Over the summer I had the privilege of getting to know a fantastic collector - Denise Bond. She is terrific! She collects dolls, creates dolls, and commissions dolls not just for her own personal collection but to use as education tools. Her mission is to use dolls - 3D and paper dolls - to educated people about black and African-American women's history. If you want a taste for just how awesome she is, check out this video tour of one of her recent projects.
The project scope was a bit outside of my comfort zone. She wanted two portrait paper dolls featuring Mary Custis Lee (wife of General Robert E. Lee) and her slave Selina Gray. It's tough subject matter, to be sure. Denise had a very clear vision of the story she wanted to tell and I was happy to help her tell it.
First step was research and sketching. I'll admit, my first sketches were not my favorite. But that's the great thing about sketches - keep it up and something good will come of it!
At this point, we worked out what outfits would tell the story of these two women. Denise wanted to express the friendship between the two. Mary taught Selina to read, Selina cared for her own children as well as Mary's, and Mary entrusted the family estate to Selina as she fled during the Civil War. Working from these themes, I created a three page paper doll set.
It was really a terrific project. I've worked on a couple more projects with Denise and probably will work on more. Process posts are something I love and I hope all of you do, too!