Here are some pictures of three Flat Head ( Pancake Head ) painted rag dolls. These are fat, big girls made by a pattern I made up about two years ago. As I said, I put the first coat of paint on these tonight, so they will evolve a lot before they are finished. They will be sanded, repainted, have some changes made to their features, be grunged, distressed, baked in the oven, Get a finished hair style ( which I will comment on further down ). Doesn't all this sound like lots of fun. HaHa, actually it is. Seeing what these dolls will start out as, and then become, is very satisfying to me. I never cease to be amazed at what people can make out of a few pieces of cloth, and paint. Along with the flat head dolls, I have made two more Columbian dolls, which have not been painted yet. These will be fun to do, as I know they will not look the same as the one I just made, or like each other. About a week ago I bought a book, The Story Of The Columbian Dolls, how the Adams Sisters saved the Family Farm. There are a lot of interesting things about how the dolls are made and lots of history about the Adams family too. When I post the new Columbians, I will speak more on this book. It did make me to want to make the 29 inch Columbian doll, which I didn't before. Emma Adams died at 42 years old, and I can only imagine the sorrow her family felt. She was apparently a very sweet, and inventive person, much loved by everybody, and certainly from the dolls she made you can see her generous, calm, sweet spirit. Her fathers eulogy to her was heartbreaking in its description of her character and the love people had for her. Another great thing I have to tell about is the purchase of a very special 27 inch Ella Smith ( Alabama Baby Doll ), which has already taught me a new lesson on hair painting, and I don't even have the doll yet. I noticed when looking at this dolls hair, something new I had never noticed before. After years of studying old cloth dolls, I finally saw how many of the cloth doll heads were painted. I cannot imagine why I have not seen this until now, it just goes to show you, that people don't really see what they are looking at sometimes. We miss what is right be
Sunday, February 5, 2017
I have made a Columbian doll. After thinking about doing it for a long time, I struck out and made this one you will see pictures of. She is 19 inches tall and made by the pattern from the Wenham Museum. It is Connie Tognoli's pattern, which is supposed to be a actual duplicate of the antique doll. I believe the pattern is actual due to pictures I have seen and the unique design of the body and feet. As I have said in the past, the 29 inch doll pattern did not work out for me, but I know that is my fault, not anything wrong with the pattern, which also can be bought at the Wenham Museum. This doll is really a great doll. ( the real Columbian doll). she is compact ( in the 19 inch size ) has beautiful feet and a long body and shorter legs. The head shape works really well, except in this, my first doll, my girl's face got up tilted a little. The Columbian doll has super distinct features, and I did use a picture of an antique doll to paint by. I was going to wait until I had her dressed, but, deciding to post another doll, I put her on here. The body is very pleasing, and the long waist will be easier to make her blue Calico dress. Over the last year I have invested in several large pieces of antique blue Calico, and have been using it to make several dresses, including the one for the tiny 9 3/4 inch doll I am showing you today. The little Izannah doll has two more sisters, waiting on arms and clothes. As I needed to use up every possible scrap of the antique blue fabric, I began to inter mix the fabrics, All blue, but different designs to take advantage of the costly fabric. Once these three are done, it will be a long, long time before I make any more of these small dolls, as they have worn my patience to a nub, over my not being able to make tiny hands very well, and the clothes are harder to make too. the tiny doll, I call them pocket dolls ( they are a tad big for a true pocket doll ) , but they are great to just hold and look at, just right in weight and size to play with, a childs toy for sure. I know for sure, I will make more of the Columbian dolls, as they are a delight in every respect. I can see why they are so wanted. Hope all are doing well and looking forward to spring and more doll and toy work coming along. Good Bye.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Well, here is a new boy doll. He is the second doll from this mold I have made. He also has an outfit of antique black calico just like or very similar to the first boy I made in this mold. I have made boys in the past, but truly I don't remember them to much and I have lost pictures of them. I was not careful to take pictures of all the dolls I have made and now I wish I had. Lots of things going on here, working on houses along with trying to made dolls too. I hope to stop and take a few pictures of some of the renovations going on at my house. I think I mentioned in my last post, I was trying to make some Columbian dolls, and so I have made one, but she is in the painting stages, so she asked me to wait until she is at her best to make her picture and perhaps to get a fine outfit. If you have never made a Columbian doll, there are two different patterns, I accomplished the 19 inch pattern, but the 29 inch pattern still has me beat. I learned to make the foot, which is the same on both patterns, but the 29 inch doll is just to big and the body pattern is different, and so I had the pattern downsized, but the head doesn't seem to fit together, so I have stopped that for now. I will make it eventually, but will be happy to just finish the one doll for now. I certainly hope everyone enjoyed the Christmas holidays and this year we can move on to make some great dolls. Splurging on Christmas, I did buy a antique 13 inch Martha Chase doll, as I knew I would never want to make the arms and feet on one that small. Martha chase dolls have such great hands and feet that it would be hard to make them, atleast for me. The old Barbie dolls have called out to me a little, but knowing I could not and would not ever try to make a outfit for a Barbie doll, I have resisted the temptation to get a antique one, as they are super expensive too, but the 1959 ponytail Barbie is a great doll to have. Some of them are in the thousands of dollars. I named my antique Izannah doll " Harmonia " and am still considering the fabric for a dress for her. Lots to do and to enjoy doing, as I hope all my doll maker friends and collectors are enjoying their individual doll making and toy making plans and projects. Good Bye.
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Recently I bought an antique Izannah Walker Doll. I had tried in the past, a couple of times to bid on one on ebay, but missed out, so when this doll came up, I decided to invest in the doll for several reasons. I wanted one, plus, I wanted to see a antique one up close and personal. This is what I would call a very standard Izannah Walker doll. She is about 18 1/2 inches tall. dainty and in very good condition. I made pictures, some are not really clear enough, but I wanted to show various parts of her that I saw, that I needed to change in my own doll making. One of the worst things about this doll is the overpainting on the hair someone did to her in the back of her neck. The person I got the doll from stated that the doll had belonged to her mother and that she had, had her for 50 years. So the old painting was done long ago, so we will never know what her neck line really looked like. In time, I might try to see about taking off the old paint at the base of her neck only, as it is really bad now. there are no other changes that need to be made. Her side curls are really beautiful and I hope will be a help to me in trying to make them on my own dolls. This has been a difficult thing for me to do all along, is the curl making. The other area that has, ( you might say ) damage, is the skin at the back of her shoulder plate. It is stitched and looks stretched a little. Someone had to sew her up a little in the past. Who knows what her doll life has been through so many years. I will make her some new clothes, as the things she came to me wearing were not what I thought she needed or what I think will be pretty on her. I have to tell you, that buying this doll was a huge decision, because of the large amount of money, and also I wondered if she would really help me in the doll making in the end. I have other old antique cloth dolls, and even though you see them close up, that is not a guarantee that you can duplicate them. After examining her, which ( by the way) I discovered her upper legs feel sort of crunchy, like dried grass or something, I see a few things which I can improve on while trying to make dolls like her, not a reproduction of her. I am proud I got her. I do feel a kinship to Izannah Walkers family as I know they made her and I am looking at one of Izannah's own dolls she made. Appreciated and well cared for, she will be, and included in my small cloth doll collection which I use and pick up and look at and pet constantly while making other dolls. I have to get busy now to try to make some dolls to help pay back my debt to my husband for buying her. He was generous and supportive of me in doing this. I hope you enjoy seeing her and it helps you. She doesn't have a name, as her former owner said she didn't ever hear her mother call her by name. In due course, I will give her a good name.
Saturday, September 24, 2016
Here are a few pictures of some dolls that I have been working on for a while. Some have been put up before and some have been re-worked because I felt I could do better and I think I did. I finally did settle on and make the outfit for one of the Alabama babies. I chose plain flour sacking for the dress and bonnet, as these colors look so good on the back dolls. I did age the flour sack to get a softer more mellow color. The other black Alabama baby will get an identical outfit. I showed Butchie, my black boy rag doll before, but have since made him some shoes and he is now complete. A rag doll that mama and me made is shown here too. She is a simple rag doll with a pretty outfit of vintage flour sack with quilted bonnet and a little flour sack purse mama made her, and a quilted apron that mama made. Making these rag dolls is great for me as I enjoy making and having them to keep. Today I listed in ebay the two Izannah dolls and will be listing all of the dolls I show here today. The house is getting full of dolls and selling some will help me invest in my knowledge to make a truer reproduction of some types of dolls. Glad summer is slowly moving on and fall weather will soon start. I love the fall and it makes me feel better and hopefully will allow us to move a little faster on the house project we have going on. I will start taking some pictures of the restoration before long. Hope everyone is doing good and making something doll related to share. Since yesterday was my birthday, I will mention it and be able to share with you my birthday present in a few days, as I don't have it yet. See you next time, happy doll making to all. Martha
Monday, August 29, 2016
Once upon a time a few years back, I saw a magazine article on black Alabama dolls. I wanted one right away, but the sad reality is there aren't any to be had as I know of, especially the very early black ones with the big ears. The black early Alabama dolls are sort of like the antique black Izannah dolls, which no one has to sell. I think you might find some of the newer molds Ella Smith had in the black dolls, but not the early ones. A friend of mine bought one at a doll show. It was small and not nearly as special as the old ones to me, as it had molded ears, not sewed on ears made separate. These dolls are about 18 or 19 inches tall and chunky. They are very comfortable to hold and to dress. I am making simple antique calico dresses for them and a nice slip ( not to full ). I believe I have made 6 of these dolls to date, and I liked them all, but on these I re- figured the patterns and believe I have a good likeness and a good representation of the early black Alabama dolls. Making the bare feet is a choice I have made on most of the dolls, but not all of course, because they can have shoes and socks, but I might ought to have put the blue or orange painted shoes on these so they would be more readily identified as Alabama dolls. Oh well....to late for that. HaHa I imagine other doll makers are working too on different things, I have lots of dolls in the works, but time is short and it is taking me longer to make and dress them, partly because I have slowed down to take extra time in the out fits, making them out of the old fabrics, which I would want in a doll I would buy, and I have to be super careful not to mess up and waste any of the fabric. I will show you one more doll I have re worked just a little ( a black large cloth doll with lamb skin wig ). I am going to brag about the blue suit he is wearing, as I had to dye it myself after making it and it took forever to make all the ruffles on the arms, jacket, and pants. You will laugh at this, because I had to get out the dye vat and make a batch of real indigo blue dye just to dye the suit, but to use the dye vat and not waste the dye which will stay active for about a week, I now have to scavenge to find any thing else remotely useable to dye blue. I guess lots of my dolls will be wearing blue clothes. My black rag boy will get a pair of shoes as it has become important to me to see the dolls get the full outfit and don't go out into the world wanting. Well.... hoping everyone is doing good and creating new beautiful things to enjoy and to share. I enjoy reading about other folks dolls so much.