Sunday, 13 January 2013

Signing Your Work ~ DO YOU?


Years ago I read an article in the (now, sadly, out of print) US magazine The Cloth Doll (Vol 7 No 4), which described the astonishing fact that so few cloth doll makers actually sign their work.
Indeed during an American Quilt Festival, in the late 1980’s, the curator of the exhibition had included a cloth doll which he attributed to ‘anonymous’. It turned out that the doll was in fact made by a well recognised cloth doll maker of the time, Edith Flack Ackley, who despite having published a book, had not been recognised by the museum curator. The conclusion made was that cloth doll making is so poorly documented that research is difficult, especially since cloth doll making has been only a “sub, sub, sub, sub-category in the textile arts field”.

I would also add that many cloth doll makers have in the past felt their work was worthy of note or perhaps they believe their work won’t be around long enough to matter and so don’t sign or mark their creations, as Patchwork Quilters might. Nevertheless, despite being of a perishable nature, some examples of cloth/ linen dolls, which can be traced right back to ROMAN, EARLY GREEK and EARLY CHRISTIAN times survive in museum collections today. The British Museum has a Roman rag doll, found in a child's grave dating back to 300 B.C.

If you took the trouble to create it then, surely, it should merit some mark, date & signature.

Some like to paint my signature on the sole of a foot or anywhere where it’s not too blatantly obvious, so you have to go looking for it.  Others sign them discreetly somewhere on her body; usually at the base of her spine, in the inner thigh and as close to the undies as possible.

I had some woven labels made when I decided to sell my creations, which I usually sew into the arm or leg pits of my cloth figures. I have decided that I should also date and sign them with a fabric marker pen. Others make printed labels though these can be easily detached from the work and mislaid.

How about you?