“There is a willow grows askant the brook…” – Hamlet
I spent my free time this week putting the finishing touches on my new Ophelia art doll, and she is finally finished! The character of Ophelia is one who is really close to my heart – I love her character in Hamlet and really identified with her as a teenager. I decided to create my Ophelia art doll covered in flowers and in the act of drowning in the brook – her one moment of freedom and independent action.
Ophelia’s cloth body is handstitched and covered in Paperclay, and painted with watercolors. I spent a long day knotting her blonde mohair wig, for which I used a sock as the wig cap. Ophelia wears a watercolor blue silk slip with silver embroidery threads sewn into it, intended to mimic water in sunlight. Her over-dress is sewn from emerald green floral damask silk, something a young girl of medieval Denmark might not have actually had access to, but the colors were so lovely I just couldn’t resist.
The Drowned Girl
My art doll is intended to represent the moment in Hamlet of Ophelia’s drowning in the brook: “There is a willow grows askant the brook (and) therewith fantastic garlands she did make, of crowflowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples… There on the pendant boughs her crownet weeds clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke, when down her weedy trophies and herself fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide, and mermaid like awhile they bore her up, which time she chanted snatches of old lauds, as one incapable of her own distress, or like a creature native and endued of that element.”
Therefore, I wrapped my Ophelia doll in garlands of fake flowers, weaving them into her hair and her clothes, and even creating her a sort of bier of flowers. I used white paint to give them highlights, so that they would look more realistic. Ophelia’s skirts are spread out around her, and she still wears a single beaded slipper, though the other has been lost to the waters.
Ophelia will be available for sale in my Etsy shop, or you can contact me here for more information.