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MAKING PHANTAMIRA

February, 2008

Phantamira was created for a Cinderella Ball contest on the MiniDoll list. You can read about her exciting visit to the ball here.

I knew from the beginning that my entry would probably be a bit on the different side, me being me, you know. But I had no idea that at one point I would look at what was happening as she came to life, and say to myself, She looks like the Phantomess of the Opera!

As soon as I heard about the contest, I knew generally what she would look like, but it's a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg as to which came first in making her, the fabric, or the face.

I've had that wonderful outrageous bit of rayon material for years, and love the way it drapes so well, with hardly any manipulation required. I have also had her face for a long time, which was my version of some I had seen. She was also created without eyes, because I had planned to use glass eyes. Then I kind of lost my enthusiasm for a while and put it aside, along with a whole series of potential Green Men heads that I also made without necks! (One of these days I will give them some necks and see who THEY really are.)

When I began mulling over ideas for my contest entry, I happened across the fabric and remembered the face, which seemed just quirky enough for it.

Somehow, the black in the fabric gave me the idea of giving her those depthless black eyes, and of course she needed blood red lips, and a beauty mark.

That face just seemed to say Don't look away from me! So, I combined my idea of the Phantomess with Mira (Spanish for Look!) and that's how Phantamira was born.

I used the body and arms from Miss Birdie, a doll I made in a Beth Lane workshop many years ago. She was a strung doll whose hard life had resulted in a permanently tilted head that exposed her loosened innards! Instead of elastic, however, this time I used twisted pipe cleaners, extending two up through the porcelain opening far enough to adhere my clay to as I made Phantamira a neck. I trimmed and smoothed and cut away excess clay until I was satisfied with its smooth blend into the porcelain, then used my heat gun to firm it.

I was quite proud of my efforts, especially since that was the first time I'd used that darn heat gun, after buying it when all these other miniaturists were saying I needed one.

So then Phantamira had a body!

Although Beth has passed away, I think she would be pleased that I used Miss Birdie's body again. (And by the way, there's a story I will be telling you about Miss Birdie one of these days soon, as well.)

I used a piece of wonderful green silk from Tayna for the bodice, although it doesn't really show well here. I will have to use it for another purpose because it is truly lovely. The satin cord trim and the jewels were from my stash.

I may have gotten a bit carried away with this ribbon, but less was definitely not more with Phantamira. I thought it was so neat the way it blended with the roses around her snood and the shades of purple in her dress. Actually in some of these photos the color looks more brightly pink than it is.

Here you get a brief glimpse of her diamond earrings. This happens to me all the time - I make jewelry that doesn't show when the doll is finished!

Most of Phantamira's auburn hair is concealed within a "spun gold" snood that is trimmed with silk roses and bits of flowers and leaves that were made using the gold-wire-dipped-into-glue/paint method. They were all I could find of some that I had also made in a workshop with Beth Lane. I wish I had more of those pieces.

There is a green and black lace medallion at the back of the snood, which I cut from the fabric design and outlined with black glitter. All that bother and it doesn't really show up well.

Just like I went to considerable trouble to give Phantamira black lace underdrawers and a black silk petticoat. Neither they nor her shoes show unless some undecorous person lifts up her skirts.

Well, if anyone gets close enought to do that, best be wary, I would guess ....

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