Monday, July 30, 2018

Making Room for Cally Sue

Cally Sue by Terry Stone

Cally Sue, when on her stand is a 27-inch one-of-a-kind, hand-sculpted doll made in 1994 by Terry Stone of Once Upon a Time.

Cally Sue has a very expressive resin-sculpted face.  Appearing to represent a girl from the early 1900s, she seems to have the weight of the world on her shoulders.

Like her head, her shoulder plate, hands, and wrists are also made of resin.  She has a white leather body, poseable cloth arms, cloth legs, and feet.  Her dark brown hair, made of mohair, is styled in several plaits with beige ribbons tied at the ends.   Cally Sue's antique clothes and shoes consist of a blue and white plaid dress, an off-white apron cinched at the waist with lace, off-white silk pantaloons, black tights, and brown leather boots that button on the side.

Cally Sue's brown leather boots were probably originally worn by a child in the early 1900s.

The 10-inch nude, cloth doll she holds in her right hand is also handmade with painted facial features and hair of mohair styled in two ribbon-adorned side ponytails.

Close-up of Cally Sue's doll

The cloth of the toe of her dolly's right foot is worn from what could have been vigorous doll play (if Cally Sue were a real girl, that is).

Cally Sue arrived from Maryland in early July.  Prior to "living here," she had been part of the eclectic collection of Cheryl Bruce who recently held a doll sale in her home and plans another one this fall.  Cally Sue is one of the two dolls I purchased from Cheryl.

Cally Sue's hangtag provides information about the artist.

In addition to a hangtag, Cally Sue came with the artist's handwritten description.

As her handwritten description reads, Cally Sue is attached to a turn of the century handmade barn wood doll stand.  The stand has two wooden dowels to which Cally Sue is attached with a flexible piece of wire that loops around her waist in the front and onto the two dowels in the back.

Cally Sue's doll stand

Prior to shipping Cally Sue to me, Cheryl removed the doll from the stand and removed the dowels from the base.  After her arrival, I reglued the dowels to the base and added Elmer's wood filler around the bottom of each to secure these to the base.  The hardened wood filler at the base of each dowel was painted to match the dark red color of the base.

Cally Sue's body was reattached to the two dowels of the doll stand and an extra piece of black yarn was wrapped around her body and the dowels.  Some of her white leather body is visible in this photo.
In addition to the flexible wire underneath her clothes that attaches Cally Sue to the dowels, I wrapped an extra piece of yarn around Cally Sue's upper torso and tied this in the back around the upper portion of the dowels to give Cally Sue added support and to somewhat straighten her intentionally stooped-over posture.

This partial side view of Cally Sue and her doll illustrates her stooped posture.

The hardest thing for me to accomplish was not securing the dowels to the wooden base and reattaching Cally Sue to the stand.  It was finding a place to display Cally Sue!  She and the base of her stand required more space than I had readily available and I knew this would pose a problem before the purchase.  Like most collectors, however, I am often guilty of buying a doll first and worrying about where it will be displayed later.

Cally Sue found her place.

It took about a week for me to determine where I would display her and it took almost a full day to remove and relocate several dolls from the top of a bookshelf where Cally Sue was placed as the new focal point of that particular doll display area.

Cally Sue still appears to have the weight of the world on her shoulders, but she has adjusted well to her new environment and I am thrilled to have her here!

Epilogue:  While searching my Facebook doll group for the initial photos that were shared of dolls that would be included in Cheryl's doll sale, I found a post from Cheryl dated November 27, 2014, from her participation in a past Doll-a-Day event.  That post contained two photos, one of which and what Cheryl wrote are shared below:

Photo courtesy of Cally Sue's previous owner, Cheryl Bruce

My Doll of the Day is Cally Sue made by Terry Stone of Boonsboro, MD in 1994. Cally Sue is 27 in. Made of resin with a cloth body. Her stand is made from barn wood. She is dressed in antique clothing and boots and holds her own little cloth dolly as if she is admonishing it. I bought her at The York Doll Show about 3 years ago on a day when I had not planned to spend much money. Of course I tried to walk away and did, but my heart kept calling me back so, of course, she came home with me.

As a comment to Cheryl's original post, I wrote:
I love Cally Sue! Her face is so expressive, and those boots are perfect for her. I wish I could have seen her doll's face.

On that same November 2014 day, Cheryl replied with the following photo:

Cally Sue's doll is seen in a photo taken by Cheryl Bruce; notice the detail of Cally Sue's hand.


  • So, where I saw Cally Sue as having the weight of the world of on her shoulders because of her facial expression, I realize now that it is the manner in which she holds her dolly that leaves room for interpretation.  Cally Sue arrived here holding Dolly limply lying flat in her right hand with the index finger of her other hand pointed, the other fingers curled under, and that hand held off to the side.  In Cheryl's original photo, Dolly is held upright and face up in Cally Sue's right hand with Cally Sue's pointed left index finger behind the doll's head (or it could be positioned pointing toward the smaller doll's face as though, as Cheryl described, she is admonishing her).  I have since changed the position of Cally Sue's arms and hands to reflect what she is actually supposed to be doing.


Thank you for following this blog, for reading the posts, and for your comments. If you are not already a subscriber, go to the homepage. If the right sidebar is not visible, scroll to the bottom and click "desktop view," locate and click "subscribe to posts." Optionally, also subscribe to comments. There is also an email subscription box for those who would like to receive posts by email.

Follow my sister blog Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black
View the Doll Events page for updates. Check out my eBay listings here.


  1. Debbie, this is really a valuable exhibit for your collection. One of a kind. The face and hands of this doll are very expressive. I want to hug this little black girl. The doll causes a lot of emotions. This is the main challenge for the artist.

    1. It was the emotions expressed in her face that captivated me, Svetlana. She does look like she needs a hug, and perhaps her little doll needs one too if Cally Sue is actually admonishing the doll for something. :-) It is truly a gift for an artist to craft such life-like features and capture such intense emotions while doing so.


  2. What a very special addition to your doll family. She reminds me of a doll I saw years ago in Europe. You just want to take her home and give her some love. I’m sure she is quite happy to be in such good company.

    1. Thank you, April. Cally Sue does appear to need a hug. Her facial sculpting is beyond remarkable.



Your comments are appreciated. To eliminate spam, all comments are being moderated and will be published upon approval. Thank you!