…And then there are projects you keep around for years and years and years, because you don’t understand them, but they just compel you for some reason anyway…
So, once upon a time, I sculpted a monkey head from Sculpey. I’m not sure why. It’s just what came out. But I saw her VERY CLEARLY in my head. Shriveled, sort of like a baked apple. Gnarled hands. I saw her in derby gear, for some reason. I wasn’t exactly sure where she came from or what she was doing…but she was there, annoying me, and I just needed to get her out.
I sculpted her head, and got it exactly the way I wanted it, first try. And then it sat there for years. And years. And YEARS.
It sat there for so long because I just wasn’t sure what to DO with her. So about 3 years after I sculpted her, I decided to give it another go. I sculpted her gnarled little hands. I wanted them to be ape-like, and wearing roller derby gloves, because, hey–that was what she looked like in my brain.
A little acrylic paint really added some creep factor into the face & hands…
So now what? The best I could figure was that I’d make her like a stuffed animal. This was well before I had done any research on how to meld Sculpey with fabric, so I did the best I could. I made doll arms and attached them with thread through the loops in the wrists and up near the armpit, then secured the edges with fabric glue. I wanted the hands to look “wrapped,” so eventually I figure I might wrap & glue the hands to cover the seam. But honestly, who knows?
I had gotten some doll skates years ago, when the idea first nagged me, and I attached them to her doll feet. I attached her limbs to a simple hairy monkey doll body I made. In my head, I had hoped to maybe paint tattoos all over her arms and legs…
In any case, she sat there for a while longer in this phase, just looking all mournful. Probably mad at me for creating her in the first place without a solid plan. But hey, monkey girl–that’s sometimes how it goes, okay?
From time to time, Myla would pick her up and ask me if I was done with her. “No,” I’d say. “I’m not sure WHAT I’m doing with her yet.” I told her she kind of creeped me out, to which Myla replied, “I think she’s a CUTE creepy monkey girl. But she needs some hair.”
In my mind, she has dreadlocks. Gnarly, dirty, dusty, stick-covered dreadlocks. With leaves and twigs and stuff stuck in them. I follow a dollmaker on Instagram who uses wig hair from salon shops, but that idea with this monkey girl creeped me out more than even I could stomach. So I went with this tattered yarn. Which, unfortunately, is cotton candy pink…but maybe one day I will dye it dark brown. Or maybe she’s a natural pink, who knows. (Myla votes to keep it pink).
I sculpted her little helmet so that it slips on and off quite easily, and stay on fairly well. It needs little stickers or doodles or something all over it, just like a REAL derby monkey ape-girl thing…
And here she is at this stage. And she’s sad. And sort of pitiful, because most likely, she’ll lie her for a very very VERY long time. Unfinished and uncertain. And I think she knows it.
So there you go. The nightmare monkey girl that has haunted me for years. Maybe if I pass her image on, she’ll stop haunting me, and tell me how to finish her. She’s like a little monster in the corner you forget about until suddenly she catches your eye, and gives you the shivers. Myla still thinks she’s “cute.”
But for all of you out there who will now be haunted by the Nightmare Monkey Girl: YOU’RE WELCOME.