Monday, 20 May 2013

Ichabod Crane, Jack The Ripper, And A Box Of Treasure

You might remember that a while ago I made a Jack The Ripper doll and was very please to see him snapped up by someone within a few weeks of being listed. So I thought I'd make another one in my largest size so that I could include even more fine detail and make a really nicely weighted doll.

So, who was Jack The Ripper? And why are we fascinated by the Whitechapel Murders? Jack is an almost mythical character - no-one knows who he was, and there are thousands of theories out there. Was it one man, or a gang? A medical man or a knowledgeable maniac? A man or a woman?
The only certain thing is that whoever he or they were they were almost the sickest and most disturbed killer in British History. And defiantly the most mysterious and successful uncaught serial killers.
I didn't really know where I was going when I started my Jack. He's one of those dolls I've always wanted to make, but one that I've always been uncertain of. Trying to decide how I would portray him was a nightmare in itself, let alone the nightmares I've been getting from the research - And I'm not easily frightened. The facts of these killings are horrendous, and I avoided the one I knew will upset me most before I could face it - poor Mary Kelly.
As I started making my doll Jack took on a life of his own. I started out thinking I was making a scruffy, dishevelled dirty looking killer as for some reason when I think of him that's what I see. But he's had other ideas and has turned into very much the imagined Victorian image of himself.
It's a very interesting history. And I'd highly recommend it if you can stomach the gruesome facts.

Jack wears dark grey trousers and waistcoat over his white cotton underwear and shirt. His stiff white collar was attached separately, and he has a smart dark red satin cravat. His double breasted coat and waistcoat is black with shiny buttons and a watch chain. And over all he has a cape to keep off the rain. On his head is a very tall top hat in black, and in his hand he carries the knife with which he carried out his dreadful murders.
Please be aware that this knife, although small, is sharp as it's made from a saw blade and should be kept away from children and pets.

As well as finishing Jack this week I've been working on a commission doll of Ichabod Crane for a lady that shares my love of Johnny Depp films :)
My list of characters to make just keeps growing and growing and Ichabod is again one of those I've always wanted to make but never had. So I really enjoyed working on him and his mad glasses, sewing tiny detailed collar and waistcoat for him and researching (getting to watch the film again :) to make sure I got his clothes as close to the film costume as I could.

As usual i started with white cotton drawers and shirt, sewing the collar and cuffs separately and attaching them after the body and sleeves to make sure that had that nice starched look. I'd always though he had lacy dropping cuffs but I was wrong, and long straight ones that covered the back of his hands were what was needed. Think I might have been getting him mixed up with Barnabus, who I have to make at some point too :)

He has a fitted waistcoat with a high neck just below his cravat knot, with plain black buttons down the front, and his coat made to match with a high standing collar, buttons and pockets.
I made him a little Gladstone style back and used a pair of old china doll glasses, watch parts and new glass domed bubbles to make his glasses. They can be tied onto his head for display or folded up neatly beside him.

After days of worrying and wondering where my parcel from Lovely Linda could be it finally arrived on Wednesday and I had such a surprise.
From this neatly taped and labelled box there came an absolute wave of beautiful treasure. It just kept coming and coming and I've no idea how she managed to fit it all in there. I felt like a pirate with his treasure, or a king in his counting house. So much gold and silver shining, so many pearls and moonstones and pretty delicate beads. So many shapes and sizes and trims and flowers and .........

I started by sewing the intricate double layered two tone wire lace panels to the front of Beth's skirts. And she immediately began to look so wonderful I just couldn't take my eyes from her.
After that I added a beautiful delicate string of pearls and moonstones all around her hem, and started pinning things into place on the back and front sides of her train and skirts.
I'm just so lucky to have found such a wonderful woman, and true friend, in Linda. What she does is pure magic, and no matter what kind of bumbling ideas I came up with she turned them all into perfect priceless tiny pieces of treasure to adorn my Elizabeth I.
I'm not going to show pics of her here yet as this is just the first layer of beauty I get to add to her. After these main motifs I have hundreds of tiny, perfect, wire flowers to sew onto her gown with tiny beads at their centres. And I can't wait to get back to working on Linda's Cerridwen in the hope that I might just be able to thank her for helping me make my Beth so perfect.

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