Another quiet night at home, playing with paper fairy dolls.
It’s hard to keep all of my dolls safe. As soon as Camellia safely washes ashore and tames the panther, poor Rosie is kipnapped by fairies.
She’s about to enter another painted world – one of the paintings is already outside her window. It’s a little blurry, so probably a bit hard to recognize. Also, as a bit of a hint, although he’s well known for painting nature, his most famous series are more watery than the scene out the window.
I don’t have much to take you on a tour through this week. We’ve already seen Rosie’s room, and I’m not using any new photographic techniques (just trying to learn Photoshop!). So I may take you through other things I’m experimenting with in doll world.
Lily is the first of the dolls to have two permanent diorama spaces – one outdoor diorama space (in her secret garden) and one indoor diorama space (in her room).
The indoor space was simple to put together – it only has a few elements.
Three walls (two taken from Daisy’s room, and one new). I used real wallpaper on one of the walls, and a roll of decorative paper on the other two.
One window (also used to be Daisy’s) covered in a clear acrylic sheet to mimic glass
Two 12×12 wood laminate tiles (as from Daisy’s room)
A printout of a rug. I just happened to find one that almost perfectly fit an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper.
One Barbie bed, covered in contact paper (because the original bed is a pink monstrosity)
Two scarves – one as her bed cover, and the other as curtains
A beautiful dresser (probably a jewelry box) that I picked up at Goodwill
A note on putting acrylic in doll house windows: I put a sheet of acrylic on the window, thinking it would make it more realistic. In fact, it ended up doing the opposite – reflecting me and my dining room in the background of Lily’s room.
Lesson learned – in the future I’ll leave my windows empty (as I did in Rosie’s room). The only time the reflection might be nice would be when the doll is sitting right by the window and you can see the reflection. But, that seems like the unusual case. The usual case is where you can see my camera’s reflection in the doll’s room.
Her outside space is more elaborate, and still a work in progress. It’s made up of:
A few great hauls from Goodwill, including the moss like ground cover, the picture frame door, the folding wall, and the amazing wooden creche (or whatever it is) that really makes the space.
It’s surrounded by a corner of “real” wall (made with individual bricks) and a corner of fake wall (drawn on foamboard). I feel like the wall is too short for the space, so I’ll probably be casting bricks over the holidays 🙂
Twigs and sticks with fake flowers (from the Dollar Store) hot glued onto them.
It’s missing its normal enclosure picture – that’s just the wall covering in my garage workspace behind the diorama. In Lily’s earlier episode previous shot, I hung a print behind the space. In this most recent episode, I hung a flowered scarf behind it. What I really want is to be able to see part of a town around it, but I’ll need to make more space in my garage for that to work.
A note on Lily’s paintings. Someone asked me about the paintings in Lily’s episode of the lost doll. They’re not really paintings – they’re just a Photoshop Elements trick. I take a picture, then I go into Elements and paste the picture over Lily’s canvas in the photo. I turn it from a picture into a painting by using the “oil painting” effect on a brush and brushing across the panel, giving an effect like this:
Daisy’s story continues with a meeting with a mysterious stranger.
. . . second shoe dropped.
You can probably tell that this is the other half of the torn photo we saw in Daisy’s previous episode. We’ll have a chance to examine it in more detail in her next episode in December.
Tomorrow, I’ll talk a bit about trying to pull the pieces of the plot together, and Friday I’ll talk a little about finding dolls to play the other parts.
In the meantime, poor Daisy is still suffering from a severe lack of attention to the details of her story. I did manage to build part of a dinette set (mainly because I couldn’t find a good picture of a diner to photoshop her into), but that’s about it. The wall with the window is from Daisy’s room, and the other two walls are just unimproved pieces of of foamboard.
The photos (with maybe the exception of the close-up of the stranger and the shot where Daisy talks to her friend) are purely utilitarian. They’re a way of taking the plot from one point to the next. In the meantime, I’ve been carefully and elaborately building up the other sets, some I won’t need for weeks.
Fortunately, Daisy has a sunny disposition and makes do with whatever she has. Which is a good thing, because I had to use her walls for Lily’s room, so she and her friends are currently hanging out in a room with no walls at all.
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.
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.”
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.
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.