Sunday, July 28, 2013

One of these days...

If it seems like my recent posts have been about future projects, well, it's true!  As well as repairing dolls, I am an historic interpreter.  I work in Piqua OH in the home of John Johnston, who was a Federal Indian Agent from 1802 - 1829.  You can see the house and grounds here:  In April, May and September/October we host almost 5000 school children, and during the summer I lead 6 hour long tours a day through the 1812 Farmhouse four days a week.  Needless to say, most of my doll work gets done in the winter!  Anyhow, I am currently working on a couple of dolls for clients, but my own projects have to take a back seat until the winter lay-off.

Recently, I purchased another faded beauty on eBay.  One of my loves of the doll world is Lencis.  These felt art dolls from the 1930s (and beyond) were miniature works of art.  Of course, being made of felt (and often organdy) they were subject to fading, deterioration, and often became moth meals!  Years ago I bought, restored, and sold a Lenci boudoir or bed doll.  She was lovely and long legged, and  about 24 inches or so in length (as I remember).  A seller on eBay had a Lenci boudoir up for auction and when no one bought it, I contacted the seller and put her in layaway.  I knew she was cool and a good price, so I didn't pay too much attention to the auction details.  You can imagine my surprise when she arrived and was 36 inches tall!  Yes, THREE FEET TALL!!! 

I think I may have bit off enough that I am going to be chewing (on the repair) for a looooonnnngggg time. 

I photographed her as she arrived and will share those photos below.  I am to the point where I have removed the clothing and am ready to begin the cleaning process.  I have also purchased some 100% wool felt from an eBay seller in Australia.  She told me she had another customer purchase felt from her to repair Lencis and recommended that, along with colors, I buy ecru so I can dye it to whatever faded color I need using food coloring.  That will be interesting.

I have repaired Lencis in the past and have a process for filling in the moth holes.  The doll is not in too bad of shape though she needs an appropriate mohair wig (have to see if I can find her in the old catalogs first) and some touch-up.  One wrist is 'broken', but otherwise her body is in great shape.  She came with her stockings and shoes, which is a real plus as they are often missing on a doll of this age.

Her dress is in good shape on the front - luckily - but has moderate to severe moth damage on the back.  It will be interesting to see how the repairs progress on that.  It will be laborious and time-consuming, but well worth it in the end.

Well, enough chatter for now.  Here's the doll.  (She put on a borrowed wig for the photo below).


Note the distinctive Lenci zig-zag stitching on the top of the legs.

 The next photos detail the dress, underclothes, and stitching.



And now for the moth holes!

 Stocking and high-heeled shoes

That's the before pictures.  Come back and take a look and see her 'after' - hopefully soon!