Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Finally finished off those IOLCC Dolls!

"Anita Goode-Laffe"

This years Imitation Of Life Construction Company's "Dimensions In Dollmaking" show at the San Diego Convention Center (courtesy of the FABULOUS San Diego Quilt Show) gave a theme challenge of "Make Me Laugh". I have said it before, and repeat my prior disclaimer....I don't do 'funny'. I don't do 'whimsical'. Heck, I pretty much don't even do 'color'. I was totally disenchanted with this years theme. So when I lack interest in something, I basically don't even bother with it. I become lazy and don't hand in my best work. Lifelong flaw.

So here's my 'lazy'. I did finish a doll long before begun and abandoned in my drawers. There's nothing funny about her. She represents a real person, who though in possession of a fabulous sense of humor, suffered through much heartache and tragedy. This tragedy is behind why she is believed to have never really left her old home. I'll go into more detail about who she really is closer to Halloween.

At any rate, this woman's countenance did not portray the happy moments in her life. She became a dour, pinched (albeit extraordinarily well dressed) version of her younger self. And who can blame her? Her husband became abusive, her toddler died in her arms, her daughter committed suicide, her son became a town drunk who hung out in the red light district, her other daughter died young leaving two children to raise, her granddaughter was killed at the age of 8, her wee 3 year old great granddaughter found poison (at grandma's house). I could go on, but it's too depressing.

So, if anyone needs a laugh or a happy moment, it's obviously this poor woman. So she decided to attend this doll show with her own challenge to the other dolls: 'make me laugh...PLEASE', she says to them. I gave her a tacky alias...in case anyone doesn't understand why she's attending the show. I presume anyone reading her name will get it. And if they don't, I suppose I am too tired of getting ready for this show to really care?

"Anita" is made of cloth over wire armature, with head, arms and legs made of Creative Paperclay. This is a papier-mache type air drying clay. I LOVE this stuff. Her clothing is all handmade, much of it antique fabric and trims from items too fargone to salvage in their original condition. I never cut up historically significant or displayable garments or fabrics. If it's already falling apart or dismantled, I go for the gold. Her hat is made from antique fabric and trims as well as her parasol. Not having parasol skills, this one doesn't open. Her 'floor' is actually taken from the entry hall of her old home. Ashlar block pattern in faux marble. She represents the time period of 1885-1890.

"The Belle Of Amherst"
(Better known as Emily Dickinson)
Yes, here's another gal who was a real person who could have used a few more laughs in her life. Not the happiest persona. So that's how she got here too. Plus, she 'told' me that is who she wanted to be and there's just no getting around that. Lucky her, she gets to keep her real identity. That poor Anita is a local San Diegan and would be embarrassed to be seen out trying to have a good time when in mourning. Just another reason to keep her anonymous at this time.

So, Emily is also made of Paperclay. Her clothing is all handsewn. Mostly from modern fabrics. Her dress is reproduction cotton from about 1840. Antique lace at collar and cuffs. Changeable silk taffeta bonnet with antique lace. She's wearing 'coral' beads because she could use some good karma. Really what she needs is to get out more often. I had to literally drag her kicking and screaming out of my house to get her to attend this show.

I failed to get a full length shot of her, but that doesn't matter because I am a pretty lousy photographer and all my photos make my girls look like they are short legged when in fact they are not. She's holding a book, that represents her poetry. Really, I stole it from poor Alice Liddell and painted out the Alice In Wonderland title. Hadn't gotten 'round to 'recovering' the book for her at the time I took these pictures. I didn't feel like making another book. See....LAZY.

I am not showing any photos of my third entry, which I did SORT of attempt to accomodate the theme of the show. I made Kathy Seldon (Singing in the Rain) jumping out of the Monumental Pictures cake at the beginning of the film. It's the most 'whimsical' thing I have attempted and failed miserably in production. She just looks like she's standing there wearing a cake dress. So, she got into the show by default because they were running short on entries. She's a mercy entry. Who looks like she's got the losing Hatbox Challenge dress from Project Runway.
If you live in the San Diego or Southern California area and love textiles, quilts, modern and antique, artistry and dolls....PLEASE come to the Annual San Diego Quilt Show at the San Diego Convention Center! It runs September 16th-19th. It's a fabulous show, has something for neary everyone. Heck, I might even go.


  1. Very pretty dolls, beautiful clothes and very sweet Milla! Regards, Anjah

  2. Wonderful work, your costuming is superb! Those hats are just amazing...I wonder if you were a milliner in a past life?

  3. Your dolls are the best!!!

    Blessings from HomeHaven,

  4. Hi Robin,
    I Do not know who Anita Goode-Laffe is as a real person, but She definitely could use a good laugh!!! SUPERB!!! I cannot wait to read her real story. The poor thing went though allot.
    I just love Miss Emily TOO!!!
    Robin, your work is absolutely the most wonderful!!! I love the way you create and the way you think!!! You just AMAZE me!!

  5. Thanks so much for all your kind words! Michelle, I figured you'd know Anita. Heck, even your Anita know's Anita. Hehe. So, if I hadn't said anything about her, would you have known who she was?

    I've not got much practice making hats, but I probably was at the very least a dressmaker in another life. Who dabbled in the occasional chapeau!

  6. robin,
    I absolutely love your clothing on your dolls!!!!!!!You definately do your home work!!!! Such details!!!!!!!!!!!! True artistry!!!!!!!!

    Many Hugs,

  7. I like the way you think Robin, clever girl!
    These ladies are spectacular as I knew they would be, and even more! I'm dying to see the third entry, pretty please?
    I sure wish I could go to the show and see them in person!!!!


  8. Wow!!! All your dolls blow me away but these two are superb - and this is your "lazy"??!!! You are an amazing artist. These dolls are gorgeous beyond words and I wish so much I could see them in person. Beautiful!!!!

  9. These two ladies are wonderful. Beautiful costuming and detail.I like your interpretation of the theme.referring to your earlier comment on broken fingers I use PVA glue with the clay over floral wires. Will try to post full method with pictures. Di

  10. They are wonderful! The expression on the first one nailed your theme! Love it.

  11. hi!! I watched all photos of your gorgeous dolls and there is one question I have to ask - do you sculpt hands in papier mache? Your dolls have very detailed hands which I believe is very hard (or even impossible) to achieve in papier mache.