|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.|
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.
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|
|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|
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.