Always learning

By chance I noticed that Astrid from The Little Doll House had some new Waldorf doll-making tutorials on Youtube. I took a look and was seized by the need to make a doll using her new method of attaching the doll head to the body. Following her instructions, I made a head that was the perfect size for another doll that I had made a while ago that had jointed hips and a ball jointed head. The head was way too small for the body and I had been meaning to make her another, so this was perfect! I unpicked and dismembered the older doll and figured out how to adapt the neck to Astrid's new method. The result is the cutest doll I have ever made! I also tried a new way to knit a doll sweater, from the side, and I love it. It has a sweet flare at the bottom and is narrow on the shoulders. Perfect. Here she is.  

The basque jacket

I finished the basque jacket and am fairly pleased with it. The outfit now cries out for a hat, so I have been scouring the internet to find one that looks right for the period, which I believe to be later in the 1800's. Something jaunty, but it has to be held on with ribbons. I have something in mind, and will get busy on it soon. 

One of my favourite Waldorf dollmakers, Ildiko Duretz of The Waldorf Doll Shop, listed a workshop using her techniques on Etsy, so I immediately bought it and began to make a doll according to her instructions. She constructs her dolls very differently than I do, so it has been a bit of a struggle for me to follow her directions. The resulting doll is very appealing, though, and I am working on his wardrobe right now.

As you can see, I have taken a break for tea and left him shoeless on one foot. This is just a WIP shot. Glamour photos to come.

Cabin Fever

It has been a long time since I posted here, my apologies. I have been concentrating on dollmaking. Spending more time online than formerly, I was very impressed by how regularly Mimi Kirschner posts on her blog, so I have resolved to do better. Most of my current efforts at social media are with Instagram. So, for a quick overview of what I have been up to, check out my IG account, artsofdelight.

Many kinds of dolls have been gestating/swirling in my brain lately. I decided to try a doll like the kind Susie McMahon makes, with paperclay head and neckplate, jointed neck and cloth stuffed body. My first attempt was not so good. Head and body were wrong for each other.

I took the doll apart and made another body and head, smaller body, bigger head. I put together the smaller head and body and am deciding whether to take apart her extra long feet and resew them smaller.

I also got thinking about dolls with painted heads like Mimi Kirschner made in 2007, and decided to try out tha…

Back to basics

After being engrossed with the Izannah Walker dolls, I have undertaken learning how to make a classic Waldorf doll. I wanted to make a doll that did not take as long to make, or so much material, so that I could price my dolls lower than the dolls that take SO MANY hours to create. I also wanted them to be accessible to young children, not just collectors or older children. After making four, I am still working to get the necks the way I want them, and the firmness of the stuffing is still an issue I need to perfect. There is always something new to learn in dollmaking, and I am glad to do it! The marvelous Fabiola Perez has so much information and advice on her blog that has been very helpful to me. In addition, she has a Patreon site that offers a lot of focused information on making Waldorf-style dolls. I find that making the clothing takes as much time as making the doll. Or more!
Here are my first attempts.

Always an adventure, when you are a dollmaker.

Who knew?

After meeting hundreds of people at the Artisan Centre Hands On Festival last month, I though over what I learned from the experience. Many people loved the redheaded fabric doll, as do I! 

There was also interest expressed in buying a doll for a small child. My dolls fall into the Fine Art category, but I decided that it would be worthwhile to create some very basic classic Waldorf dolls and offer them at a much lower price. Accordingly, I set out to create a simple doll pattern and clothing, timing very closely and costing very exactly. It turns out the clothes take twice as long as the doll! I am also thinking about teaching how to make a doll, and I would like to start with the classic Waldorf doll, since it can be made relatively quickly and inexpensively. Here are photos of the first Waldorf doll I made.
They will be offered for sale at the Artisan Fair on November 2 at Mark Street United Church here in Peterborough. Come by and take a look if you are available!

Izannah Walker doll continued

These dolls take a lot of time to make! Not only the sewing and sculpting, but the elapsed time needed for things to dry. I have discovered it is good to have more than one on the go, so I can work on one when the other is drying. I am having a good time designing and sewing the wardrobes for these dolls. There are many patterns on the internet that come from ladies' magazines in Victorian times that I can use to make tiny garments. Of course, there are many adjustments to be made to fit each specific doll. All my dolls seem to be unique, so patterns for one don't necessarily fit another. Here are some WIP pictures.

I love that I can learn all kinds of new skills when I make dolls. Like millinery and shoemaking. Growth tucks in skirts! Tons o' fun! 
This dressed doll is sitting in a display window to advertise the Artisan Centre Creative Hands On Festival on September 13, 14, 15 here in Peterborough. I will be there showing people how I make my dolls. It will be a challenge,…

The Izannah Walker inspired doll

What might she be, you ask? Back in 1850's New England, little girls who wanted a beautiful doll had to choose between a wooden doll, or dolls made with ceramic or papier mache heads and cloth bodies. All of these dolls have the issue of breakability (especially if you have brothers!). Young Izannah Walker sought to overcome this fragility problem by using a hardening process on layers of pasted cloth, in a mold, to create a head with firmness but flexibility. She was successful and went on to engage in her dollmaking business for many years. It is estimated that she and her family, partners in her business, may have made over three thousand dolls. Certainly, they are to be seen in countless photographs of little girls and their dolls taken in the years she was in business.

There are still a good number of these original dolls to be found, in varying states of preservation. With the rise in interest in folk and primitive art, Izannah's dolls have become sought after collector&#…