Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Music Dolls by Lorna Paris

Music Dolls, a.k.a. Music Box Dolls by Lorna Paris
I saw the photo of the above trio of 8-inch Lorna Paris music dolls after a former doll group member purchased them from Lorna at the 2007 Philadelphia (Philly) International Black Doll Show and Sale.  I fell in love with them and had to have one for myself.  I just had to.  I contacted Lorna by phone to see if she had any left, and she did!

This is the music doll I purchased for myself in 2007.  She has the sweetest face.  Each of them have the same music box in their bottoms which plays Brahms' Lullaby when the key is wound.  As the music plays, their heads sway from side to side.  They are made of cloth and all have hand-painted features, which makes each a one of a kind.  Their shoes are painted to match the color of their dresses or an appropriate color that complements the dress color.

Since 2007, my doll has had several temporary music doll sisters as I have commissioned Lorna to make additional ones as gifts for others.

My doll poses with another music doll that is dressed similarly, but their complexions differ.
Later in 2007, at my request, Lorna made the music doll shown on the right in the above photo.  She is now enjoying life in a Midwestern state of the United States.


My doll is joined in this photo by dolls wearing blue and yellow dresses.
Purchased in approximately 2009 for two other doll friends, the music dolls in the blue and yellow dresses left their sister doll to move to a western state and another state in the Midwest, respectively.

This is the most recently commissioned Lorna Paris music doll; she too wears blue, as I did not specify a color for her dress, leaving that up to Lorna.
My girl wanted to pose with the newly-created music doll before she departed to yet another Midwestern state.
This past June, I commissioned Lorna to make the above-shown music doll for another doll friend who recently received it for her birthday. Said friend had mentioned wanting another doll by Lorna but she did not have her contact information. Now she has another doll by Lorna and the artist's contact information. (I sent Lorna’s business card to her along with the doll).

In her new home, the latest music doll is joined by Sheria (a 10-1/2-inch leather doll by Lorna) from the 1990s.
After this friend received her doll, she shared the above picture with me and also shared it with Lorna (having her contact info now to do so).  Her original doll, Sheria, is one of Lorna's one-of-a-kind leather doll creations, purchased in 1994 at the Philly doll show.  In the doll community, Lorna is better known as a leather doll artist, but as illustrated by her lovely cloth music dolls, she works in cloth as well.

In 2011, Lorna made one-of-a-kind leather sister dolls for members of my online doll group.  Those dolls can be seen here.  She also makes leather doll pouches.  See more of Lorna's dolls and her other artwork in the photo album of her page on Facebook.


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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

American Girl Addy's First Annual Hair Show


My second Addy is shown in the eBay seller's photo as she was when she arrived several years ago, very well loved with hair that was quite tangled and in need of conditioning and restyling.  I gave her the necessary hair treatment and styled her hair in four squared off sections, twisted the loose ends, added barrettes to the ends, and gave her bang extensions using clipped hair from a ponytail that my daughter had worn previously.  The original upon-arrival hairstyle is illustrated next:

Addy's hair remained in this style until this past weekend when I participated in Addy's First Annual Hair Show.

This past Saturday, the Facebook group, American Girl Addy Collectors, held Addy's First Annual Hair Show. Group members were asked to style their dolls' hair in creative and fun styles to illustrate the many ways Addy's hair can be styled. The hair show was a result of the administrator's discovery that some American Girl collectors are "intimidated" by Addy's natural hair texture.  Wanting to put to rest the myth that texturized hair is difficult to manage, we were asked to restyle our dolls' hair and post photos to the group.

I wanted to participate in this event because the administrator is very supportive of my projects, but because I was not sure time would permit me to do so, I left my invite status as "maybe."  Things were working against my participation (my mother spent last Thursday evening through Friday afternoon in the ER and was admitted to the hospital for observation until Saturday afternoon).  I thought my last-minute plan to participate had been foiled, but I woke up early Saturday morning and began redressing and restyling Addy's hair in traditional "little girl styles" (nothing at all very creative, however).

What I Used
After taking Addy's hair down from the original hairstyle, I moisturized it with Smooth 'N Shine Polishing Mousse.  A wide-tooth comb, plastic bristle brush, ribbons, barrettes, ponytail holders, and rubber bands were the only other items used to create the various hairstyles described and illustrated below.


Hairstyle #1
Addy removed her Christmas dress and was eager to try on an 18-inch doll dress by Blueberi Boulevard, a gift from several years back.  After redressing, she was given side twists that meet in back to create one ponytail.  The ponytail is accented with multiple white barrettes.  One barrette is also on top of each side twist:




Hairstyle #2
Two twisted side ponytails with ribbons on top and barrettes on the ends, worn loose in back (rolled under with my fingers -- no time to set it) completed hairstyle #2.





Hairstyle #3  
After changing into an 18-inch My Twinn "Blooming Hearts" dress, Addy was given four twisted ponytails, similar to her upon-arrival hairstyle, adorned with knocker ball ponytail holders and pink elastic ponytail holders on the ends.




Hairstyle #4
With her hair in three sections, the top two side ponytails remained in two-strand twists.  Each ponytail was carried over to the opposite side on top of her head.  The ends were wrapped around the rubber band that held the opposite ponytail to create a top twist.  A Nubian knot was created in back by wrapping the two-strand twisted ponytail around itself and tucking the end underneath the rubber band that held the ponytail in place.  (For this style, Addy is dressed in another 18-inch My Twinn fashion.)




Hairstyle #5
Addy's final hairstyle, three braids with ribbons and barrettes, is the style she chose to continue wearing because she has never worn braids before.  She decided she would continue wearing the 18-inch My Twinn "Pinstripe Denim" dress.  Her constant companion, Ida Bean poses with her.





Side Note
My poor Addy suffers from the American Girl doll silver eye disease in her left eye.  Several days after the hair show, as a temporary (or permanent) remedy, I used a brown Sharpie to darken the discolored area.  Even though the right eye is unaffected, I darkened the same area (the irises only being careful not to color over the pupil area) with the Sharpie to give both eyes the same color.  Before and after photos follow:


Not shown in any of the above photos, Addy's eyebrows had turned an odd dark green color.  I used a dark brown eyebrow pencil to naturalize the color.

With her new clothes, new hairstyle, corrected eyes and eyebrows, Addy is happy she was able to participate in the American Girl Addy Collectors First Annual Hair Show.

After gaining permission from all participants, the administrator of  the group plans to create a video of all submitted hairstyle photos.  I will post an update here or create a new post after the video is online.  There were some phenomenal hairstyles that you will enjoy seeing.


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Monday, August 7, 2017

She'll Have to Reschedule

Circa 1940s 28-inch hard plastic Rita Walker by Paris Doll Corporation; when the doll's legs are moved in a walking motion, her head turns from side to side.  She remains one of my top-favorite hard plastic dolls.

After recently taking updated photographs of my 28-inch Rita Walker doll by Paris Doll Corporation (circa 1940s), I noticed another hard plastic, head-turning walker doll's head was loose.  I had attempted to repair her some time ago, but my repair was shoddily done.  I decided to take her to the resident doll doctor to allow him to properly restring her.

17-inch head-turning walker, made in England with loose head
After undressing her and retrieving the elastic the doctor would need to complete the task, I took the patient to Doc Garrett and announced, "I have another patient for you."


He said, "She'll have to reschedule." So I left her in the capable doctors care until he could find time to complete the repairs.

She's all better and her wait for treatment was not as long as expected.

The very next morning upon entering the doll room with a cup of Hazelnut Teecino and two cinnamon graham crackers, I found her lying on my desk along with the package of elastic, already repaired.  I smiled.

"My head is no longer loose and I am as good as new."
This 17-inch, hard plastic, head-turning walker, has "Made in England" on her back as her only identifying marks.  She  has light blue-gray eyes and black short hair of mohair over which I placed a black two-ponytail, banged wig immediately after she arrived in 2010.  Her upper legs are pin jointed and her knees are articulated.  She arrived wearing a dress with white bodice and mock red/white/blue/yellow print vest that matches the skirt of the dress.  Handmade white knit, two-piece undies, white socks and red vinyl Cinderella-brand Mary Jane-style shoes completed her attire.  The seller identified her manufacturer as Rosebud of England and indicated the doll appears in Frances Baird's book, British Hard Plastic Dolls of the 1940s and 1950s, which was published in 1999.  It was not until her most recent restringing that I decided to purchase this book to confirm the seller's claim.

After the book arrived, I was pleased to discover a doll like mine on page 2 along with a black doll by Roddy ("Top Knot Baby") and a "Pedigree Negro Baby." My doll's name is Rosebud Knee Joint Girl.
The doll is seen two additional times on page 126 of Baird's book as illustrated below:

17-inch Knee Joint Doll, marked "Rosebud' on back of neck, "Made in England" across shoulders, mid 1950s.

The doll in the book has amber eyes.  Other described attributes are the same as my doll's.  She is said to have been made in the mid 1950s along with a white counterpart.  Some dolls that use this mold will bear the name "Rosebud" on the neck and "Made in England" across the shoulders/back.  My doll does not have Rosebud on the neck, but as Baird indicates in the introduction:


It is quite possible my doll was a store exclusive or other special-order doll.  Upon examining her neck once again for the manufacturer's mark, I found a scratched or etched away area, which may be where Rosebud was formerly located.

The 17-inch Knee Joint Doll is shown once more in Baird's book on page 126 in a tea party setting with the white counterpart.  The book indicates the white doll has the same "Made in England" mark on back but also has "Rosebud" on the neck.  The description from the book reads:  Dolls' tea party with two Rosebud knee joint girls sitting naturally at the table. On the left with auburn mohair wig, sleeping blue eyes and a tiny Kleeware thumbsuck in the pocket of her teddy print dress.  On the right a black knee joint girl with black mohair wig, amber sleeping eyes and a pretty turquoise print dress.  On the table a Chad Valley aluminum tea set from 1949 and on the floor, her dolly is a tiny Rosebud baby with moulded hair and sleeping eyes.



With my Rosebud Knee Joint Doll's restringing properly completed, she is now redressed in her white knit undergarments, dress, socks and shoes,  and replacement wig.  She is back on display with other similar dolls, feeling and looking so much better!



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Monday, July 31, 2017

Baby DeiDei Clonette x6


The six colorful dolls shown above are Clonette dolls or baby DeiDei (day-day) dolls.   These were purchased following customer service communication with Tree House Kid and Craft to inquire if additional dolls would be stocked online.  At the time of our communication, their website indicated all dolls were sold out.  I was told they had no plans to restock but they could arrange a purchase from their sister store.


After completing the purchase transaction for the remaining six dolls in stock at the sister store, I was sent the above photo of five of the six and was told there would be two "bright yellow" baby DeiDei dolls.  I was excited!

A large red Clonette is featured on the cover jacket of Isn't S/he A Doll?

I discovered Clonette dolls several years ago after reading about them and seeing African children and one Yoruba woman with them in the book, Isn’t S/he a Doll?  Play and Ritual in African Sculpture by Elisabeth Lynn Cameron and Doran H. Ross.  The book provides a thorough exploration of different types of African dolls and some non-African dolls that have crossed borders.   The book outlines the dolls' usage for play or ritual.  The next three images are Clonettes that appear in the above-mentioned book, wherein they are described as "plastic doll(s)."


The incidence of twin births is high amongst Yoruba peoples with some births unfortunately resulting in the death of one twin.  In the above 1970s photograph of a Yoruba woman, a Clonette is used as an ere ibeji to represent a deceased twin (ah!  the name clone-tte makes sense).  In the photograph, the woman carries the surviving twin on her back and the Clonette is carried in front of her body.  Ere ibeji figures are traditionally carved for grieving Yoruba mothers; however, as evidenced by this photograph, commerically-produced dolls are also used for this purpose.

The caption from the book for this photograph reads:  Commercially produced dolls used as ere ibeji.  Yoruba peoples, Nigeria.  Plastic, metal.  Taller 25 cm [height 25 cm].

Above left, an Asante girl holds a Clonette-type doll.  Plastic dolls [Clonettes] for sale in a market in Ghana are illustrated on the right.


I had no idea I would ever own even one Clonette until a fellow collector shared a link to the Tree House website where they are described as follows:

These sweet plastic dollies, known as Clonette dolls, or baby DeiDei dolls, are a significant part of African history and have become quite the collector's item! Modeled after colorful traditional wooden and grass dolls, these little girls were the first industrially produced doll in Africa and have been made from recycled plastics in Ghana since the 1950's. Often given as a gift to expectant mothers, Clonette Dolls are said to be a totem of good luck and act as a guardian for babies and children. Their retro look and pop art colors have made them popular the world over. When squeezed, baby DeiDei makes a squeaking sound, adding yet another element of charm to this already-fascinating doll. [https://treehousekidandcraft.com/products/deidei-doll?variant=14709626116]

Each baby DeiDei has a squeaker, visible in this image on the top-center of their heads, which makes a squeaking sound when the stomach is pressed.

Around the Internet Clonettes are priced from $10.50 to over $40 each.  Sizes vary.  My dolls are 8 inches tall.

A facial close-up image illustrates baby DeiDei's features.

Baby DeiDei holds a molded bunny rabbit.

The dolls have molded hair, clothing, socks, and shoes and hold a molded bunny rabbit.  They essentially are very inexpensively made squeeze toys.  Their thin plastic is reminiscent of the celluloid carnival toys of yesteryear.   

Streaked!
As indicated, I purchased the six remaining baby DeiDeis the store had in stock, but prior to their arrival I saw a photograph of only five of the dolls.  As it turns out, one of the yellow ones Tree House sold me has a blue streak that runs longitudinally from top to bottom.  After contacting the merchant about this and sharing the above photograph, I was given authorization (a free shipping label) to return the flawed doll for a full refund.  (According to Kristen at Tree House, the streaked ones are considered the most desirable by collectors.) I  later decided to keep it, but not for its value.  My initial plan was to dye it brown when time permits and after enough dolls are accumulated to justify creating a dye bath. After I showed the dolls to my husband, explained that these are the types of dolls some African children play with, and shared my plans to dye the streaked one, he said, “No, leave it the way it is.  This is the way the kids receive them, flawed.”  He has a valid point, but I would still like to own a brown Clonette because they are available in brown and black; Tree House was just sold out. 

I visited another website, which is devoted to the dolls (ClonetteDolls.com).  They describe their website and Clonettes as follows:

Clonette Dolls is an online shop dedicated to the Iconic Clonette Doll also known as Jacinda, Auntie & Baby DeiDei.

Originated in Ghana during the colonial era and were the first industrially produced doll in Africa. Inspired by traditional woven dolls usually made from wood, grass and fabric these bright colored dolls can still be seen at market stalls in West Africa but production is very limited.

They can be used as a perfect decorative & collector’s item piece.
They come in a collection of colours and different sizes ranging from small – large.  [http://clonettedolls.com/about/]



My 8-inch baby DeiDeis will probably be the only size I will ever own.  Whether or not the streaked one will eventually become brown (or black) is undetermined, but I am seriously leaning in that direction.

Now, enjoy, if you will, the results of a Google image search of a variety of Clonette dolls and a few images of African children with their "plastic dolls."

The Dallas Museum of Art has a fine example of a carved ere ibeji.  At the following link, read more about ere ibeji figures and the rituals involved in their use.


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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Twelve Years Ago This Week

The lovely Matoka by Annette Himstedt represents a girl from Somalia.

On July 18, 2017, I received an email from an image hosting service that contained a link to photos taken and stored at their site 12 years ago this week.  The photos were taken between July 19 through July 28, 2005, after Matoka, by Annette Himstedt arrived.

Part of the artist's 2005 Kinder Collection, Matoka was a must-have for me and was preordered from a doll dealer immediately after seeing the prototype doll's image. To this day, she remains my favorite doll by the artist.  At the time she arrived, I was writing my second book, wherein she is featured on page 264 with the following image, description.  The 2008-assessed value is not blotted out.


Matoka, Himstedt Kinder Collection, 2005
Material: Vinyl head, arms, legs (multiple rotational joints); doe suede body
Height: 33-1/2in/85.09cm
Marks: D3/8 Annette Himstedt© (on head), D3/2 Annette Himstedt© (on lower back), D3/3 Annette Himstedt© (on back of upper right arm), D3/4 Annette Himstedt© (on back of upper left arm), D3/5 Annette Himstedt© (on back of upper right leg), D3/6 Annette Himstedt© (on back of upper left leg)
Hair/Eyes/Mouth: Light brown curly human-hair wig/mouth-blown brown stationary/closed
Clothing: Yellow, coral, and light green dress, brown leather sandals; colorful ribbons in hair, rope necklace with authentic hand-made clay and glass gems from Africa
Other: Matoka’s native country is Somalia. She is a LE of 377, has COA.
Value: xxxxx (This image is the only one in this post that was not stored at the image hosting site.)

Because I have been busy with non-doll-related things with very little time to post here, I decided to watermark the images from the hosting site for this quick post.  Hopefully I will be back soon, but in the meantime, enjoy "meeting" Matoka and/or viewing her initial photos.

After Matoka arrived, before redressing took place, she was photographed in her original clothes.

She has such a gorgeous face and beautiful brown eyes.

I enjoyed and still enjoy photographing her.

She was introduced to the doll family...

...where she blended in quite nicely among other Himstedts, Heaths, and other artist
and non-artist dolls.

A few days after meeting the family, she underwent her initial redresses, which are shown next:

After a great-niece outgrew this size 2T floral-print dress, it was handed down to my dolls.  
It fits Matoka perfectly!

She wears the floral-print dress with a pair of child size-5 white sandals.

This child's pants set and the next one Matoka models were purchased for larger dolls like Matoka.

The strappy sandals are a perfect match for this orange/yellow/white plaid outfit.

Throughout her 12 years here, I have taken many more photos of Matoka, and because I still enjoy redressing her from time to time, photographing her will continue.

I hope to be back to this blog soon.


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