Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February - Progressive Faces

Our second meeting of the year saw the second mini-class for our year-long progressive doll project.  Martha taught us to draw lovely features.

Even though our progressive dolls are just getting started, Martha finished one early, as a gift for her granddaughter.  She was unfortunately reminded of the importance of sealing the face if you're using water-based colors, but the doll is still a cutie (and might get a makeover to fix her mascara).

Katie brought a doll-in-progress from the online sculpting class she is taking with Deb Wood.  We can't wait to see her fully painted!

Just to prove that practice really does make perfect, Katie also brought evidence of the hours she puts into her creations -- a bag o' heads in various stages of needle-sculpting and coloring.

We are a multi-talented group, so we naturally make 'things that are not dolls' every once in a while. Shelby made these lovely socks. which are knitted from the toe up.

Ann R. made this stunning little crazy quilt for her antique doll club, the local chapter of the UFDC.  There is a lucky reproduction Jumeau doll that will receive this quilt, pieced from vintage fabrics and beautifully hand-embroidered.

Go home and practice drawing faces, and then put one on your doll!  Next month, we'll learn some simple wefting techniques for making doll hair out of all kinds of yarn.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Historic cloth doll, Abigail

We had a very special find at our January meeting.  Leslie brought an original historic doll, which was given to her to be donated to the Indiana State Museum.  Meet Abigail.
Abigail (who has her own website) was created by a woman named Portia Howe Sperry, as a way to earn money for family and her neighbors during the Great Depression.
Her face was oil-painted by hand, after the features were stamped.  Her hair was made of fabric, with raveled fringe becoming her bangs.
You can see what remarkably good shape she is still in!  Her straw-brimmed sunbonnet and leather shoes are just perfect.
After a few years, Abigail was still so popular that Portia wrote a story to go with her.  Her story is set in the 1830s, and tells of a pioneer family moving to the wilds of Brown County, Indiana.  A hundred years later, things were still pretty wild, and the Sperry family lived without water or electricity when they first arrived in Brown County themselves.
The story was written in 1938; this copy of the book was printed in 1958.

The charming frontispiece illustration shows Abigail with her girl, Susan.

We are so glad we got to visit with her before she goes to her new home at the museum.

Friday, February 1, 2013

January 2013 - a full house!

Our first meeting of the year, and we nearly ran out of chairs!  This is a very good thing, and we are delighted that our club is doing so well.  We had 19 members (plus one young guest) at our January meeting.
A meeting room full of dollmakers!
Besides just being there, of couse, we did stuff too.  We decided that our challenge theme this year will be 'Mythological Beings', after reluctantly ruling out exotic birds and magicians.  We decided that our workshop with Barbara Schoenoff this summer will be her Three Faces of the Goddess.
Three Faces of the Goddess, by Barbara Schoenoff
And, we had show and tell, of course!  First was Erin, who brought some fun paper samples made with her new Silhouette Cameo electronic cutter, which works with paper, fabric, and even fondant icing!
Next was Martha, who brought the cutest little matryoshka doll, made from the pattern in the November 2011 issue of Soft Dolls and Animals.

We also had some amigurumi, with a definite sci-fi twist!  Leave it to Mary to combine Mr. Spock with super happy crochet cute.
Last in the 'show' part of show-and-tell, Mary Jane brought in two vintage souvenir dolls from Ethiopia, possibly dating from the 1960s or '70s.
Ethiopian dolls, front and back

But wait!  There's more!  We also had 'tells' in our show-and-tell, starting with Katie, who told us about the online class Sculpting a Female Face she is taking with Deb Wood, at Adele Sciortino's 'A For Artistic' website.  And Sandy told us about the camel races in Qatar, where her daughter is teaching.  Smaller jockeys meant faster times, so children were often used as jockeys until recently, but it was dangerous.  Qatar is one of a number of countries who have recently switched to robot jockeys!  Now you know.

Believe it or not, our meeting still wasn't done.  We started our progressive dolls, by drawing our very own doll patterns.  Our job will be to sew them up and bring them to the next meeting, when they will get faces.  There was also one more special and historic item to share, but it will have to go in our next post.