Monday, March 11, 2013

The Transformation of Jane

Last summer, I embarked on a collaborative "round robin" project with seven other doll makers, from all around the country. We each started a doll and sent it on to the next person in the circle, for each to add a little something and begin shaping the character and personality of the doll that would return to each of us in the spring. Mine started out as just a torso. More or less a blank slate!

What follows is a collage of photos I took once she arrived back home today... spotlighting some of the features added by the other artists, along with pages from the journal that traveled with her every step of the way.
The journal's cover... before she left on her journey.
Head and face by Kathryn Hall.
A skirt of glorious ribbons and fibers, by Lynne Sward. Arms and hands by Barb Kobe.
Wings added by our fearless leader, Pamela Hastings.
Sturdy striped legs & standing base... by Lori Grassette.
Heart and stars... golden headdress and birds (in hand and hair) from Mary Louisa Klawetter.
Back view... with Thea's neck ribbons and beads streaming down between her wings.

Amazing hands.

Thea Roy added beads, stars, hearts.... and more ribbons!

Mary Lou's bird in Barb's hands.

Does Kathryn know that these tiny realistic looking teeth push me to the edges of my creepy childhood doll fantasy-fears? :)
Inside cover and my page... to start off the journal.
Barb Kobe's fabulous hand pages.
Lori Grassette's pages.
Pages from Lynne Sward and Mary Lou Klawetter.
Thea's pages.
I think Pamela did this page, which I LOVE! I know Jane's arms were once raised above her head in a very ballet-like pose, but she since changed her mind, I guess!
From Pamela.

In such great company am I.

Adieu and anon... fair Jane. Venus has arrived!
What an amazing experience. A big commitment and investment of time and art... well worth it in the bonds we forged with each other in this process!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Some dolls just come knocking at my door. This one literally did...

A good friend of mine and her sister at the Antiques and Collectibles show this past weekend, and saw this very funky folk art doll lying under a table. They decided to buy her for me.... just because.

On an otherwise dreary and stressful Monday morning, a parcel wrapped in tissue was handed into my arms. "Here... you must have this", she said!
She is quite old, but we're not sure how old... the seller had no information. Probably around 1920's, we're thinking, based on the costume. She is firmly stuffed with sawdust. 

Her head and face are a very finely woven cotton, but the hands and arms appear to be silk.

She has a very interesting combination of styles and influences. The embroidered eyes give the impression of something Greek... or maybe ancient Egyptian or Etruscan. Look at the heavy outlines of kohl she's drawn on!
From other angles, she looks slightly native American, with her dangling beads. The shape of the upper bodice of the garment is interesting... like a mini-capelet. Very chic... and made from silk.
The hair is astonishing... made from very good quality cotton jersey (another reason I'm thinking it was made not much earlier than the 1920's), and needle-sculpted to form a lovely hairdo.

The hairstyle *almost* has a hint of Princess Leia about it...
While definitely evocative of a 1920's flapper, the costume also has a very ethnic flair... almost peasant-Slavic, which brings me around to how I chose her name... Marza, which is short for Marzanna, a Slavic goddess of winter/death and rebirth.

Waist belt medallion made from wooden beads, with some kind of dyed red seed or pit bead in the center, backed by what looks to be a piece of lead foil for a shiny detail.

Sweet little brocade handbag. She is ready for a party.

A rather shapeless smock type frock really, with a dotted Swiss under shift (that you can barely see on the edges of this next shot). The dress is quite short, showing just the edges of her pantaloons underneath... which are linen, I think, trimmed with striped silk.
And then there's those boots! They REALLY look sort of Slavic-Hungarian in style. Definitely prepared for a long cold winter, despite the short dress.