Edith's Editions - Process


    DOLL MAKING PROCESS   

 

My heirloom cloth dolls are made with great care using doll molds by a variety of artists.   Finished items purchased are wigs, stockings and shoes.   Everything else is lovingly and professionally handcrafted.

The entire process to create a doll and costume takes about 36 hours if I were to work straight through.   Normally I work on a minimum of six dolls at the same time.    The construction has several phases:

The heads and shoulder plates are ceramic with a cloth covering.  Creation of the heads and shoulder plates takes a week from pouring to firing, allowing time for the greenware to dry before going into the kiln.  The molds used for the dolls are purchased from various doll artists, including Dianna Effner, Donna Rubert, Ruth Mattingly and Rose Pinkul.  Once the head is covered with fabric I paint the features and spray on a sealant for protection.

The arms are constructed with the same fabric as the head and shoulder plate which is 100% cotton fabric which I custom dye flesh color.   The body and legs are flesh color broadcloth.    I wire the fingers and arms to enable the doll to hold small items and be posed.  Many of the dolls have legs that bend at the knee making it easier to have the dolls in a sitting position if desired.    I make and stuff a cloth body appropriately sized for the head and shoulder plate.

Most of the doll dresses are made especially for the doll.   I enjoy creating heirloom dresses using primarily batiste with lace, tucks, pin tucks, and occasionally embroidery designs.   I also create outfits in prints and solids in country or modern styles.

For the 28 to 32 inch dolls I can occasionally purchase a child’s outfit and customize it to fit.   For the smaller dolls (16 to 26 inch) it is usually necessary to create or adapt patterns.

At a minimum, outfits consist of dress, slip and pantaloons.    Often I will include a pinafore and accessories to enhance the outfit.

My heirloom dolls are meant to be enjoyed outside a glass case.    You will need to keep them from direct sunlight and protect them from pets that might chew the hands or feet.

Caring for these heirloom dolls is very simple.  Since the faces are sprayed with acrylic sealer to protect them from soil, just dust your doll carefully with a nylon net duster, or other soft brush, or use a hair dryer on cool setting and blow the doll and the clothing.  The fingers and arms may be posed by carefully bending them into the desired position.

Straight hairstyles may be brushed or combed to keep them smooth and silky.   Trim uneven edges, if necessary.   Use your fingers to fluff and rearrange curly hairstyles.   Do not brush out the curls.  The dolls are repairable if they should be unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident.

 

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