Monday, 1 February 2010

Day 114-116- Two Mothers

Have you ever wondered how different it will all be if you were born another person?
Or why is it that you are who you are?
Or what your Creator had in mind for you when you were put on this earth?

Could it be that maybe, just like some bad sci-fi movie, we actually all started out the same?
And by some inexplicable randomness, we are then born into a set of circumstances;
totally not of our doing, completely beyond our control?

Here are two mothers, same place, same time, same day,
but living completely different lives.
One is an aristocrat's wife while the other a poor unwed mother,
both with their babies who once also started out exactly like the other.

The idea to play "Creator" came to me after I received a dream set of baby knitwear and a pillow from Meli,all made by her. Meli's work has been published repeatedly especially her baby clothes and I was thrilled to bits that I am now a proud owner of a set (*kisses, Meli). I received her presents on the 20th of this month. 3 days later, Meli commented on my last post that she is an Andalucian (the people who started flamenco, mantilla, Moorish architecture-a culture deeply affected by Arabic influence). Her comment and her presents gave me an idea to expand my Spanish population at the palace with an Andalucian mother and her baby, Meli.

I have made a "Mother & Child" ( by the way, I remember when I was in Spain, how there was a Madonna with Child" artwork in every museum/church/home) doll for the Rolla & Ro scene but it was mostly a cut and blu-tac job. I decided that this would be a good time for an exercise in contrast, so I took the "Mother & Child" apart. You can see that the 2 babies (one from the old doll and the other for the new baby) are similar, save for their hands and toys.

The 3 lady dolls too are in fact from the same mold and were identical to each other (see top 2nd pic) before I painted their clothes. To enhance the difference, I "twisted" the head of the black doll, aka the Andalucian aristocratic mother or "Madre". When FaiZ saw me sawing off her head, he remarked that that was a sure sign that my blood pressure has hit the roof and insisted that I see a doctor for pills!

While waiting for the paint on the dolls to dry (painting usually takes days mainly due to drying time- in this case, it took more than 1 day for the paint and varnish to dry), I started work to convert the shiny silver pram into a vintage wicker perambulator.

The wheels and iron parts were painted to assimilate black brass and slightly rusted iron. And after coats and coats of paint in various shades of brown, the "wicker" was created, I then lined the inside with white silk and the most delicate laces.

My aristocratic baby was then dressed in Meli's Sunday best. The picture was taken before I "scotch guard" the clothes. I do this religiously in order to prevent dirt to my precious cloth or paper minis.

A Study In Contrast
The Babies

Born to fortunes and aristocracy is our Andalucian baby in her wicker carriage.

Here's the other baby, unwashed and clad in a sling "carriage" that her A-ma has made with some old cloth.

The Mothers

Her load in her right hand is a rusted pail of wood pile and a bucket of charcoal.

Madre in traditional black mantilla and high fashion Spanish dress. The only "load" in her right hand is a lace fan and matching handkerchief, also black.

Mother and Child

Well, h
ave you ever wondered..

what life would be like

if you were HER?

If you can choose, who would you rather be?


Norma said...

My goodness, Sans, looks like you are 'on a roll' philosophically and creatively! The 3 women dolls are so wonderfully colourful, and I love the way you've changed the little pram.

As for your question about 'which child do you want to be', my first comment is that I would first choose a mother who would love me, no amount of money could replace that special relationship with a loving mother. Assuming that both women are loving mothers I would choose to be born into a family that had sufficient financial resources to enable me to access a good education and have the security of knowing that if I fell ill I could receive good health care, and have access to good healthy food. Hopefully in such an emotionally and physically supportive any child could grow up to reach their full potential.

MiniKat said...

Wow San! I love how you used the same basic doll and made them look so different. The ladies look fantastic! :-)

Sans said...

Notma, it is wonderful to see you here :). Guess you are still in Sydney. I hope part of your renovation plans is to fix broadband at your NZ cottage :).

I am completely in agreement with your sentiments. You know, when I was making the dolls, I was thinking no wealthy woman would walk out all by herself pushing a pram during those days. There would be a nanny doing everything for her baby, another servant to carry all her shopping, a chauffeur etc etc. Quite an entourage. Likewise, the relationship between the child and the mother will not be as immediate or direct as say between a less well off family.

I remember when I was in Vietnam, I saw a mother with a infant child begging for food. The shop we were eating gave her a plastic bag of rice with some veg. She took a mouthful, chewed the food and then fed her baby mouth to mouth. I was very affected by what I saw (wondering about the hygiene etc), came home and told my mum. She told me that this was very common during her time (mum came from very very humble beginnings). When you have no money to buy milk powder, this is how you feed your baby with adult food. You chew till the food is soft so that it is easy for baby to swallow.

Love is always the answer.That baby with the poor mum could very well be my ancestors.

Sans said...

Katie, thank you very much :). This year started very productively for me :) in many ways, including mini making. Inspired by so many of you and over the last year, I have honed a few skills like patience, more research and a less compromising attitude toward standards. It's working out pretty well, I think :).

Liberty Biberty said...

Meli's baby clothes are just beautiful!
Love that baby peeking out of it's 'sling carriage'. I'm sure both babies are as happy as each other with mothers that love them.

Lize said...

That Vintage Perambulator is an ARTWORK! And to imagine that those ladies all started off with the same humble beginnings. Can I come for a makeover too, please Sans, I promise to stand very still while you blue-tack and scotch guard me!

Very sweet philosophical post!

In some areas in Africa they also feed their babies by mouth in that in-between faze of nursing and eating. Their babies are usually strong and healthy, not prone to be sick.

Lize said...

.Oh yes, Coming back to my makeover..and I am also not keen about my head being 'amputated', even if I look better after.

By the way, you have to wait patiently... if you were wondering why I am so quiet, I am doing reports... this will take me another 2 weekends! No mini-ing for me now!

Norma said...

Not in Sydney, just having a few days break from the cottage renovation, staying with friends who actually have internet! YAY! If we were to move back to the cottage we would certainly get broadband connection, but not worth it for vacations. Couldn't resist a quick look at what you'd been doing and it was ceertainly worth it! Will catch up properly soon :)

Sans said...

Aren't they the cutest, Mercedes? I have to confess , in order for the "Made In China" doll to fit her clothes, I sawed off a part of the baby's head ! LOL. Ok, it's only the ribbon off her bonnet (you can see the tell tale signs from the baby picture (the white part). See also all the blu tac on the other But can you imagine sawing off part of a baby's head ? Finally, though, I have learnt to saw and I am loving it. More heads will roll from now on!

Sans said...

Speaking of heads rolling, Lize! I am very excited at the prospect of making you over! An Arabic Caucasian concubine! If I cannot saw your head, how about your legs? I want them to be bent into a lotus position but permanently on your knees, unless you can already do that? *giggles

I love that you like my pram. That took me many attempts. It is not easy converting metal to wicker. Firstly, I could not get the shade of brown right (too scared to mix yellow). I kept staring at the wicker baskets in my house. When I got the colour, the pram just looked like it was painted brown, not "wicker" like. I think it was the final stroke that did it. I used a very badly bruised brush that paint tiny thin stripes per bristle and just brush a darker shade of brown over the whole pram. That's when the "wood grains" surface. I really hope the pram has lost the metallic feel except for the brass/iron parts.

TreeFeathers said...

Interesting post, Sans, really need to see the contrasting lifestyles. I also love seeing how you made two similar dolls look so different!

- Grace

Sans said...

O yes, Lize, forgot to ask you how you know I have been stalking your mini blog? I also follow your photo journal ("Disconnected" was a little obscure . Tell me please?) I love your pictures as you know, but can't wait till you get your minis going again :).

rosanna said...

Cannot believe you are sawing heads off... About the choice: I'm ashamed to say that I daily thank my luck since I was born in the easiest emisphere. I'm ashamed because I know there is nothing to do with my abilities but only sheer luck. I thank that I've never had problems in feeding and ubringing my son and I feel somewhat guilty about it knowing tht it's not the same for everyone. I shall not say that I'd rather be the poor mother, I guess that I could not stand the sight of my hungry kids. I do not need to be rich (I'm not) but definitely I'm happy about having what my family needs . Hugs Rosanna
PS you have done a great work !

Lize said...

I can do a near perfect lotus, so please let my legs stay where they are unless you can make them loooonger?

I could not make my mind up about the title: 'hungry campers'? No, 'starving moths"? No, well after many "NO"'s I noticed that everybody seemed to be looking in a different way (I would not normally post people photos, but I like the composition and light moving out from the light source etc) and how the darkness seemed to disconnect them all, even me, who was standing in the complete darkness, some distance away (i only wish I had my tripod why is it never there when I need it??) But besides that, no strange meaning.

I miss minis too... I am becoming resentful of any other responsibilities I have!!!

Sans said...

Thanks for popping by, Grace :). I have 100 over dolls to makeover. I first bought them at 3 for S$10 but the price kept dropping! How can I resist? Now I just stop going to Little India so often :)

Sans said...

Rosanna, you always speak from the heart and I think you echo the thoughts of many people. For me, I am not sure about feeling guilty that I am in a better place than most. I do however feel very lucky and I try to remember that so that I don't grumble so much. I can be a real grouch.

There is always a blessing in disguise. If you are born poor, you learn how to be strong, independent and brave, young. My parents always have great stories to tell us about their childhood. I wonder what my nephews and nieces have to share when they grow up. I don't envy them their "good" lives.

rosanna said...

My dear, a blessing in disguise... well, that's what my pathologically optimisic nature might suggest to my brain. I always see the half full glass, or at least I try so, but anyway I'm happy that I had a great life with not too big renounces and that it's the same for Matteo.Also I think that even he , and your nephews and nieces too, will have some regrets and will talk about some hardness they had to endure when they'll grow up. Every age and every society have their thoughness and may be they'll regret of not being allowed to play in the street or no being as free as they grown ups were.May be they'll reproach us for being overconscious on their behalf...who knows. Let's wait and see :o))

Ara said...

What a deep and thought-provoking theory seen in miniature.... I would never change who my mother and father were even though we weren't the wealthiest family in town. I love my family and your post made me thankful for them! I love the details you put into each mother to tell the full story of each one. And I really love the story of being caught sawing the head off of a doll - haha! hugs, ara

Snowfern said...

I am so tickled by "cut and blu-tac job" XD like you, i am loathe to pin things down permanently. i like some flexibility with my minis :)

as i read through the post, i realised i was feeling sadder and sadder. ionos why cos i get what you mean yet... :( and good job with the sawing, Dr Frankenstein!


Pubdoll said...

This post was really food for thoughts Sans! Like Rosanna I often think how lucky I am to be born where I am, not only because I live in a wealthy country with a good social system, but also because I was born in a time where I've been given the chance to study and get the job I want even though I'm a woman. It's not so long ago, even here, that it wouldn't be a matter of course. Both my mother and grandmother is/was very intelligent women, but neither of them got an education, mostly because they were women. But my mother began studying as an adult, at the same time I did.
But in the end the most important thing is to have loving parents!

On a less serious note, you have done a splendid job on those women. The paintjob is great on both of them and especially the rich womans dress. I love the part of her dress that covers the cut off neck! And too funny with all the headrolling! :-) I have cut of some feet recently of one of my stand-in dolls to fit some Polly Pocket boots, but I don't think I could have cut off part of a baby's head! :-) But it's very cute in his/hers sling carriage!

Love the transformation of the vintage perambulator too, like Lize said, it's a work of art and it really looks like wicker!

Tallulah Belle said...

I have to say Susan, this is one of my favorite posts.

First, the pram is did a really good job on that.

What I love is the contrast of the 2 mothers...definitely food for thought.

I was lucky in my upbringing ....although I had a wealthy father he never bought the money into the house for us or my Mother so we lived a life of semi poverty in a flash least the house appeared flash from the was all pretense.

But, even though we ate simply and never had much, I had a roof over my head, food on the table and a mother who would go to any length to keep us well fed and happy and shelter us from what my dad was like.

Wow..I didn't really mean to go into all of that but your post got me thinking. It may have appeared I was from the wealthy family but in reality once the door was closed it was nothing like that.

I actually think I preferred it this way...I have grown up independent and appreciate what I have and am always aware that there are people who are much much worse off....and those I help as much as I am able to.

food for thought indeed xxx

Sans said...

Norma, if you are still reading this, I just saw that I typed "Notma" in my reply to you. Sorry, dear! Must be my subconscious playing tricks again :).

By the way, I have missed your visits and it was really nice to see you making the 1st comment on this post. And such a thoughtful one too :).

Sans said...

Lize! You can do a lotus? Not me even 20 years ago :). Have you tried "sitting" or "standing" on your knees after folding your legs into a lotus? haha!

I just re-read your comment on the African mothers which is really fascinating. I did a bit of reading up and saw that pre-chewing food for infant was in fact a traditional way of feeding infants in certain culture-like Laos/ Thailand as they feed glutinous rice to their babies after weaning their babies off breast milk. Like breast feeding, I can see now what you mean when you say babies fed this way may be stronger (provided the mother is healthy herself) and more resistant to diseases etc. Wow, another blessing in disguise :).

After your explanation on "Disconnected" , I did see your photo under a different light now :). Yes, I felt like I was there too overwhelmed by the darkness, unable to connect. :) I make a very bad art critic. lol

Sans said...

Rosanna, re: your 2nd comment: Haha! Well said! I am trying to now remember when I was growing up, how evil was I? It is easy to always blame someone else for your problems. Which better targets than your parents ? Or even teachers ? The art of bringing up children will always be a mystery to me. I used to think all you can do is to show that you love them. I am sure to many of you mothers, it is not so simple at all!

There is something I find really wondrous and mysterious also. How is it that young children just can sense if you truly love them or not? It's like they have some sort of 6th sense.

Sans said...

Ara, thank you for the heartfelt comment. There can be nothing more gratifying than knowing someone is celebrating their living with gratitude after reading my post. I am sure you are already thankful (even before my post) because I know from your blogs that your relationship with your family, even in-laws :) is pretty amazing! But it's nice to know that my little posts serve as a gentle reminder. ;). You have cheered me loads :)

Sans said...

Cindy, :), I was a little pensive throughout the process as well. Maybe that's why I sawed the rich woman's head instead of the poor! After I wrote my reply comment to Norma about the Vietnamese mother, I got even more down and was cursing my minis. lol!

Not surprisingly, its the comments on the posts that really cheered me up and made me love my hobby even more now.

There was Norma's comment about love, then Lize's comment about how pre-chewing food may make your babies stronger. And of course all the others about being thankful! One fine day, I will tell you about my ancestors. Some people may think I have a rather shameful past although I thought they were quite "interesting" :).

Don't be down :). Scared you'll never visit again :).

Snowfern said...

NO LAH! your blog brightens up my day ^ ^ i can tell you too, try to avoid the negativity in life, there's so much around that really, it seems pointless to keep adding to it, yea?

failing that, we can always blame it on our monthly mood swings WAH HA HA!

i'm your stalker ley. how can i never visit again? maybe i'll visit without you realising so...*cue creepy twilight zone music*

Meli said...

Your stories are so amazing Sans!!!
The work you made with the mothers and the prams is just outstanding!!
I specially like how you painted the andalucian mothers using the bright colors that here in the South of Spain is our preference.
I'm glad you like the little clothings!!
Warm regards,

Sans said...

My dearest Helene, I had to take a moment before I reply to your comment because it really touches me in ways you cannot imagine. You see, more than anything else in the world, my mum had wanted an education but the family she was given to, could not or would not let her even when the school she sneaked to whenever she could, wanted to teach her for free! Sighh...that's why she made herself 2 promises when she married my dad. To have as many children as it is divined (she's a Buddhist) and never give them away and to put us through schools, no matter how hard it is, for as long as we can and want to... Love and blessings.

Thank you too for your encouraging words. I think you know they mean the world to me :).

Sans said...

Jayne, thank you, thank you, thank you for everything you have said. Would you believe when I finished the post, I thought it a little hmmm, how shall I put it, melodramatic? lol As you may be able to tell by now, I seek comfort in comedy. Laughter is the best medicine and I do hate long drawn out weepy tales!

I nearly didn't want to add the last sentence. But I am glad now that I did. I sure shared a lot more about my life than I have anywhere else in this blog, I think. Thank you for sharing a little of yours! I can see now where that strength and the constant strive for perfection comes from.

May I now give all our mothers a 20 year standing ovation for being the great women that they are!

I am liking my post very much at the moment :) thanks to you Jayne:)

Sans said...

Meli! You are here :):):). My muse for everything I have done for this 2 mothers and babies :). Thank you. But sorry Mam, I don't like your little clothings .. I LOVE them! I LOVE them for your perfect little stitches (I am really very amazed at how they are, well, perfect) and I LOVE them for the inspiration they brought me. Thank you for noticing that I used the colours I found to be quite the traditional ones where you come from :):).

Sans said...

Cindy, can I tell you a secret?

You never fail to make me laugh out loud and sometimes I even giggle for a full 5 minutes! Whether it be on your blog or mine! :) So yes, come and be sure to feed me my dose of medicine regularly.

Eva said...

Good question my dear!
First of all because you are the owner of one of the tiny treasures that Meli does ;)cHer mini clothes are just perfect.
I love how you paint yours mums and how you change the perambulator (better now, for sure.
I am not sure to know the answer to your question...I can only think in my mum, that always loves me (when I do things right and we I do it bad), that always tell me the truth, that protected me. But it is true that we are lucky because I studied, I have a lot of things....
I think that I prefer love to wealth but now I am a mum and I want a lot of "materials" things to my kid...I am being as honest as I can. Am I materialist?

Sans said...

Hey Eva :) Thanks! If every mother who wants things for their children is a materialist, then what do you call people who marry for money ? :):)

I know I shouldn't spoil the little ones but it is sooooooooooooo hard :). Worse, when it comes to miniatures and dollhouses, I just buy buy buy. I have been accused of being materialistic too many times. At the end of the day, I think, ahhh, as long as it is my own money, I do what I want! So there! :)

dale said...

Wow! I'm just in amazement, between the post, the beautiful pictures of your lovely creations and then all of the comments.

The only thing children need is their mother's love. If they have that, they indeed have everything.

Sans said...

Dale, I am with you 1000%.

Gemma said...

Very beautiful mothers all. Best wishes

Sans said...

Thank you, Gemma :)

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