to Christopher for putting time in to edit my videos for me!……I am kinda clueless when it comes to that sort of thing and would rather be sculpting than learning how to edit vids.
Well that was FUN…Let’s see some more! Who knew there was so much to making a BJD. It usually takes me a year to make a master doll of part time sculpting. I mean with life happening.
If I sculpt 18 hours a day which I did quite often with Stella I can make better time and cut that down to about 5 months. I get a bit delirious and some pretty great things happen amongst having a whole lot of conversation with myself and the doll 🙂 Oh yeah, I LOVE what I do!
THE LAST VIDEO ON FINISHING STELLA WILL BE POSTED IN A COUPLE OF DAYS!….STAY TUNED
An update on Stella’s stats:
wig size 11 inches, eyes 22-24mm, height 40cm or 16 inches, shoes- yosd, she will wear many yosd clothes though her legs are longer than usual. Stella is pictured with in standard yosd pumpkin pant and top which could be a short dress on a standard size yosd doll.
I peered into the darkness of my studio storage closet making out the form of a small shoebox. It sat high on the top shelf tucked between styrofoam balls, pipecleaners, paintbrushes and other miscellaneous supplies that had gathered over the past 2 years…….
This is Lily
I started her in August of 2011 and got busy with life and a couple of moves so she was tucked away but not forgotten until last week when I pulled her out and once again began work on her.
I found that her original midsection and legs were longer than I liked so a little chop here and there and we were off and running.
This is where I had left off last time, with the long middle torso piece that I decided I didn't like, and the long legs.
Here I decided to add a ball joint for the center/tummy piece and gave her a quick stringing to test posing and the workings so far.
This is the first of MANY test stringings that happen between now and finish. After every change I make that may affect balance or mobility the doll has to be strung and unstrung.
My elastic gets a real workout.
I spent a couple hours on lips, always a challenge for me to get just the way I want them . I love working with paperclay but sometimes I find tiny detail difficult with the fibers in the clay…..always up to a challenge 🙂
I also shortened the neck and upper torso a bit cause she was a bit lankier than I wanted her to be.
I think the most important thing to go by when you are sculpting is "never be afraid" Hack and whack, add more and take it away. You can't wreck anything permanently and ya never know what great things may come out of what you figured were you mess ups.
In this sitting Lily also got a tummy and butt and her arms were cut to get ready for elbows.
Then another test stringing 🙂
I worked on Lily's face a bit more today and sculpted her a cute pair of her own panties.
Then we PLAYED 🙂 She doesn't have feet, elbows, hands or knees but she didn't seem to mind much
Today with Lily was one of those days when you spend ALL Day and don't really get anywhere 🙂
There are lots of days like that when I'm sculpting. I spent most of today trying different things for her double jointed elbows….Yeehawww I have one pretty much finished LOL
I also shortened her neck a bit and made one hand.
Lily's face is finished too….I added eyelids, more clay to her upper cheek area and a brow.
Next she needs ears, which I kind of forgot about….poor girl
It's been really grey and gloomy here all week so I will try to get some pictures in the next couple days to update the progress.
Tomorrow I'll work on ears and the other elbow joint
Lily has been coming along slowly but well.
I have her double jointed elbows and hands done though both are still rough and need a bit more sanding and primping. She also got her ears!
I snapped a few pictures of her today to share with you. She looks pretty happy and proud of herself 🙂
I'm really looking forward to getting a temporary faceup on this sweetheart, but I'm fighting the urge to jump ahead of myself.
I think I'm going to move onto leg joints and feet next, and yes of course she is going to have cutie toes too!
How could she not?
I'm a bit overdue on an update for Lily, I've been so busy with her I have been lacking in my posting duties 🙂
Since the last update I Made a few changes.
I sculpted a new set of hands, the first ones were a bit chunkier than I wanted and I roughed in her little feet.
I have also added a bit more eyelid and thinned them a titch.
Last but not least a ton of sanding and some more primer
Here's a quick snap of her rough feet and new hands
It's been a bit rainy and dreary here over the past few days so I haven't been able to do any priming.
That means ……PLAYTIME! ……WHOOT!
I did manage to get her hands and feet finished and primed up since last time we met, so that't good news
I did a test stringing and designed a little dress for our girl and snapped a few new pictures.
Poor Mister Beans has been getting "what for" all morning because he has started refusing to eat the lima beans Lily has been throwing under the table.
Give him any other kinda beans but there is just nooooooo twisting his ears on those lima beans!
I also made a dress form double of Lily's body so that I can still sew for her while she is off in China being reproduced. I wish I had thought to do the same for Cassie before I sent her off. Guessing sizes is not such a great idea when designing LOL. Though I have done sillier things
If you sew for your girls , these duct tape dress forms are GREAT and easy to make.
Just wrap a plastic bag or saran wrap around your doll from neck to midway between thigh and knees and tape it on. I also put a bit around her shoulders.
Next I cut strips of duct tape about 2 inches long and cut the width down into 3 pieces because she is small the thinner strips worked best.
Start adding the tape over the plastic til it's all covered. When it's all done turn your doll over so you are looking at the backside and carefully with manicure scissors cut all the way up the back from knee to neck.
Be very careful to take small snips so you don't scratch your doll and DON'T use an exacto knife!
Slip the form off your doll and then tape the back up again. You should have a perfect model of your doll now.
Tape up the hole in the neck and arms and stuff in fiberfill in until it's solid. About half way I added a dowel inside for the stand. it also works to add an actual doll stand with the top half inside. Finish stuffing the form and tape the bottom shut
There you have it! If you added a dowel now you can add a block of wood for the platform.
I made a tube of stretch lace to slip over the form just to pretty it up a bit.
I think I'll make one of these for all my girls.
I once did this to make a dressform for myself. First putting on a large t-shirt and duct taping myself in. It's actually better to have help for the fullsize one and a guaranteed good time …haha
For the my sized form I used spray foam to fill it up after it was finished the kind that expands when you spray it. I think I'll try the spray foam on the next doll sized form I make.
Well yesterday I spent the day spraying the grey away on Lily so I had a nice kinda fleshy base to work with.
This time I actually let it dry overnight, unlike the mess I made on Cassie when I let my impatience get the best of me 🙂
So today I got to spend the day messing about painting this little Miss.
Her panties were a ton of fun to paint and they turned out wonderfully. I added lace trim to them when I was finished just cause I could and I wasn't quite finished playing around.
It's going to be a hoot to see what great ideas different people come up with for painting and embellishing her panties
Then a temporary faceup just to see how she was going to come to life.
Of course painting on clay and layers of primer is never the same as the surface of resin and any boo-boo's just stay put.
I never seal a temp faceup making it impossible to remove messups….. that is unless I want to sand it off and start over…NOT.
I have a basket full of wool roving from a past lifetime when I tried, and failed, at needle felting mini dogs that ended up looking more like turtles…if you can imagine that LOL
So Lily's new wig was born.
Making these felted wigs is a lot of fun but incredibly time consuming…a whole day.
At least the way I do it, which is pretty much by the seat of my pants. Really I had no idea how to go about making one, just dove in, and it worked!
At least it doesn't look like a turtle….ummmm I think 😉
Over the next week or so I will be fixing up a few little things on Lily and working on one more magnet attachment inside her headcap. Much more sanding and back into grey primer.
Lily will be the first resin of the New year.
I have 2 more dolls to finish working on that I started 2 and 3 years ago now orrrrrr, I may just start another new one. Too many dollies dancing on my brain and not enough hours in the day for Meeeeee.
WOOHOO! My first attempt at a BJD. The torso is finished, next the chest. No celebration ceremonies yet though 🙂 I have sponged up as much info on BJD’s as I can find and it is a long process requiring just the proper fit and balance. I am quite sure I am in for alot of trial and error and will most likely end up with a heaping pile of odd body parts but am up to the challenge.
UPDATE: Yep the body parts are building up, I can still see out though, so far anyway. I have been a bit slow with the new pictures but will get that looked after in the next few days. After stringing the arms, I have decided that i should have used a heavier elastic, so I did go to a 2mm elastic for the legs which seems to be much better. The hands are done now just the feet and the head.
Wish me luck!