By Samantha Danson
Today we sit down with long time doll repainter, Cindy Lorimer, for a
candid view into the mind of an artist and the challenges we all face
to a degree.
How many shows have you been involved with?
If memory serves, this will be my third one.
How long does a TRS project generally take for you?
Getting myself moving takes the longest. I sit and ponder for a really
long time and then I almost talk myself out of participating at all, thinking, "I'm never going to be able to do the level of work that everyone else is doing". Then, finally, I start by painting the doll,
which I know I am "good enough" at and then I screech to a halt again
with the costume. I used to sew for dolls all the time and actually
started out with that, making a pretty good living at it. Eventually,
my eyes got bad enough that it became harder to see the needles that
needed threading, the stitching, etc. and the arthritis in my hands
made it painful to hold the tiny bits and pieces in place that needed
hand sewing so that I stopped sewing altogether. So, when it came time
to make a costume again I balked and wondered if I would even remember
how to do it.
What's the hardest/best thing about participating?
As mentioned above, one of the hardest is overcoming my own mental and
physical inertia to get myself moving on someone else's schedule. Then
I have to push against all my own negative commentary about my own
What's your personal favorite TRS achievement?
I was actually proud of both pieces I finished, especially the first
one since that was the first costume I had made in many years. With
that one, I started out with an already made dress that I tweaked and
added to. I was happy with the second costume because I made that
totally from scratch with materials I already had on hand; fabrics I
had saved from back when I was sewing. I found scraps that seemed to
match the textures of the costume in the photo references. That was
really fun! Got my sewing chops back. Not perfect but I could still do
a reasonable job so I was pleased.
What's the most expensive element you've incorporated?
Well, I had to buy a really truly hideous fairy doll for my first
project since I had no idea how to make wings and I didn't think I
could sew the dress from scratch. That was probably the most expensive
part of my first doll. After that, I needed to find a doll to match
the specs of the character, which considering the fact that I have
over 500 dolls in my own collection, I was able to find one on the
shelf in my house.
What excites you most about this show?
Before I joined in with this group, I had felt myself sort of slipping
to the wayside in the doll collecting arena because so many of the
collectors are now buying resin dolls which I can't afford (and, truth
be told, don't really like). I was feeling isolated. These projects
are bringing me back to the community of doll people that I came to
love and rely on so much. I'm happy to be part of the gang.
Why did you pick your character?
I love Native American themes and also, more truth telling, I thought
her costume wouldn't be too much of a challenge for me.
How did you decide your concept/mash up?
I don't really think of this as a mash up.I had originally imagined it
to just reflect a sort of updated version of fairytale princesses. I
didn't really think beyond that. I do love the elements of steampunk
we are adding and once I just sat and meditated on it for a while, I
was able to see how it could be used to really tell a story about time
travel and shamanism, all in one doll.
What will be your greatest challenge in creating her?
I think the costume. I have been hunting for steampunk elements
online: clock gears, metal feathers, etc. There is still so much to
flush out in terms of her persona. I have found the doll I will be
using: a Tonner Jon with very long crimped hair in variegated shades
of brown and black. I will enjoy adding braids, beads, and feathers. I
am using several paintings by a favorite artist, Susan Seddon Boulet,
as references. I would like to try to add elements of water somehow
since she is the Guardian of the River but I don't exactly have a
picture in my mind of how that will work...yet.
Thank you so much, Cindy, for your honest take on your process! We
know Pocahontas is going to be spectacular.