Alice…I’m late, I’m late!
Height: 48cm (1/3 scale to 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 she sees the white rabbit for the 1st time as he disappears down the rabbit hole stating, “I’m late, I’m late!”
In the story, at this point in Alice’s adventure, she is the height of an ordinary girl around 1.44cm at the age of 12, so taking her largest size and her smallest size, as stated in the book, 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 white plush. 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 as a consequence 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’ which is covered by a ‘skin’, thus permitting Alice to stand up, sit down and bend like a human girl. I gave Alice thumbs, eyelids with eye lashes, and blond wavy hair, which also refers to a more human charactisetics. I also wanted to keep some of the traditional Teddy Bear elements, which I achieved by using round Teddy Bear ears and eyes, an embroidered nose, mouth and nails, and one traditional Teddy Bear joint at the neck. I set the 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 the white rabbit and his disappearance, I chose a navy blue cotton fabric with white printed rabbits running freely all over the fabric, for the dress and head band. The dress has puffed sleeves, a wide slash neckline, a nipped in waist and a full knee length skirt, as well a details such as banding in a navy velvet ribbon at the sleeve, waist and hem. The dress closes with heart shaped buttons, fastening at the back. The skirt is supported and given volume by a white under skirt, which is made in a cotton mix fabric as is the white chemise which is buttoned up the front with heart buttons. Over the dress is a linen frock apron which buttons at the back around the neck and is tied at the waist. The apron has two patch pockets which a white rabbit has popped out of one pocket and is running head long for the other pocket. Having reached the second pocket he jumps in as if disappearing down the rabbit hole! The rabbit that pops up out of one pocket has his pocket watch chain in his hand whilst Alice hold the pocket watch itself in her hand referring to the famous line in the story, “I’m late, I’m late. This appliquéd rabbit detail is a direct reference to the white rabbit in the story.
Alice’s waring black doll shoes that fasten around the ankle with a strap.