Friday, January 22, 2010

Polymer Clay Kokeshi Doll

My good friend, Christy, gave me a Kimmidoll as part of my Christmas present. I thought it was SO cute. I went to the company website and found that these dolls are based on the traditional Japanese Kokeshi dolls, which are little wooden dolls made very simply with no limbs and an over sized head. They're painted and are considered a great expression of the Japanese artistic aesthetic: beauty in simplicity. Virtually all reliable sources state that "Kokeshi" means something like "little seed" and that they were often made by farmers and given to children to play with. One source says that they represent the old time Japanese practice of infanticide... The dolls were made, without limbs, as almost substitutes or representations of the murdered babies. I spent hours reading online one night, sifted through several posts on various forums (my husband said, "WHAT are you reading?!"), and could find only ONE source they were all quoting that presented this theory. I think the shock value of it made it popular over all of the boards, more than that this is actually what these dolls were for. I tend to believe that they were probably toys, so I'm going to start making them because they're ridiculously cute!

I made this tiny doll (it's 1 3/8" tall) out of white polymer clay and baked it. I sanded with 220, but that was it, to make the surface smoother. The rougher feel of it (as in, not sanded beyond 220) makes it more believable as wood. I then doodled my design onto the doll, gave the entire thing a (Caucasian) flesh colored wash. First was the hair, then I did the face, then the clothes, and finished up with the flower accents. I baked the doll again, once it was painted, for about 15-20 minutes to set the paint.

I do everything at my craft desk, which is all set up with my scrapbooking stuff, and I discovered part way through painting my second doll (which I'm not showing because it's u-u-guh-ly!) that hitting the paint with a heat gun really helps it to dry faster! Bueno!

I LOVE this thing! I can't wait to make more! I'll probably post a little tutorial in the future on how to make the doll itself, but it's all one piece of clay, for the greatest amount of strength possible.

1 comment:

  1. The dolls here are so cute. I think, they look more like a group of KOKESHI Dancers.