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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Christine Shively - Benjamin - Teacher Feature

Marie Antoinette
Shively - Benjamin
A process of an extraordinary
Art Doll  Artist in her own Words.
 Exploring the possibilities of creating a character with fabric is an extension of a life time fascination with three dimensional forms. My characters emerge from familiar tales of childhood and from stories of the heart and soul. Fabric, color texture and pattern all play intricate parts in creating interesting figures that tell their own stories to the viewers who meet them.  
   Most recently creating figures with high fashion, high heel shoes, and the elements of Steampunk have been really fun to explore begin by drawing the body shape and structure I wish to use for my fabric figures. Basically I transfer the drawing into a 3 dimensional form.
  I use a template to create the basic silhouette of the drawings. The shape is transferred to the fabric. Sewing on the line gives a great deal of control over the shape I am envisioning. Some of the body shapes are an abstraction or somewhat stylized. Most of my figures have an economy of line, a simplified structure.
 The costuming and embellishment are the key elements. I use paint, pigma pen and colored pencil to create the faces on the cloth figures. An extreme light and dark technique is employed to give the illusion of depth in the face. An example of using the inspiration of period clothing of Marie Antoinette and then changing the color and proportion on the clothing adding the gears, zippers to the edge of the skirt the look was completely changed to Steampunk

     I purchased a very small antique lamb made from cotton fleece and wood for one of my sisters.  It just screamed to be a pull toy.   I made a platform for the lamb, since then I  have been making animals sitting on wheeled platform.  It is easy to see how I translated the Whimsical Birds and put them on platforms and also create pull toys out of them.
    I have been creating my Whimsical Birds using floral oasis, tissue paper, glue, kabob skewers, file folders, and paint.  This is a great example of how everyday items can be turned into something fun and whimsical.
   See more on Christine's Classes Coming to Artistic Figures in Cloth & Clay this April 25-28, 2013 - Click Here.
Manipulating basic shapes in new and different ways plays an important role in the creation of my characters. This doll uses my basic Dress Rehearsal pattern. I have added a jacket, skirt, sleeves and narrowed the pants of the basic pattern and a new character emerges.

Here is an example of looking at one thing…..the baby shoe….but seeing something else. Like the corset for a Steampunk character.


An  Idea  is a point of departure  and no more.

    As soon as you elaborate it,  it becomes transformed by thought.”


The high heel shoes are an example of the Picasso quote above. When I began embarking on the high heel I was in a Home Depot store.  I saw a wire door stop that had a tapered end. It reminded me of a high heel. Since I lived in Kansas for many years, I also thought it would be cool to have a tornado reference. The construction dilemma was the mechanism to create the heel. My long time doll friend Brenda Gehl created a darling fairy years ago that had a dressmakers pin for the heel. I asked her about using the basic mechanism that was her brain child, and building upon that. She was curious about what I could come up with using her basic idea. She was very pleased with my adaptation. I do believe that you can begin with a basic idea…….but you have to elaborate on it and transform it with your thought….as Picasso advise

An ancient connection to doll making and storytelling is ever present in my work. Experimenting with new techniques in drawing, painting, bead work, embroidery, problem solving structural and aesthetic  problems, and educating myself on historical and cultural heritages, contributes to the continual growth and change in my figures.
See more about Christine's workshops on:
Rainbow Chaos and Whimsical Birds