Mad about the Hatter

The Maddest Hatter

Welcome to a glimpse of the maddness I’ve been working on this past week. I started this dazed and confused hatter last Friday on a lark. I had a friend over to do a little work in the studio and as she was working on an art doll, I felt rather inspired to make something along those lines as well. I’ve had a paper-mache teapot for a while now (you know, one of those “I know this will be good for something, but I just don’t know what yet” items) and thought that a mad hatter would be just the thing to go with it. So I busted out the wire, foil and sculpey and got to work.

He did not have a promising beginning – very scrawny and undernourished looking. But I worked on him and worked on him. After way too much fussing and fondling I finally had to throw him in the oven for my own sanity. And as is typical of my talents in the kitchen, I forgot to set the timer and got distracted by other things. Well, poor little man got quite the Jerseylious tan, but all was not lost as I knew he’d be painted – disguising all those burn marks.

Well, there came the real challenge – let’s say painting faces is not on my list of skills. And again after way too much fussing and fixing I had to force myself to stop – right after he got his Tim Curry Rocky Horror Picture Show lips. Mind you I am three days into this guy – long term relationship type stuff if I were in middle school. The next hurdle to jump was deciding how to dress this guy – paint? paper-mache? fabric clothing? I opted for the fabric clothing and that’s when I crossed over into mad obsession.

I felt like I was a seamstress for a Lilliputian. I do not sew clothes and certainly not clothes that could fit a mouse. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or how to do it, but I somehow just took it step by step. I’m sure any seasoned seamstress would have cringed to see me tracing clothes patterns around the figure. I tried to be all legit – using my measuring tape to measure arm and leg length – but then I just started sewing and cutting – and cutting and sewing. Note to self – clay arms on a stationary figure do NOT bend…..i.e. I had to leave seams open and sew directly my little man. Did I see him flinch when I worked around his inner thigh? And because I had crossed over into madness and obsession (neglecting children and forgetting dental appointments) I had to create cuffs, a big collar AND his overcoat had to be lined in a coordinating color.

So tell me what you think? Was it worth losing 50% of my eyesight to create this hatter?

I still have the teapot to finish up, but would love any feedback you have for me. It has now been a full week of working on this man, but the time has flown. I have been so absorbed in bringing this hatter to life. When I asked my daughter if she felt neglected this week, she looked quizzically at me and said “No. I see it as your work.” It almost brought tears to my eyes. This is my work as much as anything else I do in my life. Why does it take a young girl to wake me to that fact?

I promise to share more pictures when he is totally complete!


One thought on “Mad about the Hatter

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