Vicki Leeke sent me these photos of dolls that she was working during my Izannah retreat last September. You may remember Vicki from one of my previous posts about her lovely leather flowers and leaves and the amazingly thoughtful Izannah pins she made for everyone who attended the retreat.
Vicki made “Charlotte” using a head and body parts that she had me pre-make for her prior to the start of the retreat. Vicki did all of the hand sewing to put Charlotte’s pieces together, painted her, and made all of her clothing. If I remember correctly, Charlotte’s dress is made from vintage fabric that Vicki came across at home in Australia… I can’t remember if she told me that she dyed the fabric or not… either way it is a luscious shade of rose.
Mr. Pospisel started out as a head that Vicki made just so that she could experiment with one of my plaster molds. She kept working on him so that she could practice hand sewing the two halves of the pressed cloth head together. After she got that far she was hooked! Before long “Mr. Pospisel” had acquired a name from an anecdote told to us by Peggy Flavin during the class, and his life history soon followed. Vicki took him back to Australia, where she finished bringing him to life. He is wearing the most wonderful suit, that really shows off Vicki’s proficiency when sewing with wool. Making all of her wonderful felt dolls has obviously paid off 🙂
Vicki is planning to enter them in a doll show in Sydney in November. Keep your fingers crossed that they win an armful of awards!
I’d like to say “thank you” to both Prims and Early American Life. My spun cotton figures of Thumbelina and Horrible Mother Toad are pictured on page 106 of the Autumn issue of Prims magazine, on sale September 1st. Not only am I honored to have my work pictured but I’m thrilled to pieces that Martha Bishop, one of my Izannah Walker doll making students, has her Jack and Jill featured in the same article.
This year’s retreat is now a sure thing, it is definitely going ahead as planned! If you were hesitant to sign up before the classes met their minimum enrollment requirements, wait no longer 🙂 There are only a couple of spaces left!!!
I’m really very happy and excited!!! I can’t wait to welcome all of the retreat participants to my home and studio. I love teaching, so this is going to be a treat for me 🙂 I’m also looking forward to talking with everyone about Izannah, dolls, doll-making and mid-19th century clothing non-stop for six days! What a perfect way to observe the 195th birthday of one of America’s most beloved doll makers.
DATE S & TIMES
Session 1 – Friday September 28, 2012 from 10:00-4:00, Saturday September 29, 2012 from 10:00-4:00, and Sunday September 30, 2012 from 1:00-4:00.
Session 2 – Monday October 1, 2012 from 10:00-4:00, Tuesday October 2, 2012 from 10:00-4:00, and Wednesday October 3, 2012 from 10:00-4:00.
A three-day condensed version of my Izannah Walker Reproduction Doll Class starts on Friday morning, September 28th. Students will need to order my doll class and sculpt their doll head, plus gather their materials ahead of time. Once you get to class we will be making two types of molds, forming pressed cloth heads, and constructing the doll’s body. This is a wonderful class for anyone interested in antique cloth dolls, for those who would like to learn to incorporate pressed cloth heads into their own doll designs, and for doll makers who are interested in learning how to make and use molds. Tuition is $300 for 15 hours of classroom time, which includes plaster, plus $250 for the doll class. (Current Class by Mail Students will not need to order the doll class, just pay the tuition.)
For those of you who are interested in learning how to paint and finish your reproduction Izannah Walker doll, I will have an additional three-day class on Monday October 1st – Wednesday October 3rd. In this class you may finish the doll you started in the first part of the retreat or you may paint, construct and dress a reproduction Izannah Walker doll using pre-molded and pre-sewn body parts that I will make for you prior to the class.
I will cover complete painting instructions for using traditional oil paints on your doll and we will also discuss the pros and cons of water-soluble oils. After your doll is painted you will learn how to assemble the doll and the “second skin”.
After completing your doll, the focus of the class will switch to the fine details of making reproduction mid 1800’s doll clothing suitable for Izannah Walker dolls. We’ll start with my Izannah Walker Reproduction Doll Clothes Pattern for an 18- 1/2 Inch Doll and move on from there to explore some of the intricate and exquisite techniques that make 19th century dress making so beautiful. You’ll have the chance to see and examine numerous garments from my collection of antique doll and children’s clothing. Attendees will need to purchase one of my doll clothing patterns and do some prep work prior to 9/28, so that we can make the most of our class time. Tuition is $375 for 18 hours of instruction, which includes painting supplies, plus $29 for the pattern (the pattern comes with the doll making class instructions, so if you are taking both classes, you do not need to buy the pattern for the second session). If you want me to make all of the parts for your doll prior to class, add $450 to the cost of your tuition.
Choose from head style # 1 or # 2.
SOMETHING NEW THIS YEAR
It was pointed out to me that at Gail Wilson’s A REAL MOLDED CLOTH IZANNAH (17″) RETREAT attendees were not expected to sculpt their own doll heads and make their own molds 🙂 (Gail provides the heads of an Izannah inspired doll that she has made in metal molds).
The main focus of my classes has always been to teach you how to make dolls as accurately as possible , from start to finish, in the same manner that Izannah Walker made her dolls*. I consider my class to be a Master Level class, and I want the people who take it to acquire some serious doll making techniques and skills. I’m not trying to hand you a kit (there is nothing wrong with kits – I think there are some marvelous kits on the market – they are just not what I’m offering) to assemble, I want you to learn how to do things for yourself and the reasons why certain processes are done the way they are.
However I do realize that there are some people, that desperately want to try their hand at making a reproduction Izannah, who lack the confidence or experience necessary to make the doll without significant assistance. So for everyone who does not feel that they are a Master Level Doll Maker, for those wanting to make a doll made from a mold taken from an actual antique Izannah Walker doll, or for people who want to relax and enjoy the retreat as a bit more of a social occasion, new this year is the option for you to have me make a head and body parts for you prior to class! Selling unpainted, unfinished doll heads, bodies and limbs is not something that I normally do, and certainly not something that I want to do on a regular basis. They are available to retreat attendees only.
*It is not known how Izannah Walker acquired the heads from which the molds for her dolls were made. She may have hired someone else to do the sculpting, used a commercially available dolls of the period, or done her own sculpting.
ADDITIONAL FACTS AND TIDBITS
Classes will be held at my 18th century farm. We will be working out of my studio building and a tent**, so that you can enjoy a bit of autumn splendor, if the weather cooperates.
Students will get a tour of my antique doll collection, which features cloth dolls including Izannah Walker originals, and early papier-mâché milliner’s models (plus more), as well as my c.1790 house.
Classes run from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. each day, with the exception of Sunday, September 30th. On Sunday class will start at 1:00 p.m., so you will have a chance to go to church, sleep in, have a leisurely brunch, or go shopping at The Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market, one of the best flea markets in New England.
On Friday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday I will whip up something simple for lunch, using fresh produce from my gardens, or you may choose to bring a lunch with you. Tea and coffee will be available all day, because I work best with constant infusions of caffeine :).
You will need to bring supplies along with you, as they are not included in the classes. A supply list will be sent out well in advance of September. The exception to this is that I will provide all the plaster you need during Part 1 and all painting supplies for Part 2. If you are flying in and weight is a consideration, you may make arrangements to have silicone mold putty sent here directly. You may also choose to purchase an optional material kit at an additional charge. It includes enough of nine historically-correct reproduction fabrics, six antique buttons, antique lace, cotton or wool tape and cotton stuffing to make one complete, fully-dressed 18-½ inch doll. Fabrics may vary from those pictured.
I have numerous sewing machines that you can use; you are also welcome to bring your own portable machine.
Due to space limitations, class sizes are going to have to be kept fairly small. Sign up early to avoid being disappointed, especially if you want me to pre-make a head and body parts, as I will only have time to make a few of these.
Tuition is non-refundable. What is the reason for this policy? Once you book space in the class, it will potentially keep other people from being able to sign up and also will affect whether or not the class will meet the minimum number of required students. People need to be able to make their travel plans in advance, so if you register and then cancel it creates huge problems.
** I regret that the classes are not handicap accessible, because of the terrain and antique buildings. Please note that the messy, smelly parts of this class will be held in tents:), weather permitting .
HOW TO REGISTER
Simply place your order on my website; or call me at 860-355-5709 or email me at email@example.com, to sign-up or to ask questions. Payment is due when you register. You may send a check, money order, or Paypal payment. Lay-away of a limited duration is also an option. Lay-aways must be completed before the start of the retreat.