Earlier this year I discovered a website called “Maida Today” which led me to another site called “Maida Doll Group”. I signed up and my consciousness got bigger. This group of women from around the world, have a passion for antique dolls and doll-making, and one doll in particular, an Izannah Walker American-made cloth molded doll. In fact, the Izannah Walker Chronicles Blog, is devoted to those dolls. (see http://www.maidatoday.ning.com; http://www.northdixiedesigns.com; http://www.izannahwalkerchronicles.com )for more information.
Before I talk about my doll making, I must talk about the “Group”. Dixie Redmond from Maine is the organizer and driving force. Different doll making challenges are presented during the year and this past summer the challenge was to make a doll inspired by an old photograph. After the challenge, the participants share what they made and there’s many positive comments and encouragements.
The last thing I had was free time for something like this, but the enthusiasm of the women as they were learning and struggling, and sharing motivated me to give the challenge a try. I hadn’t made a doll since the mid-eighties, and hadn’t sewn in over ten years, and I had never sculpted a doll head; but my muse was egging me on to give it a try and six months after that challenge was over, I just now finished the doll inspired by a … pattern drawing. Okay, maybe I did bend the rules a little and get some guidance, but many skills were tested and it was a pattern based on a very old doll. And there was plenty of room for my own interpretation, because as I found out, patterns from long ago are more complicated and more unusual that patterns of today. My brain was tested!
Sewing and making the clothing were easier. I learned to sew back when I was around 10 or 11 years old so those skill came back quickly. Definitely learning more about fabrics: batiste, and unbleached twill, and kona cotton.
I especially like how the undergarments turned out. Made a chemise with pleats, underskirt with ruffle, and pantaloons with lace edging. The dress is crinkled satin left over from my daughter’s wedding. A bonus!
Painting was another challenge. Oils are preferred, but many people are using acrylics these days so I used acrylics and disliked immensely how acrylics moved, actually didn’t move, on the sculpture. Also, used a brown Micron fine tipped pen for the eye details…I was that frustrated with the acrylics. Definitely need a quality brush in the future.
When I sculpted the third head, I also sculpted a side curl which I coiled, and some other curls along back of neck. This turned out to be a nice effect. The shoes are a small detail, but a very nice detail.