Thursday, 31 January 2013

Email News from the MakieLabs team!!

Well well, looks like the MakieLab Team have finally come up with the goods and found a way to  add a choice of colours which they've now added alongside the original white version (now renamed "Ice Frosting" ) which you can chose to have added as a "blush" on your doll.

The three new colours are "Strawberry Milk" - a pale pink / flesh tone, "Cocoa Bean" - self explanatory! and  "Pale Pistachio" - a well I'm too not sure how to describe it, MakieLabs call it "a Supernatural Shade" but in terms of actually naming the colour, well in some pictures it looks light grey, but in others a kind of yellowish green with a hint of grey, so yeah I guess "Supernatural" is probably the best word for it!

Here's the preview I had earlier when I opened up the email: Email - 30th January 2013

The link in the email took me to this page on the MakieLabs Website, with these pictures, (I've had to take a few screenshots as I couldn't fit it all in), which give a much better idea of the likely shades on offer at this present time - oddly the "Pale Pistachio" looks like a beige or tan colour in these photos....
Left to right: "Strawberry Milk", "Cocoa Bean" and "Pale Pistachio".
 Even odder "Pale Pistachio" looks more like the light Tan shade I achieved with Rit Dye in the above photos (see  my last Makie Post for reference), yet in the ones I found in the "Press Pack" have a more greenish hue, odd because its the same doll photographed throughout!

As you can see the back plate of  the "Cocoa Bean" variation is much darker than the "skin tone" of the rest of the body - this is due to the fact these dolls are not made in one solid piece as several of the body parts are removable for customisation and so these body parts are of  a different thickness to the non-removable parts, which are a lot thicker.

Being thicker the non removable parts are a lot less porous to the removable ones and so paint or dye will not be absorbed at the same rate or overall intensity (of finished product) than it is on removable parts such as the "back plates".

Under the section entitled "Hand Dyed?" (see picture below) they explain these differences with the following statements: "Simple nylon fabric dyes work to create beautiful new shades of Makie. On some of the darker shades the grain of the print is more pronounced, less so with the light shades." 

They go on to add: "There are variations in colour: darker in places, lighter in places. Like hand-finished clothing, each finish is unique to your one-of-a-kind Makie."

On the MakieLabs blog they say: "in a nutshell, you can now order Makies in three new shades in addition to classic white (which we’ve named Ice Frosting - yum!). We dip-dye Makies during the production process to create these colours – it’s a step between printing and finishing, which means that at the moment we can only blush new orders. However, we’ll be releasing the dye recipes shortly for folks who want to blush their Makies at home."

The following pictures I found in the "Press Pack" and have collaged them to make it easier to identify and choose between them in these close up pictures.

Top left to right: "Strawberry Milk, "Pale Pistachio".
Bottom left to right: "Ice Frosting" & "Cocoa  Bean".
The "Introduction post" gives some interesting details regarding the colour coverage and overall effect, which I'll quote for you here in case you didn't read it on the photos above or were just looking at the pictures...

One of the things I'm glad they addressed is the way the skin looks rough (for want of a better word) in the pictures of "Cocoa Bean", while in the lighter shaded dolls they have the appearance of having smooth skin, anyhoo, enough talking, here;s how they describe the doll's new skin tones:

Strawberry Milk - "Strawberry Milk is the sweetest, most delicious shade of all. It is chilled, and delicious. Just a blush of something special."

Pale Pistachio - "A big favourite at Makielab HQ, and a surprisingly flattering and subtle shade of Zombie. Or Elf.".

Ice Frosting - "Our first, porcelain-white Makie" -  "Ice Frosting will forever be an option, for those of you wanting the cooler, more ethereal Makie. Spookily smooth."

Cocoa Bean - "Like chocolate mixed with fresh cream and stirred with a warm wooden spoon. Cocoa Bean brings out the unique grain of your doll. Interesting, with woody undertones."

To add one of these new skin tones to your Makie Doll, you have to choose the colour option during the design process, here's my latest Makie "Pengelli" in the design stages, which each of the available "skin tones" so you can get an idea of how your doll would look depending on the colour chosen...  

Pengelli  with "Ice Frosting skin tone"

Pengelli with "Strawberry Milk skin tone"

Pengelli with "Pale Pistachio skin tone" - very "Ghoulia yelps"

Pengelli with "Cocoa Bean skin tone"

Once you've decided on your Makie's skin tone, sex and everything else, just give him or her a name,  optional character traits and then click the "Save Button" and you're Makie is now ready for you to either buy as a doll, use as an Avatar or keep and tweak until you've got him or her exactly as you want them to be.

It seems this is the week of announcements over at MakieLabs - lots of cool and exciting things have been happening, so I now have a couple more Makie related things to share with you, which I'll be posting over the next few days...

In the meantime, you can click this link: (Making Makies) and have a go at making your own Makie.


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!!