Saturday, September 23, 2017

Izannah Walker's 200th Birthday!

September 25th marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Izannah Walker, that iconic American cloth doll-maker. Yes, she was a maker of unbreakable dolls, but she was so much more - a successful business woman in the man's world of the mid C19th. Apart from the patent on her dolls, she was responsible for a number of other inventions, but it is for her dolls that she is mostly remembered. There is just something so appealing in their calm, serene countenances, so simply but perfectly rendered in oil paint. They are reminiscent of the naive portraits of the time, beautifully realized in three dimensions, and each one a little unique.


These dolls have stood the test of time - quite a few of them are still around, displaying their quiet beauty. Even those that have had a hard life exude that special aura unique to these dolls.

I belong to a Facebook group that celebrates these and other mainly cloth dolls from the past and it was suggested by one of the members that we celebrate the event of Izannah Walker's 200th birthday by creating something related - a doll, a painting........whatever. My initial thought was to do a painting - a still life in naive style with a doll included. But when I really thought about it, I really REALLY wanted to make an Izannah-like doll. As usual, I left it until the last minute, leaving myself only eleven days to get it done. Occasionally, I get seized by a project and can work long hours uninterrupted until it is done, which is what happened in this case. I got it done, from sculpting to the final stitches in the clothing with four days to spare. And all this stitching is done by hand!

So here she is, my 200th birthday celebration Izannah:









New Work

First of all, I must apologize for being a bit slack about keeping this blog updated - constraints mainly caused by doing house renovations make my time a bit limited. But I have been busy with other things, apart from licking this house into shape!

Here are some recent dolls completed:








 

Friday, July 7, 2017

More About Knitted Elephants.......

These elephants are such fun to make and they knit up very quickly on four needles with 8 ply (DK) yarn. I first devised this pattern a few years ago, but the problem was, it was mostly in my head and a number of people had asked me for the pattern.  I had to make more so that I could write down exactly what I was doing as I was doing it. And take progress shots.
This was never going to cut it:


Although I understood this "shorthand" I couldn't expect others to have the vaguest idea what this all meant!

I started knitting........


        
                                                            .......and knitting
 
 
                                                              ..........and knitting,
until I had made all these elephant parts, assembled them and recorded exactly what I did. Then it was simply a matter of formatting the information into an easy-to-understand document and uploading it into my Etsy store. The elephant is mostly based on spherical and cylindrical shapes and quite easy to make for anyone with some knitting experience.






I made a pink one, a grey one and a mixed pink and grey one. If you want to knit one yourself for someone special in your life, the pattern is available in my Etsy store for little more than the price of a cup of coffee! Instant download. http://www.susiemcmahon.etsy.com

Oh, did I mention that I really like elephants?

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Recent Work and a Knitted Elephant Obssession




A jointed cloth doll dressed in peasant style with and embroidered waistcoat.


 A little boy with a hobby-horse





Experimenting with new design.......a-a-a-a-nd!
KNITTED ELEPHANTS! I needed to write down my original pattern, which was stored in my head, so I had to knit a few more of these and take pictures. I now have a downloadable pattern available in my Etsy store







 
 
 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Enigma Stones

"Project Bathroom" is almost done! I'm just waiting on a couple of deliveries of hardware and then I can hook it all back up........can't wait for that first shower in a much nicer space! www.fourteenstepstothebluedoor.blogspot.com
will take you to my other blog if you want to see what I've been up to. I did employ a few measuring and sewing skills to make a roman blind for the bathroom window - practice run for the others I want to make for the house.


I've been finding it difficult to get back into my normal work rhythm after all the hard work in the bathroom, but I'm trying to be disciplined..........I have an artist demonstration day coming up next month and I need work to show and hopefully sell, so I've been making a few more in the "Enigma Stone" series. This is no. IV and no. V is almost done as well. I'm catching up on orders and generally slotting back into life as it was Before Bathroom Reno!








 
 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Thinking About My Next Project.......

I have been very "into" my latest house renovation project - the bathroom - (read about it at http://www.fourteenstepstothebluedoor.blogspot.com ) and even though I have great intentions of making dolls and art in the evenings, the truth is, I am usually too tired to do more than eat dinner and fall asleep in front of the TV before dragging myself off to bed! Just an occasional glass of wine........


But that doesn't mean I'm not thinking about my next doll project......it is even started and when I get this bathroom monkey off my back in a week or two, there will be no holding me back! And I'll even have the promise of a lovely hot shower at the end of the day, which I don't have at the moment. I'm having to do with inconvenient ablutions in the laundry trough with the occasional
"stolen" shower from friends while my bathroom is out of action. Nothing like the lack of a proper bathroom to motivate speedy work!
Here are my current bathing facilities:


So here is my next project, just waiting until I have time:



As you can see, this doll will have a jointed neck. She will have a jointed cloth body and I'm working on ideas for finishing her off. Soon, I hope!

 


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Where Did Summer Go?

Oh goodness! Suddenly it's mid-March and I realize that the whole summer has passed by without a single post here. I really must get back to updating this blog regularly - I blame that insidious Facebook thingy - it kind of takes over in the online space somewhat!

Anyway, I may not have been blogging much, but I HAVE been busy.......house, garden and creating things to sell in my Etsy store (Still have to keep the wolf away somehow!) So today I'm posting lots of pictures of recent work to catch up, with promise to self that I will blog much more regularly. 



I had a bumper lavender harvest this year, so I used some of it to make small things like these woven lavender bottles and silk pyramids





A fox and a hare............. and a little fox



Some child dolls:







A few lovely alfresco lunches in my back garden with dear friends:




Much baking......





The odd fish and bird:




Some full moons and trips:









Home renos slow and steady........



..........lots of flowers:



   AND ME!


 
 
 



 
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