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.

Follow my sister blog Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black
Check out my eBay listings here.