Saturday, September 23, 2017

Izannah Walker's 200th Birthday!

September 25th marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Izannah Walker, that iconic American cloth doll-maker. Yes, she was a maker of unbreakable dolls, but she was so much more - a successful business woman in the man's world of the mid C19th. Apart from the patent on her dolls, she was responsible for a number of other inventions, but it is for her dolls that she is mostly remembered. There is just something so appealing in their calm, serene countenances, so simply but perfectly rendered in oil paint. They are reminiscent of the naive portraits of the time, beautifully realized in three dimensions, and each one a little unique.

These dolls have stood the test of time - quite a few of them are still around, displaying their quiet beauty. Even those that have had a hard life exude that special aura unique to these dolls.

I belong to a Facebook group that celebrates these and other mainly cloth dolls from the past and it was suggested by one of the members that we celebrate the event of Izannah Walker's 200th birthday by creating something related - a doll, a painting........whatever. My initial thought was to do a painting - a still life in naive style with a doll included. But when I really thought about it, I really REALLY wanted to make an Izannah-like doll. As usual, I left it until the last minute, leaving myself only eleven days to get it done. Occasionally, I get seized by a project and can work long hours uninterrupted until it is done, which is what happened in this case. I got it done, from sculpting to the final stitches in the clothing with four days to spare. And all this stitching is done by hand!

So here she is, my 200th birthday celebration Izannah:

New Work

First of all, I must apologize for being a bit slack about keeping this blog updated - constraints mainly caused by doing house renovations make my time a bit limited. But I have been busy with other things, apart from licking this house into shape!

Here are some recent dolls completed:

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