Thursday, 31 January 2013

My First Re-Root - a.k.a - "Brain Drain" - circa 2001 - 2002

Just thought I'd show you guys how I taught myself to "re-root" although at the time I didn't even know it was called that, or that people even did this to dolls - I just had an idea and thought I'd go with it and see if it was possible, and wow it was and it worked out so much better than I hoped it would!

Brain Drain started life (her Art-Life) in a box of dolls inside my local Air Ambulance Charity Shop, I needed some "victims" for some ideas I had and when I walked into that shop and saw a huge box of dolls (all kinds of dolls) I just had to buy them, but not before I asked "How much for the lot?"

It was definitely £5 well spend as I now had loads of "victims" to play with and inspire me... and inspire me they did!

As I was looking them over, I started wondering what a doll would look like with wire instead of hair, this may seem like one hell of a weird leap, but I had recently acquired a car full of computers and monitors that my college were throwing out after upgrading the computer rooms... I had to sign a waiver just in case I was planning to sell them and really had to go some to talk the incredulous looks off of the Technician's faces but as soon as I saw they were stripping that room and loading all the computers into a skip, I began to have ideas of what I could make out of them, and then I saw that box of dolls I just knew what I had to do and so the idea grew and grew until it got so all consuming I had no choice but to give my idea a try, and so I did, and Brain Drain was born!

She originally had a full head of blonde hair, but that had to go, so I grabbed my trusty "Stanley" and my scalpel, ripped her head off and set to work removing all the hair from inside her head.

It took hours to get every single piece out and I ended up cutting my fingers to ribbons in the process, but it was nothing on what came next!

I gutted 5 or so monitors and computer towers and keyboards and a stack of mice ( if that's the right word?) later that day, placing the wires in one box, the circuitry in another and any little bits, screws and other interesting looking other gubbins in another, and then it was time to set to work on the doll again...

After gathering as many different coloured bits of wire as I could and untwisting them from bundles etc. I now had to work out exactly how to get it in side her head, and not only that I had to work out a way to keep it in place once I had it where I wanted it.

As the her hair holes were certainly not large enough for even the thinnest wire I had to enlarge the holes or slice new ones into her head as I went along - more cut fingers!

I learnt that if i knotted each piece of wire after threading it through her head I could make it stay in place or a while at least, but of course due to the weight as I got closer to completion I realised I would need something that will hold the knots inside permanently, I found some Epoxy resin for sale in my local garage for repairing car bumpers, which seemed like the thing, but after trying this I discovered not only would it be expensive to finish her using it, but it just really wasn't practical, in the end I used a combination of I know not how much super glue and the epoxy resin  and what do you know, it's still in there all these years later... in fact as I discovered while styling it, that it is still in there fast!

She was then spray painted and mounted - using wires again - onto a wooden board, also spray painted. The corner pieces are circuitry from computer mouses mounted onto plyboard and then mounted again onto the wooden board on which the doll forms the central piece.
The board is itself mounted on baton and the metallic paint continues into this area also.

In her hand she holds a led bulb from inside a computer, she has a small circuitry chip inside her mouth and another complete with wires stuck to the side of her head, for some reason prior to my taking this photo earlier the ball joint in her right arm shifted so she no longer is lying prone with arms in "crucifixion" position as she has since I first raised this board on completion .. this wasn't intentional, her arms just fell into that pose, but to me it summed up all I wished to say and so for the last decade or so (until today) they have remained in that position... never mind though at present she looks as if she is reaching out with her right hand trying to communicate with the viewer - so this also works, and I can easily move her arm back once I finish this post and go back upstairs.

Over the years since making this art piece I have become more "internet savy" and discovered sometime in the early 2000's - instances where people had changed the hair of their dolls, using a method similar to my own - minus the wire that is!

I decided to give it a go myself, and over the last 8 years, have customised many dolls with new hair of various types and even wrote a "Lens" on Squidoo explaining the different types of hair that are available commercially and how to go about re-rooting a doll for anyone who requires this information.. of course it has been several years now since I wrote that "Lens" and as I am learning new things all the time, I should really get it together soon and update it with some of the new things I have learned and some more tricks and tips etc.

One last thing I just have to say, is that once you have re-rooted a doll's head using wires and a big knife any other kind of re-root is an absolute doddle!!

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