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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Gentle Heart

"A gentle heart is tied with an easy thread."

George Herbert's words inspired the design of this clay and fabric sculpture.  The woman, and the heart she has captured, are both entwined with thread.  Here is the meandering creation in pictures and a few words.    

I enjoyed my first experience with paper clay at Christmas making small gifts for our grandchildren.  No heat or fumes to harden.... just time and patience.  While shaping the gifts, I started toying with the idea to create a paper clay doll.

I was only minutes into the project when, for reasons I no longer remember, I deviated from the plan for a doll.  An armature was formed and I was on my way to a figurine.  I worked on this figure for four weeks, trying different media and techniques.  The paper clay is very forgiving.  It can be shaped, carved and sanded with each new idea or mood.  At 17 inches tall, the figure is larger than intended.  It is a good thing I had only one package of paper clay..... who knows how this project may have grown!  

The armature is made of wire, aluminum foil and painter's tape.  I will not use painter's tape next time.  The foil is easier to reshape after clay is applied. A make-do stand was created by drilling holes into an small box I had used for wood carving practice.  Wire extending from the legs fit into the holes keeping the armature upright.   

The head was created separately and attached after legs and arms were completed. The dress is osnaburg cotton with fringe selvage intact.  

 I spent too much time shaping the legs.  In the end, they were covered by the dress.  You may be able to see the first undergarment was made of organza.  I did not like the way it reacted to the glue, so removed it and finally used a hand-made paper purchased at Dick Blick art store.

Hair is taking shape.  I initially used light wire thinking it would create a more solid foundation for the hair.  I finally removed the wire and had no problems without it.  

Dress is taking shape.  The clay still needs to be smoothed.

Fingers and face took a lot of work to size properly.

Eyes were painted with the point of a hat pin.  The paint is Jacquard's Lumiere.  These paints are beautiful on fabric, paper and wood.  The thread on her face is a Madeira metallic thread.  The looping design on her dress was created with a fine crochet thread. 


Base and paint completed.  The final step was to apply Paverpol textile hardener.  Because I completed the figure before using Paverpol, I was forced to brush it on vs. dipping and draping the fabric.  Brushing it on was work intensive, but much less messy, so a better option for my small space.  

I am still planning to make the doll.  A new package of paper clay is waiting for inspiration!

Thank you for visiting!