Monday, 25 November 2013

It was a real surprise to me to find that I’d never made a Dorothy Gale doll before. I love the bright magical Technicolor dream film with the beautiful Judy Garland. It’s such a special film with so much joy and heart. I’ve watched it loads of times and never get tired of it. Such wonderful characters and beautiful backdrops. Scenery and costumes made with such care and attention to detail, I love everything about it.
The way it must have surprised its first viewers when it changed from Kansas in its drab black and white to Oz with all its vivid colors. It’s hard to imagine how wonderful that must have been then, as even now it’s so beautiful to see. No wonder it’s become such an icon. I can think of only a few other films that can compare to it, but only a very very few that bring with it the same imagination and feeling.

My Dorothy wears layers and layers of petticoats under her neat blue gingham dress, all trimmed with lace and ribbon. It’s a pinafore style dress with a white cotton shift beneath it so that she has a frill gathered neckline. In her arms she carries her Toto in her little basket, and on her feet are the prized ruby slippers.
To keep her company on her journey she has brought along her paper dolls that I made from scraps of fabric, paper and odd buttons, using a pattern I drew up myself and attached together with paper fasteners so that their limbs move. The Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, and Wicked Witch of the West are there ready to help her tell her story J
Next I really need to get my bum in gear and get working on my Red Harrington, take more pics of my Woman in White so I can list her, also sew the rest of the bunting for a friends new baby room, finish off dolls for Christmas gifts, start a small bridesmaid, and work on Beth and Cerrid, as well as lots of other things.
Think I'm going to be a very busy girl :S lol :)

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Ms Harrington & Miss Gale - Work In Progress

At the moment I have 3 dolls I'm working on slowly to make sure they are just right. Ms Red Harrington (Left), Miss Dorothy Gale, and my own elaborate version of Elizabeth I.

While I wait patiently for the next pieces of beautiful wire work to come from Linda in Florida my Beth looks down at me from her safe perch on my bookshelf. So as I can't keep my hands off the needles and thread I have another long term project going on with Red here.

So far she looks pretty well dressed, but I want to recreate all of the details that are included on the fabulous original costume as worn by the ever lovely Helena Bonham-Carter (who's looking rather glam in the new Christmas Marks & Spencer add:). On top of her layers of underwear I've made her gown from a red silk with a black paisley pattern woven into it. It's very light, but looks much heavier, and was perfect to create the layers of ruffles at the hem.
Her cuffs have a wide lace ruffle on the underdress or shift, with a wide purple silk frill trimming the gown sleeve with a charcoal grey fringe. I searched for a trimming so tiny but of course when I want things like that they just can't be found. So I used a silk thread and hand knotted the fringe, and used the same thread to plat a tiny rope like trim to finish off the edge. I added the same purple ruffle around her collar and added more of the plat trim to finish that too. She still needs a tiny black lace trimming added to her gown, a shawl, reticule, hat and maybe a parasol before she's finally done.
There is another doll that I can't believe I've never made. I love the Wizard of Oz with the magical Judy Garland. It's such a wonderful film, especially when you remember it was one of the very first films in colour. Just imagine what it must have been like to sit in the cinema and watch the ordinary black and white big screen transform into bright full colour as Dorothy find herself in Oz. I'm just trying to figure out why it's taken me so long to make my own Dorothy gale.
I'm still working to trim Dorothy's blue gingham dress with white lace and ribbon. And she'll need a few more things before she's finished too. like Toto her little dog and a basket over her arm that I'll line with a  flowery fabric. Next I'm planning to make her her own set of paper dolls of her friends the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and Tin Man with their own little accessories. And she make even get a book made for her to store them in. I'm not too sure yet, but I'm really enjoying making her :)
Take care xxx


Sunday, 3 November 2013

The Lady Of Shalott - Work In Progress

It seems like such a long time since I started this doll that it seems strange now that she's almost done.
I wanted to make The Lady of Shalott as I'm very fond of the John Waterhouse painting and was very lucky to find this little wooden boat at a flea market. It was exactly the right size so I started to make her the very same day. the only problem being is that when you look very closely at the painting you can see the tremendous amount of detail needed to make things just right.
In the front of the boat you can see a three arm candelabra with only one of the candles lit (not sure how to do that yet :S). And just from the side view if you look very close is a crucifix laying in the prow. I'm just waiting on a lantern to hang from the front of the boat and a few other bits and bobs and my Lady will be all finished.
I decided to give my lady the darker red hair preferred by the Pre-Raphaelite artists rather than the lighter auburn she has in the painting. It was a hard decision to make, but the blond and orange mix of feathers to maker the right colour were very bright and harsh next to the rich colours inside the boat. It's just not a colour I can get in marabou, so I went with the richer red, somewhere in between Jane Morris and Lizzie Siddal. As you can see I trilled her Ivory silk medieval style gown with gold lace and built up layers of beads to create the necklace that you can only just see in the portrait.
In the bottom of the boat is a pale peach pink throw trimmed with a  richly embroidered hem of small scene portraits, gold, blue and red. I found this wonderful trim on Etsy that's just the right style to suit the composition and decided to use this instead of trying to recreate the original in embroidery on such a small scale. There are also a pair of decorated pillow for her to recline on.
She's almost done. So close that it seems odd that she's not actually ready. But I know she needs just those final pieces to be finished, and she'll be worth the wait :)