Wednesday, March 5, 2014
I met Debbie after finding one of her dolls featured on a blog about Lady Jane Grey. I couldn’t wait to buy the doll, and soon bought others, including the portrait of writer Barbara Pym, featured on my blog Miss Charlotte Bronte meets Miss Barbara Pym . Debbie is a transplanted Hoosier to Alabama as of summer 2013 with four grown children and one grandchild. She has been married 25 years. Besides making dolls, her interests include reading, walking, art work, and cooking (when she has time!) Debbie is a born artist, and as she says of herself; “I grew up with a pencil in hand and carried paper everywhere I went- got in trouble a few times with teachers for drawing on my homework, and art was my best subject in school.” Debbie does not collect dolls per se, but likes to create them as a favorite art form. A doll house kit first inspired her miniature creations: “I got inspired to create my art dolls when my husband was given a dollhouse kit by my mom, who despaired of my father ever putting it together. Being the tooling engineer that he was, he put it together and I decided to make some dolls to go in it out of clothespins. She loved it so I continued and I made up my own technique and developed it over time.” I can really relate to Debbie over dollhouses and the need to populate them. My dad was an electrical engineer who built one fantastic dollhouse for me from scratch, and another from a kit. He is an electrical engineer, and it seemed to take forever. He didn’t electrify my houses, and when I asked him why, Dad answered, “We’re Victorian.” Debbie’s dollhouse adventures began a chain of thinking; she decided to combine her love of classic literature, history, and the observation of ordinary people into creating her art work. Debbie finds people in general inspiring because if you study someone long enough, you will see some features that stand out. It is those features challenge her. She started selling her creations when by chance a lady waiting on her at the craft store mentioned Etsy. Debbie wrote the word down and forgot about it for 2 months, then decided to take the plunge to see what would happen. The rest is history and she has been doing well at it ever since. The artist’s work has been featured at “The Today Show” where the crew gave Susan Boyle a replica of herself that Debbie had made during a live interview between Boyle Meredith Viera. . Debbie’s work has also been featured in Vanity Fair online, The Art Doll Quarterly, Doll Collector Magazine, New York Magazine, -Show Time series on television, -Mystery Scene Magazine, New York Magazine, CI Living in Champaign Illinois, and my blogs Dr.Es’s Doll Museum, Dr. E’s Greening Tips for the Common Person, An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory, and Memoir; Writing your Life Story. She can be reached through me or her Etsy store, uneekdolldesigns.etsy.com
Sheriff Ruth Merrill, played by Joanna Cassidy in the TV Miniseries "The Tommyknockers", is an avid doll collector. She displays hundreds in her office. After an ancient space ship is dug up, and evil aliens begin to possess the townspeople, turning them into their own toys or zombie dolls, Ruth’s doll collection also becomes possessed. King takes The Nutcracker, where animated dolls are noble, entertaining, and heroic, and turns the hero into a killer who stabs Ruth. Interview with the Vampire: Dolls are a big motif in Anne Rice’s novels; in fact, she was once an avid doll collector and set up a museum in St. Elizabeth’s Orphanage in New Orleans Last year, she sold the last of her large and varied collection in an auction that included a doll that once belonged to Victor Hugo. One of her dolls alone, a large French Bru bisque head described in "Taltos" and featured on the back cover of Interview, sold for over $30,000.00 by itself. In the film Interview, dolls take on a creepy role. Claudia, the child vampire who grows in mind by not in her perpetually five year old body, received a doll every year on her “vampire” birthday from Lestat. Claudia, as one of the undead, is herself animated doll, but one with an attitude. The dolls pile up, and on one occasions, she murders a woman who has the physique she would like to have, and hides her under the pile of dolls on her bed, in a strange twist to Rilke’s doll/corpse idea. Claudia befriends a lonely doll maker named Madeline in Paris because she thinks Madeleine can create for her a lady doll that will reflect who she would like to be. Claudia, like many others, sees the doll as an image and projection of herself in her most perfect sense. Madeleine, on the other hand, sees Claudia as the reincarnation of the child that she lost. She has been making dolls over and over again in the hopes of recreating her child. At the end, she has Claudia, and “undead” living doll to fulfill her fantasy. Both are “broken” or destroyed by the Theatre de Vampires for crimes against Lestat the Vampire. Recently, two of the prop dolls made for the 1994 Warner Brothers film were being auctioned by Live Auctioneers, estimate for the two dolls was $400-600 dollars. Rice features dolls in nearly all her books, prominently in "Belinda", "Taltos", "Lasher", "The Witching Hour", "Memnoch the Devil" and "Merrick " She often features items from her own now defunct collections, including the antique Bru and French bisque dolls, Pre-Columbian idols and small ritual figures, Santos and religious figures, ritual “voodoo” type dolls made of the bones of the Mayfair witches, and others. The movies discussed here are only a part of the horizon. I will touch on the Saw and Puppet Master Series, Disney’s Child of Glass, Toy Story I, II, III, The Nightmare before Christmas, The Stepford Wives films, the dozens of robot, wax figure, and manikin films, the toys in Poltergeist, and the hundreds of films that use dolls, statutes, figurines, animatronics, or robots to achieve a creepy and uncanny effect. Also, these films generate dolls and doll related collectibles that often become valuable, especially if they are the original props or puppets used to achieve the spooky effects. Because dolls are among the oldest human artifacts, and because they are images of their creators, they inspire human imagination and emotion.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
A brief post to remind all my followers and readers that I love you and welcome comments. You can also read me on About.com Doll Collecting, where I am the expert guide. This is a wonderful site I took over from Denise Van Patten, who is a note author, lawyer, and doll expert. You can also sign up for a free newsletter from me each week. I would like to profile Long Gone Dolls, an Etsy store created by my new friend, Teri Long. She truly upcycles in style, and takes porcelain dolls and other dolls gently used and damaged and reinvents them into gothic beauties that are elegant and original. She has a real feel for The Day of the Dead, and there is a longer piece at About.com, both as an article and blog post. I own two, and will buy more She is quite an artist, as you will see. I bought Tin Lizzie for obvious reasons; she is the mascot for my books! Blogging is my true love, and I will be posting more soon. Enjoy the photos!
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Admit it, you still love them! Who doesn't love a teddy bear on her bed, and what guy doesn't love winning a stuffed animal as a carnival prize from his sweetie? But, what is the history of our anthropomorphic stuffed plush companions that protect us from things that go "bump" in the night? Read below from: Learn About the History of Stuffed Toys and Stuffed Animals. Childhood memories are filled with colorful plush toys, and stuffed animals filling up a bed. Everyone has their own favorite stuffed toy, whether they cried into a teddy bear or got it from someone that they would eventually marry. But how long ago did these cuddly creatures start springing up in toy shops? Historical records indicate that the ancient Egyptians could probably be credited with the first plush toys. There are actually no stuffed animals that have been unearthed from any of the archaeological digs in Egypt, but hieroglyphics and paintings indicate that they were present. They were not stuffed toys, however, but representatives of real animals that could be used in ceremonies. The 1830's saw the introduction of stuffed animals as toys. These were not the soft, stuffing-field plush toys that we have today, however. These were made at home from cloth and straw, and were more like sock puppets than the factory-made toys that we now have. The original idea, moreover, to stuff animals also came from taxidermy, where real animals are stuffed, and where the process is far more expensive (not to mention dangerous, if you're after stuffed moose). Finally, in 1880, stuffed animals finally took on the look of the toys that we see today. They were first made and sold in Germany. They were made from rather expensive materials, but with more technology and tests on the softness of plush animals, cotton and even synthetic fibers became more popular as materials. Even small beans were used to stuff toys, which could then be tossed around and played with. The teddy bear, it is said, was named after President Theodore Roosevelt, who was approached by a toy manufacturer interested in having a line of stuffed animals. So having plush toys isn't just about getting the right materials, it's also having the right people to inspire you! Today, stuffed animals are still selling, whether they're from classic cartoons or modern-day Disney characters. There is also a market for older, antique plush toys, which are now considered rare, if not at all precious collectors' items. Whether they're gathering dust and grime in your attic, or still sitting in your bedroom, these cuddly creatures really do make our lives brighter. Learn More: •The History of the Teddy Bear •So Where Did Our Favorite Stuffed Toys First Start Out? •A Quick History of Our Favorite Teddy Bear •A Brief History of Stuffed Toys
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
If you love the earth’s people, You love their dolls . . . Beaded eyes and thread-sewn rag limbs, Warm and loving . . . Friendship, sharing and lots of fun . . . Many to keep, but a special one To share, and then we’re done. Dolls are not just for children. We hold them in our hearts always From the early days of the Pilgrims We held them in our hearts and arms. With home cut hairdos, Resewn eyes and limbs, They don’t hold it against us, But still respond to hugs and kisses! Soldier dolls are dolls’ for boys and generals, Mechanical, stackable, and retractable. Toy bombs and guns that always “misses,” So the next time the soldier dolls can gain be attackable. When you collect one cherished doll of any type, You honor those who made them, acquired them, loved them.
Monday, February 17, 2014
Oh, to be Spring! We are being inundated with more snow mixed with freezing rain. It was an amuseument park ride from hell this morning just driving from point A to B, with all sorts of wonderful hills and ice-covered bridges. Thank goodness Starbucks was there! I have a mixed bag today; started as the expert guide for about.com at the Doll Collecting site. Take a look, and share ideas, especially for handmade dolls and folk dolls. Doll making is all about recycling; just read about the dolls Ma made in The Little House books. Crafts, in general, are wonderful ways to recycle and use scraps, especially in assemblage and reclaimed art. On the health front, I have beeen drinking RAAW juices this week, and I notice a definite improvement with sinusitis symptoms, which I call Sylvia Plath's disease, since she sufferred terribly from it, too. Also, it helps with the gag reflex brought on by asthma, as does coffee. So far, I have tried Cranberry Ginger, Strawberry Purple Carrot, and Very Berry Wheatgrass. I am not a spokesperson for this product; I also drink many other juices, some homemade, some concentrate, Naked, some Aldi or Save a Lot brands, nectars, etc. I still love Hi-C Cherry when I can get it, too. But, this juice is 100%, and the fusion is similar to V-8, but more organic with no persevatives. The juice in Cranberry Ginger is made from 1 1/2 c. cranberries and 1 c. ginger root. At our local health food store, Greatest Grains, the juices are .30 less than at our local supermarket. They run about 2.50-3.29 for a 12 fl. oz bottle. There is zero fat and 1% sodium, and 110 calories. I picked up some free brochures and newsletters at Greatest Grains as well, including one for Dermale products for skincare, and a first issue for Women Sense: healthy women create a healthier world. Articles in this new paper include articles about low thyroid, a study that shows women aged 25-65 are the most stressed [really?} and studies about the risk of too much sitting. Common sense, and obvious, but they get your attention about things we know but take for granted and ignore. Also, an article in "Memory Pause" and weight loss tips, and finding peace for a good night's sleep. More original 49 tips will also be posted. So far, some of my articles on About.com include "Lincoln Dolls," "Estate Dolls," "Sherman Smith Doll Maker and Whittler," "A Doll Collector's Calendar," "Hinges and Hearts: Metal Dolls," "Automata" and "A Tribute to Shirley Temple." We had a reading on our metal doll project and exhibit which went very well yesterday with members of loca writing groups joining me. Be well, deal with the climate changes, and know spring is coming. My little seeds are sprouting, some in Kleenex filled plastic cups in my office :)
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Percy's World of Toys: 3615. Big Brainy Baby Abe Lincoln: Lincoln warned the South in his Inaugural Address: "In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentou...