My handpainted glass jar doll and cat inspired by ‘A Cat in Paris’
I don’t normally try to explain why I enjoy certain hobbies. My most recent passion, sewing, turns one year old in one month, and while puttering in my little studio today, I contemplated what fascinated me most about it.
Sewing is very much like my first love, writing. Just like crafting a story, you have a start and an end. The journey of piecing together characters is very much like making a project, stitching together pieces of fabric and sewing on accoutrements so it comes together. The exercise of using one’s hands, whether it’s scribbling words on a blank page or threading the eye of a needle and then jabbing it into fabric to make even lines of stitching, makes the mind generate ideas. What is her name? Why does she wear a daisy on her head? And what is she doing in a ballgown in the daytime? Sometimes, we work with guidelines — instructions on how to make a doll from a book. But most often, I like to improvise — in the case of my doll, Madame Louise (named after Louise Brooks, the silent film star who wore her hair in a bob), I was supposed to give her fleece for hair, but painted it on instead. I used an empty coffee jar to balance her in it, and then I realized that by keeping her in it, I could make her look taller, and covered the base with a long ballgown made of two layers of fusible fabric.
When I put her next to the vintage street sign from France, I remembered the film, A Cat in Paris, and thought Madame Louise to be a bit of an eccentric all dolled up in the middle of the morning. Then I asked myself: What does one do when she finds a fabulous gown in a dusty trunk in her attic? She would wear it of course to walk her black cat, Timi, leading her with an invisible leash.