Marcia Dundore Wolter, created a “marionette” doll for Los Angeles filmmaker Michelle Steffes. Michelle e-mailed Marcia about the project in December 2005. She stated that she needed a doll to be created that looked like the actor in her upcoming movie, “Driftwood”. She had found Marcia’s web-site and liked the look of her dolls.
The heart warming movie by Michelle is a takeoff on the Pinocchio/Geppetto story. The marionette doll magically becomes actor Adam Van Conant in the movie. Marcia was asked to create a younger (boy) version of the adult actor. She used her computer to age-regress pictures of Adam to use while sculpting the doll.
Marcia Dundore Wolter, a polymer and porcelain doll artist, created the doll head from polymer clay, that had been combined to look like wood. She cut slices of wood colored clay in varying widths and patted them together into a cake of striped clay. Marcia then cranked slices of the striped clay through a pasta maker to create the wood grain look. A thin “skin” of “woodgrain” clay was then smoothed onto the completed sculpture of the young Adam.
The head, attached to the wooden torso with an elastic cord, is completelymoveable. The wooden arms and legs were hinged together to create the floppy marionette look. The head, hands and feet are exaggerated in size to create a more whimsical look.
After spending hours carving, shaping and sanding the body parts, Marcia says she has a whole new appreciation for woodworkers and carvers.
Marcia worked with costume designer Ashley Rhodes to create an outfit on the doll that matched the outfit on the actor. She said the hard part was finding wool tweed for the slacks in the middle of June.
The shoes were also a challenge. After searching the internet for several hours looking for a pair of child’s spectator shoes, Marcia gave up and used polymer clay to create the shoes to match those worn by the actor.
Adam takes a snack break with his look-a-like marionette during the filming of "Driftwood" at the American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women.
Filming of the movie short, “Driftwood”, was completed during the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women in July 2006. Steffes was one of eight women accepted for this prestigious workshop. The Premier of the movie was held Thursday May 3, 2007, in Los Angeles. Marcia and her husband, Ralph, attended the premier at the American Film Institute in the Mark Goodson Theatre.