Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dharma, the Free Spiritz Pixie

Miss Dharma is not a real pixie.  I chose the human version over the one with pointed ears.  In general I opt for the more realistic looking dolls, rather than pixies, elves, or anthropomorphic creatures.  (That said, I have just ordered an elf from another dollmaker.  My first.  She won't be here for a couple of months, so more about her later.)  This post belongs to Dharma.

This is not the best photo of Dharma.  I seem to have put her eyes in crooked.
("Romantic" dress pattern by Adams-Harris)

If I was enchanted by her cute little face, I was less enamored of her body.  Here was a doll with mobility issues.  She could hold a pose well enough, so long as it didn't require much exertion.  Both her wrists and ankles lacked any range of motion.  After a while, her elastic loosened to the extent that her head bobbled.  I was still new to the world of ball jointed dolls and feared what would happen if I tried any more enthusiastic alterations than tugging her elastic up tighter into her head, so for a long time I left her alone.

It was not until I had strung together a few other dolls that I decided to tackle Dharma.  First I took her apart.  That's always scary when you are unsure of your ability to put something back together.  The other dolls I had strung all had their extremities held on by S-hooks.  This one had her elastic cord strung through holes in the balls of her ankles and wrists.  That alone would keep her wrists and feet from turning naturally.  Give a hand half a twist and it springs right back at you.  I couldn't find S-hooks small enough to fit into her wrists, so I fashioned some from wire.  (It helps to have a few jewelry-making tools on hand.)

Here is Dharma with her buddy Innuendo, pre-makeover.
(For the dresses I took liberties with a number of different pattern pieces from MHD Designs, Designs by Jude, and Gracefaerie Designs.  Thanks to all.)

Once she was restrung, I decided she should have a makeover to celebrate. I remove the factory face-up and applied pastels and watercolor pencil, with coats of Mr. Super Clear before, in between and after.  Another dress, another wig, and our girl is good as new.  Well, as good as I can make her without resorting to more serious modifications that require knives and sanding tools.  I'm not ready to go there.

This pose was not possible before restringing.
(Dress pattern by Fletcher Pattern Company for Ellowyne Wilde.  Face up by me!)

A word or two about doll photography.  I don't have a professional set-up with lights that can be angled to flatter the subject.  I take my pictures with a digital camera by natural light.  Sometimes there isn't quite enough natural light and the flash goes off automatically.  This tends to wash out a small subject photographed up close.  PhotoShop can help only so far.  The new Dharma, in person, has a little more color in her face than you can see in the above photo.  Dolls with paler coloring wash out altogether.  Someday, if I ever find myself with some spare cash, I will buy proper equipment for my "studio".

Tune in next time as boys invade Resin Corner!

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