Sunday, 11 January 2009

Day 17-Prince Raj Singh

SUMAIYA MEHREEN, remember this name, for I believe, she will join the ranks of the masters one day.

Under her skilful hands, Prince Raj Singh, with his steely eyes and proud demeanour has finally deigned us with his presence, purportedly to inspect the progress of Jai's restoration.

He was none too pleased with the state of affairs-what? 6 pillars, yards of silk and a million bits of nonsense??!- until he set his eyes on the splendour in the grass. Ooooh...his glances shifted quickly from one dancer to the next, devouring with undisguised lechery each move the girls made as they practised the Lasya, the dance of aesthetic delight.

Such beauty and grace, love and joy, and all or any other tender aspects of existence, he mused.

"Another year or 2 before the palace can complete? No problem! We must take the time to make sure we do it right," he assured Jai, never taking his eyes off Morani, the lead dancer for a single moment. Great excuse I have now to procrastinate the dreaded union with Tara, he thought gleefully.

*Sigh..can you tell I simply love her dolls? When I first decided to build an Asian dollhouse, I was scouring the net for days, desperately seeking ethnic dolls to no avail. You would have learnt from my 1st post how I found Sumaiya. It is to her credit that I started this blog cos I was well and truly inspired after reading hers.

In an interview conducted entirely through email till 3 am US time today, Sumaiya shares with us the following secrets of her artistry (words in italics are almost all hers, and the rest , artistic licence):

Prince Raj Singh is made of polymer clay with wire armature. Sumiaya took about a week to sculpt, wig and dress him. Using regular polymer clay sculpting tools, she started by wrapping multiple strands of wire to make the armature.The body was then created by adding and sculpting layers of polymer clay and subsequently cured in the oven (note to self: to check if microwave oven works as well cos that's the closest thing to oven I own).

His face was drawn with acrylic paint and sealed with acrylic matte sealer. He was then dressed and wigged.

I know you can barely see from these pics but let me assure you Prince's shoes are exquisite. I will post pics of his feet when I have them. Thanks to these shoes however, Prince can't stand on his own. Not a surprise considering he is royalty and therefore has little need to stand for any reason.

Like Jai, Prince is tall, standing or leaning at a stately 6". Like Jai too, he is posable at his shoulders, elbows, hips and knees.

Notice the lion's mane? Well, its painstaking work for Sumaiya as wigging is the most challenging part in the making of her dolls. Too much, too little or a bad haircut can mean ruining the rest of his life. Don't we girls know that only too well. Singh, which incidentally is an ancient vedic name for "lion", picked his mane from the doll-making section of a craft store. (Just so you know how tough life here is for a fledgling like me, I don't think there is such a thing as a doll making section of anything in Singapore. Oh, except in our National Library.)

Keep Prince in a cool and dry place or his colours may fade. No mold and moisture and absolutely no dust in his hair please!

The ultimate artistry is in how Sumaiya dresses her dolls which not surprisingly, is also the part she enjoys the most. And her unsurpassed henna art is quite simply ooh-inducingly divine! Sumaiya uses fabrics and jewels from craft stores and anything else which inspires and here are some really fine examples:

Urvashi, a mythical dancer, a nymph, in her Bharatanatyam sari and the much talked about henna

Jahan garbed in a traditional salwar-kameez and hand embellished dupatta or veil

and Parvati, the immortalised screen siren in a peacock blue Bengali sari which would have cost tens of thousands in life size (I live near Little India and about 100 sari shops, so trust me, I know)
Sumaiya sells her dolls, reluctantly I'm sure, sometimes on ebay but often by commissions. Her posts on her dolls is a die die must see (a very local colloquial which means what it says, so DON't miss it).

It is both our fervent wish that she will never stop making dolls for me even after she becomes filthy rich and mega famous.



6 comments:

Sumaiya Mehreen said...

Dear San,
I am so grateful for all your kind words and for such delightful presentation of my dolls. Your dollhouse plans are fascinating, and it is an honor to have my dolls be a part of it.
:D
Love,
Sumaiya.

Debbie said...

Beautiful Dolls by Sumaiya..
San please call over to my blog I'm having a Birthday Give away...
Mini Hugs

Kathy Calhoun said...

San, you're a hoot and obviously having the most wonderful time creating your masterpiece. YES, Sumaiya's hands make beautiful things and you are so very lucky to have her creations. She urged me to start my own blog...linked through her site...we are building the same Garfield, but, of course, from different times. Continue with your blogging..I'm dying to know what happens next.

San said...

Happy birthday Debbie!! So sweet of you to pop by with your invite. So fun to be able to pop over to yours in nano-minutes, play a game and then pop back to send a thank you note :).

Hi Kathy! Yes! I have seen your blog. Blogging is almost as fun as building your house , so it means 2x the usual fun :). May also mean twice the pace. haha ! Thanks Kathy, glad you popped by.

Pubdoll said...

Prince Raj Singh looks great! But though he looks so cool, he evidently has to be kept cool too!

Sans said...

Helene, Prince Raj is the antagonist in my epic Indian movie. He's probably the most evil main star. The Evil Maharajah who is Ranjit Singh is only a supporting cast but he is the most evil, the no redemption kind of evil, you know, the kind you cheer when they die? lol

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