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Saturday, July 2, 2011

More Progress on Alabama Baby Boy and a Bit of Doll History

 Many old dolls (I'm assuming they are c.1920-1930, only a somewhat-educated guess) had arms shorter than what would be considered "anatomically correct." Here are two examples (above) of such dolls fom my fairly small collection. When I first saw dolls like this, I thought some unskilled, unknowing person  had replaced the original (correct) arms with arms that were too short. However, as I looked at pictures of many old dolls, and actually acquired a few myself, I saw many with similar short arms, and  realized I'd been wrong -- those arms WERE the originals. The makers were just not overly-concerned with realism, I guess. It just wasn't that important to them, I'm assuming. If it HAD been, they would have made longer arms!!

     However, I couldn't stand those too-short arms on my doll and I haven't observed abbreviated arms on the original Alabama Indestructible Baby Dolls, either. So I guess their originator, Ella Smith, DID care that her dolls had arms that were correctly proportioned to their bodies. I added a piece to each upper arm to lengthen them; earlier I'd also added a (lower) section to his torso, too, as I felt it was too "square" and not proportional to his head.

     Here is my poor boy, stretched out on a pull-out breadboard in our kitchen, with the front of his legs gessoed and drying. He's very patient.
     ( I've "claimed" this breadboard for my own artistic purposes, as I have much of our big old hundred-plus-year-old house. I've been told by one of my offspring that I'm being unfair to my husband, and should give him a room of his own rather than hog 85% of the house for myself, but I have, as yet,  too much stuff (mostly sewing/art supplies) to be able to do that.)
     The next step will be to apply gesso to the back of my boy's legs, and tomorrow, I will lightly sand them and apply a second coat. I also need to paint fingernails on his hands. Then, his arms and legs will receive a spray of clear-coat matte finish and he will be done.
     Then I will need to make some clothes for him, and fairly soon, as he's bound for a show at Six Rivers Gallery in a week or so . I've decided to make him a white shirt, white underwear, and a brown thin-wale corduroy suit. This suit will signify that he has been toilet-trained, as in days of old, boys wore dresses until they were. Recently, I received a picture of my father( born in 1914) at the age of two, and he was, indeed, wearing a dress.

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