Thursday, March 3, 2011

Kaethe Kruse and Me

I've always loved the early Kaethe Kruse dolls - something about the chubbiness of them; the tactility; the captured essence of childish innocence; the simple rustic clothing. What's not to like? These dolls were first created in the early years of the C20th by Frau Kruse in her workshop in Germany by a team of skilled artisans. Completely handmade, these dolls retain their charm even when beaten up by a lifetime of loving. Not that I have ever seen one in real life - only pictures.

Since the originals are way beyond my budget to buy, I've always had a hankering to make a similar doll - just one. I'll never replicate the original processes exactly. (Brass dies were used to press the cloth heads; they were stuffed with reindeer hair, and where am I going to get THAT from; the bodies were made from nettle cloth and I don't even know what that is and the bodies seem to have quite complicated piecing and seaming which would be hard to reproduce without having a good look at an original). Long story short - I'm going to make my Kaethe Kruse homage doll to look as close to the originals as I can, but still put something of myself into it - I want it to be recognizably my work, and obviously I'll have to fudge and subsitute a few things.
Here are some images of original dolls and a picture of my rough initial sculpt. 





16 comments:

Jo in TAS said...

Oh Susie, your version of the dolls is adorable, love those rosey chubby cheeks!

Aud64 said...

I love K Kruse sand babies, they got me into doll making, as I could not afford to buy one so tryed making one myself.
Love your sculpt Susie, looking forward to seeing it painted.

Cobbler Cottage said...

I think you definitely succeeded! I see the Kaethe Kruse influence, but also a pinch of Susie too! Looking forward to the finished doll! Becky

Ani said...

Your version will be lovely Susie, can't wait to see him/her finished. Kaethe's first 'doll' was just a sand sack and a potato in a towel, amazing the beautiful children she created from those humble beginnings.
I may have an extra sack of reindeer hair around my sewing room Susie - just kidding! Lots of dog and cat hair though! LOL!

Heera said...

Oh My! How cute! Your doll is so adorable!

flyingbeader said...

Those are so adorable!

Janine said...

I think this will turn out wonderfully well! Can't wait to see end results!

Belinda said...

Love your sculpt Susie
hugs Belinda

creativedawn said...

Hi Susie,
Your doll is lovely!

Pam

Susie McMahon said...

Thanks all! I've added a little more to my rough head - it looks more KK now. Will post some more pics next week, then think about how I am going to do the body.

Stitch1Peta said...

Nettle cloth is just that, cloth made from nettle stems. apparently the stems are fiberous like flax and was used to make cloth that was finer than linen. It was also japanned (sort of a sealer) and used as a substitute for leather.
http://www.swicofil.com/products/016nettle.html
this site has lots of info
Love the doll

Susie McMahon said...

Thanks Peta......I learned something today! Judging by how well many of these dolls have lasted, it must be pretty strong, durable stuff. I don't suppose it is still available?

Kristen Strand said...

Yep , you captured the look! Wow looking forward to how she turns out!

Kathi said...

I've been admiring Kathe Kruse dollclothes. I love that you are make your own doll children! Can't wait to see more!

Dollartfriend said...

On Hvolris they have chosen to make a bid on the inner garment of nettle. Therefore appears nettle fibers, weaving method to opstadsvæv, hand spun and woven fabrics and new industrial product nettle fabric.
(Hvolris is a ironage town in DK and opstadsvæw = a kind of loom , weawe)

MH said...

Beautifully done ! I love to come here and see what you have been up to . Iget such a thrill out of your work and an education as well . I never heard of KK and I'm delighted to lean about doll artists .
Thank You for sharing !
Mary

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