Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Enigma Stones

I'm starting work again on a few sculptural pieces.........this is number 7 in the "Enigma Stones" series. Small mixed-media sculpture painted in monochromatic greys.

I have a couple of exhibitions coming up, so I need to get together a  reasonable body of work.





Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Little Garments

Before I sent off my Izannah Walker 200th birthday celebration doll to her new owner, I decided to give her a "second skin" body covering, similar to what the originals had. 
I think I've worked out why Izannah Walker gave her dolls this second skin - it was to cover up where she'd accidentally splashed paint on the doll's fabric body. Maybe. Or not.

Anyway, that meant I had to undress the doll in order to fit the second skin. That presented an opportunity to take a photo of all the garments the doll is wearing: drawers, petticoat, dress, jacket and bonnet. I'm not counting the boots, because they are sculpted directly onto her feet and are not removable...........she is destined to forever sleeping in her boots!

When I make a doll like this, the genesis of which is in the "play-doll" form, I make the clothes like miniature versions of full-sized garments, with proper fastenings and closures, so they are easy to remove. 
Here she is before her second skin was added, with all her garments laid out.



Monday, October 9, 2017

Harriet Completed

The second Izannah Walker-inspired doll I made last month, whom I named "Harriet" is now completed. Her underwear is trimmed with crochet lace, which I worked onto the garment directly, she has long drawers with a drawstring at the waist and a red woollen cape finishes her off. She was such fun to make. Both these "Izannahs" have found new homes. :-)

I really enjoyed making these two dolls and I'm so pleased with how they turned out.






Sunday, October 1, 2017

Harriet

When I recently made a doll in celebration of the 200th birthday of Izannah Walker, I became entranced with this style of doll all over again! It's been quite a few years since I've made any dolls like this, so it was lovely to become immersed in the process again. I jumped right in and immediately started a second doll in the same style: Harriet.
Izannah walker dolls typically have a "second skin" that fits over the actual body - I decided to give that technique a try with this doll. It took a few tries, but I eventually got the shaping right (I needed to make some tucks to accommodate her rather full derriere!)

So here is my dear sweet Harriet - she has a blue print cotton dress, silk shoes and a knitted cotton apron. Still to come, a cape with a hood and some pretty underthings. 









 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Izannah Walker's 200th Birthday!

September 25th marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Izannah Walker, that iconic American cloth doll-maker. Yes, she was a maker of unbreakable dolls, but she was so much more - a successful business woman in the man's world of the mid C19th. Apart from the patent on her dolls, she was responsible for a number of other inventions, but it is for her dolls that she is mostly remembered. There is just something so appealing in their calm, serene countenances, so simply but perfectly rendered in oil paint. They are reminiscent of the naive portraits of the time, beautifully realized in three dimensions, and each one a little unique.


These dolls have stood the test of time - quite a few of them are still around, displaying their quiet beauty. Even those that have had a hard life exude that special aura unique to these dolls.

I belong to a Facebook group that celebrates these and other mainly cloth dolls from the past and it was suggested by one of the members that we celebrate the event of Izannah Walker's 200th birthday by creating something related - a doll, a painting........whatever. My initial thought was to do a painting - a still life in naive style with a doll included. But when I really thought about it, I really REALLY wanted to make an Izannah-like doll. As usual, I left it until the last minute, leaving myself only eleven days to get it done. Occasionally, I get seized by a project and can work long hours uninterrupted until it is done, which is what happened in this case. I got it done, from sculpting to the final stitches in the clothing with four days to spare. And all this stitching is done by hand!

So here she is, my 200th birthday celebration Izannah:









New Work

First of all, I must apologize for being a bit slack about keeping this blog updated - constraints mainly caused by doing house renovations make my time a bit limited. But I have been busy with other things, apart from licking this house into shape!

Here are some recent dolls completed:








 

Friday, July 7, 2017

More About Knitted Elephants.......

These elephants are such fun to make and they knit up very quickly on four needles with 8 ply (DK) yarn. I first devised this pattern a few years ago, but the problem was, it was mostly in my head and a number of people had asked me for the pattern.  I had to make more so that I could write down exactly what I was doing as I was doing it. And take progress shots.
This was never going to cut it:


Although I understood this "shorthand" I couldn't expect others to have the vaguest idea what this all meant!

I started knitting........


        
                                                            .......and knitting
 
 
                                                              ..........and knitting,
until I had made all these elephant parts, assembled them and recorded exactly what I did. Then it was simply a matter of formatting the information into an easy-to-understand document and uploading it into my Etsy store. The elephant is mostly based on spherical and cylindrical shapes and quite easy to make for anyone with some knitting experience.






I made a pink one, a grey one and a mixed pink and grey one. If you want to knit one yourself for someone special in your life, the pattern is available in my Etsy store for little more than the price of a cup of coffee! Instant download. http://www.susiemcmahon.etsy.com

Oh, did I mention that I really like elephants?
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