One more thing about my drag doll


I suppose I should have said as part of my last post, how much I enjoyed making this doll, and how much, now she is finished, I love her.  I was telling my colleague, Patricia, about this at a dinner we were at last week and it struck me how difficult it is to say how much we love the things we make and how special our relationship with them can be.  It is almost unthinkable to tell someone, ‘yes, I did make and I’m really proud of it because I think it’s fantastic.  I think it’s beautifully designed, conceptualised and executed.  I am so glad that I made it because now I get to keep it and have it.  Lucky me.’  We just can’t say this.  At least I can’t.  We have to adopt modesty and self-effacement like we assume the drag the doll is made to explore.

But, I love this doll.  I love the cut of her coat and the excess of her underwear.  I love the cloth with the gesso over it and the way that it felt like high fashion which could be scaled up as I was making it.



And I love my own skill in being able to get the effects that I want.  I am surprised by the results because I do not plan that much in advance, but I know how to fit trousers and turn a lapel or fake a lapel if I want to.  We are not really supposed to take delight in this or celebrate our own handiness.  As children we are taught not to show off or become big-headed, but I want to record how great it feels when something you have made with your own hands turns out beautifully and surprises you with your own ability to make something that you love so much.  It is a rule of thumb that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become proficient at something.  I think that I have done my 10,000 hours and am ready to claim a bit of expertise and to be counter-cultural doing it!

5 thoughts on “One more thing about my drag doll

  1. And why shouldn’t we be able to express this? Is it the way we have been brought up? Will the current generation be any more able to do so?

    I wonder.

    1. I think it is – modesty and not being big-headed were two virtues both me and the Medieval Historian were brought up with. I am not sure if the next generation will be a lot better at it. I hope so. Joy in work seems very absent in general at the moment.

      Thanks for commenting.


  2. You are quite right to feel proud of this doll and, indeed, to love her. And I am glad that you feel able to say it out loud too! I wonder if a reticence to celebrate our achievements is more of a difficulty for women than men in our culture?

  3. That “modesty” we’ve been taught is often at odds with other things we need to do in life, like give the three-minute “elevator” speech stating why someone should hire us, etc. In this case I think your honest enthusiasm and affection for this doll enhances its appeal, if that makes sense. As the artist you’re setting the standard and helping bring the rest of us along.

    1. I think that’s very true – modesty can be very self-limiting. i had an interesting conversation last week about how the art is received and how I handle criticism. I handle it quite badly sometimes when it is the academic stuff but the art is completely different. I am much less bothered whether people like it or not. It is mine and my delight in it is enough – you must feel something like this with your beautiful garden.

      Thanks for commenting

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