September 28, 2010

Traveling Dollmaker

What was I thinking of opening my Etsy doll shop just as I decided to uproot my entire life? No time to waste, I guess.

One of the wonderful aspects of Paperclay© is how versatile and portable it is. With a little water, a napkin and some kind of cutting or shaping tool, you’re good to go.  Paperclay© is a self hardening clay, so you don’t need a kiln, just the sun.

So, I began my most recent series of Bell dolls in July, when it was sunny and hot.  I carried all of my supplies in two canvas bags, and would seek out any appropriate spot to sculpt and paint. This included driving to Carpenter’s Falls, NY, and working out of the back of my car.


A friend invited me to housesit with her and another friend at a lovely house in Colchester, VT. This place was right on Lake Champlain looking over to the Adirondacks! Oh, it was lovely, and the view ended up being painted on a doll that will be included in my shop.  It was so lovely outside, that I decided to set up right under a tree in the yard.

Here’s a picture of the “party girls” as torsos are being added to their bell shaped gowns.






Back to NYS, I, dog, cat and house sat for a different friend, and worked in her brightly lit, enclosed porch. The dolls began to take shape. They look really cool at this stage.


My travels took me to Stone Ridge, NY to stay with a friend who happens to have a lovely porch. Shade is hard to come by, so I fashioned a tent…kind of.


What would the dolls think as they are coming to life while traveling from place to place? Wouldn’t it be a great children’s story? Ah, more to do…


September 27, 2010

New Dolls Coming!

I had given myself a challenge. All of these doll bodies, arms and legs I'd been schlepping around, needed to become actual dolls. A friend had liked a pretty lady doll that had sold, so I decided to make a bunch more. However, the doll bodies I had left were particularly small. Then suddenly, I saw the answer! The round bell bodies would be the dresses. As I added torsos to these body shapes, I kept thinking that they were "party girls" getting dressed up for a ball in their rounded and flowing skirts.

I imagined ballerinas, royal ladies and cheerful tea party attendees for this series. Soon. Soon you will see them on the Jennifer Russell Dolls shop. The link to that page is in the upper right of this page.

September 24, 2010

Sold a doll on Etsy.com today!

Many years ago, I discovered an image of an ancient sculpture. It was a clay sculpture of a woman, and her dress was really large and bell shaped whereas her head, arms and legs were unusually small. It was said to be an image of Hera. I thought it was so charming!

Around that time, I thought of mass producing small dolls, in the hopes of supporting my more time consuming and substantial pieces. I jumped into that project, but soon my energy drained, and so a whole bunch of bodies, arms and legs lived in bags and moved with me from place to place.

Then recently, a local Arts Council (of which I was a member) had a Holiday sale, so I quickly put together three of these Bell dolls to put in the sale. I had such a good time making them, that I decided to open a doll shop on Etsy.com. Feel free to check it out here: JenniferRussellDolls

 This little guy is named The Stargazer. I have made several dolls similar to this one. I think that those round, bell shaped bodies speak out to becoming a landscape. His head is the moon, the stars his shirt, and the earth his pants. He is eternally gazing into the universe with a look of bewilderment and his hands clasped in contemplation.

He will be leaving me soon, traveling through the postal service to a far away place where he will be happy. How could he not be happy? Look at that face!