“Hats Off To Dorothy” was conceived out of the desire of The Artist Of Windmore to honor the memory of a dear friend and fellow artist, Dorothy Skelton. We decided upon a 3 dimensional piece of art that would incorporate Dorothy in our exhibits. We also wanted to use some of the wonderful hats that Dorothy had created over the years. I was entrusted with the creation of a whimsical sculpture to pay tribute to Dorothy.
The sculpture is made of Papier Mache’ and found objects. It took approximately three months to create. I used bright colours to represent Dorothy’s joyful spirit and included a ‘Van Gogh’ like background to represent her dedication to the arts. There is no doubt that Dorothy would find great pleasure in this whimsical tribute to her.
I hope you enjoy watching my creation unfold.
I made the frame out of 30 year old crown molding that I found in the attic.
Since the molding was plain I hot glued five rows of dowel rods on the edges of the frame.
The base for “Dorothy” is foam core board.
Here is a close up of the crown molding and the dowel rods.
Next I took spackling and filled in all the gaps.
After the base was constructed I applied multiple layers of papier mache’ strips to both back and front.
I did alternate layers of 20 lb brown craft paper and 20 lb white butchers paper. This allowed me full coverage of each layer.
Once the ‘frame’ was dry I started on the construction.
For the base of the head I cheated and used a dummy head.
Her shoulders and bosom are “air bags” that come in packaging..
For the hand I used pipe cleaners bunched up to the thickness of fingers then wrapped masking tape around them.
For the arm I utilized pipe insulation used to keep water pipes from freezing in the winter.
Here is the hand and arm wrapped in tape and ready for mache’ strips.
Here is the arm with several layers of strips.
I put strips inside some to give me a base for attaching it to the body.
Dorothy and her unattached arm with 8+ layers of strips.
After applying a few more layers of strips I was ready to attach the arm.
I made a hole in Dorothy’s chest and inserted a piece of PVC pipe then secured it with hot glue.
I attached the arm over the PVC pipe and applied more strips to secure it.
Dorothy with her new arm
I made up a batch of pulp mache’ and put on a thin coat over the entire piece.
The best way to do this is to roll the mache’ pulp between plastic wrap then lay it on the piece.
I also use a brayer and plastic wrap to smooth the mache’ out.
Next I started on some details.
Using the pulp mache’ I added some basic facial features and some clothing.
When all that was dry I started on her hair.
I used Styrofoam packing ‘peanuts’ and glued them on with a low temp glue gun.
I then covered the hair with a layer of pulp mache’.
After the hair had dried I started to add features to Dorothy’s face.
For this I used a modeling material called ‘Paperclay’.
It is ready to use out of the package, air dries hard and is non-toxic. You can sculpt, shape or mold with it while it is moist.
Here is a close up of Dorothy’s new face.
When the paperclay had dried I gave the whole piece a coat of Gesso then drilled two holes in Dorothy’s head for her glasses.
For her glasses I used an old pair of sunglasses as a base and papier machied over them.
The brush base is a dowel rod with pipe cleaners for the bristles.
Here they are all taped and ready for mache’.
After three coats of papier mache’ I put gesso on the glasses then gave them a base coat of acrylics.
For the brush I used the paperclay to sculpt the bristles and ferrule then coated it with gesso.
Dorothy with her brush and glasses ready for painting.
Dorothy is almost finished. Here is her hand holding the brush
Here is the finished Dorothy wearing one of the many hats she made.
With Golden Acrylic paints I used bright colours to represent Dorothy’s joyful spirit.
The ‘Van Gogh’ like background represents her dedication to the arts.
There is no doubt that Dorothy would find great pleasure in this whimsical tribute to her.
Here is Dorothy on her opening night.
She now resides in the Depot where she daily greets patrons to the Art Gallery pointing them in the right direction.