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Back to basics

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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?

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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

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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

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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&#…

What have I been doing?

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Not posting on my blog, obviously! I got back into Waldorf doll making and motored on to make three. I am still trying to work out how to make a doll that stands by itself. Needlefelting the legs firmly helps, but the right hip joint is the answer, which is elusive! I have spent MANY hours felting one leg to try to get it right. I will keep trying.
I find I enjoy making tiny garments. Sweaters knit up in no time, compared to adult ones. That's refreshing.







The caraco jacket doll is done!

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After two days of working on a hat and a stand for the 18th century jointed doll, she is finished. I love her hat! I have to come up with a hatpin that will keep it on securely.
She slightly resembles Claire from Outlander, but I think that might be the result of me looking at MANY pictures of Claire and her costumes, which are all gorgeous. But altered for modern  tastes. Why does she never wear a cap, for instance?
I think my next doll will be a Waldorf. I want to keep my hand in. Plus, I have seen some charming dolls lately that have inspired me to make some knitted garments.

Another 18th century doll

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I have been looking at MANY images of women in 18th century dresses and am still captivated. As are a lot of other people in the world, apparently! What a wealth of inspiration there is on the internet! I was inspired to make a jointed shoulder in my next boudoir type doll by looking at the work of art_doll_com, a Russian dollmaker whose work is on Instagram. That necessitated more research and I was delighted to see some tutorials from other Russian dollmakers telling me how to do it.

This image shows the ball joint for the arm of the doll. It rests in the socket created in the breastplate. This doll is strung with elastic so that the head moves, as well as the shoulders. The arms are jointed at the elbow as well. This doll's hips also have disc joints, and the lower legs are jointed at the knees. For this doll I made the elastic much stronger. My first doll has a rather wobbly head.















Even though they will not show, I like to make the shift and stays as true to period as I can. I ju…