Sunday, September 30, 2012

Three Wise men

Completed set of figures
I was approached, by Folksy at the end of the summer to design a bespoke item, as an exclusive Christmas product.
My desk during the initial design stage
I love decorating the house for Christmas and try to make sure all our objects have good stories behind them. For the last few years, we have collected unusual items to hang from our tree from every destination we've been too, from red felt maple leaves in Tokyo to small decorated elephants from Jaipur or an odd wooden spoon from Stockholm. Most are handmade and unique and as a result we look forward to unwrapping and discovering them again each year as we put up the tree.

Initial sketch proposal for approval by Folksy
I wanted my Folksy object to capture a little of that feeling. I wanted it to be something that people could treasure and enjoy every year. The Russian dolls series of work that I've made seemed to fit the bill perfectly so I set about designing something bold, bright and warm that would go well with the dark green of a Christmas tree. Eventually I settled on a set of three wisemen, with the smallest doll also containing a single wooden star threaded to hang from the tree.

Making the dolls is quite a long process. First I need to get some blank hand-turned doll sets from a little man in Ireland, then several coats of white paint are needed to give a good base to work from. I then rough sketch out the designs with pencil. I try out colour combinations on the computer to give me a good starting point but in reality it takes many, many test colours with repeated sanding in between to get the colours so I'm happy. Once all that is done, the dolls get a further light sand to take off any rough bits of paint and then the final line detail is added in pencil before several coats of satin varnish to seal the pencil and to give a bit of protection to the paint.

You can see more images of the final results on the Folksy website here.

Dolls at various stages during initial design

There were 14 different designers asked to take part in the Christmas Collection and here are links to products that they designed:

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