Getting on with it

Hat dummy, completed:

The flatness of the facial contours in stark white weren’t really doing it for me, so I attacked it with a ballpoint pen. The crosshatching kind of works, in an Edward Gorey illustration sort of way.

I feel like I’ve been swimming upstream lately.

The biggest barrier to my doing anything creative is the fact that I listen too much to what other people think. I come from a family of doctors and scientists, so naturally relatives and acquaintances assume I am going to get my M.D. or Ph.D. like a “normal” person with my educational background. I’m used to keeping my head down at work and in family life and answering vaguely whenever someone asks if I want to go to grad/med school: “Oh, I’m just working until I figure out if I want to go to grad school or not.” It was either that, or answer truthfully and watch the other person not “get it.”

Going back to school to study fashion design brought a lot of that back up. And at some point two weeks ago, I let all the guilt and negativity and wrong assumptions of the past get the best of me. Not good.

So with the help of friends and coworkers and criminal amounts of chocolate, I swam through that river of awfulness and emerged feeling better, but also more aware of my vulnerability.

Yesterday I remembered this quote, which I’ve been meaning to post on my studio wall:

If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.

–Vincent Van Gogh

I’ve been listening to the voice too much. I’ve resolved to just start making things, the way I used to do, before I became so paralyzed by fear of failure and non-acceptance.


I’ve been modifying a hat dummy over the past few weeks. I got tired of the stubby faceless ones I’d been using for years, plus the styrofoam gets beat up pretty easily and shows every little mark.  I wanted something with a little more personality and durability, and the fiberglass “realistic” hat dummies are kind of creepy, so…

Enter papier mache. This was kind of fun because I haven’t played with papier mache in about 15 years.

I hacked the head apart from the base, and inserted dowels and an empty cardboard tube to extend the neck.

Padding out the neck…

First layer down. No face yet.

Several layers later, I realized that I’ve never tried to sculpt a realistic face before. And this one was starting to look like an alien. Oh crap.

So I googled for sculpting tutorials and found some that made me go “ohhhhhhhhh” and then I took a paring knife to the face (therapeutic!) and sort of improved it, but it still looks kind of flat. This is compounded by the fact that I have a flat Asian face and I am trying to sculpt one with Caucasian contours.  So looking in mirrors doesn’t really help.  Aaaugh.

Still pretty decent for my first time out, so I’m going to put a final layer on and paint it matte white, and then use it to take photos of hats.

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