Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Muñecas De Cartón

I have finished reading Dona Z. Meilach's papier mâché artistry, and have more or less internalized the materials and methods of making something from papier mâché. However, I keep coming across these Muñecas De Cartón, which were popular in México from 1880 to 1960, more or less. From what I understand, fewer and fewer of these dolls, also known as Lupitas, are being made each year.

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These dolls are traditionally made and are available around Easter time each year. Girls receive a Lupita doll, and boys receive a stick horse, with a papier mâché head. The dolls have articulated arms and legs. Their hair is usually painted black, and they have blue or green eyes with big eyelashes. Their cheeks are rosy. The traditional dress is a 1920's style bathing suit, as they are made today.

It seems that these dolls are made using molds. I have mentioned these molds in this post. The old molds, themselves, are unusual works of art.

What I have learned in the papier mâché book is that a mold must have a separator applied, such as Vaseline, before applying the layers of paper and glue. Also, it is a good idea to use a softer glue, such as wheat paste, next to the mold, so that the finished papier mâché can be removed more easily from the mold. The other layers can be built-up with a harder glue. I ran across a reference that indicated that animal fat was used as a separator on the antique clay molds. Besides clay, plaster may also be used to make a doll mold for making papier mâché dolls.

I am very interested in trying to make some dolls using papier mâché. I am thinking that my first doll will be modeled in oil-clay, and a plaster mold will be made from that oil-clay original. There are different kinds of molds that can be used with papier mâché. With some molds, the paper layers are draped over the mold, or slumped into the mold. Several molds may be used to create complex shapes. Then the papier mâché parts are attached to each other with more paper layers and glue. Then there are the types of molds that are completely covered with paper and glue, and are later cut off the mold, then patched together again.

The main thing is that with papier mâché, there is no need for elaborate studio equipment, or materials. Really, the main thing that is needed for working with papier mâché is patience, because it does require a drying time between each step of the process.

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