Category Archives: art ideas

Barbie gets a makeover; steps to an altered doll

Last week, I decided I wanted to turn an old barbie I had bought for mold-making purposes into an altered doll. It started because I’ve been struggling with some really graphic self harm thoughts. I was hoping expressing it on the doll would help alleviate them… it’s kinda working I guess. Either that, or the doll has me distracted enough to put the thoughts on the back-burner.

I had cut most of her hair off back when I thought of making a mold, so I decided to pluck out the rest of it to be able to sew in something else (it might be useful to note that hand-sewing doll hair is a pain, and painful. Even with a thimble to help push the needle through the plastic, my fingers are raw and sore from having to do it so many times… I’m not even half done yet!).

Anyway, I started with her hair change. I also removed her existing makeup. Painting a new face will be challenging, but I’m looking forward to that. I’ll have to thin even my high flow paint to avoid the brush lines visible with the white I had tried…

I’m planning on articulating her better as well. Currently, she’s only movable at the shoulders and hips. I’d like to bring a greater variety of motion to her other joints also. I did a quick YouTube search and found this video. It’s about articulating a Bratz doll, which is pretty much the same structure as Barbie, so I’m hoping it will work. I need to get my hands on some of the plastic molding stuff she’s talking about. I’m guessing I can find it online (amazon smile has been my best friend in finding random art supplies)…

I have ambitious plans for this doll. I want to figure out how to make it look like she’s pulling her own heart out. It seems that her body is hollow, so that should be easy enough… I just have to perfect my sculpting skills so I can make a heart I’m satisfied with. I’d also like to figure out some way to express dissociation. I’m not sure if I want to alter her head to accomplish that, or simply utilize facial expression…

There’s a measure of therapy involved in making this doll. It will be a blend of artistic expression and autobiographical depiction. I guess something along the lines of Hollywood creative nonfiction; the backbone of the story is true, but the details are exaggerated and embellished for dramatic effect…we’ll see how far I actually get with her. 

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I’m going to put some YouTube videos below for reference. I haven’t tried them yet, but I want to know what to come back to later. I would normally do this in a “private” post so you don’t have to see my note-taking, but it might be useful to others if they are also interested in making dolls… and if any of you have experience, feel free to critique or offer up suggestions. 

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I find certain things incredibly difficult to bring up in therapy. I’m not sure if it’s the way Dr C and I go about things, or the topics themselves, or my fear of disappointing her, or what, but sometimes I struggle till the end of session (or even after season is up) with how to introduce talking about certain things.

Last Monday, we had mentioned some stuff at the end of session that I really had hoped to cover today… only today I couldn’t bring it up again in time. The only reason I brought it up at all was because she caught me looking at the clock trying to calculate if I had enough time to get into it. I didn’t. She gave me the option of coming in again this week if I wanted. I took the opportunity, and also asked if we could talk about the self harm stuff that session. She said we can always talk about it, anytime. I told her I wasn’t sure how to bring it up; it’s one of those things that feels irrelevant unless I’m mired in it… only it’s difficult to talk about the “grand scheme” of it when I’m wrapped up in doing it, so it would be good to talk about it now when I’m not fighting urges… we established that it isn’t a current occurrence, but that it’s always in the back of my head (much like the concept of dying is always there).

I hope she can help me break into the subject next session.

Does anyone else find it difficult to bring up certain things at times? It’s not so much that it’s triggering or difficult to talk about (though it certainly can be), it’s just that we get going on another topic, or we seem to stay lighter, and I don’t know a good way to break into the heavy stuff. I find when there’s something I really want to talk about, I stall and sputter and pick something totally unrelated/surface to talk about when there’s actually something much more specific and heavier to talk about. I fall into the default notion of “they don’t really want to hear that stuff because it’s too deep/personal/uncomfortable so I’m just going to avoid it. I know it’s counterproductive for therapy (I mean, heck, that’s what I see the woman every week for: to talk about the uncomfortable/icky/ personal stuff), but for some reason I can’t get out of my own way and simply open up about whatever it is I really want to talk about most sessions. I’m so nervous and anxious about presenting well and progressing, I can’t bring up anything that might hint at any regression…

I know she says I don’t have to worry about disappointing her, but I always do (worry)… :/ I have this intense drive to please people and make them happy in order to make them like me. It rarely works. Half the people aren’t swayed by my frantic attempts, the other half take advantage. I know I should be more authentic with Dr C, but I don’t want her to give up on me or be mad that I’m just always drama…

I need people to like me. I need them to know I exist, and to want me around or I might blink out of existence… I know I won’t really cease to exist if they dislike me or no longer want me around, but the little kid in me doesn’t get that. She’s still desperately trying to please everyone around her in an effort to justify taking up space and resources… funny how much the kid in me is desperate to be real, while at the same time another part of me wishes and hopes for an end (the depressed part. The part that’s so tired of fighting and struggling and trying)… annother topic for therapy “some day.”

Oh, I’m supposed to make “balanced happy” art for Dr C. She was thinking I should do something that makes me happy/feel loved, surrounded by more things that make me happy and feel loved to keep out the darkness (or create a shield against it). She did some concept sketches in session today, and I think it might turn out really cool, I just have to figure out how to execute them in an interesting way… guess that’s a project for this week sometime. It won’t be done by Wednesday’s session, but maybe for next week?