Monday, 2 December 2013

Circus Paper Dolls in my Shop

  Just to let you know there are 6 sets of Showgirl Milly paper dolls now up for grabs in my Shop

  Here is a snap of my original sketchy idea for Milly and her cute little circus wardrobe - I did this in bed one night at about 1.00am, unable to sleep because I was thinking about clown costumes and sequinned tutus!

I have backed Milly on some thicker card and stuck a wooden craft stick to her back. I have then added additional stars, pom poms and feathers to her costume.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Nancy Beaton Tree Topper and other Festive Fairies......

 Several weeks ago when I was looking forward to embarking on festive fairies, a very pretty idea was given to me via Twitter. Why don't I make a Nancy Beaton style tree topper?
 Nancy Beaton is the sister of the famous photographer Cecil Beaton and in 1929 he snapped Nancy as a shooting star, draped in cellophane - a material he often used for his subjects or backdrops.

  With this heavenly idea in mind I used a recent purchase of beautiful, original 1920's chiffon, embellished with sparkling rhinestones and created an evening gown I hope any tree topper fairy would be proud of.  Nancy has little tinsel pipe cleaner wings (like last years fairies) stars in her golden hair and a beautiful star wand. Here are some working progress photos and the finished item.

The little net skirt underneath puffs out the dress ever so slightly. I didn't want a big, big tutu style dress as I wouldn't fit with the era.

She's like a cross between Nancy Beaton, Daisy Buchanan and Glinda from The Wizard of Oz!

  This little tree topper is dainty and eye catching I wish she could stay with me forever!

Worthy of any Christmas tree I hope

  I adore making dolls and have pages of ideas for the New Year so if you're after a Pip doll I would love you to have one. They do get snapped up rather quickly I'm afraid but they'll be plenty more so don't be too disappointed.

  It's getting a little chilly in these parts, stay toasty! I hope to you show you more paper doll ideas by the end of the week plus I'll list a few more Alpine peg paper poppets in the shop.

Monday, 14 October 2013

New Work, Janet....

....It's so dark and wet in Bristol this morning I thought I'd cheery up the day by posting some working progress photos of my latest character - Janet. I'd planned to finish her today and do a post later in the week but its such a dreary day, why not share the sparkle!

I love this fabric so much! Its 1930's gold lamé which incorporates threads of metallic gold often used in evening gowns of the 20's and 30's

I've also added pearly vintage beads, and a fluffy pom pom.

Topping off her look with a little case.

  In a previous post I'd mentioned I'd been watching Janet Gaynor movies. Well I'd seen several of her talkies (A Star is Born 1937 my favourite) but none of her silent films so was absolutely engrossed and absorbed in these two classics: Street Angel 1928 and Lucky Star 1929. I totally recommend watching them if you have a few hours to spare, just delightful. In both these movies Janet shares the screen with Charles Farrell. Their on screen chemistry is so angelic and so sweet you can see why the world loved them - hence they made 12 movies together!

  'Street Angel' 1928 contributed to the inspiration behind my new Pip character....

Street Angel 1928

  Think Janet might be the last little character study before I turn my attentions to the 'C' word. I had planned on some Halloween inspired mini dolls but I'm really not sure I'm going to fit them in. I always have so many long 'to do' lists floating around the house its crazy!

  I'm also doing some paintings and illustrations to accompany my Janet doll so will showcase those later in the week. I have a feeling she may be a concertina playing tightrope walker?

  Since I've been putting this post together it appears that the sun has come out! I'm happy as it'll make my walk to the post office all that more pleasant. Have a good week x

Monday, 30 September 2013

Mimi Allen and Dolly O'Brian...

  My main plans this week are to concentrate on tidying, sorting and getting some well over due admin work done - not to mention a few household chores. My shelves are beginning to pile up with receipts, fabric, shells, sketches and er... dust! Nothing is in its correct place! I like a little bit of chaos but I prefer organised chaos and at the moment I'm not as on top of things as I'd like.
...However as promised here are some finished snaps of Mimi Allen, now quite finished and skipped already from the shop I'm afraid. I think she's one of my favourite makings to date so I've decided to continue with the off duty showgirl, big pants theme and make another darling dolly of the chorus line - calling this one Dolly O'Brian......
Dolly O'Brian has black curls. Her hat is made the same as Mimi's hat with vintage fabric and a fur pom pom. She will have a similar style blouse and tweed or brown trousers.
   Dolly O'Brian is based on this painting, my second favourite in the Busby Berkeley postcard set (the postcard sets are now sold out but I am going to produce some 10 x 8 prints for the shop soon)
  One of my favourite showgirl movies of the 30's has to be 'Stage Door' 1937 It's set in a theatrical boarding house in New York City and stars Ginger Rogers and Katherine Hepburn as the main leads, but it also offers fabulous snippets from Lucille ball, Ann Miller and Eve Arden at the beginning of their movie careers. I can't help thinking that these two travelling showgirls would definitely have spent time at 158 West 58th Street (where this fictional boarding house was situated) and without question they would of had their fair share of dishing out witty one liners, laughs, successes, disappointments and heart aches.
Her little suitcase stays in place with the help of press studs on her hands.

  Stage Door 1937
   1930's big pant inspiration....
Anna May Wong, Jean Harlow, Claudette Colbert and Katherine Hepburn

  I hope everyone has a super week. I for one am really enjoying the sense of autumn in the air, I feel like opening up the red wine and preparing some delicious soups and stews! x

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Mimi Allen....

  In my last post I introduced you to Mimi Allen a travelling showgirl.... She's not quite finished yet but I will take more photos once I've done so and you can see her in all her glory!

I'm crackers for her little suitcase which I've made with paper mache, acrylic paint and varnish. I've finished it off with a label which has her name on and the theatre at which she will be performing.

  Since I'm all about the high waisted pant at the moment, I decided to finish off Mimi's outfit with a pair of autumn/winter trousers ( I was originally going to make her a green skirt like in my design below but changed my mind) She carries a suitcase - which I've made in paper mache and no doubt contains all the things a showgirl might need on tour.....The gin sours sealed her personality for me!

  This will be available as a print in my shop from next week.
Mimi's Rehearsal Weekend Essentials ...Gouache on handmade khadi paper
   Mimi inspiration.....

Top Left: Mary Carlisle, Toby Wing, Lydia Roberti
Bottom Left: Joan marsh, Una Merkel and Marion marsh


Friday, 23 August 2013

A Doll with Antlers and Other Plans.....

  Old costume parties, fancy dress and the fun of a persona that's not entirely you.... Some people have features that could almost be mistaken for that of a specific creature.... We might say that someone has eyes like a cat or is delicate like a little bird...
  My latest creation knows full well she has gentle little Bambi eyes, so to accentuate her deer like qualities she has pulled on a pair of warm, woody coloured pants and a pair of cute antlers. She's given her costume a fancy and theatrical feel by adding a rather large embroidered collar and a glamorous silk blouse. I love the way she looks so delicate on her long and elegant pins.
  I'm definitely hoping to bring you more Cunning Disguise dolls, complete with tails, horns and wings.....Ms Cat  next I think....
Striding through the bedroom!

A very gamine cat.
  I have given my cat girl design a very gamine/Audrey Hepburn look but I may rework her a little when bringing her to life as I so love Simone Simon - the queen of that 'feline look'  If you've ever seen 'The Cat People' 1942 you'll know exactly what I mean, even her voice purrrrrrs!
  Have a super Bank Holiday if you're in the UK and I'll bring you lots of new things soon including Wizard of Oz ramblings, Etsy listings and other illustrations......x 

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Clark the Caddish Fisherman

  Among my seaside themed 'works' I created an image in my head of a handsome caddish fisherman named Clark. After getting this image down on paper I couldn't resist the challenge of bringing him to life!

 Clark was a welcome challenge as I'm not used to making man dollies, however.......

I'm definitely going to work on giving him a little pipe but I've not quite thought through yet exactly how I'm going to do it.

Sat on my work shelves looking cheeky and handsome.

Catch of the day!

Very pleased with his stylish jumper and tweed pants. Think this is possibly his off duty look, when he's sat cosy of an evening in his lighthouse, drinking hot coffee and rum.

  I've decided to stick with my Seaside project over the Summer as I've still got sketches I want to work into paintings and since my time is limited it seems the right thing to do. I will be adding more prints from the collection into the shop next week as well as showcasing some new ones, so keep your eyes peeled.

Movie star looks

  From September I will be finishing off my 'Cunning Disguises' postcard set and hopefully selling the illustrations as prints and creating them as dolls too. I'm especially excited about creating a doll with antlers!

  Hope everyone is having a lovely Summer so far. x

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Glynis and her Seaside Adventures.....

  At the moment I'm really enjoying illustrating seaside scenes and making the most of creating pretty heroines, caddish fishermen, talking seagulls and friendly sea serpents. I couldn't help but make my central character - I'm calling her Glynis - into a hold in your hand, pop on the shelf figurine.

  She wears quite a simple ensemble in her striped swim suit, but I've worked on making her hair all beachy and wind swept by adding thin wire into her golden locks. By doing this her hair stays upright and gives the impression its caught up in the wind. It took me a while to get it how I wanted it but I'm really happy with the way its turned out.

'Hello'  Gouache and pencil crayon on pastel paper

I may rework this sketch so she's part of a bigger picture but unsure yet

I love shells and have quite a few knocking about my house. The perfect prop for wind swept Glynis.

  Since I've been such a 'beach and underwater adventurer' lately I just have to share with you this next beautiful discovery. I love vintage children's books and I'm pretty proud of my collection but I'm mighty miffed at how this gem ever escaped my radar...until now...
'Priscilla and the Prawn' by Bryan Guinness and illustrated so beautifully by Roland Pym. The tale was first published in 1960 and is the story of an upper class lassie and her underwater seaside adventures. I'm on the look out now to purchase this treasure - my book shelves will be all the better for it.
  These illustrations are just heavenly. I love the colour palette, 50's illustration style and Edwardian theme..

  I love this one..It seems travelling by shell and seahorse is a rather lovely way to travel!


  Other little bits of inspiration....

Pink haired Pip, 50's boat print, handsome fisherman, vintage shell headdress and accessories, Glynis Johns as the Cornish mermaid in 'Miranda' 1948, a Norah Wellings vintage sailor doll, beautiful seahorse and a scan from one of my old children's books

  I got so excited about the wind swept hair I decided to make Glynis a pink haired pal!

  And I also made a start on another illustration...(this is a photo so not too clear and obviously unfinished)

'Forgive me but I've never met a Sea Serpent before!'

My desk