Thursday, January 17, 2013

Finding My Way

I have spent hours on-line looking at beautiful, wonderful paperclay figures.  Some of them abstract, some of them fine sculpture.  Some of them whimsical, some serious and some downright sad.  I have tempted myself with complicated images.

In between looking and dreaming there was the actual working time with the clay.  I have read and heard people rave about paperclay -- they were all correct.  Its wonderful stuff.  If even I, a  total novice, can figure out how to actually get the clay to stay in place - add features - manage the finish painting then it has got to be a 'hands' friendly product.

As I followed my learning curve (without actually getting seasick), I realized that I had to let go of preconceived ideas.  Those fantasy creatures with perfect noses and haunting eyes were probably not for me.  It was better that I just covered the styrofoam and then let things happen as they happened.

Along the way I began to recognize the look that came most naturally to me.  A somewhat primitive look - a simple look - a look that might tell a story.  Why not try to recreate those aims using clay?  Let's see what happens.

I'm sure there will be some changes as I go along - as I learn more, as I learn to control the clay better, as I venture out into the unknown. But for now - I'm happy, feeling quite elated that new little people are beginning to populate my studio.

"A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike.  And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us." - John Steinbeck


  1. Hi, I am not a doll maker but love dolls and find yours fascinating. I am interested in paperclay and did a short course on it when the tutor made his own, a very messy business. This had to be fired, from what you are saying you don't fire yours, would be interested to know if what you are using is a different product.
    Thanks Debbie

  2. It's reassuring to find that your style is already developing in the new medium - it must give you a lot of confidence!

  3. Hi Debbie -- I'm using a brand called "Creative Paperclay". I buy it at Michael's (a US craft store). It comes in a 'brick' and all you have to do is open the wrapping and start to work. No mixing. You should work the clay in your hands and you use water to make it stick and to smooth it, etc. No oven -- it air drys. Some people put it in the oven at a really low temperature but I just set mine by a heater vent and leave is overnight. It drys very hard. After that you have sand it lightly and then go through the painting process. No odor, easy to clean up and fun! What more could we want?

  4. Love the heads!!

    ...and I can just imagine the fun you'll have designing the clothing for their bodies :-)

    x C

  5. Yep, you said the key thought...the look that comes most naturally to me...That's the key to success, don't you think? The ability to your own style in a new medium. The doll heads look great.
    xx, Carol

  6. They're charming!

  7. I'm loving these faces, Penny. You know me and faces! Lol what form is underneath these, styrofoam still? On a stick? I'm trying to figure out the structure components.

  8. These look awesome! I've tried paperclay and know about that learning curve! I love the look of them! Congrats on giving this a go!

  9. Hi, Penny
    I discovered paper clay in the fall of 2008, when the first Cloth and Clay doll ning workshop began...and I have not looked back. It is a joy to work with this amazing clay. At first, I was using too much water with the clay at first and backed down a bit and realized the clay was more like using pottery wheel clay in feel and texture. That is when I was able to wrap my mind around the texture and get the 'feel' of how it all came together to make a face.
    You are doing great! And I think it is neat you have your own style of doll.
    Teresa S. in Cloth and Clay ning



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