Antique dolls should usually be left alone to wear their stories without help from us. But sometimes a doll has seen a hard life, or has been repainted badly, and needs some help to continue on his or her journey. Fran Renner has such a doll. And so, this will be the first of a series here on Maida Today called, "Can This Doll Be Saved?"
I've been "listening in" to an email correspondence between Fran Renner, the owner of this early papier mache who needs help, and Edyth O'Neill, who has helped many such dolls when it was clear they needed help.
"These are the original pictures when I bought the doll. She needs a lot of help. I have stabilized her head and glued her cracks. Trying to find an eye.I've washed and repaired the undergarments and have repaired her arm. I will send more pictures as she moves along. She is a nice size 26 inches long."
"Dear Fran - Ah, the Voit child I was bidding on also for a little while. <snip> The body looks good to me, the arms may have been hand stitched of cloth, not leather. Some and some. In those small areas needing filler, you may use the elmer’s wood filler. Try a little bit in one crack and let it dry and sand it smooth with fine sand paper on the tip of your finger, to see if this is what you want to use. Very small cracks can be filled with acrylic Gesso instead. See which you prefer. The eye missing needs to go in behind the face. If you have any thing the right size, use it and paint the center with black fingernail paint. It will be an oval eye likely. <snip> The ceramcoat color I use is Dresden flesh, mixed with antique white or straight."