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Saturday, July 28, 2012

We're moving!

I'm moving, so the Gammage sisters are also moving. But they are also getting a new house. I don't have much space in my new house, and Gammage House had grown so big that it really needed its own table to see all the parts. I bought this kit a while ago for a friend , who didn't really like it. It fits in a smaller space believe or not , even though it is 1:12. Remember that we decided that the Gammage parian dolls are really 1:16, and I've been increasingly unhappy with how the 1:16 furniture fits in the half scale house. I'm moving the 8th, so construction will have to wait until mid August.

This is the kit I'll be adapting. It looks like a couple of the other houses from this company, but it is set up like an antique store. Of course , i will turn it into a residence, with the pis office still in the basement, and Althea's workspace on the other. I'll have to see how the rest of the rooms pan out.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Decision- Male or Female?

The seller had listed this doll on Ruby Lane as " Man or Woman" when I bought it on Ruby Lane. I took it with me on the trip , and came more and more to the conclusion that it is a male in woman's clothing . I am very close to undressing and redressing as a male, but am held back by a little niggling desire to keep the doll original.

It doesn't help that that I really need a male as Laura's fiancé.

Okay, the decision is made, because when I pulled down the dress to examine the doll , I found that it seems to be a newer head added to an older body! So soon you will meet Cedric , from Council Bluffs , Iowa.

I'm going to very carefully take the dress off, as I have another doll I would like to put it on. Why do I always cringe when I pull out the huge pins that people have used to hold on the doll's clothing?

I hope you don't disagree with my decision!

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Power Break

No , this is not in the same category as a Power nap! Our power has been off for a week due to wind storms. I brought along some of the little dolls, but have gotten little done. Meantime, for the Quarter Connection Trash to Treasure challenge, I discovered a new way of making the quarter inch scale dolls . What is the saying? Something like need is the mother of invention. With the T2T challenge, you can only use the things they give you, so you have to get really creative with what you've got.

Rosa Margarita sent a link to a tutorial on dollmaking ( thank you!) , and then a tutorial for wire people showed up on Quarter Connection the day after I asked. I learned that people often dress the dolls, even larger dolls, as they put then together. So these little guys may well lose their arms for a while! A couple of them have lost their heads, and I have also learned the the dolls without wires don't survive. I'm going to try a liquid sculpy/ bonding material to put them back together.

I'm having trouble giving them any character , as they are so small that it is hard to carve. I may go back to hardwood for their heads, because I felt that I can control features more. I will finish these guys!

I am doing a bit better about keeping them small enough to be in scale. I'll link to a tutorial that helps next post.

This picture is just to show you the difference in size - the big doll is 1:12 .

Friday, June 29, 2012

Note to Self- Get Over It!

I've learned a few things about making 1/4 inch scale dolls with polymer clay in the last couple of days. First, don't get too attached to them , because they are dropping like flies! I'm not sure where that saying comes from- flies surely don't drop? I've now taken to naming a group of dolls - like the " Doreens" and the "Ruths" because maybe one Doreen or Ruth will survive the whole process.

Also, don't use green or red wire as an armature. You probably don't even have green or red wire, but It shows through the clay. Blue or purple probably show through as well. Yes, I am making fun of myself.

Has anyone seen a tutorial for making dolls this small?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Dollmaking and Guilt

I guess I only have experiences with other doll makers online. I've come across a few people who make dolls in my city, but they have always had different interests than I.

My experience is that once a doll has been started , even if it is just at the armature stage, it a doll. We don't throw dolls away.

I have dolls I've repainted 4 or 5 times, have carved again, buried in more clay or otherwise altered. Working in quarter inch scale, I'm limited to carving and sanding, because painting or adding clay adds inches and feet.

Which means that this little guy, even though more unfinished than finished , is a doll, and has his own character -
(and I guess is male, since that is how I am referring to him) . He is way too big for quarter inch scale.

I made this little lady , Vesta, while inspired by a family picture. She is the only doll I've made that looks similar to my original vision . Most dolls seem to choose their own gender and size and character. If you try to do more than influence those decisions, it seems to end up in the creation of a spiritless plaything. An interesting note on Vesta- a close friend who only tolerates my dollmaking , and knows that I often repaint them, saw her and made me promise that I would not rework or repaint her, because she had, "Something about her." This from a woman who literally never owned a doll in her life.

If you think I'm being weird , and personifying dolls because I make them , think about all the people who hate dolls or are disconcerted by " Little eyes looking at me." I once had a friend stay on my living room couch, where the china cupboard was filled with china and bisque dolls, probably all 100 years or older. When I went to check on her in the morning, she had turned all 23 dolls in the display case so that they faced the wall on the other side of the room instead of looking toward her. The dolls seemed to have kept her from sleeping. She said she couldn't turn them toward the back of the cabinet because then they couldn't see out.

Not just doll makers or people who love them think dolls have their own character!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

One of the Gammage Sisters Will Just Have to Turn Into a


I'm trying my hand at making quarter inch scale dolls. Many of which have turned into half scale dolls's dolls! At this size, they just keep turning into giants, so rather than throwing them out, one of the Gammages is just going to have to be a dollmaker. I'll have to think about who.

Just armatures right now. Every little speck of clay adds approximately a half foot if they are in quarter inch scale!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Family History

Am I the only one you know who has 7 family trees on ? One for my own family, one for my kid's other family, two for friend's families that I got interested in, one each for two doll makers, one for my historic home, and one for my antique dollhouse.

Obviously I really enjoy searching for facts and family.

My grandmother, Minnie Florence Evans was born in Illinois in 1887. As far as I know, she lived on a farm all of her life- but am I remembering only what I knew as a child? It didn't occur to me until recently that the period I am playing with , setting the Gammage house in, is close to the date of my Grandmother's birth. Think about the changes she saw in her life! In terms of popular house styles, that means she could have seen Victorian, Arts and Crafts, bungalows, modern, contemporary....and many more.

Persis was born in 1870. If she lived to be 94, like my grandmother, she would have been alive until I was in high school.

This dollhouse making definitely is about more than playing!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Have You Discovered Scribd?

Yes, I spelled that right. I confess, I have been tempted into the world of modern or contemporary dollhouses. I'm still learning, but I came across the plans for a Woman's Day dollhouse which is modern, on Scrbd. You can download plans and print- I bought a one day pass for $5.00 and of course think I have to sit here and download forever and ever even though I easily could have paid $5.00 for that one plan.

So far I have found those plans (under the name of Jean Reynolds in case you are having trouble finding them (thank you Jean!) I've also found a bunch of toy making books from 1918 era . I have to say my favorite is "Organizing Your Laundry Room Closet". How many of you actually have a laundry room closet anymore- or a laundry room? I'm still getting to know the site, but you might be able to find them in my collections under Jennifer Berkeley- dollhouse folder .

Oh, and also this is where you access all the free AIM (Artists in Miniature) back issues.

Have fun! 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Dollhouse Distractions. And Why Can't I Call My New Canon so I Can Find It?

Think about it- it always worked with my Iphone.

I've had a new camera, which is delightfully small and takes great close ups , for two weeks, but haven't uploaded a picture yet. Primarily because I take a picture, put the camera down , can't find it for a few days......l I think I'm going to mount it on a tripod and leave it there!

Right now, I'm thinking you should think of this blog as dollhouse distractions instead of the Gammage House. At the end of the school year there are so many ends to tie up, that all that is left over at the end of day is the distractible! I work for 3 school districts , and today was the last day for the first to go.

So I'm puttering, and regrouping , and working on my application for a doctoral program!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Is There Such a Thing as Minis Block?

Do ever feel completely stuck on your work ? As though you can't think of anything or can't make anything work? What do you think blocks you? What got you through it?

I know I've been more productive because I've gone back and forth between two houses, one half scale and one quarter inch scale. I frequently think that if I would just focus on one house, I could actually finish one.

Then I realize that skipping back and forth makes more sense for me. My block is either getting to a step I need to learn to do, or especially having trouble making a decision. Another thing that gets me stuck is doing a really disappointing job on a piece.

I am far from being able to give advice, but I do find that on other crafts, if I decide to put something away because I am frustrated, I might as well throw it away! So working actively on more than one project is probably my best bet. Blogging helps too, because it gives me the , "I need to have something to show for myself! " push.

This my quarter inch house, which I am building completely from scratch.This picture first got me stuck because all of the work looked so bad - and I had worked for months. But then I made one statement in my blog, which was, "They have a lot of plywood at Michael's , and gave myself permission to consider the first cut a pattern since finishing the surfaces badly was most of the issue. I'm working from the inside out this time, and I am able to think about how I will finish each surface before I cut it, which makes an amazing difference. In a kit, they have often thought this out for you, or you able to see the work of others on the house. But since I decided to do such a thorough job of bashing Gammage House, it has been a lot like starting from scratch.