Friday, 15 May 2009

Diversions and distractions

There is something about working with just black and white for months on end that makes you go a bit stir crazy when you are finally unleashed back into full blazing, rainbow-hued, glorious technicolour once more. Certainly something, some set of cogs, has clicked over in my head and a lifetime of procrastination has ripped itself to shreds and I just cannot stop making different things.

I want to share some of the bits and bobs I've been playing around with.

1. I've been making more felt. I got a real taste for this while I was working on module two and made some black and white and grey felt. Now I've made some really bright felt ("every action has an equal and opposite reaction").

2. I have been making some cuffs. One is also very colourful, the other two a little quieter. There are two with beads and buttons sewn onto suede. I am especially fond of the really buttony one because it makes a lovely little jangly noise as it moves. The colourful one is very much an experiment. I had something through the post (can't for the life of me recall what it was now) that was protected by a plastic mesh tube. I was idly messing around one day when I put it on my hand ... and realised what a perfect fit it was around my wrist. Yey, an idea was born. So I messed about some more with some recycled sari yarn, and the rest is history. All the pieces of yarn are simply pushed through one hole and back through a neighbouring hole. The biggest problem is that the mesh has stretched a bit with the process of pulling it to insert the pieces of yarn. However, it is fine over the sleeve of a jumper.

3. Dipping Dottie. Now first-up this is not my original design. I signed myself up for a course on the Joggles website. I saw Dottie and really liked the cut of her jib. I'd always fancied having a go at an art doll so this seemed a good opportunity. I think the original design is good - after all that is what caught my eye in the first place. I do however have some reservations about the actual pattern provided to put Dottie together. I could be mistaken but quite a few times I felt that following the given pattern would not result in the intended outcomes in the photographs. Indeed I had to make quite a few pattern adjustments as I went along to get things to work.
It almost felt as though the doll had been designed and then a pattern made retrospectively that wasn't tested to check it would work as it was meant to. Now, I have to point out that quite a few designers work via Joggles and have tutorials that are available for varying amounts of money, and the lesson part of this art doll is not necessarily a good representation of the other tutorials. I've never tried any of the others so I don't have a yardstick to compare it by.
On the basis of Dipping Dottie I would have to conclude I was disappointed in the lessons. For the money you get 4 weekly pdf files so in the end I had maybe 20 - 24 pages of instructions/pattern/photos. There were no videos for this tutorial. For the same money I could have bought 2 or 3 books on making art dolls and ended up with many more pages. So this time round, although I really like the doll design, I didn't feel the lessons were particularly good value for money. I think maybe some of the tutorials with videos would be a different matter, and as I've said a lot of designers work through Joggles, so I can't write them off. That would be the same as going into a sweet shop, tasting one gross sweet and declaring all sweets vile.