The Borrowers series of children's books by Mary Norton enthralled me as a child, especially as a child with dollhouses. I loved to read the books and then 'pretend' the dolls were borrowers. I think I thought of so many scenerios that Mary Norton did not when playing. I adored Arietty...she was so fearless and fun at the same time.
I have had it on my projects or doll dioramas 'to do' list and thought that it should come about. This project will be somewhat special to me as I have not been posting a great deal on my blogs- my mother had been very ill in the hospital with a stroke and bypass surgery for over a month in November. To my sorrow, she passed away on December 3rd. With sitting by her bedside in ICU and helping my father, dolls in my spare time consisted of taking a few 'fun' pics and I have not had the heart to do much more than create some miniature foods..which helped me to keep my sanity in the midst of this sadness. As an artist I can tell when I am affected by my emotions and the more I sculpt/sew/design/ build or work, the more able I am to deal with my emotions. During this time I decided to focus on this project for the upcoming year as it would be a tribute to my mother - who was the original 'miniaturist' and loved little things. She herself was a creative person- always creating sewing- yo-yos for miniature yo yo quilts, and collecting her dolls- she loved child and bride dolls. Scale did not really matter to her, and in going thru some of her dolls and items I realized she was a true collector- she paid absolutely no attention to scale, just if the whimsy hit her and she liked the items together. Thus, the Borrowers is a perfect diorama project for me to work on, in tribute to my mother's sense of fun and whimsy.
I decided the best way to start was to acquire the dolls for the main characters in the 1st book- Arietty, Homily and Pod Clock. Here are some illustrations of them from the first book, which is set in the late Victorian era- my favorite!
I have thought that Young Sophisticate Poppy Parker has a wonderful innocence about her especially her hair. Arietty's young girl Victorian era style dress with the little Victorian boots would be adorable on her.
For Homily, I thought Grandma Barbie with a wig would be a good choice. I have a friend on Flicker whose work I greatly admire, whose doll Euro Auntie inspired me. Euro Auntie is a caucasian Grandma Barbie who she altered with a Felted wig that has fascinated me. Click HERE to see the photo in OddMod's photostream that makes/creates the look for Homily I am going to attempt. I have located a synthetic Monique wig that will work for Homily on OddMod's advice. I am looking forward to this alot as I am hoping this will help me work thru my grief and sadness.
Pod will be an action figure that I am hoping to acquire soon, funds are low right now.
As to scale to photograph the dioramas, I will be working in 1:6 scale. I have many reasons for this. Though in the books the Borrowers are about 6 inches high, dollhouse scale 1:12 scale, that size will be too incredibly small to do visible and artistic shots of a diorama.
I decided to use Young Sophisticcate Poppy, aka Arietty, to do some test shots of her with a 'borrowing bag' to see if it would be believeable in real, full size surroundings. Here are some of my test photos which pleased me.
I did these test photos since many large scale 'found' items will have to be full size or doll size since the Borrowers have to invent and create their home and furniture from found items.
I thought Arietty looked cute with the spools of cotton, a silver fork, and clothespins, paperclips, safety pins and a doll size teacup and saucer like Pod had to get for Homily. I recreated their drawing room wallpaper from the descriptions of how Homily papered their parlor with letters and the writing going in vertical lines up and down by using scrapbook paper that looked like someone had written a letter.
My first task will be to get and acquire the dolls and replicate their clothing as well. I have looked at some movie images but did not like the most recent images of the Borrowers movie, it did not keep to the books' Victorian era look. I thinki the actual building of the dioramas I will need will take place in the spring/summer when it will be convenient to work outdoors on this large project.
Enjoy the photos-