Izannah Walker Reproduction Dolls



original Izannah Walker doll,
picture by Dixie Redmond



“Will I still be making Izannah Walker inspired dolls?”


This question is asked in light of artist Kathy Patterson making a mold of her original Izannah Walker doll and using the mold to make reproduction Izannah Walker dolls.

Yes, I will still be making Izannah Walker inspired dolls, for many reasons. Before I get to all the whys of that I'd like to talk a bit about being inspired and the recent history of artists making Izannah inspired works.



Helen Pringle doll
picture courtesy of Deanna Hogan

There is something to be learned from studying Izannah's work, just as painters learn by copying the works of artists who came before them such as Rembrandt or Michelangelo or Monet. In the act of trying to make a creation like those who come before, we learn something. Doll makers who have quoted Izannah Walker in their work include Martha Chase, Helen Pringle, Edyth O'Neill, and Judy Tasch a decade or more ago.



Edyth O'Neill Doll, sculpted by Edyth



Martha Chase doll
Martha was inspired by her childhood doll
made by Izannah Walker.

picture courtesy of Deanna Hogan

These artists have elements of Izannah's techniques or painting styles in their work. Many of us have more recently made Izannah inspired or Izannah reproduction dolls. I won't try to name all of us who have made Izannah inspired dolls because we are quite a throng. Some really wonderful dolls have come about as a result of trying to understand and emulate Izannah's work.



Judie Tausch dolls,
Doll Reader photograph

Methods of approaching an Izannah Walker inspired doll have included making all cloth oil painted dolls, photo face dolls which have a photo print of an Izannah doll on a cloth base, dolls with stiffened masks, dolls made with paperclay, dolls made with paperclay and a stockinette cover, and now using a direct mold of an Izannah Walker doll. All of the attempts have been at the least interesting and at the most marvelous.

As artists have made dolls, some have wanted to make a doll which looks exactly like an Izannah doll, and others have been more interested in using Izannah's exact methods. All of the works up till now will fall somewhere on the continuum of being an exact copy of the original to being inspired by the original.

Exact Copy of Original ----------------- Inspired by Original

Making copies of old dolls is nothing new. If the artist is up front and not trying to pass off the work as an antique original, it's quite legitimate in the doll-making world. When I emailed Edyth O'Neill this article for her thoughts she replied,
“Thousands of molds have been taken off old china and bisque dolls and some papier mache's too. When anything becomes really valuable it is a target to reproduce, anything from rocking horses to quilts to pressed glass. Dolls are surely no exception! Reproduction Izannah dolls fill the same need as do the reproduction Bisque A T's or the Reproduction Bru's. Collectors who would love to have an original Izannah Walker doll but feel they cannot afford one, may opt to purchase one of these reproduction ones instead. Emma Clear used to make molds from the old dolls as well as from her own sculpts. Mildred Seeley built a whole business on selling supplies and molds for reproduction dolls. “

Izannah herself used molds and we don't know what the original molds were made from – her own sculpt, another artist's sculpt or perhaps an early antique doll she owned? Elaine McNally commented that using a direct mold of an original Izannah doll is a 3D version of those who have made “photo-face” dolls. While Kathy Patterson's Izannah heads are molded from the original Izannah Walker dolls, she paints the molded heads herself. The end result is a doll that closely resembles the originals. No doubt about it, this does raise the bar for artists trying to make a doll which looks like an Izannah doll.

So now I come back to the question of “Will I still be making Izannah Walker inspired dolls?” Of course I will, just as I always have done since beginning doll making. And here are my reasons why:
1. I find pleasure in making an Izannah Walker inspired doll. My purpose in making an Izannah inspired doll isn't only to make a likeness of one, but to think about the character of the doll maker. Izannah Walker is a kind of icon for me, because I see her as woman who achieved a lot of things in an environment that wasn't a level playing field for women. This inspires me.

2. I personally still have something to learn in the making of an Izannah Walker inspired doll. I sculpt my dolls by hand, and part of the challenge for me is to see how closely I can get to the feeling of the original Izannahs in my own sculpt. I've learned a lot through attempting this.

3. I believe there is room for different kinds of art in this world, including different kinds of Izannah Walker inspired dolls. It's like hearing the same song sung by different singers. Many versions can be beautiful.


See some of the lovely Izannah reproduction dolls on Ebay.

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It's Twins!

This lovely article was posted on Edyth's blog, and has been reposted here with permission. Such wonderful dolls, and for those of you doing experiments with molded hair these are good inspiration for the hair as well as the clothing. ~ Dixie

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At Round Top when I saw these adorable cotton wrappers or dressing gowns for infant twins, I was unsure just how to use them but I wanted them much!

A few months later the same dealer had them at a show in Boerne Texas. The price held me off. After leaving the show they were still on my mind and I asked Jack to turn around and let me go back and buy the treasures.



The dresses are both in splendid condition, fully lined in two different brown cotton prints. I date them about 1870, could be a bit later or earlier. At the time I had one 36 inch M and S superior doll, and began watching for another. By a marvelous stroke of luck, a second one arrived in the mail as a gift from a doll collecting friend! So now the two of them wear the wonderful dresses and sit side by side on top of a highboy in my bed room. The age of the dolls matches well with the garments.



Again the shoes tell a similar story, I bought one pair at the Comfort Antique shop 2 weeks back and friend Jean saw what I was doing and mailed me a matching pair for the other twin! Little by little, with the help of an understanding and indulgent husband and the generosity of friends, a lovely family of dolls in appropriate clothing is coming to be mine again. Blessings...Edyth O'Neill

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A Motschmann Type Baby to Study



Although Charles Motschmann was not the only European doll maker to copy the little limp Japanese baby doll shown at the London World Exhibit in 1851, his is the name that has been attached to this type of baby doll, with a fabric center section covering a crier, and cloth upper arms and legs connecting its limbs to the body. An affectionate regard for these strange little morsels is an acquired taste like that for ripe olives. I am among the smitten. Here are a few pictures of the babies to enjoy.



How do we dress an early baby doll? First of all babies of the 18th and 19th centuries were not all clothed in white or pale pastels. Red was a favorite color for a baby dress, particularly for a boy baby. Bright calico and wool challis prints were frequently used. A study of early portraits of children gives us a one of the best windows on children's clothing in different periods. Even better is the study of actual dolls themselves.

Early dolls representing an infant are unusual. When we find them with original clothing we have a good reference for dressing the dolls we might make such as an Izannah style infant doll.



Janie was a precious Motschmann baby, a papier mache doll of 1860 or so. She measured 14 inches in length, and had the black pupilless glass eyes typical of her kind. Named for the dealer I bought her from in Pennsylvania, she was a very nice example of this unusual form, and also had a gorgeous original costume, all hand stitched of course. The striking dress was of a light weight printed blue wool. Her undergarments were like those of an older child rather than an infant, being long pantalets and a chemise plus 2 petticoats and long stockings. Janie was lost in a house fire in 2005, and I have watched for another since that time.






Now I have another slightly smaller one at 12 inches long. The little black glass eyes have a very life like quality, and she has my heart already. Her simple white dress is less impressive than Janie’s was, but it is her own original garment, made with stitches so tiny I can scarcely see them. It is what we think of as a more conventional baby dress, with cartridge pleats at the waist and a gathered “fan front” bodice. She also has a cap of creamy silk and lace, it is melting but still with her, and a little short jacket. Believe me the bald little thing needs her cap, I may make her another! Because I would like to lay her in a cradle, I have chosen to hang the very long dress near her, on a sweet little wooden hanger my son in law made for me. You are welcome to make some like it. I have coated the wooden hanger with Liquitex Acrylic Medium, which also is a varnish, to seal the wood. I am ever mindful of the bad effect wood has on old textiles.



A third baby belonging to a friend of mine, is pictured, in parts. This one has sleeping eyes, and a slightly waxed papier mache head. The torso was stuffed with paper, and the crier bellows fit inside the cardboard tube center section of the torso. Replacement parts could be made of paper clay. Those of you who have doll making skills can always use these skills for doll repair when a needy one comes your way.

Edyth O’Neill


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Philadelphia Rag Baby on Ebay


A doll making friend sent me an email pointing out this marvelous Philadelphia Baby on Ebay. So I emailed the seller and asked if I could post the pictures here as inspiration for those of who enjoy making antique inspired dolls. And she said yes. These are great pictures for seeing construction details. Thanks to Victoria's Doll House for sharing pictures with us
of this wonderful doll.















What a sweet hand shape!



Blushing toes!





We can't all travel to see a doll like this,
and maybe we can't all own a doll like this,
but through the internet we can learn a lot.

Thanks to Victoria's Doll House
for sharing pictures with us
of this wonderful doll.


Babyland Rag Dolls


Because of work I did taking pictures of antique dolls, serendipity and kindess of others, I have the joy of owning this wonderful 14 1/2" Babyland Rag. I own a faceless Babyland Rag doll that I purchased a couple of years ago with the intention of making a Babyland Rag pattern. But in the way of the world, a number of people were thinking about the same thing unaware of each other, and Judi Ward beat me to it! You can see Judi Ward's Babyland Rag pattern here. She is a very experienced doll designer and I am sure her pattern is a fun one to make.


For those of you who enjoy Babyland Rag dolls,
here are some photos for you to enjoy:







And here are some closeups of the
ingenious face covering construction
which the cap and high necked dress hide.



The doll is a simple pancake doll
with an additional padding added to the front
and covered with a face covering.



A layer of pink fabric
covered by the white face covering
creates a kind of skin tone color.



Some needle sculpting creates a chin.







The sweet cap below effectively covers
all the stitching seen above.





Very simple hands.



Knit stockings and red shoes
combine with a candy-striped dress
make for one sweet doll!



I think she's lovely!



Smiles,
Dixie



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An Artist's Journey: Deanna Hogan


Deanna Hogan, Key West 5/09

Deanna Hogan works as an ER nurse, and in addition to that she is an accomplished doll artist and doll pattern designer. Deanna's wonderful Alabama Baby inspired pattern captures the essence of the original dolls, while still bringing her own aesthetic into play. I've been watching her doll designs for a long time. I like that she designs modern and antique inspired dolls. That shows versatility and flexibility! You can read more about Deanna's work at her blog.

How long have you been making dolls? How long have you been selling them?

I really had to do some research to figure this one out. I’m so glad I started a doll journal early on. My first logged dolls were made in 1993. They were simple country dolls, inspired by a Santa pattern I found at the Puyallup Sewing and Stitchery Expo (http://www.sewexpo.com/) I made these dolls with the intention of selling them at craft fairs.


How did you begin selling your work? What was the first doll you made with the intention to sell like? What prompted you to make that doll?

I had a like-minded crafty friend/co-worker at the time. We’d gone to the Puyallup Expo and were inspired by some of the craft projects we’d seen. We started scheduling regular play days. We’d play with beads, polymer clay, and cloth, making various crafts into the wee hours of the morning. We were fairly prolific, and decided we should get a business licenses and sell at some of our goods at local craft fairs. While I sold simple pancake dolls at these fairs, I also sold beaded earrings, polymer clay barrettes, buttons and necklaces. My primitive country dolls were based on the only style of dolls I’d seen. They sold well, so when I heard of the “Every Husband’s Nightmare Bazaar” (http://www.nightmarebazaar.com/main.htm) I began focusing more on dolls. Boy, it didn’t take long to tire of these simple pancake dolls. About that time we got a computer, became connected to the Internet, and I discovered a book by Miriam Gourley called Cloth Dolls: How to Make Them. The dolls in that book amazed me, and really opened my eyes to what could be done with fabric (now keep in mind this was my first cloth doll book, and it didn’t even address needle sculpting!). That’s when I began exploring dolls with a little more detail, like my muslin Laundry Woman. She had a flat face with hand-embroidered features. She had individual fingers, but I didn’t know about wire armature yet. My dad carved the little oak clothespins:



A couple years later, I found that doll maker Judi Ward lived just an hour away. She was teaching classes in her home, so I signed up for one. I saw some of her amazing dolls as well as other dolls made by local doll artists. I hadn’t really met any other doll makers. That was such a catalyst for me, and the beginning of my cloth doll pattern and book collection. I think I bought just about everything I could get my hands on, which was the impetus to try my hand at pattern design and publishing. In 2000, a few of us decided to start a doll club. I built a basic website and posted many of our club projects there. We began selling our dolls at the Crossroads Dolls4All show in Portland, where I was approached to join ODACA (Original Doll Artist Council of America). I became an ODACA artist in 2006.

Describe your creative process - do you make detailed plans before you create the doll? What do you use for inspiration - antique photos, your own sketches, etc? Does the doll end up looking exactly as you planned or does it change and develop during the process?

My creative process varies. Sometimes I have a vision in my head, and other times I just start sewing and see how it all turns out. I can’t say I like one method any more than the other, which surprises me as I’m a bit on the Type A/OCD side of the spectrum.

My sources of inspiration vary. I love exploring the Internet, because there are so many visuals: paintings, others’ dolls, antique dolls, statues, sculptures, etc. Sometimes I do a little research before beginning certain projects. For example, if I wanted to make an angel, I might search the Internet for styles of wings. If I’m stumped for ideas, I start pulling out my doll books and magazines.

One of my favorite projects and one that was quite challenge, too, was inspired by the carved wooden figureheads of old ships. I saw a wooden figurehead over a tavern in Nantucket a few years ago. That got my mind thinking about how I could create something like that in cloth. For this project I made a few sketches, but did my problem solving as I worked. I took progress photos as a record of what I did: (http://www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/view/17593885) This doll was made for the Treasures of the Gypsy Challenge, so is a bit more embellished than my typical doll.



As I gain more experience, I think my dolls turn out more like what I envision in my mind. Early on, the dolls had more control than I did.

I’ve done some commissioned dolls, which I really don’t enjoy. Two were based on cartoon characters (Reading Man, and Elf Sparkle). I found the projects to be very stifling, and definitely not my style.

What is your favorite doll that you've made and why is it your favorite?

My favorite dolls change all the time. Dolls lose favor, and others take their places. Currently, I really like my 2009 Hoffman Challenge doll, and my second Izannah doll made in Dixie’s workshop. I think I like them because of their facial expressions:



Bella, 2009 Hoffman Challenge doll



Izannah Walker inspired doll, from Dixie’s workshop

How has your work changed since you began doll making? How do you see it changing in the future? Did you start out making antique inspired dolls, or did you start out making modern dolls?

My dolls have definitely changed over the years. They began as very simple country dolls made from unbleached muslin, to more advanced modern dolls made from knit fabric with lots of detail and needle sculpting. For years, I avoided making dolls of color. I was afraid of offending, and didn’t want my dolls to look like stereotypical characterizations of people of color. That was one obstacle I’ve overcome. More recently, I’ve enjoyed making antique inspired cloth dolls. I enjoy working with paperclay, too, which gets easier with time, and I love doing cloth-overs.

The longer I’ve made dolls, the more I realize there’s really nothing new under the sun. I think it’s funny that “new” techniques frequently turn out to be something done over a hundred years ago. I don’t know what the future will bring. I’ll probably explore more mixed media techniques and continue being inspired by antique dolls. I’m open to all possibilities.

Where do you create your dolls?

I make my dolls in my upstairs studio, formerly a bedroom. It’s not a huge room, and it’s certainly packed tight. Sometimes I have a hard time finding things. It’s the hottest room in the house in the summer, so do “suffer for my art.” I have a mini fridge under my work table. That’s a remnant from my college days, and a true necessity. I have an industrial wire shelf rack for my fabrics, which have spilled over into bins. I have a large collection of doll books and magazine that I refer to for inspiration. I have a mishmash of furniture rejects. Oh, and you’ll seldom (never?) see the studio this neat – it was staged for these photos. I’ve also got studio “annex,” which is the other upstairs bedroom. Here I keep more *stuff* and leave my photo equipment set up for convenience. Empty Nest Syndrome? I think not.




Sunrise out my studio window.

Were you a doll person as a child? Do you remember making any dolls as a child? What was your favorite doll as a child?

Yes, I’ve always been a doll person. I loved my baby dolls and Barbies. My siblings and I would play together, creating skyscrapers for the Barbie dolls from my brother’s Erector set, complete with elevator. I loved my Baby Tenderlove, Chatty Kathy and Baby First Step. One of my favorites was a doll I called “Betty.” Sadly, the dog stole her while we ate dinner, and probably buried her somewhere in the garden.

I don’t remember making dolls, but I made their clothing. I mimicked my mom, who sewed many of our school clothes. When she saw my hand-sewn clothing had details like yokes and separate sleeves, she decided it was time to teach me how to use the sewing machine. I was six.


Left Picture:
Me, with plastic souvenir doll from Mt. Hood

Right Picture: Me in 1961, possibly my very first cloth doll


What were your play interests as a child?

We lived out in the boonies. We rode our bicycles everywhere, strapping our dolls to the handlebars. My sister and I used to hike into the woods and build forts. We’d dig up clay from the bank of the creek behind our house, then take it home and sculpt all sorts of things, letting them air dry. We’d catch crawdads, squealing like the little girls we were whenever the big pinchers got too close. We raised rabbits. We climbed trees. We’d pitch a tent in the yard in the summer when our upstairs bedroom was too hot to tolerate. I took accordion lessons, and every summer I picked strawberries and beans to earn money for school clothes and fun stuff.

If you own any antique dolls, what drew you to purchase those particular dolls?

I have a small collection of antique cloth dolls. I’ve enjoyed discovering the history of these dolls. My first acquisition was a Chase doll. I saw him at a doll show and kept going back to look at him. The price was reasonable, so I took the plunge. I have a special place in my heart for the Chase dolls, because they are historically connected to the nursing profession (I’m an RN).

I participated in an Alabama Baby challenge through the Vintage Cloth Dollmaking group, which brought these dolls and their history to my attention. I finally found one I liked on eBay, and was lucky enough to win the auction. I also found a Philadelphia Baby in really rough shape. Her construction differs from the Chase and Alabama Babies. It amazes me that the women of this era maintained profitable businesses and created works of art that are so sought after today.

While not antique, I also have a Helen Pringle doll. Her dolls are inspired by antique cloth dolls like those made by Izannah Walker. I’m sure I’ll never own a genuine Izannah, but I can dream.



Left: My first Chase doll.
Right: My Alabama Baby and Philadelphia doll.




Left: Helen Pringle doll, wears Victorian/Edwardian children’s shoes
Right: Another Philadelphia baby, in better condition.

What are your hobbies?

Besides making dolls, I have many hobbies. Too many hobbies. I enjoy bicycling, and have participated in some organized rides over the years: Cycle Oregon (500 miles in a week), Reach the Beach (1-day, 100 mile ride to raise money for the American Heart Association), and the MS 150 (2-day, 175 mile ride to raise money for multiple sclerosis). Now that our weather is improving, it’s time to get back in shape!

I enjoy making music. I’ve sung in my college and church choirs and community chorale. I’ve been in several home-grown basement bands (blues/rock and bluegrass), and I like doing on-line karaoke to unwind after work. I play a couple of instruments, but not that well – my husband is the real musician.

I also enjoy sailing on the Columbia River. My husband and his boat partner own a sailboat together. Sailing near the mouth of the Columbia can be challenging due to strong winds and tidal influences. I’m a decent crewmate, and have learned a lot over the years. I started a sailing blog for my husband. He doesn’t post often, and has probably forgotten his password: http://ableseaman.blogspot.com/



Do you have a doll making technique tip you'd like to share?

I love sharing techniques with anyone who’ll listen, and post them on my blog and picturetrail sites:


The fact is, we all learn from each other. We all become better doll makers through sharing of knowledge and techniques.

Is there anything you'd like to share about making antique inspired dolls that we haven't covered?

I really enjoyed Dixie’s discussion about making Faithful Reproductions of antique dolls versus making dolls that are Inspired by the Original. We have many different materials at our disposal to use in our doll making today. I’m more of an “inspired by” doll maker. I’m also a methodical worker, and strive to enjoy the process as much as the finished project. Whatever approach taken, I believe strongly that we each must work to the best of our abilities. That doesn’t mean a perfect doll the first time out of the chute. It means not settling for something you know to be not your best work. If you settle, you’ll not be happy with your doll.
What keeps you engaged in the doll creating process?

I find that it’s easiest for me to stay active in my doll making when I’m not overwhelmed by too many responsibilities. I have a busy and stressful career, and sometimes I’m just too tired to be creative when I get home from work. On the other hand, I tend to be more productive when I’ve set goals for myself – but they have to be realistic goals. That means I say “no” to quite a few requests and commissions. I already have a job. I don’t need doll making to become a job, too.

Doll making needs to stay fun and fresh. I take classes from various doll makers as a way to stay connected and inspired. I’m not afraid to try new things. So many of us get stuck in our own comfort zones. We’ll never learn anything new if we don’t break out once in a while.
I like participating in challenges. This is another way to break out of comfort zones.

How does inspiration work for you? Sketches, seeing an antique doll that inspires.....?

I have many folders on my computer, where I’ve saved photos of just about everything I find inspiring. I’ve printed many of the photos, and keep them in real paper folders, too. It may be a pose, an expression, a costume, that catches my attention.

My “Averill” doll and pattern started out as a personal challenge, to select several techniques I’d never tried before, and incorporate them into one doll. The techniques I identified were buried bead joints, knitted eyelash yarn hair, and a molded polymer face covered with knit fabric.

Favorite quote?

“If a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing well.”
“Quality, not quantity.”

What question would you ask another doll maker that you have not been asked? And then of course answer it. ;-)

Who are your favorite doll makers?
Lisa Lichenfels for her realism
Shelley Thornton for her use of fabrics and the texture of her faces and fabric hair
Christine Shively for her beading and embellishment
Akira Blount for her use of natural elements
Susan Fosnot for her painting skills
And on and on and on…


Recent Dolls:

Made of muslin; paperclay over cloth




Averill



Izannah Walker Workshop dolls, in their underthings

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