Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Doll talk continued...

It has been a sad week in New England. I struggle to finish my doll talk, but  I said there were a few more they are.

This is one I made entirely from paper and paper products.

The challenge was to make an art doll from a papier mache doll body purchased in a craft store.  I combined it with a paper cone and lots of other paper items:  tissue paper, scrapbook paper, paper clay face that I made, and brown paper bags paper for hands. I quilled her hair from card stock...a fun project.

Then there was a special doll I was waiting for....
Years ago I had a very special Internet friend who gifted me a number of dolls that she made. Mary Vlasak lived in Airlie in Queensland, Australia, in a magical stone house built by her beloved husband Ollie.  She owned a doll museum... and had been all over the world collecting dolls and teaching classes.

She made and sold them as well.  She also sold patterns and sometimes was published in magazines. (You can see a doll that she gave me in magazine  here. )

Although she and I corresponded  a lot about making cloth Hitty dolls, she never sent me one because I had made a few myself,  Some are here.  Last week someone I knew many years ago e-mailed me that one of Mary's dolls was on eBay. Long story short, I bid on it and won.

I am not sure why Mary made her into a pedlar doll.  I have since removed her tray and cape revealing a very pretty little Hitty doll underneath.  She is standing on top of our coffeepot so you can see how little she is.

I remember sending Mary that fabric for the dress. She was very fond of adding crochet trim to dresses and also fond of making tiny red work animals and other accessories for her dolls.

Those tiny dolls in front of the ladies above are less than 1/2 inch tall...she poured them in porcelain.  They are magic when you see them in person!  Some of her dolls were made from polymer...others cloth and some porcelain.

Once she made a patterns and named it "Little Helen" and challenged me to make one, too, which I did.  Hers is on the left and mine is on the right...they are about 3 inches tall.

Another time she sent me a tiny Eeyore. Edie is only 4 inches tall so Eeyore is a tiny guy!

She sent me of the Little Winnie Dolls from her magazine article and I started making them, too!

Then she made a Becassine. I said. "send me a dozen and I will sell them for you"...and I did!

I saved the best for last. Above is Mary...who was a doll herself.  She had been ill for decades with a rare form of cancer. When she passed away in 2007, she had outlived every patient in Australia who that had the disease.  Ollie passed away a few month before her.

She truly was breath of fresh air and sunshine...a joy to everyone who knew her though hardly anyone knew that she was ill.   She always signed her letters, "smiling, Mary."

So now Hitty has come here to live and I am so happy.  I do not know how many Hitty dolls she made or sold. She liked to work on multiple dolls at once so I am guessing she made a few.  I am glad that I have one now, too. Thank you, Mary C. for pointing it out and for remembering Mary.  She was  a wonderful person, doll lover, maker of dolls...and friend whom I think of every day.

As always,

enjoy the day...

and smile!


Simply Shelley said...

Thanks for sharing this doll story about your dear friend Mary. I am so glad you were able to purchase her doll. I am just learning about the Hitty dolls after reading the book "The Dolls House" given to me recently by a friend. I posted about it today. Now, I am in love with Tottie,the little Hitty doll character in the book. Do you have a dollhouse for your little dolls ? Just wondering ...blessings

vivian said...

what a nice tribute to a talented girl! love seeing the dolls and it is perfect that you won the first doll on ebay. I think she was meant to be with you. I bet Mary is smiling right now.
great post Helen.
have a great day!

MaryC said...

As I said "It was *meant* to be" that you were able to adopt MaryV's Hitty dolly! I have a smile as I remember MaryV with that 'missing you ache' in my heart. She was always a spot of sunshine. :-) Her dolls carry on her legacy very well. MaryC

Joanne Galbraith Truchon said...

Your post and sweet dolls were a lovely reprieve from the grave images we have been faced with since Monday afternoon. May your friend Mary always be an inspiration to your art!

Beth said...

A treasure, Helen, from such a lovely woman. I knew of her from Gail Wilson's yahoo group, and was shocked when she died. She was such a vibrant force.


paris parfait said...

What a lovely tribute to Mary! She sounds like a very special woman - and obviously talented. Thanks for sharing her story and these lovely dolls. I especially adore the Hitty doll.