Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Design Idea: Whimsical Paper Figures


The strings from 2 Lipton teabags are her legs that come out of the cup and into her shoes

Going through Denise's art books last summer I loved looking through a book titled Fanciful Paper Projects by Sandra Evertson, published in 2005. This book is full of really fun ways to create pieces incorporating trims and vintage papers. I had no idea paper figures were so popular with artists! Artists trade them and sell them on sites like etsy, in not only copy format but digital format as well.  In this book, my favorite figure has arms and legs made out playing cards. I wanted to try creating my own similar design and remembered a unique deck of cards I had with different images on each card.  It was fun trying out bits and pieces to make different hats, cuffs, and shoes ( I decided on images of dominoes) It took me awhile to figure out how to attach the parts that I wanted to be able to pose, and then glue down all the rest. 

This one paper figure led to a two week paper doll addiction. It was addicting trying out different papers, ribbons and whatnots.  I would find a face I liked, but it wouldn't fit any of the bodies I was working on, so I would have to create a whole new body.  I liked folding sheets of old music paper accordion style and using them at the neck or as a skirt. I tried to find different images to use as legs and arms,  a vintage ruler is the set of legs on this figure on the right.  I made a simple torso silhouette as my body pattern and used it with each figure in different papers. They turned out to be quite tall measuring anywhere from 5" to 9", they kept growing as I kept adding things to them. Making these did remind me of traditional paper dolls, but with an eclectic twist.

I like using profile faces
I made some figure's arms and knees move and other's wrists, necks and ankles move. At the craft stores they have all kinds of great fasteners in all shapes and sizes, I prefer the simple, small, tarnished metal ones.  During my two week addiction I managed to create 14 figures. To display them in our booth I tied some onto vintage silverware - old serving spoons and knives with ornate handles, this way they could stick into an arrangement or vase. I think these would look great framed, tied onto a gift, placed in an arrangement, hanging in a birdcage and more. They're fun to try and the materials are basically things everyone has in their craft room - papers, ribbons, buttons, old postcards, brads, metal embellishments, really just about anything will work and look great! My girls saw me working on these and sat down one Saturday and made their own figures-very sweet! -Ashley

Her head is the key that turns to reveal
what she keeps close to her heart...
.. her songbird...
Her arms are images of antique spoons and
her skirt is an actual postcard from 1910


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