Thursday, May 24, 2012

Laila... in wait...( after a long wait :P )

Hi, I finally got around to posting more pics of Laila. She is inspired from gypsy tribal women mostly hailing from desert areas of India. I have been fascinated with their colorful garbs since childhood. I do not think I have done justice to their rich traditional wear though, but I did have lots of fun costuming her and working on tiny details. Important part is to enjoy the process of creation even if it becomes challenging at certain points. 

Another inspiration for her reflects in her name 'Laila'. I am not sure if the rest of world is aware of 'Laila Majnu' story but its a famous tragic love story back here at home. My piece here focuses on the happier parts of their relationship. She is sitting on her perch perhaps waiting for her lover, unconsciously playing with her hair. Even I can not tell you in truth what it is and exactly what is going in her mind. We all know how willful creations are, even moodier than their creators.

This sculpture also presented lots of challenges to me at technical levels. My favorite parts of creating OOAK sculptures are generating ideas, sculpting faces and body and finally blushing them to bring them to life. I have rarely tried full blown costuming before this piece and it  proved to be a sticky puddle.
I beaded her skirt by hand and realized I am no expert at bead embroidery LoL. Still I preserved because I wanted to take her to the best possible level I could.
I was also stumped creatively during her making. The colors of her skirt looked dull in overall composition but I was sure that I did not want typical reds and maroons that are usually associated with Indian dolls/figurines. Nor did I want typical gold jewellery for her. I wanted her more earthen and rusty and more gypsy like. But I did want certain vibrancy to her. Finally the added frills, lace accessorizing and colorful pomp-poms delivered her colors to the level I desired.

Her hair was also troublesome to the most. I almost pulled mine out over them. I love black hair on my sculpts but they make me go crazy too. Sort of an irony, since I used her as a model to make a hair tutorial. Hmph.
It was perfect that time around but I spoiled it by wetting the glued area and glue promptly turned white and started showing. I probably did them 4-5 more times to get a clean head of hair without any glue marks showing. I finished most of my black hair pelt trying to get her's right.
Her base was also something I deliberated over a long time. It is imitation of sand stone rugged wall on which she is perched in a pensive mood combing through her hair. I finally decided to give it a border of imitation 'Meenakari' work, a traditional decorative enamel work which has its expertise hub in same desert regions from where I have picked up her inspiration.

Finally my biggest challenge was photographing her well. I did her photo-shoot also 3-4 times but still have not been able to capture her true beauty. I am a poor photographer :/. She is even more charming in real life if I may say so. I store her in a dust proof cabinet with my other finished sculpts and whenever I open it I get mesmerized by her beauty. I know I honking my own trumpet here but I am so enthralled with her. All the big struggles and efforts have paid finally and I feel a warmth in my heart when I gaze at her. I probably have taken her a step further than I imagined I would.

She features a bucket load of body art with intricate designs of henna on her hands, feet, legs and arms. She also has a typical gypsy style sun tattoo on small of her back. And an arm tattoo lettered in Devanagri script i.e. Hindi language that spells her name 'Laila'.

What do you think of her? Let me know :) and I will shut up now lol. I know I got carried away. Feeling a little too chatty today? :D :)


  1. Im so happy to see her finally finished I've given up my dream of making dolls like this but I really love looking at your creations it's like they are alive.

    thank you for sharing her and thank you for the tutorials too

    Marisa :)

  2. Hi Marisa,
    Thank you so very much for these lovely words :) They made my day. I have not been keeping well and have not been around much on the blog. It been pretty fickle couple of years. Not been able to create much but I hope things change soon and I have a lot more to share with you :) Also never give up on a dream. If you feel for it strongly you can definitely achieve it. I myself sometimes feel disheartened with where a sculpt is going. My earlier attempts were all aliens, they did not even come close to human form. Please remember that persistence always pays :) Its a struggle but that is what makes it worthwhile. Hope to see some of your creations soon! I am sure they will be amazing!

  3. Divya, your Laila is very lovely.

    You have worked very hard on her and I am sure it will pay off.

    It is so nice to be able to read about the way you progressed with her making and the story around the gypsy and clothing in India.

    She has such calm character and looks very thoughtful as she waits.

    You are a very good artist and deserve your rewards for all your hard work.

  4. Karin dear thank you so so much for the kind words :) <3 and thank you also for reading through my extensively verbose post!! Lol
    She was a struggle, but in a good way and that makes it very hard to let her go.

    Much love! <3