Posted in Dollhouse, Fashion dolls, general discussion

Gradual stiffening, in miniature

Flower detail in Lily’s garden

Lily’s garden wall of brick and foam represents the idea of gradual stiffening – the second, but probably not the last, time I’ll mention the influence of Christopher Alexander and his pattern language in my work. I like to think that he would be amused to see his patterns applied to these tiny worlds. In any case, it amuses me.

Flower detail in Lily’s garden

Gradual stiffening is a philosophy of building which says, loosely, don’t plan everything down to the last detail and implement it all at once. Instead, continue to make approximations over approximations until you lay down enough layers of approximations to create the finished product. Or, from the language:

“Recognize that you are not assembling a building from components like an erector set, but that you are instead weaving a structure which starts out globally complete, but flimsy; then gradually making it stiffer but till rather flimsy; and only finally making it completely stiff and strong.”

Here’s the solid brick wall, which shows realistic depth and texture in photographs.

I’ve violated the rule, somewhat, by creating some wall fragments from sturdy stuff, but I needed to see how the solid bricks would photograph.

. . . and it’s foamboard companion, which looks fine as a background but suffers in focus.

I’m holding to the rule in principal. In my mind, I see Lily in a high-walled secret garden with a solid wooden door. What I imagine, though, may not suit Lily at all. So I’m mocking up the secret garden with flimsy bits and pieces until I see how she wants to live in it. Only then will I put in the hours necessary to create a sturdy little world for her to live in.

Camellia chilling in Lily’s garden





In my (almost) 60th year on earth I decided to set my fashion dolls free of their clothes and accessories and send them on adventures. This is your window onto my own adventure into a land of crafts where I have zero skills, talent or mentors. Wish me (and my dolls) luck!

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