Orphea: Antlers & Other Progress
Since my last post, I’ve made a little bit of progress on Orphea’s to-do list.
The For My Doll group order (GO) I joined on DoA has been placed and paid for, so now I get to settle into the waiting (which is a prominent aspect of the BJD hobby.) Once the two wigs arrive, I’ll be modifying one into a milkmaid braid updo or something similar. I joined another GO, this one for Makoeyes, and ordered Orphea’s silver winter eyes. I don’t know when it’ll be placed, as we’re waiting for enough orders to qualify for free shipping, but I don’t think it’ll take more than a month for that to happen. And then, yes, more waiting. I’ve picked out her other seasonal eyes from Mako, but I want to see how I like the quality and size of this first pair before I order anything else.
I found an artist on DoA whose work I really like, and is (comparatively) affordable- getting Orphea’s faceup and body blushing will cost me aout the same/a little less than a lot of popular artists charge for a faceup alone. I won’t be commissioning her for a bit, though- I need to save, of course, and I also want her wigs in so I can send one with her so her eyebrows and the blushing on her fawn parts can be as similar in color as possible.
I started working on a pair of antlers for her, and they’re not the Worst Ever (especially as a first try) but I’m not particularly impressed with them, either. I made a quick armature for them out of wire (which as you can see aren’t very symmetrical) and then covered them with white Sculpey clay. I was thinking that they would air dry a bit, and then I could smooth out the rough spots some before baking. Which, if you’ve ever worked with Sculpey, is not how it works. The next day they were tacky to the touch instead of feeling dryer, so I ended up baking them. As you can see, their lack of symmetry is even more noticeable, and they’re thoroughly lumpy from my method of just smooshing on blobs of clay instead of anything more… refined, I guess. I can’t decide if they’re too large or not- I think they won’t look quite so big once she has a wig, but who knows. They’re not unsalvageable, but they’ll require a rather lot of sanding. And then figuring out how to cast them so I can have four pairs.
In my frustration I went searching on etsy for some bjd sized antlers I could just buy, but I didn’t find anything that would really work. I did find a 3D printed antler bracelet, though, and decided to order one. The plan is to cut it in half where the burrs meet and then use hot water to reshape them from the bracelet-necessitated curve to something more natural looking. If that works, I’ll just get a few more bracelets; if not, I guess I’ll get sanding and try to make this pair work (or try to learn from this pair while making a new set.)I’ve decided the first piece of clothing I’m going to make is her cloak & mantle. It’ll be two pieces- a full circle mantle, clasped at the right shoulder, and a short hooded cloak. The mantle will be full length, the cloak probably hip length. As for the fabric, I’m not quite sure yet. I like the idea of moss, but the moss ribbon/sheets that you can buy at craft stores don’t really look like they’d drape well. I may do some very thin wool felt, and then needlefelt some “moss” roving or bits of moss from the craft sheets. The bottom hem of the mantle will be decorated with small mushrooms, so that when it’s on, or laid flat, it forms a fairy ring. I will likely do the cloak to match, though the hood will require some finagling so it can be worn with her antlers. I also like the idea of a feathered short cloak, but I might save that for one of the other nature fairies.
Finally, I’ve made a plan for her display, though I have no intention of starting it until she’s painted and clothed. I saw this thread on DoA and in addition to a bunch of other cool projects, the OP set her sights on making a vardo for one of her dolls. (A note: the BJD community has all sorts of problematic issues, and the use of the slur “g***y” is one of them. I’ve considered bringing it to the attention of the mods but it’s a touchy forum and I don’t want to get banned. Anyway- the OP describes her project as a “g***y” vardo and the slur is slung around a rather lot.) Racist stereotypes aside, I love the idea of a wagon or vardo for my nature fairies. (I’m unsure how comfortable I am using the term vardo for what I want to make- on the one hand, it refers specifically to the horse-drawn wagons used by the Romani, and neither I nor Orphea are Romani. On the other, it’s a very specific concept and style of wagon which unlike, say, the covered wagons used by American settlers, was intended as a permanent traveling residence. I’m not sure if it’s racist and/or appropriative to use the term, and I’m struggling to come up with an alternative that doesn’t need an explanation every time.) I particularly like the rounded-style vardo, which seems to have less ornamentation than the standard squared versions I’ve been able to find. Anyhow, my idea is to make a broken-down vardo that’s become a permanent camp, with one or more tents developing organically around it. (I have an idea for an owl-themed RLF Ante who would potentially have a nest built on top of the vardo.)
At the moment, though, this remains merely an idea. And will for the forseeable future, because aside from wanting to finish dolls I already own, and the cost of building a display at that scale, there’s also the issue of where the fuck to put it. I have displays planned for my little puki dolls (one in the very early stages of creation, actually) but those will be wall mounted, so space for them is slightly less of a pressing issue.
So! Not a whole lot of concrete progress, but I’ve managed to specify my rather nebulous plans. Hopefully my next update will have significantly more actual progress (and maybe be a bit less wordy, because this one’s clocked a solid 1k+ words. Whoops.)