I was captivated by this paper clay sculpture by Pat Lillich. She is called The Courtesan; a haunting memento mori of skin deep beauty.
Archive for the dolls Category
Dustin Poche is one of my favorite art doll makers. He works predominantly with paper clay and vintage textiles (which add an air of authenticity and depth to his creations).
Poche’s first venture into the figure and sculpting world began with the restoration of 1920’s era boudoir dolls. He states: “I learned a lot while working with the antique dolls, but there was something missing in the end result. I imagined characters with more expressive faces, emotions, and gestures. To bring these characters to light, I realized I had to begin sculpting them.”
In 1972, Matell release a the “Saucy Doll;” a little lady who makes strange faces when you lift her left arm (which, arguably, anyone would).
Judging from this video, it takes quite the effort to get these funny faces to happen (that’s a lot of arm lifting), and most faces can accurately be subsumed under the header of “drunk and disorderly.”
Where were these when I dressed up as a (slightly mischievous) doll for a holiday card photo, circa 2002? Bead Borg makes fantastic hand-airbrushed stockings that look freakishly like ball jointed doll legs.
In 1871 came one of the first automata to appear in the toy scene, patented by Robert J. Clay. You can find more about it here.
My favorite paragraph about the piece is the following:
Despite Clay’s belief that his toy would be very amusing, it had limited appeal for its target audience of little girls. It looks scary, weighs a lot and isn’t particularly interactive. It’s more of an exhibition piece than a cuddly toy, and once the mechanism broke (which happened often with the earlier models), its heaviness and hardness made it a dead weight rather than a doll that could be integrated into regular play.
I wonder how many of these clumsily creeping wonders were mass produced. Two decades later, the world was graced with Edison’s Talking Doll.