Friday, September 11, 2015

Gloria's Dolls BKA Massa's Servants Collectibles

Massa's Servants Collectibles, one-of-a-kind, handmade dolls by Gloria Rone

In December 2006, I interviewed Gloria Young, now Gloria Rone and published the interview in Black Doll-E-Zine's online group at Yahoo! Groups.  Throughout the years, I have seen her work steadily progress.  I remain fascinated by Gloria's doll creations that she initially categorized as primitive.  When I think of primitive dolls, however, I think of distorted caricatures, which would not describe Gloria's dolls.  Over nearly the past decade, I have purchased several (seen above) two within the last week (the two seated on the green backdrop on the left and right above). I gathered them all to share with the readers of this blog.

To introduce Gloria, the artist, I have copied the first of the dozen or so questions she was asked for her 2006 profile along with her answer.
  
When and what inspired you to begin making dolls and how long have you been making them?In April of 2000, my father, Edward Young, was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer. While visiting him one day at the hospital, he was upset and in a sad mood.  Usually he was the [happy-go]-lucky dad no matter what. I did not realize how much pain he was really in.  I wanted to make him something to cheer him up and put a smile back on his face.  I went home thinking to myself, "Daddy loves looking at my art work. Knowing he loved cowboys and Indians, I decided to make him an Indian doll.  Even though I was an artist all my life, I had no real clue or desire to make dolls.  My dad was an artist, too.  He enjoyed sculpting and making airplanes and canes out of wood that he found during his daily walks.  I went to the local craft store and bought a plastic face mold, beads, feathers, and a piece of leather.  I found a toilet paper roll and used that for the body.  I sat down, plugged in the hot glue gun, and began gluing parts together.  After a few frustrating hours, I had what I called a doll.  I took this doll and gave it to my dad. He laughed and said, "Kid that's cool.  I don't know where I got you from."  Just seeing the smile on my dad's face was enough for me to continue making dolls, and that is what I did.  After he passed away, the nurses told me that my dad carried that doll with him through five back operations.  They said he would say, "Don't forget my dolls."  Dolls have become a big part of my life.  I love this so much.  I have self-taught myself through many trials and tribulations of making dolls and many mistakes.  I have come a long way and still have much to learn.  I have two collections of dolls that I make.  I especially make slavery-style dolls, mammies, cotton pickers, elderly people and children.
Of the dolls by Gloria in my collection, I only own one slavery type, as I do not actively collect that doll genre. I do own examples of one of Gloria's elderly dolls and several children.  The most recent children to arrive are Kamica and Kendra shown below.

Kamica and Kendra, painted cloth dolls by Massa's Servants Collectibles (Gloria Rone) are approximately 15-1/2 and 15-inches tall.

Kamica

With some of Gloria's dolls, she includes a descriptive story about how they "came to life."  Kamica's story is shared below:
When I sat down and cut out her little handmade pattern, I began to see her eyes peeking at me. They were watching me before I even painted them on  (in my head of course… lol).  She demanded that I make her light brown with black long hair.  I did just that.  This doll is so cute... She is made from muslin materials, hand painted features.  She has black yarn hair.  She wears a cute little African print outfit with matching beads made of polymer clay.  She holds her handmade little quilt.  She is approximately 15-1/2 inches long.  




Kendra
Kamica's travel companion, Kendra, has a pillow made from fabric that matches her dress. With Kamica's quilt and Kendra's pillow, I imagine the girls enjoying themselves during a sleepover. The artist's description of Kendra is as follows:   Meet Kendra....She is a hand painted little African doll. She has a cloth body and is painted and sealed. She wears a cute little pillow dress and matching pants. Her hair is black yarn with matching plastic beads. Kendra is 15 inches tall. She is signed by me.


Lou-Ellen (next image below) is the first doll by Gloria to enter the doll family.  She arrived in 2006 with a basket of black berries and hang tag.  She had been listed on eBay where I either won her there or Gloria sold her directly to me after the auction ended without bids.  I saved the auction description and transferred it to an index card that I keep with the doll.  Lou-Ellen, followed by a scan of her story card, are shown below.


Lou-Ellen is a 17-inch oil-painted cloth doll with jointed elbows and knees.


Temperance, Let Freedom Ring

Let Freedom Ring, or Temperance as I refer to her, entered the collection in 2009. Having been purchased on the secondary market, not directly from Gloria, Temperance was first introduced in a President's Day blog post here, where she shares the story I wrote about her.


Laura Larue and her doll
Laura Larue is a 14-inch doll with polymer clay head and hands.  Her body, upper arms, and legs are painted cloth.  She has gray inset eyes.  Mrs. Larue and her doll arrived in April 2012.  Dolly is 5 inches, constructed of painted cloth with hand-painted face and hair of black yarn twists.

Full length photo of Laura Larue, her doll, and two other dolls by Gloria that arrived around the same time.

Laura's mane is red natural textured fibers.  She represents my one and only elderly doll by Gloria. She arrived without a story or I failed to record it.  I imagine the dolly that came with her is her grandchild for whom she is in charge while the parents work.

Friend of Hitty and Dolly
Described by Gloria as a friend of the travel doll Hitty, the above 4-1/2-inch doll and her 2-inch doll are made of polymer clay.  They also arrived in April 2012, as a separate purchase from Laura Larue, and are the smallest dolls in my collection of one-of-a-kind dolls by Gloria.

Gloria has been announcing her new doll creations on Facebook that are also sold through her Etsy store.  Unless I exercise the some much needed constraint, I fear my collection of dolls by Gloria will continue to grow.

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16 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness.This is beautiful.....thank you Debbie ...I am about to cry....You are the best!!!!Thank you so much...

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  2. I so forgot I even made some of them....he he....I appreciate this so much....

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    1. You're welcome. So glad this was a pleasant surprise for you. If I can do it, I will share the entire profile at a alter time. I enjoyed re-reading your story and I believe readers will too. It might even inspire others to explore their creativity.

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  3. Wow, the detail in the faces of these is lovely. And unexpected for this style of doll, at least from what I've seen. Really beautiful work - thanks for sharing them!

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    1. You're right, jSarie, if you are referring to primitive dolls. All other dolls that fall into the primitive doll category have never ever appealed to me. Gloria's dolls are an exception and I don't really think they should be classified as such.

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    2. You're right, they seem to have a label-defying style all their own.

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  4. Hi Debbie, thanks for showing us those amazing dolls.

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  5. What a lovely little collection of beauties! I love how unique each one is.

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    1. Thank you, Vanessa. Their uniqueness and one-of-a-kind nature is what appeals to me.

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  6. Gorgeous work and a very moving backstory. Thanks for sharing this with us.

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    1. You're welcome, Muff. Thanks for commenting. Where have you been?

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    2. The first two weeks of September I took my first vacation in 10 years. It was great, but when I returned. I had a heck of a time trying to catch up to the backlog that happened while I was away. Once I got caught up, it was then time for me to chair an event that took three weeks of preparation. That event concluded two days ago and I'm taking a weekend to decompress. Doll blogs, my sofa and a bag full of chips, here I come! (But I already ate the chips.)

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    3. A workaholic, you are! I hope you enjoyed yourself.

      I usually don't take off more than 5 days at a time and those days usually include the weekend. It always takes me a while to get back into the groove of things, plus I have to juggle this or that to keep things flowing and back to normal when I return. But everyone needs some R&R, if only a day or two at a time.

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!