Let’s meet the girl behind the project I’ve been keeping secret. She’s my favorite corvid-human hybrid, Rookling. Her project happened simultaneously alongside Archie.
Rookling, her polychrome hair mushrooming around her face, thick lashes and extra lashes on top of that, the eyes of Liza Minnelli, and such aptitude, y’all…such aptitudes…such a mind for images and words.
I met her when we were 20 or 21 when we both frequented Anime conventions.
She was somewhere between here and here. I would have had short black chopped hair, making us quite the Liza Minelle cover duo.
It’s been at least 20 years. We kept in touch, although there were large gaps. We’ve seen and heard each other break open. There have been times when we fell prey to young insecurities, jealousy, and confusion…but we got through that. A series of crying exchanges and a few FaceTimes about 7-9 years ago bonded us back into what we are to each other today, so far away.
As did proper medications and self-knowledge.
Rookling has health problems that limit her body from doing what her dynamic spirit desires. I’m glad that the internet has expanded to the world it is today and is there for her to travel, research, find inspiration, and connect with others where she is and when she is able. Before? well, she would have found a way to hold salon discussions at her place somehow but this is easier.
You may actually know her, her social presence is that vast. We often find ourselves with mutual online friends who marvel that we go back to what the fussy-daddies call Real Life. That should have read Fuddy-Duddies but I’ll keep the auto correct.
It’s been haaaaaaaard keeping this doll a secret. Even secret groups I’m in for shouting these sorts of secrets in, she’s there. I whispered it to people in private messages when I needed a boost.
I found Barbie in a bin at a Hobby Off around Christmas. I wasn’t looking for a Barbie but there she was, in a baggie, with dark hair only slightly longer than Rookling’s was when we first met. She had boots and, goddamn it is fate, ROOTED LASHES.
I knew what I had to do. I had to make my girl an action figure.
This Barbie has some serious posing limits, her legs don’t really move, action figure is pushing it…but she had the look. I had to.
Rookling loves having blue hair above all colors. She’s always been unable to resist dolls with blue hair but I wasn’t about to learn re-rooting hair for my first Barbie repaint. I have limits. Besides, this was Rookling as she’d first imprinted on me.
First I cut her hair so it was a less severe bob and more like a, well, a fluffy head cap
I wrapped her body and hair in protective fabric and set to work with fixative and pigment.
I had no idea what I was doing. I made mistakes. I got frustrated. It’s not as clean as I’d like…but it is her. Her dimples, her makeup, and her dreamy eyes.
This was when I learned how fussy fashion doll clothing is.
I messaged Rookling asking what she’s wearing nowadays. Most of her photos of herself, and there are many, only show her face.
It’s a testament to the more random exchanges we have that she never asked me why I wanted this, she just told me she’s opting for soft and comfy. I guess she figured I wanted to update to my mental imaginings. As much as she posts lovely blue gowns and mod dresses she finds online, I wanted this doll to be the practical Rookling as she is.
I started with the sweatshirt. I didn’t have black sweatshirt material so I used what I had…grey material cut from my Wonder Woman /Hello Kitty crossover sweatshirt. I’d cropped it for teaching belly dance while also staying warm.
Then came those TINY DENIM JEANS.I now know that you can replace the needle plate on your machine for one with a smaller hole that won’t swallow delicate fabrics when you start stitching.
I’d had this fake fur (purple leopard print) laying around. I’ve had it for 8 or more years always knowing it would go into a project for Rookling. I made her a fake fur jacket she’d love and lined it with skeletons because I gotta be me.
I cut the grey boots she’d come with to a more combat boot length and primed, painted, and finished them.
I then sent it to her, with tracking, and obsessively followed its progress.when tracking alerted me it had arrived to her parents (who can better pick up missed deliveries than she can) I messaged her.
I THINK YOUR PARENTS HAVE IT.
She assured me they did and she’d get it the following day. I replied, “I’m not good with delayed gratification!”
And then she had it.
And there were tears.
” I cried! I’m in awe and…well, hit me up when you’re up and free! She’s perfect, perfect, beyond perfect, and her lipstick even exactly matches one I frequently wear and have since before we met, Revlon’s Blackberry. Her hair is exactly mine when you and I saw one another in the 90s. And those perfect jeans! To see what you said was so hard to do, and it’s for me?! I’m so moved. Oh, the boots! Her eye makeup. Dimples! Oh, I’m crying again about the beautiful, beautiful Rook doll! “
Tears on both sides. As I type, tears.
We haven’t always been the best friends we could be at all times but we’re trying… you know? And when we do it, when we are the friend the other deserves, it’s overwhelming, I tell you, overwhelming.
There will be pictures of her and the doll later but this, for now, is what I have to share.