Saturday, October 11, 2014

31 DAYS of SANTA CLAUS Day 10 Sculpted Santa Claus "Dolls"


Okay, I am posting this a day late, but after working all day yesterday at our lake house (1 hour's drive from our home) I was too tired to type.

However, I was composing this post in my mind (until I got distracted) so I think that should count for something.

Last night I was doing some research on sculpting dolls.  I have a few Santa Claus dolls I sculpted back in mid-90's (photos to follow) that I created from white Sculpey (sp?) that I seem to recall only came in white back then.

I was first inspired by the work of Lyn Haney, whose limited numbered dolls I found at a great little Hallmark/Gift shop in Del Rio, TX.  Mr. Haney, who graduated from Texas Tech, my husband's alma mater, incorporated his eyes into his sculpture versus adding glass (or acrylic) eyes to his Santas.
So my first dolls had eyes sculpted into their face. Of course, I added my own "personality" to my Santas and learned a lot about what NOT to do.









Below are two of my first attempts at sculpting Santas.


When I saw a collection of original Santa Claus "dolls" at my favorite little shop, St. Nick & Friends in Wimberly, TX, I fell for the beautiful glass/acrylic eyes they were using.

So, I took a class in doll sculpting from an artist who not only created ceramic dolls, but sculpted Santas and Native American figures as well. She taught me how to build a form first that would incorporate the eyes, then sculpt using a product called Cernit.

So, I invested in a pair of beautiful blown glass eyes from Germany, and created a wonderful face from the Cernit and added silky Mongolian sheep hair beard and hair.

However, the first Cernit I purchased was "flesh" and I found it rather pale and lifeless. You can add real makeup to Cernit but it will fade over time. Then my very expensive Cernit dried up, which it tends to do in only a short period of time. The benefit of Cernit is that you get a very ethereal skin tone, but when you add the blush or makeup, it flattens is out. So, these very expensive materials went into a Santa beautifully sculpted (if I do say so myself) doll that looks like a mortician created it (not to dis morticians) and he has been tucked away in a basket along with his half finished (a couple of sizes too small) fur coat. He was supposed to be a gift for my mother fifteen years ago.

About a week ago, I started looking at glass eyes. Funny how they've doubled in price over the past 15 years. After winning a bid on some ornaments (including a Bolinger I got for next to nothing...but that's a different post), I contacted the seller about adding some of the "eyes" they had up for auction to my order. So, I ordered SIX pairs of different color (blues/blue-grays/grays) materials (acrylic/glastic), size (18-22mm) and style of eyes, but no glass ones. Glass is just too high at about $40 for good one, plus the acrylics are usually a lot more beautiful, anyway.

I also purchased some "suntan" Cernit in hopes that my new Santas would look more alive.

NOW I will tell you why I was distracted last night and could not get this post completed in time.

When ordering eyes, there was a lot of references to "Reborn" dolls. If you are not familiar with Reborns, I suggests you get educated. Just do a search under images for "Reborns" and you'll be amazed at the artistry involved in creating these, and if you can afford the $500 price tags, you might even want one for yourself.
I was studying the techniques used by these artists and their skills at adding more depth to the otherwise flat vinyl surfaces of these doll's molded heads and limbs. I was hoping I could learn a few tricks to help me bring my other Santa back from the dead.

Then I went to YouTube to look for videos about how these were created but soon mesmerized by the variety of the videos that included obsessions that some people have over these baby dolls. It really opened my eyes to the psyche of addictive behaviors.

There is a growing trend of adults self-soothing with objects associated with their childhood. When a mother holds her baby the soothing hormone of oxytocin is released. Rumor has it that a similar experience happens when holding a Reborn Doll. So really, we can not fault anyone for appreciating the work these artists put into the fascinating little sculptures. I would compare it to a grown man collecting action figures or model trains.

However, I am a conspiracy theorist, and it is my opinion (a well educated opinion) that the U.S. Government is putting additives in our foods that is causing addictive behaviors to rear their ugly heads.

For a while, I was doing okay with my own addictive behavior by eating healthy cooked from fresh veggies and "natural" meats.

Working on the lake house meant a lot of fast foods and quick meals (what we like to call "Chicken in a Bag") and I have noticed that I am more anxious about collecting and, for a long time, I stayed away from eBay, but now...

See what I mean?