With my penchant for puns and general silliness, when a broken and abused cello fell into my hands ( … OK, when I charmed a guy to dig it out of a dumpster for me …), I couldn’t resist turning it into an over-sized doll. (I mean, really, what did you expect from me?)
While I conceived this project last May, it has been done in fits and starts because of interference from other projects, vacations, and prepping for school – not to mention pulling together materials (read a frame) large enough to accommodate a cello. So, without further ado, here’s the process of my latest creation.
As you can see, this poor cello was in need of love.
After several attempts at separating the front from the body, I called on Lochinvar to lend a hand. Once he managed the task, I gave it a quick sanding to remove the shiny finish.
After a coat of Gesso and a couple of coats of white chalk paint, the front was looking a good deal better.
Since I was going for a paper doll feel, I decided to create a polka dot “dress” from the cello.
Meanwhile, the hunt for a large enough frame began. After some focused shopping (read hitting every thrift store in town) I found this pretty icky but sturdy frame on a half-price Saturday at Goodwill. The center of the frame was covered in a suede-like fabric.
Two coats of Gesso later, I was afraid I was wasting my time trying to revive the frame.
However, three coats of white chalk paint finally seemed to breathe new life into the structure.
A couple of coats of black paint in the middle gave just the right touch to coordinate with the polka dots I had put on the cello “dress.”
The final piece has a scrap wallpaper background with paper doll outlines printed on vintage sheet music and covered with a light coat of gray chalk paint to provide plenty of contrast to the Cello Dolly design. Embellishments include some actual jewelry (the pendant, dog tag, ring, and earring) along with dressmaker fringe, and a purse constructed from a fabric scrap. The face and arms are constructed of card stock and drawn/colored using alcohol markers. This is the largest piece I have completed to date measuring 33 x 50 inches.
I actually have two more broken cellos and a guitar stacked in the corner of my studio, but I haven’t envisioned anything for them yet. Hmm … I wonder where I’ll find three more giant frames.