Height 85cm (third scale to the height as stated in the book)
Taking the original story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland written by Lewis Carrol and the corresponding illustrations by John Tenniel, published in 1865, as an inspiration I decided to create several versions of Alice as her circumstances change in her passage through Wonderland.
This version depicts Alice at the time when having realised that she had forgotten to pick up the key, she left on the table, after drinking the potion in the bottle that shrank her, (Drink Me, Alice). Alice finds a cake with the words “Eat Me” written on it and takes a nibble of the cake which increase her size (Eat Me, Alice) so that she can retrieve the key from the table to open the door to the garden.
In the story, at this point in Alice’s adventure, the book states that Alice grows (opens up like a telescope) to 9ft tall, so taking her largest size and her smallest size I decided to make the different versions of Alice to scale, using 1/3 scale. This would then give an accurate impression between the different versions of Alice as she changes, communicating the large differences in her size. I thought that this would be the best way to describe these changes in a sculptural format.
Alice is made in Steiff Schulte Viscose in a pale peach/pink shade with her stockinged legs being made in a sort pile Steiff Schulte plush fur in ivory white. As Alice is a girl in the story and I create bears and other animals I wanted to design a feminine girl bear that had human characteristics. I wanted Alice to move like a human girl and not like a teddy bear, I did some research and after a months trial and error, I created a completely different design approach to movement and therefore the silhouette of a traditional Teddy Bear. With the only traditional joint being at Alice’s neck to attach the head to the body. I made a ‘skellington’ with is covered by a ‘skin’, thus permitting Alice to stand up, sit down and bend like a human girl. Alice also has thumbs, eyelids with eye lashes, and blond wavy hair, which is more human charactisetics. I also wanted to keep some of the traditional Teddy Bear elements, which I achieved by using round Teddy Bear ears, eyes, an embroidered nose, mouth and nails, and one Teddy Bear joint at the neck. I set the German glass eyes on the surface of the fabric instead of sinking them into the fabric as I have done with other soft sculptures.
This creation is an amalgamation of two concepts, a Teddy Bear and a girl, which I found an exiting challenge.
Using John Tenniel’s, illustrations and research into Victorian girls clothing and shoes I designed a pattern for Alice clothing.
I decided due to Disney depiction of Alice, blond hair, blue dress, white apron and black shoes being so ingrained into our imaginations to keep the colours that make Alice recognisable, blond, blue, black and white. At first I thought that this was limiting, but having thought of these limitations as a colour code to describe Alice I realised I could do anything I wanted! (The Alice that Lewis Carol use as his muse had dark hair with a fringe and is believed to have had a yellow dress with blue bands at the hem!)
I decided to be true to the historical designs of Victorian girls dresses dating to 1865 when the book was first publish and to use John Tenniel’s illustrations for the dresses shape and design.
As this version is related to Alice’s experience of “Opening up like a telescope,” and dramatically increasing in height, I had the idea that her head should be in the clouds, with her feet way down below on the ground. I wanted to make a dress that descended from the nights starry sky to the garden that Alice is trying, by eating the cake to get into.
Alice hair is made from Tibetan lambs wool and gives the impression of a wooly cloud which is tied by a ribbon Alice band.
I used tones of blue to express my idea or the dress… a very dark navy shear fabric for the chemise which has swarovski crystal stars that blend down from Alice’s shoulders onto the neck line and bodice of dress. The dress is made in three different fabrics to enable me to blend the dark navy at Alice shoulder of the star studded chemise down to the pale blue of the skirts hem, the garden to her feet. The dress bodice and sleeves are in a royal blue butterfly fabric. The butterflies on the fabric are flying around in the sky, the bodice is the air… the space in the middle of Alice’s body between head and foot and in the middle between heaven and earth., descending in the atmosphere there from the starry sky of the chemise to the garden skirts below, connecting them. I used the same royal blue butterfly fabric from the bodice to create half the depth of the underskirt, the other half of the underskirts depth being in a plain lupin blue silk, thus blending the colours in ever decreasing tones of pale blue. The skirt has a very pale blue shear overlay fabric which is embroidered with blue and white flowers. This shear fabric lightens the shades of blue undershirt’s fabric even further and as the fabric is shear you can see through to the royal blue butterfly fabric. This gives the impression that the butterflies are now also flying around amongst the garden flowers as well as the space between heaven and earth. The underskirt of the dress is lined in a white lining fabric and the dress is fastened up the back with clear dew drop like buttons. The dress has puffed sleeves, a wide slash neckline, a nipped in waist and a full knee length skirt. I decided not to make a frock apron for this version of Alice as it would cover too much of the dress and its details thus the idea from heaven to earth would be missed.
Alice’s waring black leather shoes that fasten like ballet shoes with ribbons.
Alice has in her hand the golden key to open the door that leads into the garden she has seen through a tiny door and in the one hand the “Eat Me” cake that she has taken a bite of to increase her size.