I've been working on the Philadelphia Sheppard Baby doll pattern a bit at a time. I bought a beat up Sheppard Philadelphia doll a while back to use for study.  It is a large doll.  I decided to downsize my pattern to 75% of the original antique doll.  

When I designed my Izannah Walker doll pattern I did not own an original doll to use as a guide.  I had taken scads of pictures of original dolls and used them as a guide. By approaching it that way, I had to distill the hallmarks of Izannah's design features.  Now that I own an antique Izannah Walker doll I would approach it a bit differently.  

And yet.  Sometimes one work made by a maker is unique and has features not representative of the category.  With the Philly Baby I am studying, the head is HUGE. The measurement from the bottom of the torso to the shoulder plate line is the same as the measurement from the shoulderplate line to the top of the head.  I'm not sure I want the pattern to have a head that is that over sized.  So it is decision making time.  Do I want my pattern to be an exact copy of the doll I own?  I don't think so. 

I was showing my husband my progress and said, "I need to work on the toes."  A tiny shift of a seam line can make all the difference in the shape.  Engineering at work.  Turning flat cloth into a holder for volume.  Anyway, my husband the smartie pants said, "I think you need to work on more than toes."   

Ah, yes.  She needs a head.  That's where the main hallmarks are in this doll type. ~ Dixie Redmond


Jan Conwell said...

They do say things like that, don't they? I have the same thing about the original old boudoir dolls...I love them, but that loooooong body with those loooooong arms and legs, just look goofy to me. I like to think that as artists we are contributing to a body of work that can be seen as a cumulative effort, not as changing anything or trying to reinvent the wheel. Can't wait to see your Philly Baby.

J. Ann Firth said...

I have seen that before, too, in studying a doll, sometimes I see that the torso is about the length of the head plate. This makes the doll look like a baby, or, if the limbs are narrow, like a cartoony type of figure. But then there are usually other examples of the same doll where the head plate was not as large. Sometimes features and treatments vary so much, it is quite a process to look at all the dolls of that type and mentally filter all the examples, into your own interpretation.

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden