Cactus Gallery LA
VASILISA by artist Sam Crow
Sam chose the Russian folktale Vasilisa, because as a doll maker this story about Vasilisa and her magical, guardian doll has always had a place in her heart and imagination...
Vasilisa's doll gives advice and protects her, in return for small morsels of food. I'm convinced that my dolls also have a minds and intentions of their own, beyond the creators hand. As Sam creates, these minds and intentions grow, and take over the creative process, informing her hands, and creating themselves... Ensuring they become exactly who they want to be, regardless of any plans she had for them! This was the case with this doll too! Sam had a vulnerable lost girl in the woods with her doll in mind, in traditional Russian costume. However, she emerged as the Vasilisa who leaves Baba Yaga's house, stronger and fiercer, having survived her experience there, with an outfit inspired by tradional Russian costume, but influenced by Sam's childhood spent in Singapore, Germany and England! She definitely became who she wanted to be!
Vasilisa is created from the imagery the words in the story inspired in my mind... so Sam wanted her to look like she she is a 'living' embodiment of this... created with interwoven layers over layers of images and words...
Vasilisa is made from paper clay and canvas over a wire frame, hand painted with acrylic paint. She has crocheted shoes over felt boots, over cotton tights, under cotton bloomers and an underdress - both made from vintage cotton handkerchiefs, with hand embroidered details on the sleeves. Her dress is also hand embroidered all over with forest animals, mushrooms, trees and has a trim of hand embroidered skulls and words from the story.
Her apron is hand embroidered with a drawing Sam made of Baba Yaga's chicken leg house, and her short top dress is embroidered with skulls, like those surrounding the house. To depict the strong warrior she becomes-in Sam's mind- when she survives and leaves Baba Yaga's house, she is wearing a layer of metal body armour over the top of her clothes.
Her headpiece is made from a vintage handkerchief trimmed with metal, ribbon and shrink plastic images of Sam's Baba Yaga house surrounded by tiny clay skulls. Her magical doll whispers into her ear, urging her on her journey, protecting and aiding her. It is made from layers of cotton handkerchiefs over a wire frame.
The skull torch, with it's spine attached to the stick is made from paper clay over wood, and has a metal headpiece with a glass eye in its centre surrounded by tiny clay flowers and a mini skull. The doll stands on a base that is almost cloudlike- or like imagination waiting to create, with star details and more words from the story surrounding it and conjuring up the doll from the base upwards.
She measures approx. 16" tall (41 cm) by approx. 10" wide (25cm).