Meet my latest doll, Aengus. He was a UFO - Un-Finished Object - but not any longer!
There are two stories about this Aengus. One real and one make-believe. Of course there's a make-believe story! That is what it's all about, isn't it?
In this reality, Aengus began about seven years ago (I can't believe that - 7???). The very first time I took a face-to-face doll class, one of them was from Jill Hamilton (the other was from Sally Lampi, but that's a story for another day). We made paperclay heads in Jill's class.
This photo was taken at the end of the day with everyone holding their head mounted on a stick! (I am front row, left and Jill is front row, right). Jill made some amazing part human/part animal figures and she was a great teacher. Unfortunately, her web site has been "disabled" so I cannot point you to a place to see them just now. Maybe later.
But, back to Aengus. I painted his head and mounted it on a body shortly after coming home from the class. I added arms and legs a bit later. Oh, I had wonderful ideas about what I wanted this doll to be!!
But first, I needed to learn to make a hat. Then, I needed to make boots. Those called for more classes and books. At one point I wanted an authentic early European look, so lots of research went into that idea. Then I fell in love with The Lord of The Rings (LOTR) movies, and he must be a character from that tale. How can I add hair? What about a cape? Of course, real life got in the way as well. Things like retiring and moving half way cross the country! Yes, all that time, this poor guy sat on the shelf. Patiently waiting his day in the sun - or something like that.
Last month, my doll club's project was to bring an unfinished doll and work on finishing it. So, his time has finally come. I think I might have the experience now to give him a proper costume. I dusted him off, and gathered fabrics and tools. At club meeting, I made his hat! Woohoo! Of course, once I got started, it was hard to stop! Over the next two weeks I spent every available minute working - and planning when I couldn't be in the workroom. When I next surfaced for air, there he was! Obviously on some kind of quest. But who is he?
Part of the fun of making dolls is researching and choosing a name. I wanted something Celtic. When I read the story of Aengus from Irish mythology, it seemed to be just right. The part I like is about Aengus falling in love with a girl (in his dream in some versions) but not knowing who she is. His family searched all over for her (at least three years, depending on the version again) until she was found at the lake of the Dragon's Mouth. There is more to the tale - magic and enchantment - so you may want to follow the link above. It has a happy ending!
I think this doll looks as if he is traveling afar, trying to find a lost lover. Although that doesn't quite fit into the myth, I think it's close enough!
I have made other heads from paperclay, but I guess there will always be something special about this first one. The others have not had that amazing nose, for one thing!
Now to clear away the debris from this creating frenzy and choose my next project. Quilt blocks, I think.