Monday, 7 May 2012

Hester Prynne & Her Little Pearl, Plus A Little Vampire In Progress

Hester Prynne and her daughter Pearl are the wonderful characters from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book The Scarlet Letter. And I made these art dolls after being recommended and reading the book by a very lovely lady that a few of my other dolls now live with.

This wonderful tale leads you through the story of Hester and Pearl from the time of her imprisonment and public shaming for her out of wedlock affair, which resulted in her falling pregnant with Pearl.

She refuses to give up the name of the man that was the other half of this shame so that he can also be punished, and the reader quickly learns who this man is.

Hester shows tremendous courage facing her exile from society alone with her small child. And although she has the option of just leaving the community she stays to be near the man she loves and suffer the penance she truly feels for what she has done. The odd goings on with those around her, from the cruel doctor that is someone from Hester’s own past in the mother country to the old woman that everyone believes is a witch – The story is full of detail and beautiful imagery.

Hester and Pearl are both dressed in period correct Mid-17th Century outfits with white cotton shifts, stiff stays, bum rolls and petticoats as underwear. Where Hester’s outfit is quite plain and simple, Pearl’s is over the top with decorative details.

Pinned to Hester’s breast is the infamous Scarlet Letter, sewn by hand onto silk in red and gold threads; the public sign of her shame, and the symbol of her indiscretion. She keeps the rest of her clothing plain and austere to match her feelings of penance. As the living symbol of what she has done, and the direct result of her affair, Hester dresses Pearl in the best fabrics she can afford, using her incredible skill to decorate her daughter with fine lace trimmed collars and cuffs to go with her embroidered red satin gown.

I've already got started on my next project - A little vampire for a lovely lady called Anita.

I don't have a name for this little one yet as she's a special order and Anita has yet to let me know what she'd like to call her. For the moment I've been calling her Ruby which will probably end up being a middle name. Really I think I've been watching way too much Supernatural. But how could I do without Dean, Sam and the dreamy Castiel :)

It's been such a long time since I made a vampire. I'm really looking forward to making this doll, and I can't wait until the clay has dried thoroughly and is ready to be sanded and painted.

So far, Ruby has has layers of paperclay built up over her wooden base. Her arms and legs have been shaped, her eyes set in, and her teeth temporarily added. As you can see her sharp little biters are at the moment in back to front. Just to make sure that the holes I'll finally set them into don't close up as her face dries.

Once Ruby is painted and varnished I'll cut the sharp sewing pins down to size and use a tiny dab of glue to make sure they stay where I want them. She has a certain cheekiness to her look at the moment. I can already see she's out to cause trouble. And as she'll be heading to Anita and my little doll Patsy I'm sure she'll have a great time with her beautiful cats. It was so nice to see a photo of one of my little dolls all comfy and welcome cuddled up to Anita's cat :)

I've given Ruby slightly longer legs than usual as I think she should be a tall and glamorous Vampire.

Anita came to me with a fantastic idea for her doll, and she'll be dressed in a mixture of Victorian clothing with modern Gothic details. I need to make her look like she's come from her grave, with a slightly roughed up appearance. I've not quite decided what fabric I'll use for her yet, but my brain is already trying to decide on the details for her full but short Victorian skirt.

I'd like to add a full bustle type bow and some swags to her outfit, along with satin bow garters for her stockings and long black lace gloves. But it all depends on the fabric and what it will do.

Ruby's eyes are a pair of vintage amber coloured buttons which have turned a very attractive deep dark amber colour now that they are set. Her lips need a little refining, as well as her hands and bust area. I just can't wait until she's dry.
Why does paperclay take so long to dry when it's cold and wet outside?

Think I'll go pop Ruby on the radiator to see if I can speed things up...


  1. I'm using my husbands account, but very cool dolls, i love them all!!, especially the crazy red head, she reminds me of ...well me!! congrats, keep up the good work

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