Thursday, December 30, 2010
Continuing on with my family of eccentrics, the Gallamores, here is family member number 2, Lawrence Pecok Gallamore, second son of Grantaire de Grenfeld Gallamore, younger brother to Nelson Gallamore. Born in 1702. A tall man with green eyes and an elegant build, he wears his dark hair in masses of curls, streaked with blue-gray. He refuses to wear hats, despite the fashion trends of the day, for fear it will muss his lovely locks. He has an impeccable fashion sense and often wears elaborate, almost kingly outfits, preferring greens and golds to the flashy purples of his brother, Nelson.
Lawrence is an artistocratic playboy. Parties are his natural environment and people seem naturally attracted to him, especially fine ladies, with whom he is never shy but almost always moody. His brother Nelson often finds himself in the position of bailing his younger brother out of trouble when drinking and women are involved.
Lawrence married Helen Glenham in 1726, though once his children were born, began to spend more and more time with his birds and lady friends and was inclined to leave the dealings of the home to his wife.
He is a master falconer to the king and, though falconry had seen a huge decline in popularity in the 18th century, for him it remained a high art form.
The night and shadows are his favorite things.
Lord Lawrence is 15" tall. He is made from cotton fabric and has cotton clothing, which is all removable. He has a white chemise and drawers, a white shirt with frilly sleeves and cravat, a patterned gold, green and red waistcoat with gold-tone buttons, a green-gold patterned overcoat and matching trousers. His shoes are 2-tone black and gold. His face is hand painted. He is the perfect accompaniment to my lady boudoir dolls.
You can find him on Etsy.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
I have been running through amusing dollmaking ideas in my head recently, now that I seem to be in a wave of inspiration. Somewhere in there I got the idea that I would create a quirky family of eccentrics from another century and make dolls out of these characters. The late Susanna Oroyan, a beloved dollmaker and author, had done that years ago, creating the Mulliners, a series of about 60 dolls. I don't know that I am quite that ambitious, but one has to start somewhere.
I have been hooked on rag dolls lately, and rather than making solid, sculptural pieces, like my more recent historical figures, I decided I wanted a completely fictional family of characters that were all in the rag doll style.
My first characterization in this series is Lord Nelson de Grenfeld Gallamore, eldest son of Grantaire de Grenfeld Gallamore. A lanky, tawny-skinned man with long unruly golden curls and compassionate hazel eyes. A poet, interested mainly in dance, politics and excelling at cricket. A fashion trendsetter, he insists on donning a short waistcoat because he likes to sit with his legs crossed, and wearing primarily shades of purple, because he is proud to be an aristocrat.
A man with big appetites, he considers vodka and dark chocolate a lifestyle and is passionate for Italian cuisine. He fantasizes about becoming a pirate, but is quite claustrophobic and terrified of drowning. Devilishly handsome, he is favored by both fine ladies and men of a certain age, though he insists on remaining a bachelor even into his 40s. He remains in close contact with his 3 illegitimate children.
Lord Nelson is 15" tall. He is made from cotton fabric and has cotton and silk clothing. His clothing is all removable. He has a white chemise and drawers, a white silk shirt with frilly sleeves and cravat, a golden waistcoat with gray freshwater pearl buttons and lots of machine embroidery embellishment, a purple cotton overcoat, pants and matching tricorn hat. He is the perfect accompaniment to my lady boudoir dolls.
You can find him on Etsy.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I have been crazy making rag dolls lately. They seem to have taken over my world. Thought I'd share some pictures of my boudoir dolls with my BJD doll, Seola, just for fun.
Why shouldn't dolls have their own dolls? I am thinking every loved doll needs a rag doll of her own.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Still on the theme of Marie Antoinette and 18th Century styled dolls, here is another rag doll I made this week, which I am calling Lady in Waiting.
This doll is mostly cotton prints, rather than silk, which I reserved for the Queen. Like Marie, I gave her quite a lot of underwear. She has a pale yellow corset to match her shoes, some pantaloons, and a hip bolster.
I gave her a white silk petticoat with ruffle edge and machine embroidery.
She has 2 lilac colored print overskirts and a matching top with a bit of bling at the front waist, along with some lace and embroidery edging.
Her hair is done in a multicolor, multifiber 18th Century upsweep. She is available on Etsy for someone in need of a fun boudoir doll.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
I spent this week working on a more spiffed up ragdoll. A new friend in Canada is a huge Marie Antoinette fan, and I was inspired to make this doll.
She started out with all sorts of stuff, including a hoop skirt, but it got so out of control, that I stripped her back down to just a white silk petticoat, a hip bolster, a pair of underdrawers, charmeuse skirt and brocade top. The color is more of a robin's egg blue, but a little icy, and I think the color isn't just right in photographs, but you get the idea.
I found a great handmade yarn with pearls and laces in it for her upswept hair-do. The face is handpainted. The cotton corset and shoes are sewn on and not removable. All of the rest of the clothing is removable, because Marie, you know, liked to change her clothes often.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
We are heading too quickly into winter here in Vermont. Wishing to rewind to summer and tiger lillies. Added a couple to this hat. I kind of like it. Seola still pouting, but she is to have a new wig soon, and a dress, perhaps, if Yve gets out that old sewing machine, and I am quite certain she will be much, much happier.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
This hat goes out to a good friend in North Wales. I was wanting to do something different for my BJD, Seola, and this is what I came up with. As another friend suggested, maybe I was thinking about Sherlock Holmes? Actually I was looking through a book on women's fashions from the Victorian era, and was trying to remember how to make a bandeau, which is a wired piece that goes under a hat that wouldn't normally fit the head, and gives the hat a lift (in this case, lifting up in the back) and at the same time holds the hat to the head. This was fun to do. I hope to do more in a similar style.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I've got a really fun hat going out today for a really fun gal, who commissioned me to do a Steampunk hat for her Blythes. Poor Seola is still pouting about not having gone to the Vampire Ball, so I put her in the hat, at the suggestion of my friend, Yve, to cheer her up a bit. Still pouting! What's up with that doll?!
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Poor Seola. She wanted to attend the Vampire Ball. She really did. Unfortunately, she had no beautiful dress to wear, no baubles, and Neale, the famous doll haircolorist extraordinaire, has only just begun to dye her new wig. A bit like poor Cinderella, but without the Fairy Godmother. When I told her she wouldn't be going, she sat in the corner scheming. She pulled out a big black cauldron and a broom (where does she get this stuff?!) and set to making an unhappy witch's brew. Before I knew it, she had dolly parts strewn about and the pot was overheating and froth overflowing. Not sure what she has planned, but it doesn't look good! Happy Halloween everyone!
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Every year about this time I think about a new doll that is simple enough to produce a dozen or so of and that would be fun to give as gifts to relatives and friends for Christmas. Mostly I think about my sister and sisters-in-law and if they can really stand having another doll that they will have to put somewhere in their houses. Yesterday I drew up a pattern for what was to be more or less a boudoir doll. I had in mind a flouncy costume, a basic body with long arms and legs and a simple face. I made the doll with a simple black corset and low black boots and then got to thinking about costuming.
Usually what happens when I make one of the Christmas gift dolls is, I wind up making about 200 of that design because I drive myself crazy thinking, "well, this color would be better. Maybe I should try that." Usually the dolls are quite small and in the past I was able to unload most of the finished dolls through galleries and other loyal clients. This year's doll is quite a bit bigger, about 13" tall, so maybe if I wind up with 200, I'll see about putting them on Etsy. For now, I just have one and I think she turned out well enough, though the costume is not at all what I originally imagined.
When the basic doll was finished, I pulled out my yarns to see what sort of hair she should have. A blue curly wool was jumping out at me. It's got enough variations in texture, thickness and color to excite me, and it allowed me to costume in a variety of blues. With the hair on, I decided she needed an underskirt with tulle that would poof out a bit. I had in mind to make the clothing removable, so that whatever else I put on her could be mixed and matched, so I added a snap at the back for closure. I chose 3 patterned fabrics in various shades of blue to work with for the entire outfit, and used the lightest one for this underskirt and made the waistband the darkest.
I then chose 2 of the fabrics and made a short dress with a strapless bodice and added a snap to the back. The cool thing was that the doll seems to fit the same patterns I had made previously for my Blythe dolls, with just a tiny bit of alteration, so the dress came together really quickly. Next came a short jacket, for which I used the last 2 possible pattern combinations and the outfit was basically complete.
But wait, she needs a hat! I actually already had a hat I had made several months ago that I liked and that fit her. So that was the easy part. I added the hat, took some photos, messed around with mixing and matching the pieces, and voila' -- one down, 199 more to go :)
Friday, October 8, 2010
I am rather embarrassed to note that it has been nearly 2 months since my last blog post! Eeek. Where does the time go? Here in Vermont we are seemingly skipping right past autumn and going directly to winter. Not really, but it seems that way; what with all the rain and rain and more rain. The one thing that is good about this time of year is that I seem to get back to working on creative things, which for me, is always a good thing. Before too much longer, it will be skiing, and that's one of the only reasons I can think of to be in Vermont in winter.
Yesterday I finished my second in a series I am working on of American icons. I have a bit of a thing for the "Founding Fathers" to be honest. I first made up a doll of Benjamin Franklin late last year, which I so liked, that I decided to do a doll of George Washington as well. Ben was so cute, he even made it into Contemporary Doll Collector Magazine. To be honest, so did the dolls I made of Olive Malvery, Ambrose Bierce and my aging diva, Brunhilde, but I am especially proud of Ben, as he was fat and frog-like, and I just like how he turned out.
The thing with these Founding Father guys is, they aren't the most handsome of fellows. Snappy dressers, for sure, but Ben Franklin was well, quite round, and bald, and George, well, he never smiled. I think it might be the teeth. Apparently his teeth tended to fall out one by one, causing him quite a bit of discomfort, and then the devastation of having to wear falsies, which I believe never fit him quite right.
In any case, I studied the portrait of George done by Stuart Gilbert in 1797, which, in my opinion, is George at his most regal. I painted his face, with his customary scowl and gave him the customary white hair with the curled ends that was the style of the day. I did a little research and apparently George never wore wigs. He had his own hair, which was quite thick and curly. He also wore quite substantial sideburns, which made the wig making on a flat face a bit tricky. In any case, the underlayer of hair is wool roving from my own 2 silly sheep. The top layer is mohair, which I baked in the oven to preserve the curl.
I gave George black cotton velveteen britches and a vest, a silk charmeuse blouse with flounced sleeves and a cravat, and a soft black velvet coat with an acid green silk lining. The buttons on the vest are freshwater pearls. The shoes are black silk with seed bead buckles. All in all, I think he cuts a stylish figure, if not too handsome.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
I think it's just because it's summer, but I am telling you, I feel slow as molasses in getting anything done. I normally am quite productive. Since we've been back from our summer vacation in the Adirondacks, work has been trickling out of me at dead-slug speed. I finished up with my dolls for the Traveling Doll Project. I'm still trying to keep the blog going strong for that. We had the good fortune of getting that project published in Contemporary Doll Collector Magazine and hoping to get the final photos of all the dolls so I can send those on to the magazine for a finishing piece.
In the meantime, I have been making doll hats, not as many as I had been, because again, I am slug-slow, but I have a few recent ones to show you. I have been concentrating on hats for larger headed dolls (Blythe, Pullip and full sized BJDs), and that has been working out for me. I was making about a million sizes, and that just felt too crazy, so, though I will make other sizes, somewhere in the 9-11" head size has been pretty typical.
Hope everyone is finding the wind-down of summer enjoyable. I can't believe it will be Labor Day in no time at all.
I have promised myself I will be more on this blogging thing as soon as fall arrives. The heat and humidity apparently have fried my brain :) Until then, enjoy the rest of your summer!
Friday, July 30, 2010
Summer seems to be jetting by. We finally just this week had some not so humid weather. Gotta love that! Days have been quite lovely this week. After a long rainy June, and the hottest, most humid July that I can recall, these last days of the month are turning out just lovely. Went with the kids and some friends to Shelburne farms yesterday and took some pics of us behaving in traditional country folk fashion. Hope you are having a lovely summer!
Posted by CindySowers at 11:30 AM
Thursday, June 17, 2010
It feels like it has been months since I last blogged! In reality, I think only weeks, but even though summer is just about starting, it feels like it has already gone and practically passed me by, for some reason. Maybe it's because we had such lovely weather in May here in Vermont, and now all of June has been pretty much rain! I am really, really not very productive in summertime, creatively speaking. I generally do lots and lots in winter and then maybe a little the rest of the year. Which is why there hasn't been much posting going on here. I am happy to report, though, that my house is cleaner than it has been in a long time. Doing any artwork would certainly just mess that minor achievement up, and so maybe I'll just sit and admire the house for a while longer before I get busy on any projects :)
I've actually got a few doll pictures to share with you, but I'm going to save them for next week and just post some pictures of my weekend "vacation" with John and our kids (these really are boys, though the hair may confuse you) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Lovely town, lots to do. We were there for just the weekend, and though it was mostly warm, it rained there, too! One of my husband's friends claims that it is all our hair that has blocked out the sun in these pictures (though we can't really claim that for John), but I can see that we really do need a hair stylist around here! And what's worse - all this humidity just gives me giganto hair and it almost can't be helped :) We did get to see the Atlantic coastline in a bit of New Hampshire and Maine, and took a lighthouse tour and walked around Fort Constitution.
The kids hung out in the pool of our hotel a bit, and we ate a lot. So all in all, it was about what a weekend vacation can be expected to be. Hope you all are having much better weather where you are!