Friday, 31 May 2013

Myrtle.. 1920's Bathing Belle....

  Continuing with my love of all things 'Sunny vintage beachwear' (The sun has been a little shy this half term holiday, but its lovely and sunny today) I have furthered my collection with a 1920's Bathing Belle called Myrtle....
Working progress....
Leila Hyams and Myrna Loy. 1920's. I was quite taken with the 'Swim Easy' labels so incorporated it into my own design.

  I have made a tiny change to her 'Pip doll' usual features in that I have given her two little nostrils, this idea was inspired by a beautiful worn and well loved doll I found on etsy recently. I'll be honest in that I'm quite fussy about my taste in dolls - new and vintage. They have to have character and look like they might have a story to tell, then they get my vote!
  And here is the well worn doll I found on Etsy. She was listed as a 30/40's doll. I'm more inclined to think she may be 40's but I'm not sure why?! Maybe its the Carmen Miranda look that sways me. I love her, she is exactly the type of doll that inspires my work. I love her cartoon eyes, nostrils! and handmade quality. She's unique!

1920's Bathing Beauty

Bathing Parade 1925

Laced Beach shoes and black stockings - quite a popular look it seems in the early 1920's. I have given Myrtle a headscarf made with 1940's fabric and added some little circular felt flowers. Her costume is made from felt which I distressed a little by washing and drying it a few times. Her over skirt is made from vintage lace. I love the circular pattern on the lace. Her shawl is a scrap of vintage fabric, although I'm not sure how old is but I love the crochet detail around the bottom. Women often wore fringed style shawls with their bathing costumes to protect their shoulders from the sun.
  I originally designed and intended this bathing flapper to be the second doll sashaying around in beach pyjamas, but since I'm all about The Great Gatsby at the moment I couldn't resist the temptation in giving her a Clara Bow unruly mop of curls and an early 20's beach ensemble. After seeing the fabulous Baz Luhrmann film last week and re-reading the F Scott Fitzgerald's novel over the bank holiday I got to thinking about the vivacious and tragic role of Myrle Wilson. She really is the most important role in the whole book - she intertwines the whole story together. ....In honour of her character I have decided to call this doll Myrtle...
  More snaps - a constant source of reference in creating Myrtle....

Alice White, Bathing Flappers, Clara Bow

  I'm quite smitten with this creation at the moment so will possibly hang on to her a while before listing.
  Next week I shall be listing my Busby Berkeley postcard sets - eagerly awaiting them back from the printers. I will keep you posted on their arrival.
  Have a great weekend! x

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Sunshine Dolls Inspired by Vintage Beachwear....

  Hello! I hope everyone is enjoying their Bank Holiday (if of course you are in the UK) and soaking up the little bits of sunshine that keep peering behind the rather threatening dark clouds.
  Now I'm sure you don't need to guess but yes I am pretty much smitten with all eras of poolside fashions - from 30's beach pyjamas to 50's floral swim hats, oh and not forgetting vintage coolie hats, 40's wedge sandals and raffia bags. So with all theses lovely vintage items floating around in my head here are a few of the dolls I'm working on at the moment.....
Working progress 50's bathing suits and 40's style coolie hats, turbans and felt flowers. Their outfits have been made with lovely 50's cotton fabric.

Felt flowers decorate their hats made from heavy card, paper mache, acrylics and varnish

Spot of sunshine on the work table this morning..
  Poolside glamour.....


Sunny Audrey Hepburn 1950's

Joan Blondell in her Beach pyjamas and Bette Davis in her knitted bathing suit 1930's

1940's bathing belles

  They're a little further on than the last time I showed you a snippet.... I've also made some corsages to go with this collection and there will be two short haired dolls in beach pyjamas. I don't have any photos of those dolls to show you yet as I've only just started sewing and the sketches are pretty rough.
  Will bring you more photos soon x

Monday, 20 May 2013

More Little Portraits.....

I Only Have Eyes For You Acrylic on canvas textured paper

... I seriously think there's nothing better than to step into your well worn dance shoes (with ribbons of course), shimmy into a cute puffy sleeved blouse (preferably with tiny red polka dots) and pull on your buttoned braced tap pants!....
  I have enthusiastically added to my Busby Berkeley chorines collection over the weekend. Infact I've worked quite obsessively. Thinking up their outfits, hairstyles and names has pretty much consumed my every available working hour.

Some of the ladies who are inspiring this collection..
From top left: Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler, Bebe Daniels and Ginger Rogers

Toby Wing and Una Merkel

Pip x

Friday, 17 May 2013

Little Portraits.......

  In my efforts to do more illustrating and painting I have turned to my beloved Busby Berkeley for inspiration. I wanted to do something a bit different and experiment with creating little portraits in a different medium. Most of the portraits I've done in the past have been small and in water colour or gouache, so using acrylics has been quite an experiment for me. I've created several portraits this week but these are the two I'm really happy with.
 As you know, I'm fascinated by the chorus girls in Busby Berkeley's magic and glamorous choreography...What was their story? Who were they? Were their lives happy? I'm always interested in the minor performers - the person in the background of an old faded photograph, or the platinum blonde with a one liner in a 30's musical.  Lets give these ladies some recognition!
  Not sure where I'm going with this weeks little side line but at the moment there's no stopping me. Maybe a postcard set? I'd love to know your thoughts.
'Thoughts of a Secret Love Affair' Acrylic on canvas textured paper

'Mildred' Acrylic on canvas textured paper

 I love this noir bobbed chorine - a la Louise Brooks. She pops up as a dancer in lots of early 30's Warner Brothers films and was a huge inspiration for the above painting. A little research tells me her name was Mildred Dixon (1910 - 1985)
All hail Mildred Dixon!

42nd street 1933 The middle three are Ginger Rogers, Ruby Keeler and Una Merkel but I can just see Mildred Dixon (ankle socks and black ribboned tap shoes) second row on the left.

I so love these outfits.
  Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend and I hope to bring you more sparkling posts next week. x

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Things I'm Working On.....

  Today I'd like to bring you a post on just a few of the things I'm working on. Some might say I have too many projects on the go but I like to wake up in the morning and have a choice as to what ever takes my fancy. I also find I have to get started on new ideas pretty much straight away otherwise I just don't sleep!
  We had a short spell of amazing sunshine in the UK a few weeks ago so my obsession with vintage beach wear reached catastrophic heights! and I began making sunny summer beach dolls and corsages......
I'm so in love with this swim suit. Made from 50's fabric

Coolie Hats!

LOVE! From the colour fashion sequence in 'The Women' 1939

Raffia sun hat made in the same way as you might make a pom pom
  And in the anticipation of the forthcoming movie The Great Gatsby I'm creating a few one off Daisy Buchanan doll face corsages.....
Flapper fabulousness! chiffon and rhinestones
  I'm really pleased with the how these little faces are turning out, but since I want to add feathers as well  they may be a little too extravagant for wear (maybe a wedding) They'd look equally as lovely on you mirror or in a box frame - with some fancy art deco paper.
The beautiful and talented Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan

Portrait of Belinda

Lots of lovely sparkly rhinestones on Belinda's costume and ruffle.

  I hope everyone's having a good week. Rest assured I will bring you full posts of my latest creations in due cause.

   Now I hate to contradict myself but recently I decided not to reserve items as I was getting confused who reserved what and having emails from people saying there's noting to buy its all reserved! Now I get lots of emails from upset peeps saying they missed out again! I'm soooo sorry - you have to be quick folks...There are a few hard core pipettes out there that purchase a fair few of my creations. Great to have fans but those who can't purchase within minutes of listing or are on the other side of the world and it's the middle of the night tend to miss out.  I will therefore consider reserving again.

  I'm still working on my circus illustrations for those who have been asking and yes I will be eventually listing them as prints and postcard sets in my shop.

  I also have the finishing touches to add to Persephone and Gretchen before listing in my shop....