Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Ornamental Cloth Figures

As the name suggests, these are not toys, but designed as Soft Sculpture Cloth Art Figures or Decorative Textile Figures, rather than dolls. They are created purely for aesthetic expression, communication and contemplation and not as play things.

They encompass a wonderfully diverse range of textile art techniques including portraiture; caricature; characterisation; fabric manipulation; quilting/needle sculpture; beading; embroidery; painting; dyeing and printing; knitting; weaving; crochet; fashion/costume design and all sorts of other textile embellishment.

They are made to adorn a mantle-piece or a shelf, or be admired through the glass of a cabinet.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Needle Sculpted Cloth Figures

NEEDLE SCULPTURE, also known as needle modelling, involves placing stitches into the doll head and body to hold the shape of the filling material to create more sophisticated, 'sculptured' features. 

A little like quilting, the stitches provide shape and texture, holding the stuffing in position to create a raised nose and defined mouth, eye sockets, chin, belly button, ankles, dimples etc.<head sculpted on stretch fabric

Profile head sculpted on woven fabric, which has less stretch.>

by Patti Medaris Culea(left),
& Madeleine Sara Maddocks (right)

This needle modelling technique is also used in conjunction with the  cloth over technique.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Controversial Gollies

Without wishing to cause offence or disrespect to those who have strong views against them,  I have included Gollies in my doll styles pages, since these toys predate Raggedy Ann and the Teddy Bear as a named character doll. 

Gollies, originally termed Golliwogs, understandably became controversial toys and are still frowned upon today by some as being non-politically correct, unacceptable caricatures. 
Indeed, the name wog is still used today as an offensive term given to someone of coloured skin. There are still many black people today who have strong associations between these types of doll and the bigoted treatment they endured simply as a result of the colour of their skin.

Indeed, when I made a black rag doll boy, I was asked "Is he a Golliwog or the token black?" 
As you can imagine I was appalled by the stereotype and the implied racism. Why shouldn't I make cloth dolls and figures of ethnic origin?

When I made Oliver rag doll, in the 1990's, I was appalled by people referring to him as 'the token black' or the 'Golliwog', both of which he was not

Clearly people still had much to learn about respecting different cultures and races. Indeed, there is more to black cloth doll making and black people than Gollies and Mammy dolls

As far as I understand it, GOLLY HISTORY  reflects the changing attitudes and times in which they were created, compared to those in which they continue to survive today. I would like to think that they serve to remind us of the past and the progress that we have made.

Many people nowadays appreciate Gollies simply as a particular style of cloth doll, with a certain charm of their own. Those who own them today, do so with great affection and adoration, without the associated prejudices/ stigma of previous generations. 

In 1895, Florence K.Upton created the character for her first children's book The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwog.Although American, she moved with her British parents to England, where the book was published when she was 22 years old. Thirteen books were published between 1895 and 1909 and proved very popular in the
1920s. Patterns for them were published in popular magazines. 

Florence K Upton failed to copyright her character and versions of the character appeared on plates, clocks, cards, aprons, adverts etc and in numerous other stories. In the first book the Dutch Peg dolls initially find Golly frightful and later learn to love him for his loyalty, charm and warmth.

Gollies also appear in paintings by Mabel Lucie Attwell, in their original design having a long nose. 

There were also Gollies in Enid Blyton’s original ‘Noddy’ books. I suspect these were very stereotypical, unflattering portrayals. Consequently, in the 2oth Century, they were deemed improper and offensive and the character of the Golly was changed accordingly.
James Robertson & Sons jam manufacturers adopted the Golly as their trademark in 1910. The Golly label on jars could be traded for badges. Over 20 million badges have been issued and the Golly appeared on the jam and fruit preserve jars until September 2001 when Robertson issued its last ever Golly badge. A 9ct. gold plated 'Farewell Golly' badge in presentation box with certificate.

Collecting Golly ephemera has become a passionate pastime for Golly enthusiasts.  
The traditional Golly had a blue coat with tails, red or red and white striped trousers, a white waistcoat, red bow-tie, fluffy hair and a  generous red and white smile.
Nevertheless, Gollies today also abound with numerous individual interpretations and even a Golly Girl has appeared.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Cloth Dolls with Moulded Faces

Moulded face dolls are made, as the name suggests, by pressing material over a hard plastic, porcelain or clay mould of a doll face.  

The material might be papier-mâché, or cloth soaked in a glue solution.  It is pressed against the outside of the doll head and secured there until dry.  It is then removed, trimmed and painted, before it is fixed to the front of the sewn and stuffed head of the cloth doll.

Some dolls have cloth (usually Stockinette because of its stretch ability) stuck onto rubber or plastic face moulds which remain there once the face is attached to the head.

In 1873 Izannah obtained a U.S. patent for making rag dolls. Her technique was to place several thicknesses of cotton or other cheap cloth treated with glue or paste so that they will adhere together and hold the shape impressed on them by the dies. When these cloth forms are dry, a layer of cotton batting or other soft filling is carefully laid over them covering the whole or the head and neck portion only and then in turn covered with an external layer of stockinette or similar webbing. The latter is then fastened to the features of the cloth forms by stitches or paste and they are then placed again in the press. They are tightly pressed together and secured by sewing pasting or gluing their edges to each other. Their faces and limbs are painted with oil paints.
Izannah Walker claimed, in her patent, that her dolls were 'easily kept clean' which she considered an important fact. The doll bodies were made of heavy cream sateen, were firmly stuffed and the joints sewn. Some dolls are barefooted and some have painted boots. Consequently, these dolls also have techniques similar to those for Columbian doll creation.

Also Kathe Kruse and Norah Wellings dolls, for example, have moulded faces.

Other techniques involve paperclay or other clay moulds, which are then covered with stockinette material. 

Tudor Lady by Madeleine Sara Maddocks (below /left)

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Cabinet Re-shuffle

My husband managed to get me a glass cabinet for my dolls that someone, in his modelling group, was planning to throw out!

 Now I can display them and keep the dust off. 

However, I do still have others dotted about the house. How about you?