Building a Dream

   by Amy Calvert for Build A Dream (2014)

I used the box as the background walls and floor. One of the square dowels and portions of the brochure were used as stabilization for the walls. The doll is made from parts of the mannequin, the Van Gogh ear, plaster cloth and wire mesh. I also used the clay for the face and hands. The hair was made from the canvas cloth (I separated the threads, painted them and then glued them on in layers). The plastic wrap around the plaster cloth was used for the doll dress - as was the plastic wrap that was around the canvas board (I painted it white on the underside). The shelf was made from the hardboard, the clock from a wood disc. The stock paper was used to create flowers, feathers, the "lights" on the string (made from the nylon thread), and the hair adornment. Pieces of the mannequin were used as vases, a pencil holder and bottles. The canvas cloth was also used for the flower stems, paint brushes, individual pencils and the oriental rug. The dragon's nest is made from the canvas cloth threads molded over half of the plastic egg - I used fabric stiffener so that it would dry to shape. I had some sculpey on hand so I used the sculpey to make molds for the modeling clay. I used earrings, a pendant and the face of an angel that I have in a collection to make the imprints for the molds. Once I had the molds made, I pressed the modeling clay in them, trimmed them up and let them sit for several days before I painted them. The extra time helped firm up the clay so it was easier to handle. I also used the clay to freehand sculpt the owl, the dragon and the dragon's eggs. I used the foam rod to make the paint cans, the jar and the main portion of the hat. The mannequin box was cut to make books, crates, a tool box and the paint brush handles. The tools were made from scrap pieces of the cardboard box.

I was thankful to have a good set of xacto knives for cutting accurately and easily. Even so it was essential to have a couple different sizes of scissors. I also utilized some clay tools, a dental pick, a hole puncher, mod podge, kitchen knives and tacky glue. I made all of the molds except for the masked faces on the wall and the doll's hands (I purchased a mold for those). The ice skates were painted with nail polish. Acrylic craft paint was used for all of the painting. Quite a few of the pieces were painted in glow-in-the-dark paint so they would glow in black light.

I took a stagecraft class in college in which we built and painted various background scenery for theatrical productions. I thought that one could "build a dream" just like building a scene for a play. I also remembered a painting I saw for sale on ebay. It was of a woman dressed in a white gown, painting a beautiful scene on a bare background, like she was creating a new and wonderful life to step into. So I wanted a piece that showed someone creating their own dream. It was important to me to be able to show a magical transformation when you turned out the light. In normal light parts of the background and the gown are plain. When the light goes out, a night sky appears and you can see designs on the doll's gown. The flowers glow as well as the white portions of the striped walls. The string of lights glows which is also replicated in the doll's hair adornment.

The complete project is absolutely beautiful when viewed in the dark. Unfortunately it is difficult to photograph it accurately.