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Monday, September 25, 2017

Happy Birthday, Izannah Walker!

Izannah Walker, born in Rhode Island in 1817, began making her dolls in the 1840's.  They are believed to be the first commercial dolls made in America.  They are made of pressed cloth, using several different dies which gave each doll a unique character.  The patent under her name was not filed until 1873, and the dolls after the patent have a different painting style.

They are beautiful dolls, stylized yet lifelike.  A group I belong to online is celebrating Izannah's birthday, and several ladies have made beautiful doll creations to celebrate Izannah's birthday.  I decided to do a drawing, trying to achieve some likeness of the doll -- it is harder to do than it looks -- that face is very simple but kind of defies being reproduced with drawing or sculpting.  I tried to get as many of the features in this drawing as possible, the childish nose, full but small lips, stylized neck, feathery eyebrows, etc.... so this is my interpretation using pencil and watercolor pencil....

             Happy Birthday to Izannah Walker! 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

An Old/New Doll Travels Back East

This doll, I that completed on commission, went to its new owner last month.  She is 17 and 3/4 inches; I was aiming for 18 inches, but 17 and 3/4 is good enough for jazz.

The new owner had requested an Izannah-style doll in a Springlike dress.

After making her dress, I discovered a little aging trick.  The fabric was orginally a teal blue with lighter blue fleur de lis pattern.  I put it in a glass bowl of bleach and water to age it, and the blue background completely left, leaving a greenish-tinged white background, and luckily, also the fleur de lis pattern.  I laundered it twice to get the bleach out and soften it up, and then brushed some tea on the seams and edges of the sleeves.  Then the dress looked - old! 

I made her a bonnet from vintage eyelet and made a fabric flower for it, and she was all set...

I should mention I did the bleaching outside.  

She was a pleasure to make.

Thanks for reading, and have a good day. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Petaluma Gallery Art Doll Show 2016

This is old news, from last year, but I totally dropped posting in the blog all year!  I am doing some catchup posts...

I was thrilled to have my dolls accepted into the Petaluma Gallery Art Doll Show last summer.   Petaluma is south of Santa Rosa, and has become in recent years a center of artistic activity.  The Petaluma Gallery is inside an old train station, which has been rennovated into a very modern and appealing space.  It has lovely paint colors and an impressive front atrium which unfortunately I took no photos of.....

Inside are two large rooms, one with tall dividers.  On the dividers or baffles alone, more than a hundred dolls were displayed.  There were many more hanging or wall dolls on display than seated or standing dolls in that room.  The doll category included "figure" because many dolls were not poseable.  I thought some of the best sculpting was by a ceramicist (in the foreground).

It was thrilling to see my dolls displayed so near the entrance.  The show had an audio tour, and some video kiosks set up.   I guess there were maybe 300 dolls and 60 dollmakers represented.  Many were big-names and familiar to me, including Toby Froud, so this was actually a big boost to me, to see my work alongside theirs. 

They also had a silent auction where you could buy work by artists such as Anke Daanen and many other talented artists from all over the globe.  

The theme of the show was "Journeys Through Light and Dark." The dolls ran the spectrum and all kinds of dollmaking using many kinds of media were represented.  All the dolls depicted an artist's individual vision. 

I didn't offer my dolls for sale, only display.  I am very thankful to the curators of the Petaluma Gallery Doll Show for giving me this opportunity.  I am really glad I could go with some family members to the show, including my Mother. 

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