Sunday, November 29, 2009

Wonder Woman

As is the custom, I spent this Thanksgiving with my husband's family in Syracuse. My sister-in-law, Sue, graciously hosts quite a motley crew for Thanksgiving Day, and we all eat to excess and catch up from where we left off at the last gathering. Since I really admire my sister-in-law for being such a sport year after year, I thought I would make her a doll that would be her, but in a more dramatic style than she would assume in her day to day life. I chose Wonder Woman as most closely representing her true nature, and set to work making up a Suzanne as Wonder Woman doll. I failed to take pictures when it was actually ready to give, since I didn't have the base done until the last minute, but I got a couple photos of the doll at the mostly finished stage. The actual base is white and on the bottom it reads the following:

"Wonder Woman is a member of an all-female tribe of Amazons (based on the Amazons of Greek mythology) who was created by William Marston in 1941 as a “distinctly feminist role model whose mission was to bring the Amazon ideals of love, peace, and sexual equality to a 'world torn by the hatred of men.'” Her powers include super strength, super speed, stamina, and flight. She is highly proficient in hand-to-hand combat and in the art of tactical warfare. She also possesses an animal-like cunning and a natural rapport with animals, which has in the past been presented as an actual ability to communicate with the animal kingdom. She uses her Lasso of Truth (which forces those bound by it to tell the truth), a pair of indestructible bracelets, and an invisible plane, which was later replaced with an ability to fly unaided.

In addition to possessing all of the above skills and talents, Suzanne has prepared and endured countless family holiday meals and get-togethers whilst wearing a pair of indestructible bracelets, thus earning her this award of recognition."

I think that about sums it up. I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving and had time to get together and gab, which is the part I like best about the holiday :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mary Read, Pirate Bucko

I just finished my second pirate lass yesterday, Mary Read, friend and comrade of Anne Bonny. Mary, the poor girl, died of fever whilst in prison, but only after a number of high seas adventures. The story goes that Read remained dressed as a man and no one knew she was a lady pirate until Anne Bonny developed a bit of a crush on her. The misunderstanding forced Read to reveal to Bonny that she was in fact a lady pirate. The famous Calico Jack Rackham, who was Bonny's lover, became jealous and threatened to deal with Mary Read. To prevent Read's death, Rackham was also let in on the secret. At some point Mary fell in love with another man on deck, who had the poor sense to offend a pirate superior. Mary, fearing that if she didn't intervene, would suffer the loss of her lover, challenged the offended pirate to a duel. Once the duel was begun, Mary flashed the pirate her bosom. Her opponent was so stunned, he was caught off his mark, and Mary took the opportunity to mortally wound him! Good thinking, mate!

I started this doll with men's white cotton under drawers, same as Anne Bonny. I gave her a yellowish-beige chemise with lacy edging, and a blue silk bandana. Her hair is mohair dyed a warm dark brown.

I painted her face as I would imagine her, quite a bit darker than the first pirate I did. I like how it came out.

I added a black vest, navy breeches that are worn and ripped, some black suede boots, a red band at the waist to hold her weapons, and a black pirate's hat. For weapons she got a large sword, which she wears at the hip and a pistol, which she has ready at the waist. She is again 12" tall, all cotton body, mostly cotton costume. I put her on a wooden base, which I will likely paint black at some point.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Anne Bonny, Pirate Lass

After finishing my last character doll, Olive Malvery, I asked my friend in London if she had any other interesting characters on her list of fascinating women. She sent me a photo of Anne Bonny, a 17th Century real Pirate of the Caribbean! Thinking that female marauders are entirely under-represented, I couldn't resist.

Thinking that the 12-inch size doll I made last time is really quite convenient for placing on shelves and so on, I started with a body similar to the Olive Malvery doll. I made her quite pale skinned, as Anne Bonny was of Irish descent.

I gave her a bit of the wild-eyed, slightly fierce look with some extra shading and coloration. I also gave her auburn locks made from alpaca.

Back in the day of lady pirates, corsets and stays were de rigueur. I am doubtful that a gal wielding double-bladed swords and packing a pistol was likely to be bothered with such silliness. Instead I gave Anne a man's white cotton chemise. I also gave her a man's drawers, which were made of slightly lighter weight fabric than the chemise, since I would be putting breeches over top. I edged the undergarments with a pink thread embroidery just for fun and added a pair of Ultraleather black pirate boots to the ensemble.

With the underthings sewn on, I added a pair of man's brown britches, a dark brown jacket and a pirate hat. I also gave her a plaid neckerchief, but later removed that, as it wasn't quite right.

At this point, she was looking a bit, well, fashion runway. At the suggestion of my husband, I distressed the clothing, which meant rubbing a pumice stone over the pants and jacket, which gave the clothing some holes and wear. This was actually quite hard (emotionally) to do after all that hard work, but I think it was worth it for effect. I made weaponry (a cutlass for her to hold, a saber worn at the side waist, a knife, worn in her shirt, and a pistol worn in a striped hip sling) from polymer clay that I painted with acrylics. I added a plaid headband, changed the hat, because I didn't like the first one, and added a plaid band to the hat's crown. I also neatened up the face a bit and painted the base black. I'm quite pleased with the finished doll. Let me know what you think.