Thursday 24 August 2023

2023 Topic 9 : Lynne Perrella Designer Focus {by Jenny Marples}

Hi everyone Jenny Marples here with you today. We have been treated to some amazing topics here on the PaperArtsy blog this summer - Art Dolls, a Master Wheel and now the gorgeous designs of Lynne Perrella - so I got to thinking about combining all three (with a touch of transparency to add to the mix)!!

My idea was to create an Art Doll incorporating parts of Lynne Perrella's collage images for details such as the face. It also felt like the perfect opportunity to experiment with combining Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic Paints and a fabric medium in order to colour the fabric and lace needed to dress her.

This process took many twists and turns and eventually turned out differently from the image I originally had in my head but I learned a lot and love how she eventually turned out.

The ingredients for this doll include two stamp sets, LPC058 being the more important of the two since it contains the perfect face, lots of lace and ribbon details and of course the fan. The little butterflies come from an older stamp set, LPC045 and by now you will recognise the three essential Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic paint colours used to form the Master Wheel, Butter, Candy Floss and Aqua Duck Egg.

I've also shown the fabric medium I used, though there are many companies which make them. It's always important to follow the manufacturer's instructions and they often have helpful tutorials out there to help you get the best results.

Start with one of those cheap poseable wooden mannequins as your base and work out roughly how you want to it to stand in the end - I switched the head around so the ridge was at the front to provide more dimension for features like the nose. You can give your doll a quick coat of paint (in this case I used Vintage Lace) or leave it unpainted if you prefer but I would suggest ensuring the joints still move when you are finished.

Gluing on strips of lace is a great way to start the clothing process, again allowing the joints to move freely when you are done.

Use a permanent ink pad to stamp the face onto a single ply of tissue, tearing around the parts you want to use. I find it helpful to test out where I want to put images before adding gel medium to then fix them in place.

Be gentle with your tissue when adding it to the mannequin - I find a soft brush is a great for easing the stamped image into place before allowing it time to dry. The good thing I found about having painted the doll is that I could go back in and paint over bits I wasn't so happy with rather than trying to tear them away.

The great thing about Lynne Perrella's designs is that she includes lots of intricate detail that can be used in pieces to continue covering the rest of the head. Overlap parts and use a permanent ink pen to fill in any gaps.

It was at this point I chose to tilt her head back and to one side to work with her expression. You could also add a little colour to the face at this point.

You'll see a stiff lace ruffle has been added to the waist as a support for the next layers and if the thought of lots of stitching being involved seems a little daunting fear not! A simple running stitch is all that is required to pull the top of the lace together around the waist forming the gathers.

Now for some colour; re-creating the Master Wheel is the perfect way to help you decide which of the delicious 'ice-cream' colours you want to use for your Art Doll. I had originally intended to go with four, starting with Butter, but the orange-pink and lilac colours (segments 3 and 7) really drew me in. I realised I could make further colour choices as the project progressed.

After mixing your paint add in the fabric medium according to the manufacturer's instructions, ensuring you mix the two together completely. I found using equal parts of paint to medium worked best for me.

Now you'll need to add the paint mixture to your fabrics and lace trims. I find it helps to get these wet before applying the paint with a brush so the colour can be spread more evenly. Allow the paint to air dry thoroughly before using an iron to flatten out the fabric and trims; this will also help to increase the flexibility of the fabric.

Cheap, untreated cotton calico fabric and muslin are a great place to start when experimenting with this process, though I've found you can use pretty much any sort of natural or man-made fibres when working with paint. I also realised the thicker calico had become stiffer after painting so abandoned my original idea of having to use hoops to support the layers of the dress skirt.

You can also take the opportunity to add fabric medium to each of the colours created when making up the paint swatches for the Master Wheel, applying them to more fabric and lace for future use.

Now it's time to put that fabric and lace to good use.

Using that simple running stitch create tubes of fabric from the painted semi-transparent muslin, slotting them over the arms and legs before gathering together at both ends. Cover raw edges by gluing lace over the top.

To create translucent underlayers to the skirt I used Unryu Tissue, gathered along the top before being glued to some seam binding so it could be tied around the doll's waist. You could also use tissue paper for a similar look, shaping the layers at either end if you want the legs to remain visible.

Continue to add layers around the doll's waist to create the look of petticoats - I chose to use some tulle lace for this purpose. Now cut a length of your painted fabric, use a running stitch to gather at one end and secure it in place over the top of the petticoats; you can use glue or use the needle and thread for this purpose confident that any 'messy bits' can be covered up with more fabric and lace. Wrap a strip of fabric around the body and then lay two strips of fabric over the shoulders, gluing in place around the waist to form the top of the dress.

Add another shorter piece of gathered fabric around the waist, this time placing it over the top of that central lace ruffle to give it added support. Leave as much or little of the petticoats and legs revealed as you choose and glue lace trims around the edges to cover up the running stitches and raw edges of the fabric.

Every well dressed lady needs a hat! Have a go at making one by stitching together a smaller circle of fabric onto a small tube of fabric. Fill with cotton wool before gluing onto a larger circle of fabric and your hat is ready to be trimmed.

Adding ribbon roses under the brim as well as on top of it helps to support the hat at it's 'jaunty angle', a tip taken from looking at photos of many well dressed celebrities.

With things progressing well it's time to add an extra pop of colour and some accessories to our Art Doll.

It was now decision time for choosing which of the colours from the Master Wheel would work best, and to be honest any of them would! I went with the 'vintage vibe' of colour 2, an orange-yellow colour already applied to some calico, lace and seam binding.

I did try stamping the fan and some butterflies onto the painted fabric but the intricate details just weren't defined enough for me so I painted some card and stamped on that for better results. This turned out to be good move because it meant I could add folds to the fan to make it more realistic - it's also worth stamping the fan image on the reverse side too because it can be seen on both sides when in place. Stick the seam binding ribbons onto your mannequin's hand before adding the folded fan on top and then add butterflies to the dress and hat.

I had intended to use the bag included in stamp set LPC058 but it was too big so I created a smaller one with the left over fabric and lace, stamping one of the bows from the collar of the original lady as a final embellishment.

To finish it's worth making the effort to paint shoes on the feet and the supporting base.

So what starts as a cheap wooden mannequin becomes your own stylish Art Doll!

Of course there are always opportunities to add even more embellishments at a later date.

It's worth remembering that people will always be curious to see the back so maybe include a little surprise there too!

And by remembering to include some translucent layers you don't lose sight of the work that's gone into creating what's underneath the dress.

Hopefully this has given you some ideas for transforming your own Art Dolls and experimenting with fabric medium and your favourite Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic paints. Have fun!



Words and Pictures said...

Outstanding, Jenny - even by your impeccable standards - right down to the lacy undergarments provided for support!! Magnificent elevation of a Lynne Perrella woman to three dimensions.
Alison x

pearshapedcrafting said...

She's fabulous Jenny! Love those pink bloomers - remind me of a great aunt of mine! Love the accessories for her beautiful outfit too! Chrisx