Thursday, 25 April 2013

Persephone and Gretchen Part 2...

  Had no dolly making mojo at all this morning so decided to do a bit of sketching......My Subject? My two latest creations........

  It's up to you to create the story around the little illustrations...

  Here's some of the work I did yesterday...

A mixture of acrylic paint and vintage fabric. The lace featured on both the dolls is guess is it 1930's but I could be wrong.

....and of course they live in an old suitcase full of beautiful dusty costumes! That's on old 1920's tutu!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Persephone and Gretchen

  Some years ago I came across a lonesome little wooden doll at a flea market. Her character really stole my heart and I had to buy her. My sweet purchase, I later discovered, was called a Dutch doll, stick doll, or penny doll and originated from Germany in the late 19th century.  I had come across them before but ended up doing a little more research and over the last few years I have bought two more!
These are not my actual dolls but taken from The wikipedia page
 What I love about these old dolls is that they were sold undressed so little girls could then make them clothing from scraps of fabric.
  These little dolls are a huge inspiration in my own doll making and I thought it would be nice to create a couple of dolls in homage to these characteristic wooden lovelies.
Homage to the Dutch Doll. Her face, neck, and lower part of her limbs are painted white, giving her a distinct theatrical feel. Her dress is made from vintage fabric and a little bit of vintage French lace.
  I also wanted to experiment a little bit more with painting on fabric - as I have done in several other little projects of late.
  I'm not altogether fond of brilliant white fabric in my creations (I prefer things to have a little bit of colour or a layer of dust on them!) however using acrylic paint to get the affect of the dutch dolls painted faces adds a distinct carnival, theatrical dimension which I love!

Little sketches and playing with the idea of a little red clown nose.
  This second partner in crime to the raven haired cutie is not only inspired by old dutch dollies but also of one of my favourite characters on screen - Gelsomina played by the fascinating Giulietta Masina in the 1954 film La Strada.
  I have decided to name these dolls Persephone and Gretchen......

  Inspiring imagery for this latest project......
  You may also be interested to know that I have also made my 1940's style circus showgirl (talked about in a previous post)  Her look is inspired by the colourful and fabulous features of Lucille Ball - vibrant copper red hair, big eyes, arched eyebrows and super long lashes! to be listed in my shop along with my two other Jean Harlow creations in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

More Jean Harlow Dolls......

   After the success of my Jean Harlow collection a few months ago I was obviously delighted with a custom request for yet another Jean. Sadly (and this is how long my waiting list has been) I've only just gotten around to working on her. Obviously Jean Harlow is one of my absolute favourites so its an utter joy! Working on this 1930's starlet prompted me once again to make a few more for my shop. Jean was a rather popular listing before so I rather hope that those few who were upset they didn't get a Jean first time around are lucky enough to snap up one of the latest two - to be listed in a few weeks.

  Now I know that Jean wasn't particularly fond of fussiness and she may well have turned her nose up at this dress, but with such a beautiful little piece of fabric from the 1930s I just had to give Jean a Spring frock. I have also given her a felt purse and her signature off duty ribbon around her halo of white curls.

The cutest picture of Jean I have ever seen!

Jean in a floaty floral dress as Vantine in Red Dust 1932

This doll is wearing a spring dress made from vintage 1930's fabric, she has a ruffled collar and carries a little purse made from felt. I have also stitched her name onto her purse and matched the little flowers with the colours in her dress. I have used a vintage bead as the clasp.

Spring dress design

  The second doll for the Etsy listing is Jean modelling some very glamorous loungewear. The pants are made from a silky satin pale blue fabric and the top half of the outfit is made from a pretty vintage collar with blue embroidery. She also carries a blue powder puff made from a simple pom pom and little ribbon.

  I've photographed them as a  trio as they look the epitome of 30's glamour together. But the centre doll is a custom so won't be up for sale in my shop. There are still little bits and pieces to be stitched and added on all three them but I wanted to show you my working progress. Hope you like.

The centre custom is also going to have a powder puff, a jewel in her hair and white feathers on the cuffs on her sleeves.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Pin Up Betty Grable Style.....

  Just about finished wall hanging dolly Ms Grable - apart from securing her hair piece and stitching in her Pip label and ribbon.
  Just couldn't help but give her some cute accessories...... I'm mighty envious of her bakelite style cherry bracelet! Also among her ensemble she carries a stylish bag which no doubt carries her lipstick, compact, gloves and fresh handkerchief. A bright and cheerful felt corsage finishes off her outfit in true pin up style. Hope you like her.

One of the circus girls has left behind her tin drum!

Pip x

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Gracie Doll, Marlene, Ava, Dolly Dimple and Fido

  And another in my series of circus illustrations.

Gracie Doll, Marlene, Ava, Dolly Dimple and Fido  Gouache on pastel paper

    More amazing circus photo inspiration.......

1920's contortionist

  The Doll Family were a quartet of four dwarf siblings from Germany. They were popular circus and sideshow performers in the United States from the 1920s until their retirement in the mid-1950s. I have to say I find this family of performers incredibly fascinating. There isn't very much written about them on the Internet but they toured with the famous Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus where they sang, danced, and rode horses and wagons for thirty years.

  There is no denying that there are some very dark and sad stories of circus sideshow exploitation but from the small amount I've read about the Schneider family (for a while they adopted the surname Earles after Burt W Earles who discovered them. When Burt passed away they changed it simply to 'Doll') it appears their story was a happy one.

Daisy and Harry both appeared in the 1932 controversial film 'Freaks'

Treasure of a photo! 'The Doll Family' Ringling Brothers Circus 1936