Sunday, November 4, 2007

Bird Cage Couture

This is the first doll I've made for sale in almost 10 years! When I got the idea for my first book I was pretty much totally consumed with getting it in print. As a result the only dolls I made was the occasional one for myself. Sharon over at American Harvest will be carrying these one of a kind dolls and I'm just thrilled to be working with her!

A few details on this doll, sometimes when I create certain pieces I do a sketch and then built on that, but this particular design was a rubber stamp image to begin with! I loved the bird cage idea so much I searched out an antique cage and made the very first one for myself. This doll was cast in papier mache from a reproduction mold of an antique doll, I've mentioned before that these molds tend to be very expensive because you run the risk of damaging the actual antique doll you are creating the mold from. She is 23" tall and about 16" wide quite a substantial piece!

I then paint her delicate features on, and style her hair which is made from curly lambs wool. No detail is overlooked. Practically all the materials used to create her are at least 100 years old. The pale pink ostrich plume came off of an enormous victorian hat, bits of vintage paste jewels and millinery flowers adorn the rim of her barely visible antique tart tin crown.

She even wears the softest smokey grey eye shadow and ruby red lips that give her a come hither look. And the teensyest of crystal earrings dangle from her lobes.

The bodice of her dress is a fantastic bit of passementerie that actually came from what was once a gorgeous French ball gown circa 1870's! I purchased less than a 1/2 yard of it (that's all there was) and have resisted the urge to use even a bit of it until now.

The first flounce of her grand skirt is a vintage bread pudding mold, dusted with touches of baby blue.

Her layered tulle skirt was hand dyed from a very large white wedding gown petty coat.

Tiny little blue velvet flowers are sprinkled all over the entire gown.

The bustle over her ruffles is a small scrap of blue silk. And the vintage bird cage that is her "dress" most probably held lovely little song birds in the 1920's! These cages are getting harder and harder to find!

I used some old curtain trim with the smallest silk tassels to embellish the freshwater pearl ropes that grace the front of her skirt.

And residing beneath her skirt, perched on its very own swing a baby blue bird!

Silk bows with gold trim run up and down the ruffles.

And pasted into the bottom of the cage, to create a delicate little collage, copies of vintage floral wallpaper and a simply stunning print that came from a very rare book circa 1779 "Gallerie Des Modes et Costumes Francais" depicting hair and hat styles of the "haute bourgeoisie"! I have one of a very few engravings still left in existence!

Her "fainting fan", if you look closely you can see it is made from a vintage easter egg dying "spoon", the little copper wire one that came with the kits! It is trimmed out with rouge rose pink, perfectly curled feathers a bit of antique lace and two very small blown glass pearls. Here you can see the detail work of her delicate hands down to the very last nail.

I think I feel a swoon coming on!

Whew! Well I guess thats about it! I was kind of sorry to see her go but I know she will find a good home with someone that will love her.

I like to use my doll like this as a sort of revolving display piece, one week I fill it with beautiful glass perfume bottles and the next week she will have a whole bunch of little porcelain dolls dressed in crepe paper party dresses! There are a few more of these ladies in the works, a rosey pink version and the mellowest of warm yellow, to see them in person just take a little trip on over to American Harvest!