Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Week four of being in a cast and it hasn't really slowed me down at all. I tire easily from putting most of my weight on one paw while standing, but I take lots of breaks and return to the garage to saw some more.

I've been immersed in Lettie Lane these days. In the early years of the 20th century, Lettie Lane was the paper doll mainstay of The Ladies' Home Journal and the most popular doll in America. The Lettie Lane Paper Family first appeared in October 1908. Over the next decade, Lettie Lane became so popular, her manners and fashions mirrored and influenced American domestic lifestyles and society. I find her costuming endearing and beautiful, and with my love of creating miniature peg wooden paper dolls, I launched into three projects to showcase the charm of Lettie Lane.

The first project was A French Girl and Her Punch and Judy Show. I've long wanted to do something with a Punch and Judy theatre and this seamed a fun jump off point. The best thing about this set was finding a very rare Lettie Lane paper doll house image. I downloaded it, fussed with it on the computer for hours (it seems) and from the image created a real doll house to house the tiny characters and all the doll's dresses and hats. The French Girl is a little over two inches and the tiniest character, the baby from the Punch and Judy Show, is a scant 1 1/8". To make the little house even more enchanting, I added a removable, sliding divider in channels to separate the doll and her wardrobe from Punch and his characters and theatre. I think the effect was charming. So very much a true Etrenne in details and quality.

I had something fun happen the other day! I went to my email box and found a letter from my dearest friend and mentor. She'd been to a meeting of the Young at Heart doll club where she lives, a club affiliated with the UFDC (United Federation of Doll Clubs). The theme that night was original dolls. The members would bring a representation of original dolls to share with the group. Guess what showed up? Not one, but TWO of my earlier Bitty Becassines!! My work endures! My friend said she was over the moon with joy seeing my work again, and seeing it so proudly displayed. I was tickled to pieces to hear this story and so encouraged and honored by it.

So now I continue to finish the last two Lettie Lane peg wooden paper dolls sets. One is of Daisy, Lettie's doll, and one is of Lettie herself. Just to give you an idea of the pegging part, 1/16th inch dowels are used to peg the dresses and a tiny 1/16th inch hole is drilled in the doll. For the hats, I use straight pins nipped off into a tiny pieces! When all three are finished, I'll post photos on my website

Now for the BIG news. I just ordered a Daisyette, an antique reproduction of Daisy, only Bleuette size, from the fabulous Suzanne McBrayer. I also ordered a set of Daisyette patterns from the incredible Robin Barrows. I'm going to sew. Yes, I am. It may take a lifetime to make little Daisy's wardrobe complete with hats from her paper doll illustrations, but that is exactly what I'm going to do! Not for sale, but humbly for me.

When considering the creative process, it is not difficult to see why I was inspired to pick up a needle and thread. I spent hours sawing Daisy's little dresses and hats out of a piece of 1/16" basswood under a magnifying glass. I studied in entirety every little nuance of each dress from ribbon and sashes, to pleats in the skirts and flowers on the hats. It had to be done! I had to really bring this little doll to life. You may not see something real soon as my doll is being fired in a kiln and expertly painted presently, but I promise to share my first outfit with you whether it comes out well or not! Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Your research and attention to detail (not to mention you patience!) is legendry Melissa. Everything is just so perfect :)