Paper Dolls and Testing Vimeo


Five Women of Exodus from Caroline Armijo on Vimeo.

Welcome to Week Five of Telling Stories – the official half way point of my series of art projects.

Last week, I was so inspired by Elise’s video that I thought I should create one of my own. Especially once I realized the pleasant surprise of a little kinetic paper sculpture in my two midwives from the Five Women of Exodus. I knew since mid-July that these women were really where I wanted to spend a lot of time.

A few quick comments on my video:

1. Some of these women have names, which I did not include. This is the official description:

For the five women of Exodus, I created a series of paper dolls representing each of their roles. The first two women represent Shiphrah and Puah, the Hebrew midwives who rebelled by saving the sons. They are seen here in pink and blue holding sculpted babies. Next is Moses’ mother, in green, who wove the basket to place him in the Nile. I cut a small hole in her heart. The fourth doll is Miriam, Moses’ sister who watched over him and saved his life. I tore waves into her dress. I am certain that she felt torn about what she had to do as Moses’ big sister. Finally stands the royal princess, in a pleated, regal fashion. Pharaoh’s daughter reached down and rescued Moses from the river. Her jewelry extends down to create arms shaped in a cradling position.

2. I had no idea I was making such a loud noise when I blew on the pink midwife. Sorry.

3. Miriam is actually Moses’ big sister. Not little. I know that doesn’t make any sense.

4. I forgot to add that I used a piece of purple telephone wire to hold the accordion folds in place. In turn I created a necklace, from which her arms extend. You can see this detail in the pictures.

5. The Pharaoh’s daughter had a crown that we lost on the way to the church, during which time Henry graciously helped me even though he was receiving work calls on his Blackberry. (Other than walking a little more slowly, he really didn’t go out of his way. Well, maybe ten steps.) He said he felt like he was in some kind of crazy Easter parade. Thanks, Henry! You’re the best!!!

6. I am trying to pronounce the word “awl.” Yes, I am aware that I have a Southern accent. I am asked this at least five or six times a day. Even from people who also talk about their own Southern accent. It’s fine to ask me about it. I have even added it to my about page on my web site. Just don’t mock me or try to imitate me. That is my number one pet peeve in the world.

Now back to the work…

I have considered these ten weeks of art work as quick creative exercises. I only have a week to create them and a very limited budget of $0. But they are great. I have a deadline, quick turn around, guidance, free reign to do what I want, and immediate feedback. I have loved having freedom and structure all wrapped into one. Honestly, I don’t know how this summer would have ended up without these projects. I am always one to run with anything. But it is nice to know that Amy was listening when she asked, what do you want to do? I replied “art.” I had no idea what that meant. Months later a nice little body of work has evolved.

I am also working on a little bit larger scale than I normally do, which reminds me of when Sue Anderson whispered “work big” over my shoulder many many moons ago. So far I haven’t really had the space or reason to work big. Plus, any attempts of working big have ended up wadded up in a trash can after a harsh clean out of my work space.

When I first saw the plan in mid-July, I immediately thought of the paper doll I had used for Leah in the first week. I was going to make five more of them. I figured out which colors I wanted to use and bought five large text weight pages from Paper Source. I only bought one of each color. I thought it would be an easy no-brainer. I would add elements to each doll to represent the five characters. But after folding the purple doll a few weeks ago, I realized there was no way I was going to be able to twist her into the same shape. The paper was not long enough and it was very stiff. I was stuck. But she looked pretty good flat. So I went with that.

Moses’ mom was pretty easy. She had woven a basket, so I created a large basket weave for her. By end of day Tuesday, I had dolls pretty well developed. So I dedicated last Wednesday to my dolls. Instead of just making them, I spent almost three hours in the library looking at paper related arts. This has to be its own blog entry because I was ecstatic. I found some wonderful paper sculpture books. All week, I had paper sculpture in my head. I have seriously been thinking about my blog’s focus. What is it? Good question… after reading Elise’s the term paper sculpture just kept haunting me. That’s it! Anyway… three hours and twenty books later, I found the inspiration for my final dolls.


Thursday night

On Friday I woke up to some bad news. The midwives had toppled over from their own weight. I really needed to be using a cover weight paper, at the very least. I had no idea what I was going to do. I finally realized that I had to salvage their arms and babies and start over with a new base. Fortunately for me I had a bunch of large sheets of paper on hand. Who knew? Maybe I should try a cone form instead. That was the perfect solution. I am so happy that I did. I only wish that my other three dolls were able to stand on their own.


Friday morning

But everyone was really pleased and complimentary of my work. First of all my parents were visiting. So this was a great week for them to see. My mom figured that she needed to come and check my art work out. Second, Naw greeted me at the steps with a hug, before I even reached the upper level. She loved my other works, but I think that she was about to explode. We took them down to her classroom to leave for the children from her Burmese Sunday School class. I also met someone from London, who was just visiting from the week. He wanted to take a picture, but we had already taken them down. I told him that I was greatly influenced by the work of Bruce Angrave, a 1950s paper sculpture from England. Plus I am meeting people than I would normally ever talk to. So the response has been great. I am just so pleased.

Now Victor is adamant that we put the pieces up in the library for everyone to see. That is great news, because we do not have any room for them in our home. Plus, can stop by and see them all in one place. I will be sure to post as soon as the exhibit is up and ready!

This coming Sunday is another big week for me – a pop-up burning bush. I can’t wait. I have dedicated all day today to it. And it is now almost 3. I’ve done the laundry, two loads of dishes, watered the plants and mopped the bathroom floor. With that level of procrastination, this piece promises to be great. I need to get to work right now.

Plus I am also excited that as part of this week, we are collecting shoes to be donated after the display. So if you have any shoes that are taking up precious closet space bring them to the Calvary church office anytime this week on the corner of 8th and H, NW. We already have a few people who have requested shoes. I love that! So many of my favorite things – cleaning out, giving away, reusing, and sharing with those in need. Doesn’t everyone love a new pair of shoes?

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