A Christmas Doll Shower


 

My friend Edyth has a friend who is sinking into Alzheimer's.  Her friend, a long time quilter and helper of many over the years, wants a cloth black doll for Christmas.  She has been moved away from her home of many years and all the people who knew her.   You can read Edyth's post here about her friend.  My granny had Alzheimer's so this is close to my heart.  We thought we would work at putting together a basket of cloth dolls for her friend as a Christmas surprise shower.   Edyth's friend has made lovely quilts in the past and will appreciate a well made cloth doll.  Edyth says:

"Black or other, 
vintage or new, 
just cloth dolls
in a rainbow of fabrics 
a good quilter will recognize."


Surely there are doll makers out there who could make or donate a doll to make this lovely lady's Christmas a joyous one.  I know many of you have been doll makers for a long time and don't know what to DO with all your dolls.


Ship your doll to me by December 10th 
if you would like to send a doll for this project.  

Then I will take a picture of them as a group to post here on Maida Today.   After that I will send them as a traveling party to Edyth who will ship them to the lovely quilting lady who would like a cloth black doll for Christmas.


If you're not a member of Maida, it is free to join the group, and we'll be talking about this project there.  If you would like to participate without joining the Maida Dolls Group, then email me (Dixie) by using the contact at the top of the page.  (northdixie AT gmail.com).





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Farmhouse Doll Bed You Can Build

 
Ana White, who designs furniture plans for regular people like us to build, 
shared this fun plan for making a farmhouse style doll bed.  
It's designed for an 18" doll. 

Visit Ana's Site for Plans
 
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Doll Stocking Pattern



 
Size the pattern above to make pretty stockings for your dolls with knit fabric.  
Wouldn't it also be fun to make some fun Christmas stockings?   
 
If you make this pattern, please leave a comment link 
that shows the finished stocking.
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What Does MAIDA Stand For?



That's a question I received by email today. I wanted a site that focused on "making antique inspired dolls & accessories" and MAIDA is the acronymn of that phrase.   The whole phrase would be rather long and unwieldy.   There are lots of good artist sites out there and wonderful tutorials all over the place. My main goal for this site is for it to be inspirational as well as informative.  

Soooo....what inspires you, and what informs you in terms of making antique inspired dolls?  

Wearing Their Stories: The Giving and Gathering of Antique Cloth Dolls

 

Of all the antique dolls I've seen - china, papier mache, bisque, and cloth dolls - it is the cloth dolls that wear their stories most prominently.  Dolls with hard surfaces may show their stories with rubs, cracks, chips and sometimes the changing of the final varnish, as with papier mache dolls.  Sometimes they gather patina in their lives in the crevices of the sculpt.   But the very flexibility of cloth dolls allows them to give and gather in their surroundings in a  unqiue way.  They are continually changing and molding as they travel their journeys.  The dolls presented here are from the recent auction by Withington's. Pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them.


This gentleman above was made by someone who really cared about his station in life!   His clothing is made with as much or more care given as the painting of his face.  Surely he is a portrait of someone whose ears were a prominent feature.  I love this doll!  His oil painted face speaks of a combined mischief and innocence.  The contrast of his folky ears with his man-about-town suit lends an air of humor.  


The delightful cloth lady doll below shows the maker's skill in drawing.  The face is very specific, which makes me wonder if it was a drawing of a particular beloved person, perhaps from a photograph?  The face appears to have been drawn with pencil onto unpainted cloth with color added at the hairline and features.  Perhaps this was done with watercolor? 



The clothing is interesting, but the personality is in her face!




Less specific in facial detail, 
but no less in personality,
is this wonderful topsy-turvy doll. 



Facial features are embroidered on unpainted cloth.  




The red hair is an interesting surprise. 
Miss Red looks as if she's made a lot of mischief!




The turn of the century cloth lady doll below wears her story in the fabric from which she's made.  Her face is painted  on raw cloth and the fabric shows repairs during the 100 years she's been with us. 




But she doesn't just wear her story, 
she also carries her written story with her. 
 



Another red-headed wonder is presented below.  She makes me smile.  The maker of this doll gave her a very specific face and specific hair - it looked to be human hair stitched on at the top. Another portrait?  


When you look closely the doll has toddler like hands 
with stitched separately stitched fingers. 


I'm not sure, but this mischievous lady might be sticking out her tongue!







The prominent ears, the tongue that sticks out, the surprise red hair, all speak to the creativity of the makers of these dolls.  The repairs and gathering of patina from the dolls' journeys along with their specific design features combine to create treasures worth preserving.

For those of us who enjoy making cloth dolls, these design features are worth studying.  It is often the one quirky feature that is specific to someone we know that give the creation its personality.






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