Thursday, December 2, 2010

Merry Christmas and Thank You!

 I would like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone who has read, followed, and purchased from my blog in 2010. I appreciate your efforts so very much! Merry Christmas to you all....

 I have had some requests to post my offerings from The Best We Can Do websale here, so here they are:    (click on images to enlarge)

                                       Spirit in Helping
Santa measures 9.75" tall so this piece is larger in height and scale than my usual work, all antique and vintage fabrics, antique and handmade accessories, an actual German toy cart circa 1900   sold for $395......Thank You, J.

Spirit in Giving
10.25" tall overall , so also a little larger than usual, Santa is dressed in felt and cotton, mohair beard, dollhouse and candy container are handmade, candy container has removable head and note dollhouse address, authentic German platform horse circa 1900     
Sold for $245... Thank You, T.

Spirit  in Tradition
An old real picture postcard was the inspiration. The photographer's prop sleigh an backdrop are all hand painted and mounted on a single base, so as to be free standing. Santa and the little girl are also free standing. A sepia tint postcard of this scene is included. 8" x 7.25"
Sold for $185... Thank You, T.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Best We Can Do December websale!

(click on this image to enlarge)

  I am pleased to announce that I will be joining The Best We Can Do artist group for their December 1rst websale! I've admired all their creations for many years, so it is a thrill and
an honor to be included with this group. I wish to express many thanks to each and every one of them. As for a hint to my offerings for this websale, let's just say everything is......
 Click on the link in the right margin (Christmas Spirit) and you will be whisked away in Santa's sleigh to The Best We Can Do website!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Open the July 31rst EHAG Emporium!

   Thank you for stopping by to have a look at my July EHAG Emporium offering! She is the Sweetheart of the Vaudeville Stage and goes by the name of Katze Von Sterner. You should see her songs and dances when she takes a turn in the glow of the footlights! No one does a better version of  "Oh, By Jingo" or "Mistress Mumbo Jumbo." Of course, no STAR of the stage would be much of anything, without a spectacular costume. Katze is dressed in one of her favorites which includes a star headdress of glittering gold trimmed with a soft black fringe (her head fits right through it) and a frothy frock made entirely of antique Dennison crepe paper. For more playful fun and to create the illusion of a stage setting,  Miss Katze arrives with tri-fold screen that includes "scrim" panels with applied gold stars and lots of frivolous gold braid trim. Katze Von Sterner stands 7.25" tall and again, her screen is included. Item is Sold... Thank You, B. Paypal (with id is
preferred, but other payment options may be considered. Please email me at to check availability and don't forget to see all
the other fine offerings from the EHAG artists.

Sweetheart of the Vaudeville, Katze Von Sterner

Katze Von Sterner in her stage setting

Detail of Katze's headdress,
Her head fits right through!

Close-up of Katze's dear little face

Details of dress
All antique Dennison crepe paper

A parting shot of Katze Von Sterner
Best Wishes!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Thoughts on Crepe Paper

   Wow, what an exciting title, huh?! Well, if that title caught your attention, we are kindred spirits! We must be either interested in the media of a gentler era or a little nuts! Either way, I'm glad you paused to have a look. Anyone who is into the doll making and/or decorative arts knows working with crepe paper is mostly a labor of love....

   You may be asking yourself why I am currently preoccupied with crepe paper. I don't want to say too much at this point, but  it will make complete sense upon the opening of the July 31rst EHAG Emporium. Aside from this, I do have to say that I adore the old fashioned charm of crepe paper. It was invented in the late nineteenth century and seems to have had a golden age in the years 1900 to 1930. During these years, it seems the Dennison company of Framingham, Massachusetts reigned supreme in the manufacture of crepe paper. Dennison published little booklets packed with wonderful illustrations and instructions for creating a wide variety of items with their product. Two of these little books, published in 1925, are pictured above. Costumes and flowers in crepe paper are quite reasonable. But can you imagine lampshades, bed spreads, or everday hats? I've actually seen these instructions in my studies. Dolls were also a natural conclusion when working in this medium. I am fortunate enough to have a set of old Dennison paper dolls with crepe paper costumes and a German bisque Christmas doll dressed in holly patterned crepe paper.
    With regards to dolls, after seeing some of the old doll costuming and the Dennison costume books, I could not resist trying to make my own interpretations. I've done this for a few years, here and there, on my dolls. Modern crepe paper can be found by a few different makers. However, I must warn you that the quality is less than favorable. Modern crepe paper has no where near the strength of the old stuff. Expect to tear some part of the costume, just when you are thinking completion is almost at hand! When I have been able, I snatch-up vintage crepe paper. I've been lucky enough to find it on more than a few occasions. I recently used the orange (or amber, as it is labeled on the packaging) on a doll
(HINT-HINT). This vintage crepe paper is like a work with. It has the
quality and strength of muslin and on this last project, not one piece of my pattern was torn.
     I will end this post here.  Again, I don't want to say too much and let the cat (HINT-HINT) out of the bag! Please remember JULY 31rst,  9:00PM EST... that's when the many talented artists of the EHAG Emporium will be unveiling their latest work. Oh, and do stop by the Emporium now and sign up for a chance to win three fabulous door prizes!

Best Wishes to You!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Open the Art Dolls Only Challenge!

  "... In another moment down went Alice after the white rabbit, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again..."

I see you've tumbled down the rabbit hole and joined in the fun of the Art Dolls Only "Alice challenge!" Well, do step in! Thank you for coming to have a look at my Wonderland offering. If you have an interest in my piece, "A Grin Without a Cat," ITEM  IS SOLD....THANK YOU, N. !

"... Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in all my life..."

  Here is little Alice discovering the Cheshire Cat. Alice, the Cheshire Cat, and the base are all original sculpts in paperclay. Alice is dressed in delicate periwinkle China silk with silk ribbon accents and a pinafore of muslin trimmed with antique lace. The "cat's grin" floats above the stump  in a trail of eerie ectoplasm. Please note the smiling black-eyed Susans. They are on their best behavior, as they hesitate at the idea of being plucked! Over-all size is 7.5" tall by 5.25" wide. Alice is completely removeable from the base, for ease of shipping and/or storage.

Alice, slightly closer
Alice's pinafore with antique lace trim
Alice in close-up
The most curious thing I ever saw in all my life!
Please don't pluck us!   Click ADO logo in right margin to see other artists' work. Best Wishes to You!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

An Inspiration for Alice

On July 9th, the online organization Art Dolls Only is holding an exhibit with works inspired by Alice in Wonderland. I will be participating in this event and my "Alice creation" will be published on this blog Thursday, July 8th at 9:00 pm EST. For more information about the Art Dolls Only organization, the Alice in Wonderland event, and to see other artists' work, please click on the ADO logo in the right hand margin.

Please scroll down to see where the ideas for my Alice piece began.... 

In a dirty old garage, there once was a book...

  A few years ago, I found myself helping my sister and brother-in-law clean out a dirty old garage. It was piled high with the debris of a recently deceased woman's life. How sad it seemed. There were boxes and boxes of what were probably this woman's cherished mementos. Unfortunately, no children or relatives were to be found to gather-up and care for these bits and pieces of the dead woman's life.

  Of course, there was little time to dwell on the facts and sadness of the situation before us. There was a full garage, a dumpster, and time limitations. So, we got  to work with the clearing. As we worked at the chore, lovely little bits of what was once a happy life kept coming to the surface. Before I knew it, I had a pile of odds and ends that simply could not be destined for the dump. My pile consisted mostly of old photographs and children's books... two things I cannot bare to see thrown away! I noticed an old copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in amongst the books.  At the time, I supposed this was a typical early 20th century edition with some of the typical illustrations. In a few words, nothing special.

   About a year later, I was researching in my collection of children's books when I again came across the old copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. My initial impression of this book was certainly a mistake. Upon further inspection, this is quite a magical little book. On the first page is written Charlotte Reardon, Xmas 1920. Charlotte was the mother of the woman whose personal effects were in the garage. Why Charlotte, as a grown woman, had a copy of this child's book is a mystery, but I guess it's not a situation that would be completely out of the question. The real excitement came at the title page of the book. Here, I found that this book was illustrated with "scenes from the photoplay produced and copyrighted by the Nonpareil Feature Film Corp." What a pleasant surprise! Not only is this book illustrated with photos of an old movie production, it is PROFUSELY illustrated! The photos show a production that was so witty, yet naive, that one can't help but to smile. When I say naive, I mean a lot of papier mache, painted wood and cardboard, and make-do costumes. There is definitely a  "grade school pageant" quality, but it is utterly charming.

Inscription   Charlotte Reardon, Xmas 1920

Title Page  Nonpareil Feature Film Corp.

Viola Savoy in starring role of Alice

  I have hesitated for some time when thinking of doing an Alice in Wonderland creation. There have been so many attempts and incredible resolutions with this theme, I just could not motivate myself. But, upon the discovery of this little old book, I have found inspiration! Please come back on July 8th to see what my efforts have brought forth. I am thrilled with the results and I hope you will be, too!

Best Wishes.....

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

EHAG EMPORIUM June 30th Update

Welcome to the June 30th EHAG Emporium update. I have THREE items to offer for this month's websale.  Please scroll down to view all three and my previous blog entry describing the inspiration for these three creations. Items will be sold first come, first served. Please add $7.00 per piece for shipping/insurance. PAYPAL preferred (paypal id, some exceptions for payment may be made. If you are interested in purchasing any of these items, email me directly at (click here to email) Thank you for stopping in and having a look.......Best Wishes to You! 

Item One   "Cat Cry"
No amount of shaking that rattle seems to sooth this crying baby. So, what's a Mama Kitty to do? Ah well, might as well smile, smile, smile. Nothing seems to concern this Mama.

Dolls are in paper clay, dressed in calicoes and black ruffles, Mama features a sculpted poke bonnet, and they stand on a base created form a vintage "made in Japan"  bellow toy.
8.5" tall, overall.... Item Sold

Item Two   "Saucy Sorceress"
With the wave of her wand, all things witchy and magical will materialize. One never can be to sure what the Saucy Sorceress will conjure up, but in this instance I see she has called up the tiny spirit of Hallowe'en joy!

Not quite your typical  Hallowe'en hag, the Saucy Sorceress is in paperclay, dressed in calico and black ruffles. Her hair is in the style of an 1830's  "milliner doll," complete with a slightly eerie skull hair ornament. A tiny half moon is painted on her handmade wand. The base is decorated with newspaper from a 1918 Pittsburgh publication, dresden sun, and gold rick rack.
9.25 tall, overall.... Item Sold

Item Three   "Mad Millinery"
Could it be so close to that most anticipated time of year?! It must be, as the Mad Milliner is in a frenzy of creativity, making all sorts of Hallowe'en hats! He has his milliner mannequin to display his most expensive Bal Masque top hat and a multitude of small party hats in progress are on the work table.
He is quite MAD, you know, so there is a twist to this piece... the milliner's head is interchangeable with the mannequin's head!

The doll in this piece is paperclay, dressed in felt and cotton. The two heads are interchangeable. Note the milliner's tiny jol pincushion. The milliner and table are both free standing, to allow versatility in display. The table is wooden and decorated with various fringes, newspaper from a 1918 Pittsburgh publication, features miniscule handmade paper and crepe paper party hats, and a milliner's bust mannequin.
Doll is 8" tall.... Item Sold

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bonnet Heads and Milliner Models

In anticipation of the upcoming EHAG Emporium update on June 30th, here is a hint regarding my contributions. These are the dolls that inspired my forthcoming offerings... 

  One of the most appealing aspects of toys and dolls, both historically and in modern context, is the idea that they portray the ideal; the ideal conveyance, the ideal home, or the ideal fashion. In terms of fashion, our 19th century doll-making predecessors bequeathed a rich legacy of fanciful creations. These fancies are infinite, but in this installment I will focus on two categories, with three dolls as illustrations.

  To begin with, there are two "bonnet head" dolls. Bonnet head is a general term used to describe a doll in any medium that features a molded hat or bonnet. The two pictured are from the latter part of the 19th century and were  probably fairly inexpensive when new. The medium used in these examples is a course, untinted porcelain slip well suited for making modestly priced play-dolls. This type of porcelain is commonly referred to as "stone bisque." Though cheaply manufactured, these ladies have not skimped on their apparel. The larger doll has a magical butterfly bonnet perched atop her head. What could be more whimsical than donning a garden's most glamorous inhabitant? In the second photo, this little stone bisque doll  is perhaps a bit more sensible, but no less attractive. She sports a very jaunty millinery creation featuring delightful ruffle and ribbon details.
Stone bisque shoulderplate head in a magical butterfly bonnet

Stone bisque doll with sensible, yet stylish molded bonnet

  The second style of doll I wish to focus on is the "milliner model." Of course, we identify millinery with hat-making, but millinery can also include all the trappings of fashion. In the broad context of millinery, you will find ribbons, laces, fabrics, feathers, and so forth. The milliner model doll was made in Germany with a papier mache shoulderplate head mounted on a rigid leather body. Carved wooden lower arms and legs complete this style of doll. Early doll collectors created a myth that these little beauties illustrated fashions of the 1820's-1860's. Modern research tells a different story. These little remnants of the past were merely play-dolls. The fact that they were playthings does not diminish their charms at all. My particular favorites date to the 1830's. Fashion records tell us that the 1830's were a time of ladies' hairstyles that were nearly as outrageous as those hairstyles of the 18th century royal french court. My pictured example has a quirky combination of curls covering her skull. Not only do curls cluster about her ears, they project from the top of her head in a feat that seems to defy gravity!
1830's papier mache doll
Remember June 30th 9:oopm (est)!
Many EHAG artists (including me) will have new items for sale. My offerings will appear here, at this blog. To see other artists' work, click EHAG logo on right margin.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Little Christmas in June

A Little Off- Season or A Little Off-in-the-Head,
You Be the Judge...

During these hot and humid early days of Summer, I could use just a hint of the cool crispness of Winter. Since I'm not some kind of "weather-wizard," I had to settle with working on this piece, entitled "Contemplating Christmas." This is a re-order, smaller version of a creation from April. As you can see, Santa is taking a little breather. He's hopped up on his vintage papier mache "boot-throne" and is contemplating plans for the upcoming Yuletide Season. He is dressed in an art-deco inspired fabric. Santa's boot is decorated with scans of my old Christmas postcards and tinsel trims. No matter the time of year, it's always a pleasure to revisit the Santas of years past and gain inspiration for a new artwork!

Detail of Santa Claus for "Contemplating Christmas"

Monday, May 31, 2010

EHAG Emporium May 31rst Art Sale

The Eclectic Halloween Artists Group May 31rst Art Sale!
The time has arrived and what fun it will be to see all the offerings of the many talented EHAG artists.

I am offering two items for purchase consideration. I gladly accept PAYPAL or PERSONAL CHECKS as payment. Shipping/Insurance on Hallo'Claus is $8.00 and for the Portrai'ments $4.00. If you are interested in any of these special sale pieces, please email (this email address is also my PAYPAL id). These items are being sold first come, first served and every effort will be made to update their availability as quickly as possible. Items ship no later than 2 days after payment receipt. Please scroll down for pictures, descriptions, and prices.... Best Wishes!

Hallo'Claus    Ever think about what Santa Claus is doing between Christmases? For those of you who believe in him, Santa Claus watches out for your best interests year 'round. On Hallowe'en, he is ever vigilant in making sure things don't get too scarey. He may even search you out and offer-up a little Hallowe'en present! Hallo'Claus is sculpted in paperclay, dressed in felt, stands on a wooden base, and measures 8.75" tall. His tiny cat candy container opens at the neck. For ease of shipping and storage, he is completely removeable from the base...ITEM SOLD

For every household black feather tree, here are PORTRAI'MENTS
This is my first attempt at Hallowe'en ornaments. I've done many Christmas ornaments in this manner, so it was time for a new interpretation. These are bas-relief sculpted paperclay on a double layer of sturdy mat board. The backs are finshed as the fronts, in gold with polka dots and feature a tiny ribbon loop sealed with a dresden trim (slip an ornament hook right into the loop).  The SET OF THREE includes Gentleman Jack, Clowning Cat, and Saucy Witch. They measure 3.5" tall. Normally ornaments sell for $20 a piece, this set is offered at a special introductory 15% off price of   ITEM SOLD