Submitted by: Charlene Woeckener Unit: Dollmaking - Storytelling - Sculpture Lesson Plan: Sculpy dolls Grade level: Middle school through high school (with parent help for sewing in middle school)
Tips from Charlene: Remember to tell your students " Jump and a net shall appear". Never be afraid to try something new. "Getting started is the most difficult part of anything new. The greatest obstacle is the fear of failure. Once you are able to take that risk and begin you have already begun to succeed."
I have always loved making dolls. Over the years I have made them out of many different kinds of materials. Now that I have found Polymer Clay I'm really hooked. I also have a great love of working with kids with disabilities. I think art is wonderful for those kids.
This fairy head by Charlene Woeckener is just being made. This is only the beginning.
The little girl still needs some clothes and a little make up fixing. A doll wig was attached to the head made of Sculpey. One way to add hair to your dolls is to use Mohair Yarn. You can see how to create your own doll wigs with Mohair in the book, The Complete Book of Dollmaking.
The Santa by Charlene Woeckener won a blue ribbon in competition at the Discover show in DC. From Judy: Isn't it grand that ideas can not be copyrighted? Otherwise we wouldn't have all of these wonderful Santa dolls to admire for so many different doll makers.
To integrate this lesson into language arts, students can create dolls from books about fantasy, fairies, gremlins, or other small creatures.
Create just a head out of Sculpey clay. You can have them create characters from a theme (Harry Potter, for example), a holiday, or something that follows a book students might be reading in their language arts classes. Emphasize that the heads should have ears and eyebrows in addition to the eyes, nose, and mouth. At this point, the head will be bald. A wooden dowel rod at least ½" or 1 cm in width should be stuck up into the base of the head. The dowel rod should be long enough to also go into whatever body your create by at least 4" (10 cm). The head is then allowed to dry.
When dry, students can begin painting the head. Acrylic Paint would probably be the best paint to use. Students will mix their own colors, including skin tone of their choosing. After the paint is dry (Coating it with Crystal Clear Acrylic Spray Paint is optional) students can then add the hair. They can use doll hair wigs (listed in the materials list) and glue them on, or if budget doesn't allow, glue colored yard to the head.
Once the head is finished there are several options to follow with the body. If you have plenty of time and money, you can create the entire body from Sculpey clay and then sew on the cloths from fabric. If not, the shoulders could be made deep enough to fit the dowel rod from the head. The head should be able to move freely on the body when moving the head on the dowel rod. The clothes then could be sewn on to drape down. Legs could be optional and these could even be used as puppets. If used as a puppet, the hand would go up through an opening in the cloth at the bottom and then the dowel rod could be grasped. The head would also be able to turn by moving the dowel rod. If it is not desired to have the head move freely, glue could be applied to the dowel rod when placing in the head and base. It is important to leave the dowel rod in until the Sculpey is fully dried as some shrinkage can be expected.
If you want to add more details to your dolls and have more time, follow the tutorials found on Marika's Dolls website.
Anatomy of a Doll: The Fabric Sculptor's Handbook - More than just a dollmaking book, Anatomy of a Doll provides a fascinating overview of the creative process that has gone into dollmaking for centuries. With nearly 300 excellent photographs of her own dolls and those of many other accomplished artists, noted doll expert Susanna Oroyan offers instructions and ideas for a tremendous variety of cloth dolls.
Dollmaking With Papier Mache and Paper Clay - Make beautiful and unique dolls without buying expensive equipment and materials. Papier mache and Paper Clay are inexpensive, versatile, and air dry in just a few days. Sculpting is easy - just roll out the clay and apply it to an armature, let it dry, and paint.
Mary Ann Reed loves working with children: I have on my computer desk a sweet picture of a nameless little girl who is holding up on a dowel stick a newly sculpted head. The eyes are big bulging blue orbs and the ears stick out with the light passing through them like lighted wall sconces! I enjoy helping children such as this one discover the joy of sculpting and, in turn, they enjoy my enjoyment of them.
Mary Ann sees the connection to literature: The art teacher at the high school where I used to teach, used the polymer clay as the medium of choice to cement the bond between art and literature. She provided each of the students with a folded piece of heavy card stock and a pack of clay. She taught them some basic techniques and then turned them loose to illustrate the book they had chosen to read for the literature project. When finished, the English and Art teachers displayed the projects on a tiered, round table . Each folder provided the framework (wedge shaped ) for the separate sculptures. They were stunning. Invitations were sent out for viewers and that ultimately led to many more new sculptors.
Santas by Mary Ann - These are not your ordinary Santas - they are treasures and they have stories to tell. Think of the lessons you can do. You will want one of your own. Mary Ann accepts commissions. Do you have a favorite son - daughter or grandchild to sit on Santa's lap. You will have you treasured memory for ever.