Tuesday, November 26, 2013

After the doll show in Washington DC was over, we did some sightseeing.  I have always wanted to see the First Ladies Exhibit at the Smithsonian, and it was fabulous!  This picture is of one of Mary Todd Lincoln's gowns, made by her dressmaker and personal confident, Elizabeth Keckley. It is purple velvet, with all seams piped in white satin.  It consists of a skirt, and bodice.  Actually there were two bodices, one for day and one for evening.  Also pictured is the Lincoln china used during their administration. 


Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  We are experiencing very cold weather for Mississippi and may even have snow flurries in the AM!  This is good weather to stay indoors and make dolls.  Here are some pictures of some of the smallest dollies I have made; this size is being made exclusively for some dealers in Ohio.  They are 10 1/2" tall, and dressed in antique fabrics from the Civil War era.  Their heads are paper clay over cloth, and the bodies are cloth stuffed with wool.  Then, they are oil painted.  These were really fun for me to make, as I am used to making larger dolls.  And, much easier for me to make after a trip to LensCrafters for some new glasses so I can see the tiny details!! 

I love how this little gal's outfit turned out.  The pinafore really added a great touch!  The beautiful solid oak armoire behind her was made by my wonderfully talented husband, who has been working with me to make furniture and room settings for my dolls. 

Another dress style with the antique fabrics.  She is enjoying her little Christmas tree with an antique lamb toy.
 These two little mulatto girls are dressed in outfits typical of the 1850's and 1860's.  Most of the dresses were all hand-sewn.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Finally, a bit of cool weather has descended upon us here in the South!  It was actually chilly this morning at about 49 degrees, but will get up into the high 70's this afternoon. Perfect!! 

Just wanted to show you my latest doll, already safely in her new home in California.  She is named "Miss Elizabeth Winthrop" and I envision her as being a New England "spinster" from the 1860's. 

She is about 20" tall.  Her body is cloth and her head is sculpted of paper clay, then oil painted.   Her dress is made of silk taffeta and silk dupionni, her bonnet has antique lace and her boots are hand-made of fine brown leather.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

New EBay listing

Good evening everyone.  Just wanted to let you know I have added another doll to be sold on EBay starting tomorrow morning, 9/29/13.  "Emma Florence" is a one of a kind cloth and clay Izannah Walker type doll.  She comes with her own little sewing kit and pincushion.  Just type in "Izannah Walker dolls" in the search bar to find her!


Thursday, September 19, 2013

New EBAY listing

Hi everyone!  Things are getting back to normal after the big show!  I am working on some special orders that I took while there, and am already starting to plan new dolls.  I have listed a great doll, her trunk and accessories on EBay.  She's an Izannah Walker type, 20" doll with two extra outfits, a little "pocket", an antique child's book and a vintage trunk to store her treasures.   To see her on EBay, you can type in "Izannah Walker dolls" in the search window and it will come up.  Her name is Isabelle, and I hope she can go to a new home soon. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Latest Dolls

Well, the big show is finally over, and it was a wonderful experience. It is always great to meet other doll people and make new friends.  It is exhausting, but worth every minute!   Here are some pics of some of the dolls I made for the show, and I can happily say that most of them have already gone to new homes.  The compliments I received on my work means so much to me as an artist, and I thank all my repeat customers and new ones! 
  As we are in the midst of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, all the dolls I made for the show were in keeping with that theme. Some were based on real people in history; others were created by me to represent those who would have lived at that time. 
   The first doll I want to share with you is probably my favorite.  She is based on a real person from that era--Sarah Ballou.  Several years ago, PBS ran a wonderful series on the Civil War, and they read the most beautiful letter from a soldier to his wife. His name was Major Sullivan Ballou from Rhode Island, and he wrote Sarah this letter one week before he was killed at the First Battle of Bull Run. She did not receive it until after his death.  If you can, get on-line and look up this letter. I warn you, however, make sure you have a box of Kleenex around when you read it because it is so beautiful and sad you will never forget it.  This is my interpretation of Sarah, in mourning for her beloved husband.  She is cloth, with facial features sculpted of paper clay and oil painted.


Another doll based on a real person from history is a young Black boy named "Jim Linder".  Varina Howell Davis, the wife of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, was supposedly riding in her carriage one day in Richmond and saw a young Black boy being beaten in the street.  She stopped the carriage and rescued the boy, taking him home with her to the Confederate white house.  He was named Jim Linder Davis, and unofficially adopted.  He lived with the Davis family for several years, until they were forced to flee Richmond after Union forces took the city. 
Here are some more dolls of the era:

The following dolls are based on folk art paintings, and also inspired by Izannah Walker dolls.



Monday, June 17, 2013

Camera troubles over!

I finally got the computer to load pics from our digital camera--yeah!!  I'm adding some pictures of two of my latest dolls.  For those of you that have been following this blog, you will know that the Civil War era is my favorite time in American history, and most of my dolls reflect that. 
   The first doll I would like to introduce to you is Delphine. She is about 27" tall, and is made of cloth with a paper clay sculpted head and shoulder plate. She has been painted in oils.   She represents a segment of the Black population that were "free people of color".  Mostly concentrated in New Orleans, there were many free Blacks in many  parts of the country.  Delphine represents a "quadroon", who was 1/4 Black.  She is from New Orleans, is well educated, and perhaps is a "placee" , or the mistress of a wealthy white man.  The system of "placage" was very common in New Orleans and in some other Southern cities before the Civil War, and involved these young, beautiful, free mixed-race girls becoming the mistresses of wealthy white men. As they were legally prohibited from marrying a white man, they entered into these relationships after their protective mothers "bartered" for their future. They would be provided for financially by their "protector" and if any children were born of the union they would be well provided for and even educated in Europe in some cases.  Many of these unions lasted only until the man married officially, but some of them lasted for life. 


    The second doll is "Miss Sarah Matilda".  She is a reproduction of an antique paper mache German doll known as "Greiner"  dolls after their original producer.   She is cloth, with a paper clay sculpted head and shoulder plate, and is painted in oils.  She is dressed in a typical off- the- shoulder type dress of the 1850's and 1860's. 

I'm working hard getting ready for another big doll show at the end of July!  Hope you enjoyed seeing my latest creations, and I'll post more  later.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Yes, I'm still alive!!

I can't believe it has been so long since I've posted anything!  I used to bemoan the fact that my dolls weren't selling, and now I can't keep up!  What do they say, be careful what you wish for because it might come true??  I cannot complain one bit;  making the dolls is just as fascinating and fulfilling today as it was the first time I made one years ago.  I have loved making special dolls for ladies who will treasure them for their lifetimes and then pass them on to the next generation. 
    I'm sorry I don't have any pictures to share with you today of my new dolls.  Our digital camera is giving us fits again; the little card doesn't want to download the pics onto the computer for some reason.  Hopefully we'll get the problem fixed soon.  I have quite a few dolls finished or in the process and I'd love to share some of them with you.  I have devoted my time entirely to my hand-sculpted original dolls and am not doing the porcelains anymore.  The sculpted ones are so challenging and I just love the way they "come to life" and gain their own personalities.  I have done some great Izannah Walker reproductions, and also I am very proud of a beautiful Greiner paper mache repro who is waiting for a special outfit.  The wonderful tintype photo I have posted above is a hint of things to come!!   
   My husband Doug has been hard at work as well making great doll furniture and wonderful props to be used in our next big show in Washington DC next month.  I am tearing my hair out practically, worrying that I won't get everything done in time, but I always do.  Poor Doug will have to eat a few PB and J sandwiches on his own while I am out in the studio working away!  He is a good sport about it, luckily, and getting him in on the act so to speak has helped a lot as well!  He is a very talented woodworker, and even though he grumbles sometimes about making the furniture, I know he really gets a kick out of it and takes pride in his work.  Anyhow,  look for some pictures very soon!  Thanks for your interest in following my work.