Damael is a commissioned cat-gryphon art doll with a highlight on tactility and articulation. Something I have been asking myself a lot lately is why I choose to sculpt the hands, feet and heads of my art dolls in hard polymer clay when there are so many materials out there at my disposal to make something look and FEEL as realistic as possible. And if it feels real, it should move realistically too.
Damael's front bird legs are a soft polyurethane rubber and have a wire armature running through them. They can be bent, the toes can be curled around sticks, your finger or manoeuvred for balance.
His back feet are sculpted clay that has been flocked, with soft pawpads attached and have a ball and socket attachment at the ankle so they have a 90 degree range of smooth, non-wearing movement. This is my first attempt with modifying my own ball and socket joints.
The rest of his body is a padded ball and socket construction with dense, soft fake fur that has been hand dyed. His tail feathers can also be spread open and folded, and his eyes are painted glass.
His wings are fully articulated, opening and closing like real bird wings. It's a mechanism that takes a long time to make and is very fiddly! It involves stripping the feathers off a real birds wing (in this case a jackdaw bought from a fishing tackle shop), drilling holes in several places, looping tiny rivets and hoops through them then reattaching them in exactly the right place to a wooden armature.
You can see a video of Damael being put through his paces here
And there are more photos here
I have been working on and prototyping parts for Damael since May, so this is the culmination of a LOT of work! There are parts that could be developed further (I don't think I'll ever be totally content with the wings I make) but as he is I'm thrilled.