Thursday, September 15, 2011

Winter Ballet

"Before": a Hildegard Gunzel for Gotz doll found sans clothing at the thrift store.

This is a very poseable doll, so I dressed her as a dancer.

Stringing in her arms and head allow her to hold many poses.

Angled disk joints in her hips allow her to stand alone.
Whew! What a week! I am amazed I managed to accomplish anything! We are back in school now, with all the attendant homework, PTA meetings, concerts, etc. Our daughter, mid-way through the second week, got up to the gate of the school grounds and threw up all over the place one morning. So she was home for the day! The baby had his speech and developmental evaluations which confirmed, surprise, surprise, that he needs speech therapy to deal with his corrected cleft lip and palate. I've been running to all our area Targets to stock up on the Missoni collection, both for me and for my eBay store. I have always wanted a Missoni outfit; when I lived in Florence I used to take a special walk just to look in the Missoni window. It's too bad I couldn't have one then when I was so much younger and thinner!

We lowered the asking price on our house and got it all clean, anticipating a new run on showings, but no one came. That was a real bummer. The house by the lake that I wanted has sold, so I am way less motivated to clean up and rearrange our lives. In fact, I'm just bone-tired. This could have something to do with a diet I'm on, however, where you eat only almonds, eggs, yogurt, tofu, spinach, and raspberries. Whatever works! But then again, the Missoni dress and heels I got make me look about 20 pounds lighter and about 3 feet taller, so maybe I'll just stop dieting and wear Missoni!

But I was finally able to finish a project I've had on the back burner for months.  I got all the fabric and stuff out for this and then someone wanted to view the house and I had to pack it all away. Then they didn't buy the house! So I'm actually kind of glad no one wanted to see it this week.

A while back I was making my thrift store run when I spotted this doll with some others on the shelf. I could see they were gorgeous dolls and well-made, but I didn't recognize them. There were two blond and on brunette, all with the same face sculpt. A little girl picked up the brunette while I was looking at them, so I didn't get that one. When I got home and researched them I wished I had gotten all three! I found they are by Hildegard Gunzel for Gotz and sell new for $170-$200! All the dolls were missing their original outfits and their hair was a mess. Still, you've got to wonder who these people are who buy dolls that cost hundreds and then just give them away! Do they forget what they paid?

Anyway, this is a gorgeous doll. More limited Gunzel dolls go for thousands and I can see why. She is an amazingly talented artist. This doll is beautifully and realistically sculpted and cast in a scented vinyl that smells sort of like vanilla. They way the joints and stringing are done allows the doll a huge range of movement, making it perfect for a dancer.

I had this lovely blue satin in my scrap bag that matches the doll's eyes and I was inspired to do a winter-themed dress, although what inspired me was our summer vacation to Northern Michigan. I was so hoping for a house by the lake here after going back up north. Everything up there, around Traverse City, is blue or silver, it seems. The air even seems more clear, like crystal! I took these water-colors and really went to town. The dress is encrusted with beading. The tulle skirt underneath is detached so it can be used as a ballet skirt with other doll outfits and she wears handmade pantyhose with a retro back-leg seam. The American Girl clothes will fit this doll, although her feet are large, so I don't know about the shoes.

Speaking of shoes, my take-home lesson from this project is that doll ballet shoes are HARD to make! I almost just went and bought some ice skates and turned her into a skater. I was afraid they wouldn't fit because the pattern I had was for 18 inch dolls and I finished a shoe and it didn't fit! So I had to re-draw the pattern. The shoes are sturdy enough, but rather clunky-looking. Not my best work.

The dress and doll turned out really well, though. The doll had fuzzy hair and some stains in her vinyl. I faded the stains using benzoyl peroxide and Mr Clean erasers and conditioned her hair and re-dressed it. The dress came together well and has tons of handwork. A very unique piece!

Let's hope for a rather less strenuous week to come and, someday, a house by the water!

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