Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Traveling Doll Project - Last Doll For Me

Yesterday I mailed out the final doll I would be working on for the Art Dolls Only Traveling Doll Project to its originator in New Orleans, Colleen Downs. I sent the doll in 2 separate boxes, as I have done for all the dolls. I'm the one who adds all the heavy stuff, and with these clay dolls, I am so panicked that something will go haywire with them, that I put all their accessories in a separate box so nothing breaks. Colleen should get both boxes some time this week.

It's been a fun project for me to be part of. I have loved working with the women in my team, and have gotten to know quite a few outside of that as well. There are some really terrific artists in the group as a whole, and some genuinely solid, interesting and talented people. I think the project, which won't be completely finished for some of the groups until September, will have turned out to be a lovely success. I forgot to mention that we made it as a feature article into the July 2010 issue of Doll Collector Magazine. I had sent in a proposal to them earlier in the year and with the help of some on-it artists, got enough photos and other things together to make our project interesting enough to publish. That was fun. I think 6 of our early stage dolls made it into the magazine along with a nice piece about the group as a whole. I am told that there will be a follow-up piece in November, so that's doubly good.

My final doll for my part in the project was called Hester Bates. She started with Colleen Downs in New Orleans as a sculpted unpainted face and wired/padded body, traveled to Tasmania to Susie McMahon for a face-up and a sculpted bundled baby, went on to Upstate New York to Nicole Johnson, where she got a recycled white silk dressing gown, some stockings and hair and finally to me in Vermont for a chaise lounge and some hats.

When the doll came to me, she looked perfect as she was. I really didn't want to mess with her too much. Colleen had put together a journal with old newspaper clippings and letters and things from a woman who had become a new mother in about 1920 in New Orleans. She wanted the rest of us to continue the doll keeping this woman's story in mind and to fill in our comments about motherhood. Susie added a softly painted face and a newborn infant, Nicole added the clothing and hair and really, the only thing I thought she needed was a place to sit and put her feet up. So I made her a muted blue chaise lounge so she could curl up and relax after a long day. I then got to thinking, since I was in hat mode, that a mother wears so many hats throughout the day, that I should supply her with some. As a mother, the chances that you will be chef, confidante, chauffeur, artist, soother, arranger, cleaner upper, friend, companion, what have you, all in one day are pretty high. I sent Hester with 6 hats so that, should she need to, she can change the hat she is wearing at will. She's a cool doll. I'm happy to have been a part of her creation. What a great project! Thanks to everyone who worked along with me.


  1. Hester looks wonderful. I love the hats. They are beautiful. Did you design and create the patterns?

  2. Thanks, RaeDell! How are YOU?! They aren't really patterns so much as blocked hats (stretched over a frame), but yes, basically :)