Okay, I am ashamed to admit it, but I actually started painting Wes Anderson’s hit stop motion “Isle of Dogs” over a year ago and got nowhere with it fast as life kept interrupting The Process. Fortunately a Wes Anderson enthusiast expressed interest in it which lit that ebbing flame under me once again and I was able to create this set just for her. There’s another half painted version languishing in my closet and I am hoping that now that I’ve gotten my feet wet, I am more motivated to finish it!
I’ve been painting a lot of dogs for the past few months so jumping into this set hadn’t been much of a problem. Believe it or not they are a little more difficult to paint than the human dolls due to the sheer amount of fur action they’ve got going on. I can’t even tell you how many audio books I’ve burned through whilst painting this set. I’m not complaining, though. Have you read Blake Crouch’s mindbending “Recursion?!?!”
This set consists of Chief, Boss (my favorite because of his little outfit), Spots, Duke, Rex, King, and of course, teeny weeny little Atari.
It’s really wonderful to see Spinal Tap is still popular after all these years. Why shouldn’t it be? I got around to painting a different version of it last year and am really looking forward to doing yet another one! This one comes with a mini amp. The amp is so tiny that I wasn’t able to paint little number 11 on it for this particular set but I did in a subsequent one, except I’d forgotten to take a photo of it. Like they say, if it’s not photographed, it’s didn’t happen. Luckily I’ll have another opportunity very soon to do so!
My god was this set ever fun to paint, and it was great to finally get my hands on it and really crank it out (albeit in the dead of night when the world is asleep. I’ve been the proverbial night owl for months now and I love it!).
This Valley of the Dolls set features the three ladies in the film:
Jennifer North (Sharon Tate), Anne Wells (Barbara Perkins), and of course Neely O’Hara (Patty Duke)
And, just for fun, this set also comes with two “dolls” which the women had become dependent on, like so many in the show biz.
I am slightly concerned that the pills would be too tempting for some, so I found the biggest capsule imaginable that would give people pause should they decide popping these dolls are a good idea. It is filled with non-edible decorative sprinkles to further discourage consumption. It does look quite fun, though, I’ll give you that!
I got a little high and dizzy while making the crown for the Freddie Mercury set and recalled an old Stephen Sondheim musical “Sunday in the Park with George.” When Sondheim wrote “Art Isn’t Easy,” I’m sure he hadn’t meant that an artist would pass out from all the toxic fumes emitting from the materials used to create a work of art. Granted, I did start most of it outdoors, but had to move it inside when the night closed in. But I’d rather suffer for my art than do anything else in the world!
This set had taken me months and months to complete. I actually started it before knowing the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” was a thing! It wasn’t the execution itself that took ages to get it made, but the fact that I first had to experiment with the new kind of paint for the crown, how to construct the velvety layer inside and finding the right type of velvet to use. Then I couldn’t find first, the time, then the inspiration. But then it came rushing fourth and I built the crown in about 6 hours’. It had been one of the final steps to finishing the set, which, coincidentally, had also brought to mind anothe number from the same Sondheim musical: “Finishing the Hat.”
I always have a ton of fun making crowns and tiaras, and this one was no exception. All the materials needed had been foraged from my vast collection of baubles and bits and that in itself had been one of the best experiences of “finishing the hat.”
For years now I’ve been asked to paint sets of dolls as gifts to others, which is really heartwarming in two folds: That these people are so immensely thoughtful to seek out something unique and let’s face it, with a somewhat serious price tag and also that they trusted me enough to make this happen.
It is also not that unusual for me to paint a family member or friend into a set of dolls featuring the cast from a TV show or a movie. But this was the first time I was asked to paint a favorite waitress from a favorite restaurant to gift her at the end of my customers’ temporary homestead. It made me wonder, just how amazing a waitress is she and how come there aren’t more like her out there? This request in itself made me want to be a better human being not because of the material rewards it might yield in the end, but to be THAT amazing that people will remember you for your fabulousness.
This set of Twin Peaks is headed by the creator himself. As always, I had fun making the Dead Laura Palmer doll. It means I have to purchase a certain foodstuff that my husband hates just so I can get my hands on the blue plastic sheet that is eerily similar to actual body bags. We have Mel the waitress added into the cast and I hope I did her justice, as the two photos given to me were taken on the sly since this set is meant to be a surprise. There’s Audrey, one of my favorite ladies to paint, and Shelly the actual waitress as well as the Log Lady.
Well, I’m off to meditate on how I can be as fantastic a human as Mel!
This set is all about the strike against patriarchy…well, sort of. I’ve had so much fun painting the Boys of Horror that I thought I’d give the female antagonists from film a shot and boy, was it F.U.N!!
When I was kicking the idea of this set around, I knew Carrie would be the main doll, not only because I get to fashion a tiara on her, but “Carrie” is also one of my favorite horror movies to date. I’ve watched the remakes and have enjoyed them all, but Sissy Spacek hands down OWNED this role. It took me about 2 weeks to work up the courage to do the blood drippings and I’ve done some studies in the meanwhile. It all worked out in the end.
Annie Wilkes from “Misery” is my favorite psychopath. I also had to paint in her pet pig Misery, whom, according to the articles I’ve read, had been a Very Good Pig during filming.
Norman Bates’ mom is really just a prop in the movie and I was tossing up between painting the actual mummified corpse or Norman Bates in drag for a while but in the end the former option won as I’ve never painted a corpse before and it was all kinds of fun.
Say hello to Regan from “The Exorcist” after she’d been possessed. It’s really not her fault that she was a bad bad girl and I had some misgivings about it, but it’s too good a movie and a pure classic to give this one a miss so here she is!
And of course I had to include Esther from “Orphan,” one of the two gals from the more recent era in this set. I loved the movie and was blown by the plot twist toward the end. If you haven’t seen it check it out!
Last but not least, Samara, the frightening Ghost Girl from “The Ring.” Can you blame her for wanting to extract some revenge? The poor thing spent years trapped in a well for crying out loud!
I’d originally wanted to call this set Wicked Women of Horror but not all of them are evil (least of all Carrie). Some of them are actual victims, which just goes to show that you shouldn’t treat women (or anyone for that matter) unkindly because some will break your legs (or, in the book version of “Misery,” amputation), trap you in your own prom and blast you with a fire hose before blowing you up, or force you to watch a terrible short film seven days before you die!
In the past I have painted one or two of the myriad creatures in the Star Wars universe. Whenever those were proposed, I’d have to spend a little time trying to figure out how to configure an animal form onto a human-shaped doll without having to take a sander to it. This set of Star Wars creatures didn’t take too much figuring out, and the only hardship I came across was trying to fit it into my already seriously heavy painting schedule!
The first one is the adorable little Porg from “The Last Jedi,” a real treat and a half to paint. I have done a Tauntaun before so I was pleased to give it another shot and was happy with the outcome. The third in line is the Vulptex, also from “The Last Jedi,” which I absolutely fell in love with as soon as they appeared on the screen. Then we have the closest thing to a woolly mammoth in the Star Wars Universe, the Bantha. This is followed by a Fathier, also from “The Last Jedi,” and the lizard Dewback, which gave me a bit of a pause until it was pointed out to me that, if I had been able to make Smaug of The Hobbit from one of these dolls, a lizard shouldn’t be a problem. And it wasn’t!
In the past, whenever I get requests to paint a Star Wars set, Princess Leia was hardly ever included. I never really put up a stink since all the Star Wars characters are always a treat to paint, but every now and again, I’d have to restrain myself from adding an extra Princess Leia character into a set. Imagine my unbridled joy when I was asked to paint an entire set of dolls devoted to the Princess herself! It starts with her in her New Hope buns to her as the formidable General with several choice looks in-between. I was in seventh heaven while painting this set!
There was no question that the buns had to be sourced and made…just painting them on would not do at all. As a packed rat I had originally thought I did have the necessary fibers to make the buns, but once I discovered it was the wrong shade, I did a desperate search to find the exact color. Several alpaca farms I contacted did not respond to my emails, thinking it was a joke because I was a bit too specific about the color. Luckily for me I found Luba at http://www.handcraftedgifts.net.au whose wares have saved me from further headaches!
This set of Leia dolls features the Princess kicking ass and taking names starting with the white hooded dress look from New Hope, as well as the gown from the awards ceremony at the very end. Then it’s onto her Hoth outfit from Empire Strikes Back, followed by the Burgundy dress from Cloud City. Return of the Jedi look features her as a Bounty Hunter and of course the very famous Slave Dancer gold bikini which fueled the dreams of many a fanboy (and girl). Last but not least we have General Leia Organa because, hey, an army rank has more gravitas!
I’ve done a few Miyazaki based animation characters in the past, but none is as fun as this Totoro set. The idea came about when I received a set of very round dolls several years ago and had every intention of making a set, complete with some Easter egg surprises. But like everything else, life took over and I’ve only just gotten around to making this set. It took a while to hunt down some itty bitty eyes for the Soot Sprites and figuring out the right kind of clay to use to make konpeitō, the little sugar candies Soot Sprites eat. It all came together in the end and here they are!
The problem with making the konpeitō is that they are so darn small! I haven’t had or seen one in years but I’m pretty sure the real ones are a lot larger than what would fit into the last doll. But I managed to find a pair of tweezers with an odd bend that did the trick after several failed attempts! If at first you don’t succeed…look for the right tool that’ll get the job done!