Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Valley Of The Dolls - My First Challenge Blog Entry

A challenge blog is what it says really - a blog that sets challenges at regular intervals, usually with a prize for the winner. There are loads to choose from on every subject imaginable, so go explore!

I was plunged into the world of challenge blogs this year when Artist Trading Post, (one of my fave shops), sponsored Alter It Monthly, (an altered art challenge blog), in June.

The theme at Alter It Monthly in July was "Valley of the Dolls".  The idea was to alter a doll/doll's head or feature dolls in your art somehow. Initially I was stumped but then I had a couple of ideas. I only managed to complete one in time to enter it, the other I shall complete at a later date.
My completed  Canvas - "Valley Of The Dolls"
My entry was a canvas depicting my vision of what the "Valley of the Dolls" might look like. Nature distorted and slightly creepy. A twisted, gnarly, copper tree from which hang the heads of dolls growing upon its branches, its leaves bearing ominous warning messages to any passer by, broken miniature dolls with butterfly wings, and a row of paper dolls, like flowers growing beneath the tree.

The Raw Materials ( didn't use everything in the end)
For the sky I used Tim Holtz Colour Wash in Sailboat Blue and mixed it with Perfect Pearls in Forever Blue. I used wet wipes to blend it until I got a colour I like and then sprayed Perfect Pearl Mist in Turquoise over the top.
For the Sun I  used Tim Holtz Colour Wash in Sunset Orange and Perfect Pearl Mist in Sunflower Sparkle and mixed them together and blotted until I was happy with the look.
For the grass I used Tim Holtz Colour Wash in Lettuce and Meadow and blended with wet wipes. Then sprayed Perfect Pearl Mist in Sunflower Sparkle over the top.

Tip for beginners, cover the rest of the canvas while you spray, otherwise you end up with droplets of colour all over your canvas and not just in the areas you intended.
Sky, Sun, Clouds and Grass

For the clouds I used the circles stamp from Tim Holtz's Psychedelic Grunge plate and Ranger Dabber paint in Pearl. I used different parts of the stamp and grouped it together to make my stylized clouds.
To add more detail to the grass I used the "squiggly" stamp from Tim Holtz's Rockstar plate and Pine Needles Distress Ink, and stamped it along the bottom of the canvas.
Tip: stamps come out less defined on canvas unless you use paint.
Twisted Metal
The tree I made from twisting together several strands of  copper wire to make branches. The branches were then twisted together to form the actual tree,with the ends of the branches untwisted to form twigs.
I did this using my bare hands as pliers removed some of the copper from the wire and I really wanted the copper effect intact.
Combining to build the tree
However, I would recommend using gloves as I got lots of metal splinters embedded in my hands and plenty of scratches.
Plus do it in stages, as I spent a whole day continuously twisting metal wire together and my hands totally cramped up and wouldn't uncurl. Never let it be said I don't suffer for my art lol!

Doll Heads Before Hair
 The doll heads were large wooden beads that I altered. I painted them all over with Ranger's Pearl Dabber paint. Then using the Pitch Black Dabber paint and Cranberry Dabber paint I painted on little faces. I used embroidery thread for the hair. I used Tiger Tail jewellery wire, (not actually made from the tails of tigers in case you were wondering), to hang the heads on the tree.

Creepy Message Leaves
I used Tim Holtz Adage Tickets and Journaling Tickets and Tim Holtz Lost And Found Salvage Stickers, to create my creepy leaves. I cut them to look like leaves and inked them with Shabby Shutters Distress Ink.
Doll Picture
I also used an image of a doll from a sheet of Graphic 45 paper Playtimes Past Alphabet Games.

I cut out a chain of paper dolls. I then covered their bodies using lots of different pieces of Tim Holtz Tissue Paper Tapes. This was quite fiddly and time consuming but provided an interesting end result. I then inked them with Distress Inks to add colour.
Paperdolls Inked and Mounted
I cut out the word Paperdolls from the Graphic 45 sheet Playtimes Past Alphabet Games, inked it with Distress Ink and then glued it over the legs of the middle two dolls.
I inked the dolls' faces and drew on eyes nose and mouth, then used some of the left over embroidery thread for hair.

Frozen Charlotte Butterfly Dolls
The butterfly dolls were made using Tim Holtz Frozen Charlotte Dolls and The Tim Holtz Sizzix Movers and Shapers Mini Butterflies Die. The butterflies were cut from a sheet of Tim Holz Vintage Shabby Paper Stack. I used two sets of butterflies for each doll to add dimension and to emphasize how distorted nature is here. I covered the dolls in Perfect Pearls in Forever Blue and sprayed with Perfect Pearl Mist in Turquoise and Perfect Copper. I also sprayed some of these mists onto the butterfly wings.

Finally I added some funky button flowers to add to the distorted nature effect.


  1. Hey Sarah, this is a fab entry to the challenge ... LOVE IT !

  2. Thanks Anneliese! :D Yay my art guru LOVES my work!!! :D:D