Friday, August 17, 2012

Le Rouge et Le Noir

As a side benefit of making the threaded hairstyle wig featured last week, I developed a new technique for attaching locks to the wig cap which enabled me to create this Bantu knots style.

Grace had been languishing in a corner for months so she jumped at the chance to model it.

I've been using Grace as a fit model for new lingerie designs.  She just hadn't gotten any camera time.  This bra and panty set started as a variation on the hip hugger briefs I made last year:

The rear view is more daring than the original pattern:

While I was on the red and black theme, I remembered another lady who has been languishing for over a year:

Although I have purchased many doll-related items on eBay, I had never sold anything there so one of my 2011 New Year's Resolutions was to sell an item on eBay.  I chose a doll that I wasn't attached to -- Winter Splendor Avon Barbie. 

I always felt that the blue eyeshadow was a trick intended to make her eyes look blue and downplay the fact that she is a woman of color.  Indeed some of the sellers appeared not to be aware that she is a black doll or they were trying to help her pass for white.

In  Black Dolls:  A Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion (2008), Debbie Behan Garrett values the doll at $60 but some sellers wanted as much as $120 for her despite the fact that there were pages and pages of listings for this Avon lady.  After watching the ones that sold for a few weeks, I calculated that the actual market price was about $10.  The gown was worth that much to me so I stripped the doll and gave the gown to an Integrity Toys lady who carries it with more flair:

The Goth wig topped it off perfectly:

I still haven't sold anything on eBay.  I always seem to find a way to recycle cast offs within my own collection instead.

À Bientôt

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The 2012 Atlanta Quilt Festival

Recently a group of the doll artists whom I profiled here in May 2011 formed the Dazzling Dames Doll Club.  They were kind enough to invite me to join even though my interest is more in making doll videos than in making art dolls. 

one of Mattie's People by Mattie Eley

Most of these soft sculpture artists developed their fiber arts skills through years of quilt making.  Thus they regularly show their work at the Atlanta Quilt Festival, one of the many cultural events that enrich the city during the National Black Arts Festival. 

detail from "The Women" by Nina Moore

Cookie Patterson's beautiful bride doll is on permanent display at the South Fulton Arts Center where the quilt show was exhibited. 

Mattie's People were throwing fierce attitude as usual. 

Meanwhile Cassandra Harrison crafted a touching scene of a grandfather who has fallen asleep while reading to four adorable grand-kids.

The quilts were breathtakingly beautiful.  R.E.S.P.E.C.T. by Aisha Lumumba was one of my favorites. 

"R.E.S.P.E.C.T." by Aisha Lumumba

It is easy to see why Ambassador Andrew Young and President & Mrs. Barack Obama have purchased Lumumba's quilts for their collections!

O.V. Brantley not only advances the art of quilting through her own masterful work, she has also established the Clara Ford Foundation "to promote, preserve and celebrate the art of African American quilting and quilting in general" in honor of her grandmother. 

"Give Yourself Flowers Today" by O.V. Brantley

The Clara Ford Foundation presented a selection of red and white quilts that were greatly appreciated by the Delta Sigma Theta sorrors whose colors are red and white.

"A Bouquet in Red and White" by O.V. Brantley

On Sunday August 29th, the day the exhibit opened, I joined Cookie Patterson of the Dazzling Dames in the demonstration room at the South Fulton Arts Center.  Cookie was demonstrating how to make doll pins.  She had asked me to bring some videos so I set up a simple backdrop and demonstrated how to shoot doll videos with an iPod Touch.  "The Love Story" was the collaboration of four siblings:

Whether in two dimensional quilts, three dimensional dolls, or in time-based multimedia, it was refreshing and inspiring to see such positive representations of African American experience.

À Bientôt

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fit for a Queen

Rachel Bolaji is just coming from the hair salon.

Her neighbor admires the new style and calls her over for a chat.


"It must have taken forever!" she exclaims, admiring Rachel's threaded coils.


"Yes, Glen had two naps and the hairdresser pulled my hair so hard I'm getting a headache," Rachel admits.

"Still I think it will be worth it."

"She said it would help my hair grow," Rachel adds, turning to show the other profile.

When Debbie Garrett featured Taofik Okoya's Queens of Africa dolls on Black Doll Collecting last month, I fell in love with the threaded hairstyle one of the dolls wears.  Okoya says the doll's hairstyle was very popular in Nigeria in the 1970s and indeed, back in the 70s I had a classmate from Nigeria who would periodically show up at school with her hair threaded. 

It took a couple of tries and some tedious hours wrapping the hair with thread to make the wig but I think the end result is fit for a queen!

À Bientôt