Contraptions

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Halleux01

Steampunk meets Tim Burton in the work of Stephane Heureux.  I don’t exactly read French, but the artist’s website seems to be pretty slim on identifying details. Nevertheless, his (or her? Like I said, slim on details) dolls, machines, suits, and everything else are a completely different flavor of adorable-creepy and something I’d like to see more of.

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via CraftGossip


More Creepy Halloween Art

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Today I have for you a couple of great Halloween-themed creepy artists.

LoopyBoopy works in the same creepy/primitive category as Michelle Steele and Scott Radke.  Her polymer clay “dead kids” use marbles for eyes and include tragic little stories about their lives.  You can find LoopyBoopy on Etsy or Flickr and there’s an interesting article about her here.

Now don’t get the wrong idea about Sara Lanzillotta. A lot of her work is not that out of the ordinary. She makes big-eyed deer plushies and cute little cloth girls with definite personality. Her Octobabies (pictured above) are kind of unusual, but in a loveable way. It’s all the conjoined twins that have earned her a place on this list. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a three-legged pirate, or a conjoined Bambi before. To use Internet lingo: o_O

Hope you have a good week!


Alarming Antiquities — Melisa Matkin

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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.


Here there be pirate….dolls?

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In honor of Pirates of the Carribbean III (and in an unrepentant attempt to capture search engine traffic), I’ve decided to show you some pirate dolls today.

Pirate 1

This first one is an homage to Johnny Depp as the inimitable Cap’n Jack Sparrow, by Wendy Rinehart. Like all her work, Cap’n Jack is amusing, well-posed and well-costumed. He won an award from Jack Johnston, the creator of ProSculpt polymer clay.

Pirate 3 Spookbot Pirate 2 Spookbot pirate 3

My second offering is from a website called Spookbot. I haven’t found the artist’s name yet, but her adorable vintage-inspired dolls reveal a well-developed sense of style bordering on the modern spooky-primitive dolls I’ve blogged about before, but with a broader color palette. All her work is for sale, and at reasonable prices.

Megan the Buccaneer

Finally, my favorite of today’s offerings comes from a relative newbie to the doll scene. Coming from the world of 2-d fantasy art, Patrick Keith is a real Renaissance artist, producing digital paintings as well as gaming miniatures and larger poymer-clay figures. Megan the Buccaneer is possibly his best work in its genre to date, but check out his gallery on DeviantArt.com to judge for yourself.


Creepy

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Remember that Halloween show I mentioned earlier? My doll club has decided to exhibit there, so we’re trying to scrape up enough Halloween-themed work to fill up the booth. We have to have pictures by July so we can be juried. I’m thinking that even if the club doesn’t make it, I might rent a booth myself, if I can get enough stuff done. I’ve always wanted to do a Halloween show.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll forgive me for having Halloween on the brain. I’ve always been fascinated by the modern “creepy/primitive” doll style you see now and then, and here are some great examples I found on Flickr. They belong to an artist named Guste, who seems to also be an illustrator, though like many Flickr artists, she is otherwise anonymous. If anybody knows more about her, please leave a comment.

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