Apparently I’m doing a series on paperclay-over-cloth dolls. Really, it wasn’t intentional. I’ve been meaning to blog about Melisa Matkin, the artistic power behind Coppermouse Dolls, for a while, and it just happened that she has some work-in-progress photos on her blog that detail her sculpting process.
But first, let’s talk about her dolls. Coppermouse dolls are very distinctive in style, combining primitive with creepy in a way that’s sure to make you grin. With their round faces and popping eyes, they resemble characters in some demented kids’ cartoon, or maybe an Edward Gorey illustration. But, like all really good abstractions, they have a firm basis in historical knowledge and technical expertise.
Coppermouse dolls wear costumes based on actual historical styles, only simplified. You can see the one above with her hairstyle and leg-o-mutton sleeves indicative of the styles of the 1830s, and most of her other pieces wear children’s styles from the age of the Addams Family, including black-and-white stripes, big ribbon bows and lace.
One gets the impression that there’s some kind of mythology behind Matkin’s work, and one wouldn’t be disappointed. The story involves the unlovable children of Mrs. Blatherby’s Orphanage, sometimes known by its acronym, MRSBO. Each piece made for the MRSBO group includes a story about its horrible background.
Visit Matkin’s blog, I Am a Dollmaker, for work-in-progress pictures that spell out her sculpting techniques pretty well. You can see more pictures at her Flickr site, but they’re not as well organized as her blog is.
Happy weekend everyone. Watch this space on Tuesday for a new Needle and Clay project.