Alice…Curiouser & Curiouser!
Height 65cm, when standing (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 after she has drank the potion, which makes her shrink but forgets the key. Then she eats the cake to increase her size so that she can retrieve the key to open the door to the garden but then realises thats she become to big and will not fit through the door and remarks “Curiouser & curiouser,” having grown so large. She is completely muddled at this point in the story and forgets who she is? Becoming increasingly confused and flustered she begins to cry (Alice has tears falling down her face in this version) and tells herself off for doing so. At this point the white rabbit enters and on seeing Alice he drops the fan and white gloves he is holding and hurries away. Alice subconsciously picks up the fan and begins to fan herself, with the result of shrinking her size, it it at this stage when she starts to shrink that I have depicted her.
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 plush in 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 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 as this is also a traditional teddy bear method of placing the eyes.
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 & a red 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.
Alice hair is made from Tibetan lambs wool and is held in place by an Alice band, in a blue stripy taffeta with a plain blue silk bow, which matches the sleeve cuffs.
The dress is fully lined & made in different fabrics, for the dress bodice, sleeves and outer skirt a pale blue wth a deeper blue, white a silvery stripy taffeta, plain blue silk cuffs, a blue/green sheer under skirt with an ivory white lining skirt. There is a two shaded blue, white and green braid detail around the dress hem, the sleeve cuffs and the waist of the dress. Alice also has a white chemise and a white linen pinafore as depicted in John Tenneil’s illustration.
Alice’s waring black satin shoes, which I have made and have a paw print detail on the heel and fasten like ballet shoes with ribbons. I thought this an amusing detail whilst Alice is warring shoes she can still leave paw prints as her foot steps!
Alice is sold with a white lace fan which has forget-me-not flower details as at in this part of the story she really is not sure who she is?