One of the things I’ve always liked is the styling of the first half of the 20th century. To that end I have lots of antique furniture and stuff around. In my Bedroom is an early 1900s dressing table that has on it various dressing-table-items; Amber Depression Glass containers, doilies, figurines, jewellery boxes. Most things have a function, some are decorative. Some modern stuff sneaks in, such as my original 77 Princes Leia doll, my Anna Sui hairbrush (I’m not really into brands but this was a black gothic Victorian style brush!), and lots and lots of perfume.
I mentioned I like perfume, yes? I should do a post about my perfume collection one day. I also collect Depression glass, but not really actively very often. I kinda have enough. I am a sucker for a dressing table glass box though.
A decorative and functional item I have on the dressing table is a German porcelain half-doll. I bought her in an antique shop many moons ago, and turned her into a pin cushion to store my hat pins in. Half dolls were hugely popular dressing table ladies and are either styled in the height of 20s fashion from the time, or some sort of romantic nod to the 18th Century.
She is a fairly high quality doll, nicely painted, lots of detail. I use hat pins to keep both vintage and modern hats from slipping from my head; it’s very useful to have her there.
A thing I also like to do is type in ‘vintage’ in ebay and watch for items ending soon that are in Australia. I’ve ended up with some pretty random shit from doing that. Most recently I saw a group of 4 Japanese half dolls that seemed to have no bids and were not expensive. I thought “I can’t let them go”, put on a min bid, and forgot about them…until I got them. Oh. What the heck was I going to do with FOUR SLIGHLTY DERPY LOOKING HALF DOLLS?
I put them to the side for months and forgot about them and and started work on other projects, some of which you will see in the photos below – until it occurred to me that I could use polymer clay to make some seriously interesting bodies for these things.
I made a lot of polymer clay jewellery hen I was unemployed but found the brooches I made too heavy and the necklaces too fragile to wear (still don’t know what to do with all of it).
So I started sculpting. Polymer clay needs to be worked a lot, so I have a dedicated pasta maker to a) work and b) flatten, the clay. Tentacle woman is supported by mesh and wire under her base to make her robust.
The first one I started was the Chutulu-esque pink flapper lady. I matched the pink in the skirt I made to the pink in her top, made the brown the same shad as her hair and poorly painted face, gave her a few coats of paint and varnish, glued some felt to her base, and she was done.
I am really happy with the way she came out. Other than the fact she’s clearly got tentacles for feet, she matches up nicely with more traditional ornaments.
I am in various stages of done with the next ones, and I may have accidentally bought another bulk batch of them. So watch this space.