Monday, 15 May 2017

The Happy Prince - by Claudia

Well, actually the short story "The Happy Prince" was written by Oscar Wilde, but my project for today is my interpretation of it.

Servus, hi and welcome to "my Monday" over here on the Calico Craft Parts Blog. :)

As you may find, Lesley and I both are into assemblage art using dolls heads and I always love seeing how differently we approach similar themes and objects to use with our art. So if you haven't seen her latest and very awesome Calico Craft Parts project I highly recommend you scroll down to the previous post to check it out. Two dolls heads - two totally different takes. We didn't plan this - but obviously we were down the same tracks at the same time.

But back to my happy prince!

When I was a kid we had an illustrated children's book of Oscar Wilde's short story and I remember I (almost) always teared up when my mom read the story to me. In the story the "Happy Prince" is an iron statue, all covered in gold and with a ruby on his sword and sapphires for his eyes. The place he stands in is reigned by poverty and despair, so he is very sad having to watch people being in misery. When a swallow (that was left behind by its flock on its way to Egypt) rests at his feet a teardrop from the prince's eye falls on him and the prince tells him about the poor people he has to watch everyday.

I was too young then to understand why the prince would be "happy" - he gave his ruby and then his sapphire eyes and all his gold so the swallow could help the poor. Without his sapphires he was blind. (I still remember the image of his gentle face with the empty eyes...which made me very sad - and obviously was the most impressive part of the story for me back then).

Then the swallow freezes to death because he is already too weak and it has already become too cold to continue his travel to Egypt. As the statue isn't beautiful anymore it is melted, but the prince's broken heart does not melt. An angel takes both - the dead swallow and the heart - to heaven and both live in God's paradise forever.

The idea for my interpretation of Oscar Wilde's story originated from browsing my collection of Frozen Charlottes and porcelain dolls heads while the middle size cube from the stacked ATB cube kit, the Ivy Leaf Garlands and the Art Deco ornament were on my desk - put aside some days ago for later use. I used the two other cubes from the stacked ATB cube kit on this project HERE and another one HERE.

I started with applying a thorough coat of Burnt Umber heavy body acrylic paint to the insides of the ATB cube and white DecoArt Acrylic Gesso to the dolls head.

Then I dry brushed more white Gesso onto the Ivy garlands and the Art Deco ornament.

The box was assembled using matte DecoArt Decou-Page and then painted with "muted gold" DecoArt Americana Satin multi-surface paint. 

The dolls head was sprayed with Carbon Black DecoArt media Mister on the inside and some of the paint that seeped through the eyes and mouth was used to paint the face too.

I applied DecoArt media clear Crackle Glaze to the outsides of the box using a palette knife and let it air dry. 

I added a wash of "muted gold" to the ornament and the garlands and once that was dry added a thin coat of clear Crackle Glaze too. 

Using my palette knife again I loosely spread some DecoArt media "Gold" fluid acrylic paint to the dolls head making sure I left some of the black paint visible (as the prince gives the gold leaf he is covered with bit by bit to the poor too).

I used Carbon Black DecoArt media Antiquing Cream to tone down the leaf garlands, the ornament and the box. I applied a thin coat of the Antiquing Cream (a few drops will go a long way!) to the parts, let it dry and then wiped it back with a damp soft cloth until I was content with the look.

With my fingertip I added some dabs of "Gold Rush" DecoArt Metallic Lustre to the box and the other Calico Craft Parts.

The "sapphire" was glued behind the eye's opening using matte Decou-Page. Once that was dry the dolls head was glued in place using my hot glue gun and the other pieces were fixed to the box with more matte Decou-Page.

The swallow was snipped off the gorgeous 
   and painted with Carbon Black Antiquing Cream, white Gesso and "muted gold" Satin acrylic paint. Then I fixed it to the top of the Art Deco ornament using the hot glue gun again. I also used hot glue to fix the sapphire the swallow is bringing to poor people. 

Et voilá!

Thank you for stopping by today and for reading this far! I hope you like my interpretation of "The Happy Prince"! For those who are interested you can find the whole story HERE.

Hope to see you again soon!

Hugs and happy crafting!


  1. What a beautiful project inspired by such a moving and lyrical story. I too found it very affecting as a child. I love how you used the faux sapphires. The Songbirds on Spring branches is one of my favourite Calico parts because it is so adaptable and so full of life. Both you and Lesley have given us lots of creative inspiration this month - both so original.xx

    1. Aw! Thank you so much, Julie Ann! Mwah! XXX

  2. I LOVE this!!!! It is stunning and the story behind it makes it all the better.

  3. Fabulous piece Claudia. Love the colour of the head and the eye . Love your attention to detail and the bird on the top is fab . Love both yours and Lesley's. Tracy x

    1. So happy that you like both our assemblage pieces, Tracy! :) Thanks for the kind words! Hugs! xxx

  4. Eine wunderschönen Inspiration brilliant in Szene gesetzt, der antike Charme kommt durch die goldene Textur besonders gut zur Geltung, vom Kunstmärchen zum Kunstobjekt! Fabulous!! LG Kerstin xx

    1. Danke, liebe Kerstin! Dein schönes Lob bedeutet mir sehr viel!
      Bussi! xxx

  5. I have never read that story Claudia so it was wonderful to hear about it here and how it made you feel. What an incredible tribute to the story you have created. Doll heads are rather freaky to me but you have really made this one very SPECIAL - not scary or weird - because of the way you told your story. I really feel safe and happy seeing your "prince"! He is quite AMAZING. Xj.

    1. It makes me so happy to hear that I obviously succeeded in making this doll head a "non-freaky" one! I was quite unsure if it was possible to make a "Happy Prince" using a doll head - the more I am happy about your wonderful comment! Thank you so much! Hugs! xxx