Monday, January 16, 2017

First Doll to Arrive in 2017

19-inch doll with papier-mache head, cloth body, animal-hair wig

This interesting circa 1950s doll, presumed to have been made by the person whose handwritten signature is on the bottom of both shoes, was the first doll to arrive in 2017.  She stands 19-inches tall and has a papier-mache head; cloth arms, body, and legs.

Her distinct facial features include hand painted eyes, broad nose, full lips, and open nostrils.  The seller described her wig as being made of horse hair with visible hide.

She is dressed in heavyweight cotton floral-print dress with fabric-belted waist.  The dress appears to have been hand made just for her.

She wears white hand-knit undies and white nylon socks that I hand washed.  

The all-leather, hand-stitched brown shoes have a pearlized button closure on the front of the ankle straps. The bottom of the shoes are each signed "Hanna Fuhrer, Zürich."  Reminiscent initially to me of a Sasha Morgenthaler Studio Doll, but with broader facial features, I was intrigued upon first seeing the doll online and desired her presence in my collection.  Morgenthaler was also an artist from Switzerland.

Wendy Frank Native Australian doll (left) compared to the Fuhrer doll (right)

After her arrival and studying her facial features and overall construct, I came to the conclusion that this doll reminds me more of a Wendy Frank doll than a Morgenthaler Studio Doll.  My doll, however, was made long before Frank began making dolls.  Perhaps Frank was inspired by this artist and decided to fashion her dolls after a Fuhrer doll.  Frank's dolls have mask faces with several layers of paint applied, which gives the appearance of papier-mache. The hands of both artists' dolls are similarly stitched.   Frank's dolls have stitched toes, whereas the Fuhrer doll's feet are toeless (see next image).  As illustrated in the comparison photo, the facial similarities are too close for there not to have been a Fuhrer influence upon Frank's work, but perhaps the similarity is coincidental.

Fuhrer's doll's toeless feet and stitched hands are shown here  (There's a name for this type doll foot, but it escapes me.)

The doll's hair is very straight and thin.  Due to the thinness, my husband does not think it is horse hair ("unless it's from a Shetland pony," he said). 

Exposed animal hide has a folded area in the center of the head

Because I found the exposed animal hide a bit unnerving, shortly after her arrival, I made Hanna (I have named her after the artist) a knit hat using an infant-size sock.  Photos of the cap-making process follow:

The cuff of the sock was unfolded and cut just below the ridged area (as shown on right).   The cut area was bunched together and sewn to close the top.

After stitching the top of the sock closed and placing it on Hanna's head, the bottom was cuffed.  Now a cap, it needed some form of embellishment.
The Mod Podge-coated flower cutout is pinned, suspended, to a sponge makeup wedge as the Mod Podge dries.

I drew a flower onto card stock, cut it out, decoupaged it using Mod Podge, and glued the flower to a piece of brown felt.  The edges of the felt were trimmed to create a border for the flower.  Finally, the flower with attached felt was glued to the left side of the cap.

Drawn and decoupaged flower, glued to a piece of felt, which was later trimmed

With Hanna still wearing the cap, I glued the flower appliqué directly to the side of the cuff.  While the glue dried, several pieces of paper placed between the cuff of the cap and more placed underneath the cuff prevented the glue from seeping through to unwanted areas.

I think I love her.  No, I know I do.  She has a very solemn face and appears to be in deep thought.  I would like information about the artist and the exact time frame the doll was made (she could be from the '60s or as late as the 1970s).  Unfortunately, googling the name, "Hanna Furher" was unfruitful.

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Christmas Dolls 2016 Part 3 - Finale

Lori Dolls Cyarra and her Wonderfully warm! outfit

For Christmas, from my sister from another mother, Betty A., I received a package filled to the brim with precious little things.  Cyarra and her cute extra outfit were among these items from Betty.

Cyarra stands 7-inches tall and has vinyl head, full vinyl arms and legs, and a cloth body.  She has brown stationary eyes and rooted dark brown hair styled up in a bun.  Ready to perform one of her favorite lyrical dance routines, Cyarra wears a dark pink one-shouldered leotard, gray short-sleeve top, gray tights, lavender tutu, and pink vinyl slippers.   Cyarra describes her favorite things below:

Cyarra is pictured on the back of her box with other dolls from the ballet collection shown in the background. The back of Cyarra's extra outfit illustrates another Lori doll dressed in the too-cute Wonderfully warm! fashion. 
Thank you, again, Betty for this precious little doll and her well-made and well-presented extra fashion.


I recently visited the Lori Doll website and discovered Illyssa and her pet Indyana.  I rarely shop in Target's physical stores, but plan to make a special trip soon to see if Illyssa and Indyana are there.  Cyarra needs a friend.

Lori Dolls is a division of Maison Joseph Battat, LTD.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Christmas Dolls 2016 Part 2

For a limited period during early November 2016, American Girl discounted Melody's Holiday Collection, which included the doll and book, Christmas outfit, fancy coat, and her dog, Bo.  I told my children I was going to order the bundle as my Christmas present from them.  Sure it was early November, but buying it then and having them reimburse me for the cost would save "them" money.  I was only thinking about them. :-)

So I placed the order and, other than peeking inside Melody's box to look at her bangs (since another collector asked if my doll's bangs were straight -- and they were), I closed her box, placed it back in the shipper, and stored the doll and other items in a closet with plans to open everything on Christmas morning.  I even had a fleeting thought of wrapping each boxed item in order to have something to open on Christmas from the children (other than two money-containing cards from each).  Wrapping these items was only a thought. Prior to sitting down to write this post, Melody and her things remained out of sight and out of mind. This past weekend, I finally photographed her and the additional items I purchased that went on sale a few weeks later.

Photos of the things the children purchased follow:

Melody's individually boxed Holiday Collection 

Before releasing Melody, I opened her outfits and dog:
Melody's Fancy Coat is made of gold brocade and has faux-fur trimmed sleeves and collar with matching faux-fur hat.  White satin gloves were included.

Golden brocade dress with gold ribbon embellishments at bodice and waist, ivory tights, black patent-leather shoes, and a gold headband make up Melody's Christmas outfit.

Melody's dog's name is Bojangles or "Bo" for short.

Bo's blue collar matches Melody's dress.  It unfolds to become a leash.
Melody and her book, No Ordinary Sound

She's perfect, from head to toe.
I love the feel and texture of Melody's thick black hair with the perfectly flipped ends.
The slightly reduced-in-price additional items I purchased were Melody's hairstyling set (which includes wig, bow, and corsage) and her play outfit, shown next:

Melody's hairstyling set remains unopened.  The play outfit includes shorts set, two ribbon ponytail holders, and white canvas shoes. 

Melody's book, entitled, No Ordinary Sound, contains 222 pages. The synopsis reads:
Melody can't wait to sing her first solo at church! What song will she choose?  She gets advice from her big brother, who has his sights set on becoming a Motown star, and she gets inspiration from the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Melody's also inspired by her older sister, who's home from college with new ideas about making things fair.  What isn't fair is their cousins' struggle to buy a house.  Melody learns that they're not welcome in certain neighborhoods because they're black.  Just as Melody's ready to sing, an unimaginable tragedy leaves her silent.  Can she find her voice when it really matters?
No Ordinary Sound, the first volume of Melody's stories about growing up in the 1960s, shows how people can come together to create social change. 
Growing up during the civil rights-era and witnessing the struggle to obtain a semblance of it here in the US is the reason Melody Ellison is part of my collection.  She is part of my history.  I appreciate the measures American Girl utilized to ensure historical accuracy in the stories and every detail of the doll and accessories.

One of the back pages of No Ordinary Sound extends thanks to those who were part of the advisory board that authenticated Melody's stories.  Check out the name at the top of the list.

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