What to wear? That is the question asked and answered by this paper doll (made by my niece Zoe Paschkis, many years ago.)
Recently I came across an article about Paper Dolls by Francine Kirsch that I had clipped from the magazine Folk Art in 2007. She talked in the article about some paper dolls that were made professionally to show certain styles of clothes, and she also showed these lovely handmade ones.I like the way that every outfit has to confirm to the posture of the model.I like the materials used to make the dresses:As in almost everything, sometimes what is revealed is not what is intended to be revealed. In this paper doll family from 1907 the creator reveals racism: the black doll is made to be somewhere between a child and an adult in size.Some paper outfits are nearly abstract, like these from the blog Accidental Mysteries. Here is a mermaid by Deborah Mersky.Lately I have been making big paper dolls. Here I am with a new friend, made with no tape, glue or staples. One of my goals is to use all of the paper in different parts of the doll. Here are the pieces of a doll called Paper Howdy, cut from one sheet of paper.
Here is what remained from that 12″ x 18″ sheet of paper.
And here is the assembled Paper Howdy.I hope this post will inspire you to make some paper dolls of your own.
Stripes are simple and satisfying. They speak for themselves, so there are very few words in this post.
Russian machine woven stripes from the 19th century:
Hudson Bay stripes:Characters in my paintings often wear striped clothing:
They are in good company.
It is as satisfying to wear stripes in life as in art.
Babe Ruth (photo by Nickolas Muray):
Jean Paul Gaultier:
and finally a prisoner in the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women, St. Gabriel photographed by Deborah Luster in 1988:
I wish I knew her name.
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Tagged Babe Ruth, Deborah Lester, guatemalan fabric, Henri Matisse, Henri Rousseau, Hudson Bay Blanket, indigo, Julie Paschkis, Kuniyaki Sumo Wrestler, Mary Cassatt, Nickolas Muray, Pablo Picasso striped shirt, russian fabric, stripes, uzbek fabric
In 2001 I illustrated the book Head, Body, Legs by Won-ldy Paye and Meg Lippert. Won-ldy is a Dan storyteller from Liberia and Meg is a storyteller from the United States – together they turned a Dan origin myth that was told orally into a written tale. My first attempts to illustrate it were not African at all, as I am not African. But when I saw this book of Asafo flags I saw a way in.
Asofo flags were made by the Fante people of Ghana. They began as a Fante response to European flags, and became a unique and vibrant form of art.
I could continue this cross pollination.
Here are some of the illustrations from Head, Body, Legs. I was influenced by the colors and shapes of the flags, but the illustrations were painted, not sewn.
About 6 years ago I began sewing some appliqués. I wasn’t trying to make them look like Asafo flags, but some of the shapes were similar. This illustrates a tree in Norwegian legends named Yggdrasil.
I sewed the mermaid and octopus for curtains.
A friend saw my appliqués and sent me this postcard of an appliqué by M. Quisuit of the Nunavut people in Baker Lake, NWT.
What I take from the connections between these images is that the process strongly influences the form, and that as people we are all stitched together.
Here is an Asafo flag of Funtum Yempa: a powerful and dangerous bush spirit. “A good spirit nourishes her young.”
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Tagged African applique, applique, Asafo flags, Fante, global art, Head Body Legs, Julie Paschkis, Margaret Lippert, nunavuk, stitching, Won-ldy Paye, Yggrdrasil
About 10 years ago I spilled oil on my favorite pants. I embroidered flowers on them to cover up the stain and a new obsession was born. For a while I stitched everything that I could get my hands on, mainly clothing. This shirt was my most elaborate effort.
But gradually new obsessions took over (learning Spanish, baking bread, quilting) and my needle mostly lay still.
In December I saw an amazing show of embroidery at the Bellevue Art Museum.
The artist is Anna Torma. She was born in Hungary, but now lives in an old farm house in Canada. Here is a link to her website, and here is a video interview.
She uses time consuming and careful stitching to create wild, loose and free images.
Her work tells stories and the more closely you look the more you will see.She embroiders on huge pieces of fabric, but the scale of the embroidery is intimate. The backs and the fronts are beautiful in different ways.
Since seeing the show I have picked up my needle again. I also hope to pick up some of her freedom and willingness to experiment.
Recently a friend gave me a book from an exhibition that Louise Bourgeois had in Vienna in 2005 when she was 94 years old. I had known of her sculpture, but much of the work in this book was new to me. In many of these pieces she worked with fabric and with words.
Here are selections from a book she made out of cloth called Ode A la Bièvre.
This is what she calls a fabric drawing.
Here are pages from another cloth book Ode a la Oubli, which she made in 2004. Oubli means oblivion.
Here are drawings made of lines that look like thread.
It is inspiring that she still made art in her 90′s. Great art that defies categorization! She died in 2010. She said: “My luck was that I became famous so late that fame could not destroy me.”
Here is a portrait of Louise Bourgeois from 1996.