Thursday, July 3, 2014
These photos were some of the dolls I made for shows I attended in 1985 to 1988. I was so lucky because we would only have one miniature show in Victoria but in Vancouver they used to have to a year and I was fortunate that in Vancouver in 1986 Expo was on at the same time that the doll and mini shows took place. We got to go to Expo with our son's 3 times that year. I was most impressed with the new computerized screens to find your way around Expo that we bought our first computer that year. My dolls did very well at the shows and I was selling to good friends as well as miniaturists and I would come home with lots of orders too. I felt so blessed with everyone's interest.
When I was going through some files I came across a small recipe card from about 1984 with a map I had made of each of the steps I would need to take to become a porcelain doll artist. I started with my goal and worked backwards, 1. find an outlet for porcelain (found Seeley), 2. order molds (found reproduction doll molds that I had always admired since I was in the doll club with collectors of antique dolls) 3. find china painting supplies (took a course in china painting too (that helped with my shiny eyebrows, lol), 4. learn how to pour and clean the porcelain (books from the library). 5. find books on historical fashion, loved this part and I started a wonderful library of antique doll and costuming books. I already had a kiln that I was using for pottery and wind chimes for craft shows. It worked quite well setting up certain goals. I used to make my own clothes and designed clothes when I was a weaver so the pattern drafting I found fun too. All aspects of the doll making really appealed to me, especially painting tiny eyelashes and eyes.
I was really inspired by my mother who always enjoyed making figurines ( she made her own molds for plaster castings too... when I was little I loved the smell of plaster which came in handy when I started to make my own molds). I was always so impressed with the way mom painted their beautiful eyes. She used to do very small knitting too for my dolls and she always said her favorite doll when she was young, was one the fitted into a tiny pill box.
Above left were my very first dolls, I used to take orders at shows for dolls but the first one I made was always the most exciting. It was so exciting to open the kiln when is was cooled down to see how everything turned out, I loved the way porcelain vitrifies and gets smaller and solid and can get such a wonderful sheen and softness wen sanded once fired. It was really enjoyable dressing the antique Brus, Jumeaus, Mein Leibling, Twerps, Pouties etc and to look up actual historical costumes, buy silks and antique laces to dress them in authentic looking costumes. At that time I also sold straw hats, I would buy old straw hats and take them apart to use the straw and I enjoyed crocheting them as well. Next time I hope to show showing the houses and room boxes we made.