Tuesday, 22 January 2013

A Scurvy Pirate & A Medieval Lady

So here she is at last.
I finally finished off my doll of Captain Morgan's Daughter :)

Sir Henry Morgan was an Admiral of the Royal British Navy, and also a Pirate! He was one of the most notorious and successful privateers in history, and one of the most ruthless who worked in the Spanish Main.

Even though Henry married his cousin Mary in 1666 there’s no record of them ever having any children, but in my mind I imagine this famous Welsh Pirate having had a mistress or two tucked away around the Caribbean, and that he may have had one or more illegitimate children.
This doll is me letting myself imagine what the daughter of Captain Morgan would be like if she’d been allowed to grow up aboard ship with her farther. Of course a woman would never have been allowed at sea (it was considered bad luck), and would have had a hard time protecting herself against other sailors unless she was a strong brave fighter – Just like Captain Morgan’s Daughter!
Female pirates were not unknown, and history shows us a few of these ladies that were brave, ruthless and successful.

Captain Morgan’s Daughter has a mixed up selection of clothing that she’s gathered for herself from raids she’s been involved in, and she wears her swag with pride. Over a fine silk shift and drawers she wears a man’s striped silk breaches tied with ribbons at the knee beneath her lace trimmed skirts. To make it easier for her to run around the ship and fight during battle she wears her skirts gathered up and tied in place. She stole her embroidered military coat from a drunken officer at one of her favourite taverns (which is why it’s a little big), and her hat from the room of a travelling gentleman while he was at dinner. She wields her engraved sword better than most trained men, and can outfight even the best. And at her waist hangs the jewelled key to her hidden treasure chest.

She weighs approx. 230g, and she is 52cm tall.

I've just started work on two (make that three) new dolls.

This one, Cerridwen, is for Linda who's helping me make my Beth by making all of the intricate wire work jewellery and adornments. She refused to be paid for her work, so instead we agreed that I'd make her a doll, so I sculpted this one especially for her when I made up my last batch. She has wonderful peachy pearl coloured eyes, and Linda has asked that I dress her using the same fabrics that I used for Beth.
I can't tell you exactly who Cerridwen is, or rather was, just yet in case Linda herself is reading (don't be sneaky lovely lady, I'm not telling), as she wanted a surprise doll. But I can tell you what I've told her, which is that she's a medieval lady, and already has a silk shift embroidered by me in blackwork pansies, and a pale gold under-dress trimmed with a tapestry border. Her under dress with be of the same rich gold jacquard as Beth's underskirt, and her loose over-dress with low hanging arm holes and split sides will be in the same lovely blue silk brocade as Beth's gown.

I also started work on Lady Harriet Mordaunt, and got as far as her structured steel inserted ruffled petticoat before I gave in to her demands that she was dressed "All Wrong". She just wouldn't behave, wouldn't look right, and was shouting at me a Lot! So I had no choice but to bow to the pressure she was putting me under and put her aside. Whoever this doll is she is certainly not happy about being Lady Mordaunt (a women involved in one of the greatest Victorian scandals when her divorce proceedings brought the Prince of Wales himself in to the stands), but she is very reluctant to tell me who she actually is. She's back in the box now, waiting with the other naked dolls until she decides to speak up so I can give her what she wants. And I've moved on to the next doll on my list - Mrs Lovett.
I don't have any pics of her yet, and she's only in her undies anyway, but I couldn't resist it any longer and am finally making Mrs Lovett. I love the great mix up of fact and fiction that makes up the fantasy tale of Sweeney Todd and his villainous partner in crime Mrs Lovett. I mean, what could possibly lead a woman to butcher and then cook another human being. And to make matters worse actually go and sell these cannibalistic pies to her unwitting customers!!!
To me a lot of it has to do with her pathetic, desperate and unrequited love for the dynamic, manic and ruthless Mr Todd...

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Finally Blogger Is Working Again!

Blogger seems to be working again. And now of course I've forgotten everything I wanted to tell you all about :S

Happy New Year Everyone :)

I've been working slowly through the holidays to get a new batch of dolls sculpted, smoothed, painted and strung together. And now have a big gang of bald naked beauties waiting to become the voices that shout in my head.

There are some rather striking faces in this batch, and I'm really looking forward to getting to work on them.
I know already that the first I'm going to make is Lady Harriet Mordaunt, the famous, or rather infamous, woman that managed to get the Prince of Wales dragged into the divorcee courts as  respondent in a sensational divorce detailing her extra-marital sexual relationships. The poor Harriet was eventually left to pass the last 36 years of her life in a lunatic asylum after a counter petition led to a finding of mental disorder.

She's a very interesting character, and it's hard to try and work out why she acted as she did when she knew that her behaviour would be considered outrageous by both the law and by society.

I'm getting towards finishing my silly pirate. Captain Morgan's Daughter. And here she is in her pantaloons (easier on-board ship and for fighting) with her skirts looped up and showing her petticoats.

Over her shift and tightly laced corset I'm going to give her a black pirate's coat with silver embroidery details. And when her hair is added she'll have a wide brimmed hat with feathers as well.
I'm even planning to try and make her a cutlass and bandoleer :)

She's a bit further along now, but I'm afraid Bound got left to one side while I tried to figure out the best stuff to use for her ropes.

After playing about with string, garden twine, cord, embroidery thread and anything else I could find around the house I finally settled on a beige beading cord I had at the bottom of the cupboard. It's the perfect thickness and stiffness, but of course is way too clean so I've been dip staining it in layers, drying in between, and sanding it to get it roughed up. It took a while to get it to look right, but now Bound should be finished very soon too, wrapped in her ropes and standing as a statement against the restrictions of the past and present that effect women in society (a bit of a heavy social statement for me I know).

My project with the lovely Linda working on our Elizabethan Lady Beth is still carrying on and we're now zooming ahead with details and bringing her together. I'd love to share a pic of the stunningly beautiful sample pieces that Linda sent to me but I don't want to spoil the surprise.
And just look at this sweet smart Witch called Hazel she made me as a Christmas gift. I'm very blessed :)

I hope 2013 brings you all that you wish for and a few dreams too :)