It has struck me recently how many creative and talented colleagues and friends I have and I wanted to showcase some of their creations and stories for you.
Dominique has long had a fascination with making dolls in all sorts of different media. More recently she has been focused on making Boudoir Dolls. I think she has great talent and patience and wanted to share some of it with you.
Boudoir dolls are dolls that are made to sit on beds and sofas as decorations. Unlike dolls which were made for children to play with, boudoir dolls were made to grace the beds of grown ladies. The classic vintage boudoir dolls were made from approximately the 1920s through the 1940s. Some of the earliest dolls, made even earlier than 1920 in some cases, were made in France. They are now sought after collectors items.
Boudoir dolls are generally large dolls over 60cm in size and have been made with a wide variety of materials including silk, cloth, papier-mache, composite materials and, later dolls, of vinyl and hard plastic. Often a mix of materials is used.
Dominique makes her boudoir dolls in predominately cloth with some other materials used for accessories. She has seemingly infinite patience as she works out how to continuously improve her creations, and she showed me how she has learnt how to paint the faces onto the cloth heads and use tiny stitches to create features such as noses and other facial contouring. Dominique finds that mouths are the hardest – she ingeniously staged her first attempt to hide the mouth with a hand.
Progression of faces:
All of the dolls have articulated joints and Dominique has experimented with a range of different approaches. The first doll simply had sewn ‘joints’ but newer ones use buttoned joints. Some of the dolls had fixed leg positions which made it difficult to arrange them to sit up so Dominique is changing that aspect as well.
Another improvement Dominique is working on is the feet. The first doll had square feet, the second had very childlike feet that could be covered with baby socks and little shoes. But it is much more difficult to create elegant looking feet. One pattern she used originally had proportionally enormous (and not very anatomically correct) feet which made it very difficult to make appropriate shoes. She improved on that for the next one with better sized feet that look very cute in stockings and slippers. Now she is working on getting the foot shaped so that she can create tiny high heeled shoes. She is also even getting to the detail of sewing toes.
One of the difficulties of creating feet, and even more so with hands, is that they must be sewn and then turned inside out which means that there will always be a size limitation. But this hasn’t stopped Dominique with her determination to get them looking life-like. She has also started inserting wires into the limbs and even into the fingers so that they can be bent realistically for posing.