Friday, August 07, 2009

City Springs......

In olde days, if a person needed refreshment....a place where they could cleanse their body and spirit, they oft found themselves on a journey to the nearest hot springs.....which were always revered for their special powers to heal. Our Dear Tascha was in such a need~ her precious porcelain white complexion blackened so horribly by the fire. Thru all the smoke and soot, her spirit can be seen shining so bright!

The previous repair to her shoulders did not like the heat, and bubbled up and chipped off, taking the layer of gesso under the paint with it. Here you can see the raw mache she was made of~ to study it up close was a gift in itself~ little wee bits of horsehair and sawdust can clearly be seen, along with the seams of her 3 part mold she was cast in.

Originally, I was to repaint Dear one....something I just could not bring myself to do. I just could not cover up her character and disposition with a new layer of foreign modern paint. To look into her eyes, is like looking into a living soul~ she begged me for something better than paint. Over the next several weeks, I carefully and slowly cleaned off her layers of soot. She was refreshed to have her skin breathing again! Being clean is a wonderful feeling~ she has told me this, and as well, you can see it in her expression! I blackened her hair where the heat had turned the black to green....her hairline, and all the paint on her precious face is ORIGINAL .

Her arms and legs were a mess. What the fire didn't blacken, the water from trying to put it out lifted and puckered the gesso, causing it to pop off in many places. Her shoes were a deep Forest green~ what is left of the paint here shows the original paint lines, and as well a most curious detail! See the little hole there? That was where a twig once was. Once, c1830, a carver was sitting whittling away on pairs of hands and feet for the doll factory. He most likely carved a perfect foot there, but between carving and painting, was knocked around in a satchel or bag, and the twig fell out. The painter simply painted over the hole, and off the feet went for our Dear Tascha!

Grubby, sooty hands. You can see the line on the left, half way betwixt her fingers and wrist, where her dress sleeve protected her arm from the hot smoke

Cleaned arms & legs with newly painted dark green shoes~ ready to be reattached!

Her pretty sawdust filled kid leather body was soaked and cut away after the fire. This is the top of her wooden legs~ one of the original paper tapes remains, and I was able to save it, as well as the one remaining on her right arm, and reused them on her new body.

On a MM body, the arms and legs are longer than a normal doll, and they attach to the body higher up~ with no elbow or knee joints. I hand stitched her body using a copy of an original MM body pattern, and once enlarged, she has now the exact proportions as she was originally~ There was still a scant bit of kid wrapped around both the arms and legs~ I was able to peel this off, and use for the measurement of the pattern at these key areas. I enlarged the pattern until the fit was right, and everything else fit into place like a puzzle.

I left her upper arms unstuffed, so they would be nice and floppy to be easily dressed again. I also did not want to add unneeded pressure to the shoulderplate, as this could cause it to crack over time. She is stuffed potato firm~ very hard, which enables her to stand. I made her new body from a thick duck~ didn't use kid as it does stretch with stuffing, and is a bit more difficult to sew. This type of body would have been originally stuffed with sawdust~ which can mold and attract rodents over time, so Tascha is filled with an inert poly. The legs are attached, with glue first , before stuffing...when dry, the body is then filled up to the neck edge, where it is stitched closed. I basically did the same thing, except with poly. After the glue was dry on the joins, I replaced the paper tape bands

A happy girl, back to her shapely self!

As to not stress the shoulderplate, I carefully stuffed the top torso to fit her chest juuuust right, then a smidge of white glue, and she is whole again

What a happy girl! Here she is with her new chemise standing in the gallery. I am working on her pantaloon now, and then we will take pictures of her wearing her new corset.


Christine LeFever said...

Positively amazing! Your work is miraculous.

Lone Pierette said...

Wonderful , she can come live with
me !!

Theresa said...

You did a wonderful job on her... she looks like a completely different doll now.

CARole said...

Loved reading about this dolls restoration. You are always so good at explaining things. She looks beautiful. Is she your doll or did you restore it for someone else?

Suzanne said...

Wow! You've done a splendid job restoring her! She is beautiful.