Choice stress

By January 7, 2023 5 Comments

I just finished this new piece Bedtime Stories. I very am happy with the final result but the process was a struggle.
For the base I used an old drawer that I had already for maybe 20 year.

First decision was the color of the drawer. I always have problems choosing colors. The original color was dark chocolate brown so I started with sanding it. I did not sand all color off. Then I started with adding a terracotta acrylic. That came out too bright red, so I sponged some yellow ochre over it. I had no idea what I was looking for. On top of that I added a dark grey to tone everything down and that came out quite nice….. for the moment.
In the meantime I was thinking about what to use this for. The layout of the boxes was fixed: three small boxes on the left and this long box on the right. The big center one was for whatever doll I was going to make.
My first idea was to fill every box with a fish. But maybe a bit too fishy…
That took me a few days and then I came up with several animals. I like to sculpt animals. I made a rough sketch and the decision to make a cat, a pig, a bunny, a fish and a duck was quite easy.
I sculpted all animals and all doll parts in Creative Paperclay. The duck and the doll head are a whole.
Still didn’t know if the color for the drawer was alright and what to use for the costume of the doll so I kept the painting with water color paint quite neutral. Although the color and pattern of the socks and the fish took me a while.
At that point I found out that the backdrop color worked really nicely. Since my painting is quite pale, the darker backdrop made everything stand out very good.
But then: the torso. The first one was too long, the second one too wide and the third one was finally okay.
I put the doll together and then I had ten(!) piles with possible costuming fabrics.
That took me days again to bring that back to two. But then, because of the wide trousers I had no fabric left for the sleeves so I had a new decision to make there: contrast or tone in tone? I also took out a lot of embellishments but I only used beads on the little bows on the sleeves.
And to decide on the hair. I had six possibilities for that. One moment I liked one, the other moment I was convinced about an other one. The one I picked is fringed cotton strips.
And don’t mention the collar…… I like this one very much (thank you Margo!) but the structure is a bit too close to the hair.

But I made it. Dollmaking is fun!
I always say: if you have nothing worse to worry about than the details of your doll then you have a good life.



Marlaine Verhelst

Author Marlaine Verhelst

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Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • SMunroe unroe says:

    I love this doll. BUt the matter of fact is, I love all your dolls. After reading your blog, I love it even more and I so appreciate the process of how you go about making your selections. Thanks for sharing. Susan

    • Marlaine Verhelst says:

      Hi Susan,
      Thank you very much for your comment. I really appreciate that. It is weird that after almost 50 years doll making still is a struggle. But I guess that is the reason to go on with it. Warm regards, Marlaine

  • Roslind Sherman says:

    Your drawer is fabulous…I love hearing the process of creating items …Your sweet doll will be so cozy sitting on the shelves listening to bedtime stories. He’s definately has alot of imaginative energy in his adorable being … You breathed the wonder lust into his little dolly soul. Thank you for sharing… Dolly Hugs …Roslind

    • Marlaine Verhelst says:

      Hi Roslind, thank you so much for your kind words. I really appreciate. Despite all doubts it was fun to create. Warm regards, Marlaine

  • It’s comforting to read that you are challenged at times with decisions. I audition so many choices, body sizes, colors and thought it was just me dithering on a final direction. I love your color selections and the drawer is an elegant foundation to work from! Thanks for taking me with you on your journey through to the beautiful result!

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