Tuesday, December 31, 2013

First doll completed for the new year

 Jerusha Felton Walker is finished. It seems it is taking longer to get the dolls finished, maybe I am getting more particular, but no, that isn't true, I have always been very dedicated to each doll to give them their due time and all my attention, so it must just be me, making mistakes that call for re-do's, changing my mind at some mid point, although, I have learned to ( not do this ) once a style or decision is made, stick to it, as changing things in mid stream usually ends in ( a doll that cannot be fixed, or if she or he can be fixed, it might cause me to put them back to the end of the line for a long time to re think things. Happily, Jerusha has not suffered this fate. She has been patient and now is rewarded with a full outfit of soft cotton unders, a full chemise slip, a lovely dress and bonnet of Civil War Reproduction red fabric and a special pair of Martha shoes. ( Cloth which is doubled, sewn together, painted with acrylics, several times, sanded and polished repeatedly and topped off with  fine black ribbon rosettes, ( thanks to Miss Fashion, I can make these now ) and a warm soft pair of black socks.) Little Miss Walker is ready to face the new year. I am ready to face it too. Armed with a full years's experience ( 1013 ) under my belt, the new year brings the promise of endless days of making as many beauties as I can.  There are some new dolls to make this year that I am very excited about, one is the Alabama babies, just can't wait to get one made. It still surprises me that something so beautiful and special can be made with just a few bits and pieces of cloth, glue, paint and some elbow grease. I took the opportunity to show off little Myrtle Mae Junior as well. She wanted to be in the picture too. She is a sweetie of 11 1/2" tall and deserves a minute or two in front of the camera ( as she says, she is just as grand as her bigger sister.) My new year wish for everyone is that you have and enjoy this new year. Do all you can to make yourself and those around you happy and if you do that, the time will pass, but oh what a wonderful time it will be.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

New Izannah Walker Reproduction Doll finished.

This little doll who is about 22" Tall and weighs 1 3/4 pounds is all finished and so I thought since she was one of the dolls who was made using the 3 step ageing method, I would show you how she finally turned out. I copied the antique doll Patience to make this doll, who I did not name. I will put the antique's picture up here so you can see the likeness. Making this doll has sparked  a desire to see how close I can come to re creating different Izannah dolls. I know that those of us who are making the Izannah dolls already do this, but for me, it is different. I would like to make some really true reproductions, just for the sake of seeing how close I can come to them. It's the challenge and the reward of having these dolls when I finish.  The new year should be fun and I am looking forward to making these reproductions, as well as the Alabama babies and a few other kinds of dolls. I am still working on the painted head rag dolls. I would like to step up to another level on these type dolls too. I think the most challenging thing on making reproductions is to go by the book ( so to speak ) doing what is right in front of you, not deviating, or ( falling off the wagon ) during the process, and going in another direction which is so easy to do. My respect and admiration for the master forger is tremendous, because of the discipline, focus, and attention to every detail that they adhere to when creating an exact copy of any object. Years ago when I was learning to paint, I read books, studied art courses, watched painting shows and followed along with TV artist, but my most important learning tool was by copying other paintings. If you want to learn how a thing is done, then set about to copy it, this will teach you by trial and error what works, what absolutely not to do and techniques to get the look of different images such as hair, clouds, realistic rocks, water, tear drops, glass, distance, perspective, and all this adds up to being able to make a copy of something or to make an original. So, off into the new year with a brain full of ideas and a plan to make some of Izannah's beauties all over again. Can't wait.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Good bye Josette

Josette is leaving me to travel to the Ozarks. She will have a lovely home, lots of attention and some new pretty clothes, actually she has sisters there already. I wish I could take a trip to the beautiful mountain country too, but I will just have to be happy to see the pictures others take and share. Today I had a wonderful surprise from Sherri Farley. She sent me a box of fabulous Christmas presents. Fine straw bonnets, three brown bag molds, a big bear, and two snowflakes. also some special linen paper to make the molds with. I am looking forward to that. In the box with all the other things, was Rufus, a small bear. I made some pictures of him so you can see how sweet , tiny and perfect he is. Not only did I get Rufus, but Sherri provided a beautiful chair for him. What a lovely and thoughtful thing for her to do for me. Thank you Sherri, I will always love Rufus and have fun with all the other presents. The straw hats will look wonderful on some of the other dolls, who otherwise would have to settle for one of my plain bonnets. The pictures of Josette are made with a flash camera and show some shadows and darkening of her skin, which isn't actually there. These pictures I made for myself to remember her by. Now,  I have to go and play with my new toy bear and hats, and molds, what a good time I am going to have with all these special things.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Looking at some old paintings and remembering the fun we had, Mama and me.

My husband told me he had some pictures of paintings on a disc that I didn't remember we had. I have a scrapbook with lots of pictures of paintings me and mama have painted over the years. We painted so many Noah's Arks, I don't know if I can remember them all. I think I'll go through the pictures we have and see if I can find them all. One of these pictures is the last painting of Noah's Ark I painted. We sell a few things on Café Press and this year, apparently this painting has been popular, as a tree ornament. One of my Christmas presents I am getting is a box of note cards of this particular painting. I have never ordered anything from them, but I wanted to see the product they send out, to see if the color and quality of the picture is as good as it should be. I gave this painting to my sister's oldest son and hope he will keep it to remember me by. A few of the other paintings are favorites as well. Painting pictures, is like making dolls in that each one is your favorite at the moment, but I have liked most all we did. I bought some of my mothers paintings to keep her from selling them all, as they are the sweetest memories of us working so hard, but having a good time too. Why did we paint what we painted and in the primitive style, it's hard to say, except I do love primitive things. I hope you enjoy looking at them.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Josette and Rag Sweeties

  Here is a picture of Josette. Who I have temporarily named after the true love of Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows. I remember the TV show when I was in school and Josette was a beautiful brunette who I never forgot. There is a little problem with her. Can you see it? If it doesn't draw your attention right away, I think in time you would see that her right eye is a little to far to the right. I think in Izannah's time, this would be one of those Judgement calls, unless the eye mold was not fixable but had to be painted in the wrong place, which I think happened in lots of her dolls. The mold set the eye in the face and there was not any where else to move it or correct it with a little paint. The molds were usually pretty deep in the eye sockets or protruded out a lot, so the eye had to go where the mold placed it, however, I can manipulate mine some. I can move it over a titch. I have in fact already moved it once. Because , to me she is so pretty and moving the eye is some trouble, I have been debating if I really need to do this, as all dolls have some flaws. Is this what you would call a flaw that is within acceptable limits? A lot of dolls have problems, and it has to be decided if the problem is there, but not so distracting to the doll to warrant a re-do. I have already made my decision. I will of course go back and move the eye over a little. I guess this is a flaw that does not fall with in those acceptable limits to me. Happily, I am satisfied with all her other pieces and parts. In this post, I included some pictures of  some rag dolls that have painted faces. Their painting is not finished, except in the case of the middle doll. I am through painting and now have to finish out the doll and clothes. The other two need more work, more stain, more styling and more touch-ups. These rag dolls are more work than previous dolls like this I made, as with their painted heads, this calls for a body suit, different hands and feet with stitching, and I hope a fine dress for each with a high collar. The hard part has been putting a face on. You can look at other photos, which I did, but ultimately, the face has to just develop, probably, in  a way you hadn't anticipated. this is the case in all three of these dolls. They have been fun though, and I have several more black ones to do, which I will have to stumble through to arrive at a good face on them.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Little Dolly's all done up.

Three little dolls finished and ready to go out into the world. I feel as though I have been working on these forever and then some. I finished another one too, but she didn't get in the photo shoot, because I messed up her shoes. She will get her chance to shine later on. I sure like the little ones, but so much work on them, and hard on the eyes. Well, time to change directions for a spell, and make some rag dolls. We are working on some painted face rag dolls, that I like a lot. they are easy going and I can change up their dresses some. I bought a book. American cloth dolls  which has lots of beautiful pictures and different dresses for rag dolls. I will try to make some of these. I'll have to kick start my brain again to get a new pattern for the high collar dresses. have fun everybody with your dolls, it's the most fun to do and I do learn something new with each new batch.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Izannah Waker Doll making Stage 3

  Well, here we are at Stage 3 already. Times flies when  you are having fun. Sometimes, like you, I'm sure, you get on a roll of good easy going doll making. Things seem to just fall into place and the paint goes on good, and no major problems come up. I've had pretty good luck lately and haven't had a major boo boo. Stage 2 is where we left off last time. Our dolls had been painted with one coat of oil paint and had been through the distressing operation and set aside to dry. There is a definite benefit for using oil paint, I can wait a day to two to begin to paint my dolls again after staining, or, I can immediately start painting on top of my stain, which I usually do, I think I waited one or two days this time to go into stage 3, which is to mix up my original paint colors again and sit down, and begin to apply a finishing coat on top of my stain. It is simple really. You will paint lightly  over the dolls skin with your flesh color, this leaves your distressing visible.  Your cracks and splits and picks will still show through. You don't want to go heavy, but lightly over all face and shoulders. You will want to come back and apply heavy paint in certain areas, like the middle of the fore head, across the nose and sides of the nose, around mouth , and chin area. I touch up the eyes and make small corrections, add a little darker paint around the nose and sides of the mouth. A lot of times while you are touching up your features, you might make a small change, say in the mouth area, that will greatly change the look of your doll. That is good, unless you like the mouth the way you had it, so be careful. usually these small corrections are for the good. Next I apply some blush to the cheeks. Mix up your color. I usually mix a little red, a little burnt sienna and a touch of brown. This gives a more old looking color to me. I use a bristle brush and lightly  and sparingly dab in onto the brush and very,  very lightly apply to cheeks. If you keep dabbing in on, the color with smooth out and you will loose the old paint loss look. I also work on the hair at  this point,  sprucing up the curls, or making a few changes to the hair line, and so forth.  Only experience will teach you these things.  Now you will let your dolls dry. When they are nice and dry, you can bring out your sand paper and ever so lightly sand a few spots of missing paint to the hair, not to much, and also really lightly sand the cheeks, taking off almost nothing, but showing some paint loss. This is what I call the Tweek Out.

 Out of time again. As your doll dries, you can relax and begin to pick out her fabric and style of dress. Hope I helped some, and I hope you will try this, as it's fun and works pretty good.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Izannah walker dolls, Stage 2 making them look old

This is a continuation of the previous post, where at stage 1 the dolls had been painted with one coat of oil paint and were drying, waiting for the next stage which I will call ( stage 2 ). This is where the original coat of paint has dried and we have gone on to the distressing and staining with our oil paint. This method is not for the faint of heart, but you have to have a good brave constitution, able to withstand the  brutal infliction that is visited on your sweet little dolly's. HaHa  I have heard many conversations that went like this: I want to add some ageing, but I'm afraid I will not like it, or I might not be able to fix my doll back to the original face she had, or I think dolls we make today should only be inspired dolls, not exact copies of any original antique dolls, or I really don't like the dolls that are in  the ragged state, but gently aged, or at some point in the future I might like to try to make an old looking doll, I could go on and on, but for those of you who really want to learn how to age your doll, I think this will help you. What has taken place on these three good little soldiers is this: I took my doll after one coat of oil paint that has dried, and I got out my super rough sand paper and turned it up on edge, making cutting vertical strokes down the fore head, and at various other places on the face, neck, hair, and shoulders, and the ears too. Now, unless you are the Hulk, you will not apply enough pressure to actually cut the fabric, but to abraise it. After this, you will then get out your ( secret weapons ),  mine is my trusty dental pick. Start from the top of fore head and gently, I did say gently, start picking at the face. it will pull out the fabric and make small picks that will later pick up and absorb the stain, so it will make a fabulous faux tear or rip in the cloth. Once again I warn you, if you are Hercules, and have the strength of twenty men in one hand, you must not be over zealous, but only want to show some wear, not rip our doll to pieces. HaHa  ain't this fun. Continue down over all head,  face and shoulders and some on the ears too, can't leave those out. Now after you are satisfied that your dolly looks as old as the day is long, we can mix up our stain. mix up in a cup about 1/4 inch  cold pressed lindseed oil, mix in 1/4 inch burnt umber oil paint and 1/4 inch black oil paint and stir up real good. Brush on over all doll head and shoulders. wipe off and let dry. the end. It's the end because I'm out of space. Haha. See you next for stage 3

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Three Izannah dolls in the early stage One of making.

I thought it would be interesting to show the changes in the three dolls I am making from beginning of their painting to the end. A lot of people are afraid of trying to make their dolls look old. they see the pretty paint the first time around and decide they might mess it up if they go any further. Stopping and not going further is always an option and if the doll is pretty, a good option, however, if you never go any further, you will never know what is possible, and the old looking dolls are endearing in their blemishes, scrapes, little tears and worn and discolored paint. These doll heads have been made from scratch ( so to speak ) made from molding cloth into a plaster mold, then removed, glued together and mounted on a torso. they are then covered with a stockinet, silk, or cotton. These have been given a cotton stockinet, because it makes a better old head. they are then painted in acrylic gesso to seal the cloth from the oil paint that will come next. Stage One is where they are now. they have been painted in one coat of oil paint. It will take about a week or two for them to dry before we can go on to stage two. Come back to see the transformation. It will be amazing to see the change that takes place. Such fun to turn a few scraps of cloth into a beautiful doll. Doll makers are lucky people indeed.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Jerusha and some little friends

My husband and I were taking our little dogs for a walk, and lots of times we go to the old cemetery because it is quiet and I like to look at the names and dates of families there. On one trip, I noticed a grave stone of a woman who was born in 1839 and died in 1889. Her name was Jerusha. How different, unusual and pretty, so I decided to name by new doll after her. Mostly finished, with, as usual,  some flaw, I always seem to make a mistake somewhere that causes the doll not to be perfectly correct, but I guess that is o:k. I made her just a titch short, ( only just a titch ), not something you would see, maybe never see or realize, but, it's her little oddity, anyway, here she is. Perhaps, she will need a tweek or two to finally finish her. I decided a pretty good while ago, not to finish the dolls to death, rather to let them have their blemishes, small crooked places, little flaws, and what ever child like touches in paint or in their clothes that comes naturally to me. Along side Jerusha, I included some little friends I have been working on. they have no names as yet, but I will be thinking and looking for a suitable name for each one. they are sweet little babies and are getting pretty dresses. I'll post all of them dressed as soon as I finish. I am sure they will

 want to show off a little for you.