May, 2008

WIP Geisha

Happy weekend all,

My next project is going to be a Geisha Dawn reroot/paint/dress. She’ll be a Maiko actually which is a Geiko in training. Maikos wear longer furisode type sleeves on their kimono and also are the young women who wear those famously high sandals, okobo, to keep their very expensive kimono from dragging on the ground. I find Geisha fascinating and mysterious. The talents they master, the tea ceremony, the stage performances, the shamisen. The sheer enormity of all the different kimono, pieces of art in their own right, which have very specific colours and motifs for each of the twelve different times of year. It’s all rather complicated, at least to a neophyte such as myself.

I also love the incredible self-control of these ladies, and the occasional peek into their personalities with they laugh or smile. I also know that the impression that they are mere escorts couldn’t be further from the truth.

That is why I will pay homage in my own way, and hopefully learn just a little of their rapidly disappearing world

I have chosen the girl to become a Maiko. She’s a pale faced Jessica with a bad do. I guess many of us were budding hair dressers in our youth!

awsumglas geisha b4

I didn’t get too far today, just managed to remove her lonely little hair tufts! Here’s the baldy!

awsumgals bald geisha

Sadly, that’s all I’ll have time for today, but her hair will be dark and I’ve already done some research into appropriate hair styles and ornamentation.

Until next time,


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One Final Look Back…

When I left off last time, the dress was nearly finished, the Flamenco dancers’ hair and paint were completed. All that was left to do were here accessories and the finishing on the dress.

Is that all? (snicker)

I started with her shoes. As anyone who has ever sewn or created for dolls, shoes are tricky. They’re very small, even when intended for a much larger doll than Dawn! I had originally intended to make leather shoes but the black leather stained my dummy dolls’ feet! (This happens with some black dyes and vinyl and resin dolls. It pays to test and be careful!) So, in the end I used black vinyl, because of course they had to be black! Here are the shoes before the addition of their straps.

The other accessories included her pico (triangular shawl), her bold earrings and her quintessential fan.

I tried the shawl a few different ways but was unhappy with the visual weight. They all looked too heavy. I wanted something finer and more delicate than I was getting. In the end I went with mesh and beaded all the edges in the same beads as her hair (shown in a previous pic).

You can see in the background of this partly beaded shawl picture the bead crochet I decided against. A hip belt for a larger doll, maybe? hmm…

And here are her earrings, in process….

I don’t normally poke extra holes in vintage dolls, but I wouldn’t be the first to do so and anyway a Flamenco dancer needs a bold earring (or two) No really, just ask one! The dancer, not the earring, silly!

Here is the beauty in her final fitting before the return of her head!

awsumgals Headless Flamenco

One last accessory to complete. Doll accessories are a creative challenge, as many people who engage in this kind of work will tell you. Scale is of the utmost importance. Too big looks wrong and too small disappears. I knew the fan was going to require some creative problem solving on my part as I wanted it to look lacy, and delicate. I did finally figure out a method that gave me the results I wanted. (And immediately following, found a very pretty tiny metal filigree fan charm that might have served. Lol!)

Here is the fan in process:

awsumgals Flamenco Fan

Actually, I redid this one as it wasn’t black enough for me. It didn’t quite have the impact I wanted.

The dress is now in one piece, her shawl is done all of the other accessories are done. Be still my heart, she’s finished!

Here she is all complete.

awsumgals Flamenco finished

She has been sold and will be traveling to her new home in the next couple of days!

Thanks for taking this little trip with me!


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A Backward Glance

I’m continuing my look back at how the Flamenco doll was created:

The last thing I posted was the beginings of the Flamenco doll’s hair. After the hair but before new eyelashes came her new paint.  I used two olivey greens one light, one a darker shade. I added some zing with flecks of a pretty, light and  warm gold. Then I added her pupil and her catch lights a just a touch of pale green eyeshadow, letting the paint dry between coats. Her eyebrows were in lovely shape and remain original. (Which is a good thing as they are among the most difficult, for me anyway! to paint cleanly.

Her lips received a deep red to match the red silk of her dress.

Here’s her new paint. You can see the bit of gold very well in this pic.

As you can see, she has no eyelashes in yet, and I tidied up her paint just a little before sealing it with a matte varnish.

Here she is with her completed hair comb and little hand sewn hair flowers embellished with a trio of tiny red glass beads. Still no lashes. (I wanted her paint and varnish to fully cure before rerooting her lashes.)

After all of that head work it was time to get back to the dress. I had done some prowling on the web trying to find authentic flamenco dancewear, but not the modern look. I wanted a more traditional, retro style. I wanted flamboyance and frills!

Here are the humble beginnings…

I began with a muslin and adjusted from there. It’s a lovely red, don’t you think?

To sleeve or not to sleeve…

In the end I decided against sleeves. The sleeves were too much and diminished the doll, so away they went!

After pressing and hemming what seemed like miles of strips of silk for the ruffles I had this….the skirt half!

After tweaking the bodice, I had to see how the proportions looked with the skirt:

peek a boo knee!

more later…

~ awsumgal

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Flamenco Doll is finished!

Here she is! a OOAK Flamenco Topper Dawn!

I’m happy with the way she has turned out. She took a long time to complete, but she’s very much what I had in my head when I began.

As dusk descends on the picturesque Andalusian town, a lovely Flamenco dancer and her guitarist take their positions in the center of the zocolo (town square) The music and the dance begin slowly, gradually increasing in tempo, volume and intensity. The guitarrista is very talented, the dancer, more so. She is commanding and no eyes stray from her while she dances. She is mesmerizing and time seems to stop. The rest of the world drops away, and all that is left is the music, the dance and the night…
She finishes, and the last sounds fade away. There is a pause before the thunderous applause and shouts of bravo! Soon everyone is dancing and no one sees the beautiful young Flamenco dancer disappear into the night.

How she began:

This vintage Longlocks started out looking like this:

Not too bad, but definitely the victim of a bad haircut and she had a few missing hair plugs at the front. One eye had few eyelashes and her paint was looking tired.

I removed all of her hair and gave new new locks in midnight katsilk saran.

And with hair…..

Still a little fly away and it needs some styling, but at least the wee bun is in!

I’m beat! More tomorrow :o)

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Happy Saturday

Well the changes to the look of the blog went well. The green is no longer painful and it mirrors my site better. My etsy widget is ensconced, though not quite centered.

I made the mistake of paying twice for an auction I won last night because paypal gave me an error message when confirming my payment. When I called them to find out what I could do about it the pearl of wisdom I got was to “email the seller and ask them to refund you”

Thanks that’s ever so helpful!

I’m puzzled by the fact that you can pay for a single auction more than once. I mean, the transaction supposedly has a unique ID number yada, yada, blah, blah! Maybe not so unique!

Insult to injury, the paypal person I spoke to promised to send an email to the seller explaining the situation and asking them to refund me, and copy the mail to me. They assured me they were going to do that “the minute we hang up the phone” That was last night. This morning, still nothing. (And I had to pay for the long distance call!)

There is some mind boggling customer service happening there!

Makes one cast about for other venues and ways of doing things that don’t involve ebay or paypal doesn’t it?

The moral of the story is NEVER hit the “confirm your payment” button more than once! Duh!

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