Monday, February 3, 2014

Saba's Sandals and New Temporary Home

Saba is part of the Girls of Many Lands series, sculpted by Helen Kish for the Pleasant Company, 2003.

After I acquired her in 2003 or 2004, Girls of Many Lands, Saba has been featured in several one-day exhibits at local libraries, schools, and the African American Museum.  Her last exhibit experience, however, was several years ago.  Since that time, Saba and the other dolls with books, that are featured in an exhibit of the same name, have been stored in the largest piece of my rolling luggage set.

Poor dolls.  I never bothered to inspect them for their condition at any time during the past several years.  Of course, I would have loved to reenter them into the doll population to display with their books.  Unfortunately, there is just no room there.  So they remained zipped up in the luggage until last week when I freed them for another exhibit. 

Saba survived the previous storage, but her faux leather sandals were in a state of deterioration, one more than the other. The soles of the sandals were okay, but the straps of the right one had almost disintegrated.  She needed new straps for that sandal, so I decided to make new straps for both.  I took a few pictures of the process. Those photos and the text below describe what was done to get her exhibit ready.

L-R:  New sole for Saba's right sandal, the sole of her original right sandal, and the left sandal with original but deteriorating straps
In the above photograph, I had already removed the straps from Saba's right sandal and created a new sole for it using caramel foam.  That new sole was later flipped over and traced to create a new sole for the other sandal.  I decided to use the original soles as the innersoles of her sandals.  To keep the material of the "now" innersoles from deteriorating, I applied a couple of layers of Mod Podge (as shown in the next image).

The straps have been removed from the other sandal and layers of Mod Podge applied to prevent the material from deteriorating.  The above photo was taken before the Mod Podge dried.

After the Mod Podge dried, I placed the innersoles on top of the newly created soles to ensure a proper fit before sandwiching the new straps between the soles and innersoles and gluing the parts together.

I used natural colored braiding cord to fashion straps for Saba's sandals.  The front piece of each strap was sandwiched between the soles and innersoles and glued in place.  The pieces had been premeasured to a length long enough to create a top strap that would knot in front, wrap around her ankles and tie in the back.  I used Aleene's tacky glue to glue everything in place.

The front strap appeared to be pulled farther away from the forefoot than I wanted.  I left the straps tied in place as they were and cut an extra piece of cord to use as a forefoot strap.  The ends of each extra piece were tied to the sides of the new strap.  The end result is shown below. 

The new straps of Saba's sandals are tied in the back just below the gold anklets she was already wearing.  The ends of the extra added piece across the forefoot are tied to the sides of the new strap and the knots trimmed snug.
As seen in the next picture, Saba is now in a Dolls with Books exhibit at a local library where she will remain until the first week of March. 

With 21 other dolls, Saba, (the first doll, top shelf, far left) is featured in my Dolls with Books exhibit at a local library through the first week in March.  Depicting fictional and nonfictional characters from the 1800s through the present, this exhibit encourages children to read.  It also provides a visual depiction of how African Americans have been portrayed through the written word and in doll form.  
Saba's object label reads: 
Saba represents a 12-year-old Ethiopian girl in the year 1846, from the Girls of Many Lands doll series, 2003.  Her book, Under the Hyena’s Foot, 2003, by Jane Kurtz, is about the kidnapping of Saba and her brother.  The children must devise a way to escape and return to their family.
Throughout the month of February, as time permits, I plan to feature the other dolls that are on exhibit with Saba in separate blog posts either individually or in group postings.



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12 comments:

  1. What a gorgeous doll and it's so neat that you can take care of your own doll repairs when needed. I also love that exhibit! If you feature more dolls from it, can you tell us how the exhibit came to fruition? Did the library contact you, did you contact them? Will the exhibit roam to other libraries?

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    1. Hi Muff,

      Thank you. Saba really is a gorgeous doll.

      In separate posts, I am almost certain that I will feature more dolls and hopefully all that are included in the exhibit prior to their return home. These may not be consecutive posts, but the dolls will be featured throughout the month. In the next exhibit post, I will share how this particular Dolls with Books exhibit came to fruition and answer your other questions.

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  2. DBG, I really admire you for the dedication you place into caring for your dolls. In addition, you continue to educate others of Black History while empowering Women and Children to love themselves. You are truly are a World Change Agent with your work with dolls. The Libraries have a great treasure to have you assist with Black History Month. I look forward to reading future blog post to see where your dolls will be traveling next.

    Great shoe repair on Saba's sandal I can see Doll repair request flooding your email soon :)

    Thanks AGAIN for sharing!

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    1. World Change Agent, wow... I like that title Sandy, although I am just following my heart and enjoying my hobby in ways that make time standstill. It took me a long while to physically share my dolls with the community, but I am glad I made the decision to select just the right dolls to share, whenever time permits. If someone learns something in the process of my enjoying my passion, that is definitely an added plus. Thank you for always being so encouraging to me and everyone whose paths you cross.

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  3. It's great to learn so much about dolls I don't know yet through your posts, thank you for all the info you keep sharing. Saba is a beautiful doll, and I'm glad her sandals are restored again! The exhibition is very interesting, I'm looking forward to more reading about it :-).

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    1. I hope you will continue to read my posts and that they will be a pleasurable learning experience for you, Nymphaea. Thank you for sharing your opinions.

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  4. It is a wonderful and amazing exhibit. I did not know that all those dolls had been created with books. I love it.

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    1. Thank you MDW. Saba was manufactured with a book. Most, but not all of the dolls in the exhibit came with a book. Some were inspired by previously written books that I purchased separately to include with the doll. I will share which ones came with books and which did not in the subsequent posts.

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  5. Wow, she is beautiful! I can usually recognize a Kish doll right off, but I wouldn't have known this was a Kish doll. Well done. Great exhibit. I wish I could see it close up.

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    1. Thanks, Vanessa. There were several different Girls of Many Lands dolls, but Saba is the only one I purchased. Here is a link to a group photo that I believe includes the entire collection.

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  6. What a wonderful exhibit of books and dolls - how brilliant that you (and your library) are able to share it like that!

    I loved the Girls of Many Lands dolls (I have Neela and Leyla myself) and it's always fabulous to see them pop up again. And may I say that I think your version of the sandals actually outshines the originals?

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    1. Thank you so much, jSarie. Saba "will be as thrilled" as I am regarding your assessment of her new sandals.

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!