Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Izannah Walker dolls, Helen Pringle dolls,

I repeated my post here..People were emailing me asking for this post so here it is once again Thank You !!Sherrie
Hi every One, I belong to a online group called Vintage ClothDoll Makers
It has been around for years and years..They have been talking about. Izannah Walker dolls, Helen Pringle dolls, and and talking about the doll makers of these dolls, and all the wonderful techniques, This is what makes this group so extra special.
I wrote a rather long post below to the group and also wanted to share it here on my blog....
Going through my notes that I have saved over the years, I was so excited to have found the messy mixture!! I wanted to share a couple awesome techniques by out standing artists with you all , Even if it is just to keep in your notes , These gals are just amazing and the doll world will never be the same because of their sharing hearts and experience.
The Cloth Doll Magazine, 1988"Miracle Messy Mixture "For Strengthing Cloth Doll Heads" By: Helen Pringle

A mixture of one half modeling paste and one half acrylic gel medium.

Applie in multiple thin coats to the doll head and arms before they are painted.

The brand I use is Liquitex Modeling Paste and Liquitex Acrylic Gel Medium,available at most craft and art supply houses,

(Arylic Matted Medium could be used in place of the Gel Medium,,But the Gel Medium makes a smoother mix which doesn't show brush marks)

Buy the smallest sizes you can get, as the paste begins to harden once it is opened. Use a good brush and save it just for the mixture.

I've tried every kind of brush , and found I prefer a 3/4 " soft nylon "exploded tip" as it seems to minimize brush marks and cleans easily.

Cover your work surface with plastic sheeting or newspaper.

Mix well one part paste to one part medium in a clean, small glass jar with a tight fitting lid and a mouth wide enough to admit the brush easily such as a pimento jar,

I add water sparinly, a few drops at a time, when the mixture begins to thicken.If too much water is added , poor adhesion will result
Clean up is done with soap and water.

The features and the shape of the head and arms are less likely to shift or flatten, as sometimes happens in old rag dolls painted directly on the cloth.

The hardened surface makes an excellent base for the painting which follows ,

Whether using acrylics or oils.(Remember that oils can cover acrylics,
But not vice versa, If in doubt read the labels on the jars and tubes when painting .)

While testing various under coatings, I always coated a head and then slammed it repeatedly into a table corner.
Acrylic varnish cracked, gesso cracked, but not the
"Miracle Messy Mixture ".

The coated head finally tore. But even deep dents slowly healed,

The purpose of this method is to prolong the life of the paint and to help avoid permanent dents,It is not meant to imitate other materials or mediums, or to fool any one.
Technique written by:Helen Pringle
Technique written by:Nancy Gibbs hardening techniques for dolls she uses a technique based on Helen Pringle's recipe in which you combine a mixture of acrylic gel and acrylic modeling paste in a 1 to 1 ratio. use your fingers to apply to the doll's face after needle modeling, but before painting, you can use fingers to spread it -it does dry quickly. for a smoother less marked appearance spray lightly with water sand thoroughly once it dries and reapply. repeat this process as desired,the more coats, (thin ones--thick ones crack), the smoother your final finish. paint as desired. Nancy Gibbs says she usually paints the flesh color in two layers, sanding between, then the features such as eyes & lips etc. you may wish to varnish, crackle or apply other techniques to the hardened surface for a variety of looks. the finished result is vinyl-like and smooth to the touch. Technique written by:Nancy Gibbs *******************
To stiffen the fabric to prepare for painting:
Heirlooms for TomorrowFrom Heirlooms for TomorrowBy: Linda Johnson... which features original dolls by Linda Johnson. She has created a tutorial on how to create Helen Pringle style dolls, with a wonderful section on painting and finishing faces, creating trapunto-style sausage urls, etc. written by: Linda Johnson
To stiffen the fabric to prepare for painting:
Materials needed:
Doll body with sewing finished except for attaching arms and legs
1 inch width stiff bristled brush (or smaller for smaller dolls)
1 inch Sable brush or fine haired brush
Liquitex modeling paste (a pint will do many dolls)
Liquitex Gel medium (a pint will do many dolls also)
Liquitex Gesso (I use white but colored is okay)
(I use only Liquitex products for the preparation!! The others that I have tried get really chalky and/or crack!! They are available at any art supply store....and Walmart in some areas. I get mine from Michael's craft store. I am sure there are cheaper ones,
but don't skimp here! For one doll, the smaller quantity will do. I buy it by the gallon!!)
Quilting thread or heavy thread (color doesn't matter)
Paper clips or Safety Pins
Clothes Hanger
Masking Tape (get the good stuff!)
Plastic wrap or large plastic bags big enough for the doll
Fine sandpaper
A water mister if you are doing it in a dry area
Wash the fabric you are using for the doll to remove any sizing or dust. (I heard that argh!!!)
The doll pattern I use is my own. It is a one piece body with the head attached but without the arms and legs sewn on.....yet. Any pattern will do! I was thinking that Elinor Peace Bailey's, "Anne of the Celtic Mist" ( or similar patterns) would be cute done this way! Make sure that all of your body (ears, noses, breasts....etc.), fingers, toes and joints are finished!
Note* If you have never painted a doll before and you are not confident enough to paint right on the doll, start with a 'pancake' type doll. (a two piece doll like a raggedy ann or basic rag doll) Trace the head on fabric, prepare the fabric like these directions tell you, and paint that. You can use an old embroidery hoop that is bigger than the head to keep it tight if you want to, this just makes it easier to paint. Then sew the face on when you are finished painting and sealing it. Make sure you use masking tape where you are going to sew. It is very difficult to sew through the painted part.
Now Get Brave!!
I mask off the doll body with masking tape and plastic wrap on the areas I don't want to get the messy mixture on! This leaves the areas I want to prepare for painting exposed. I mask it like you would see on a bisque doll head with the squared off shoulders. Then I sew a cord to the bottom of the doll and tie it to a paper clip for hanging on a clothes hanger later for drying.
You can do the arms and legs the same way. Mask off the ends that are going to be sewn to the body. I mask off about 1 1/2 inches on the top of the arms (leaving the hand and forearm exposed) and about a 1/2 inch from the knee up (leaving the shin and foot exposed) You want to leave the masked areas as just plain fabric so you can attach them to the body!!
Sew a 3 inch or so doubled quilting thread to the bottom of each. Attach a paper clip or safety pin to the end of the thread.
I use the paper clip to hang them from a clothes hanger later when they are drying. Then, I put them in a closet or a place that is not being used looks kind of gruesome with all of those bodies, arms and legs hanging upside down....he he he. Or you can put them in a coffee can, weight it with rocks or marbles or something so it doesn't tip over.
Here we go!
I mix a 50:50 blend of modeling paste (a marble dust mixed in a latex base) and gel medium. I use a well cleaned plastic butter tub with a lid to mix it in. That way you can leave it over night and it won't dry out.
Using a 1 inch width brush, I apply the first coat heavy enough to not see too much fabric showing through. Try not to get large built up areas but you don't have to worry about brush strokes at this stage. Use your brush to remove excessive mixture from creases, like around the ears and nose. If it starts to dry too fast, mist it with water. Let it dry over night in an undisturbed area, upside down hanging from its paper clip.
Apply the second coat in the same manner. Let dry overnight.
At this stage, you shouldn't be able to see any fabric. Lightly sand out any brushstrokes. Don't sand too hard or you will go down and damage the fabric! Use a slightly damp soft cloth to remove the dust.
Apply the third coat. Let dry overnight.
The surface should be now hard and warm. If it is white all over, lightly sand out any brushstrokes. Use a slightly damp soft cloth to remove the dust. (If it is cool and splotchy with gray spots, it is not dry yet! Also, If it is not hard all over when you tap with a fingernail, you will need to apply another coat and sand it.)
I mix my Gesso with the gel medium: two parts gesso to one part gel medium. Apply two coats of this mix allowing to dry completely between coats. Sand if it needs it.
If at this point you have any 'craters' that you are not happy with, you can let the modeling paste get thick by letting some air dry a little and fill in the craters.
[I wrote to Liquitex and they said that you can glue (using the gel medium) on top of this. I had asked this because I decided to put ears on her after I was at this stage. This would be great for clay parts too.]
All Right!! You are ready to paint!! It looks cool now huh? A face waiting to happen!!
I leave the masking tape, plastic, and the paper clip on until I am finished painting. Take care when removing the masking tape after you have painted it so that you don't chip the paint.
You can use either oil or latex paint on this. It is whatever you prefer! The traditional method is using oils with linseed oil to give the face depth and easy blending abilities, but for those of you that can't use oils because of health reasons, latex is just great! Oils take longer to dry though, but the effect is worth it! From doing research and from experience, using cobalt or Japanese dryers to make the oils dry faster, allows cracking and peeling over time! Always use oils in a well ventilated place!
Also in closing here is a couple links of some wonderful doll artists who create or collect and Love Izannah Walker dolls, Helen Pringle ,I'm sure you know them all. Some times even if you do not agree with the style of the doll..It is the techniques that is what makes it so interesting.. .But gosh golly it is always wonderful to look and drool again!! what I call truly yesteryear heros for sure! Hugs and Blessing...Sherrie

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

HI I appreciated very much having this information. I have pinned it. I think I must be following you already on pinterest as I got a link to this blog from there. I would appreciate it very much if you could let me know how to contact the yahoo cloth doll group you belong to so that I can apply to become a member. I have just started making cloth dolls. I look forward to hearing from you. Sarah