Sunday, April 25, 2010

Itty Bitty Izzie Sissy's

Here are my two newest Izannahs. They are sisters, and itty bitty creatures they are. I made them simultaneously, and they refuse to be separated. They're pretty demanding.

They are approximately 5.5 and 6 inches tall.

They have taken some sort of oath of silence and absolutely refuse to tell me their names.

All I really know about them is that they are completely hand made from cloth with hadsculpted paperclay heads (and I only know this because I made them), and are wearing handsewn Civil War reproduction fabric cotton dresses (scraps I had lying in my drawers that I loved too much to throw out), and undergarments made from vintage fabric.

These teensy tots are a little high maintenance...they want a new home with better furniture than my circa 1976 Ideal* cheap plastic Jody Victorian Doll set. Even though I repainted the tacky purple plastic sofa that had lost nearly all of it's 'velvet' flocking for these picky gals, there was a diminutive revolt. Early this morning, I stepped on a straight pin that had been strategically placed in the rug impaled through a tiny note...with little words cut out and pasted on it. They must have gotten into my cabinets and excised the tiny words from various jars and bottles that I need a magnifying glass to read.

You should have seen their list of demands: Wooden four poster bed with quilt AND linens

Velvet settee

Table and chair set

China tea set


Preferably... Greek Revival, but Queen Anne will suffice as a second choice.

Are they kidding? Don't they understand the California real estate situation? A Victorian doll house is a huge money pit. Pretty pricey to furnish. Furthermore, if I HAD the money for a Victorian house, I really must insist upon being able to fit inside of it.

How greedy of them. With their champagne appetites on my vintage cheap plastic budget.

I politely informed them that if they don't appreciate the facilities here, they will have to leave. They wholeheartedly agreed.

They are now available on ebay!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hallie Quinn Brown

I don't know how I found this amazing woman, I think somehow, she found me. Her story is incredible. Hallie Quinn Brown was born between 1845 and 1850 in Pennsylvania, to freed slaves, Thomas Arthur Brown and Frances Jane Scroggins. Her grandparents on both sides were caucasian plantation owners. Given the way of plantation life, that doesn't seem too surprising. Hallie's mother was given her freedom from her grandfather, who was a Revolutionary War officer. What's rather unbelievable is how Hallie's father attained his freedom. Thomas Brown was forced to purchase his freedom from his own parent. From his own MOTHER. She was a Scottish plantation owner, and his father was the black overseer. I cannot fathom a mother choosing to enslave her own child, and make him PAY her for his freedom. Oh, I suppose societal restrictions gave her little choice in the matter. But still...she could have given him his freedom instead of trying to make a buck off of it. I'm guessing Hallie wasn't too close to Grandma.

Whatever their upbringing, fortunately for Hallie's parents, they both received good educations. They became educators themselves, and were actively involved in the Underground Railroad. In a home of educated freed slaves, naturally Hallie was well educated, and graduated from Wilberforce University in Ohio. She became a teacher, with a focus on providing/improving literacy among former slave children. Hallie worked with Booker T. Washington, authored several books, traveled as a lecturer on African American culture, speaking before Queen Victoria. Hallie was instrumental in the preservation and maintenance of Frederick Douglass' home as a museum in Washington, D.C. What a woman!

Naturally, I was inspired by Hallie in the creation of this doll. She's Hallie too. I know, I know, another Izannah Walker style doll. I'm addicted. I tried to depict Hallie during her childhood, in the late 1850's/early 1860's. Hallie is wearing a cotton 1840 reproduction fabric dress in the style popular during her childhood. Hallie is completely handmade of fabric and paperclay. I never use molds. Her clothing is completely handsewn, in the historical manner.

Hallie has her own rag doll, which I believe she helped her mother create. Little girls learned sewing at their mother's knee, often by sewing rag dolls and their little doll dresses. Hallie's doll is very primitive in appearance, as all rag dolls of the time were. Her stand is painted to resemble both a quilt as well as the floorcloths popular at the time.

For more information on my little Hallie, please pay her a little visit on ebay:

She's looking for a new home, because the earthquake she trembled through this afternoon scared the daylights out of her, and she's not certain California is a safe place right now!