Sunday, January 2, 2011

with fantastic garlands

Over Christmas, inspired by the Arizona desert outside the back door, and by the news of Emily Martin's Paper Doll Primer, I decided to present the world with Great Works of Literature interpreted by a Barrel Cactus.

Click on these links for the images:

Page One

Page Two

You'll find the barrel cactus on page one, along with six of its fine costumes, all rendered in exquisite and extraordinary detail. There are five more costumes on page two. The images will be scaled down at first. Mouse over them and your cursor should turn into a magnifying glass. Magnify. Right click and save. Print. Colour them in if you like. Those oval fruits on top are yellow in real life, but suit yourself.

Cut out the cactus and glue it to cardboard so that it doesn't fall over. Cereal box cardboard is about right. You don't want the poor thing too thick otherwise the flaps will fail and the costumes fall off. Cactus nudity is not what we're going for here.

If you prefer, you might like to buy a roll of magnetic sheeting, and turn your cactus into a dressable fridge magnet. There are hobby shops that will sell you small quantities of this sheeting, but it's cheaper if you can find a supplier. Look in your Yellow Pages, or regional equivalent.

Then thrill, if you will, at the succulent's postmodern take on Lady Macbeth. Out, damned spot! Godot is, of course, imaginative, but we've taken our cues from the rest of the play and presented what we hope is a reasonable insight into the rôle.

The nature of the Ophelia costume might not be immediately apparent. It's a head-wreath of flowers. "There with fantastic garlands did she come." One flap should be hooked over the cactus between Fruit One and Fruit Two (I'm counting left to right) and the other left to rest against the side of the body below Fruit Three. Throwing the doll into a bath or, if you have one, a nearby brook, will make the performance more compelling.

Let me know if the links give you problems.


  1. Just wanted to say that I'm a great fan of these and I'm planning on getting them colored and printed out as soon as I get a better color cartridge for the printer and some glue sticks.

  2. I should add that without the help of Martin there I wouldn't have been able to get these dolls online. He was beyond price.