Wednesday, January 7, 2015

I love those little Milliners

It's been a while since I have posted.  Still here working on dolls as I can, but also dealing with a personal emergency involving my mom who fell on New Years' eve and broke bones.  Tonight I worked on dolls as therapy for the nightmare of making my way through the medical system. 

I bought this little 10 inch tall Milliners doll back in August.  She had damage to her shoulderhead and was missing an arm and leg.  I have been scanning eBay and Ruby Lane since then looking for replacements.  I finally decided this last week that I would make them on my own.  First, here's a photo of the milliners as purchased.

In order to make the missing limbs, I looked for a doll with suitable wooden limbs that I could re-purpose.  I bought this little Shackman Penny Woodern for $10.  She was made in the 1970s or 1980s.  Her limbs were about the right shape and length.

I used the two legs instead of using either arm because the Shackman doll's arms had no shape to them.  It worked out well in the end.  I began by cutting a portion off of the top of one leg and then carving it to match the arm, forming a hand at the end.  Then I used the other lef as the ankle, calf and thigh portion of the missing leg.  I then carved the portion of the wood leg I had cut off the top of the arm piece to make the foot.  After that I used epoxy to wed the foot and leg, and to thicken the thigh area to more closely match the original leg and to create the ips of the fingers on the hand. 
  After this began the process of covering the replacement limbs with wood filler to smooth out the seams and create the fresco-like finish of the originals. 
While the limbs were drying I turned to the head.  I did not want to do a lot to it.  I filled the deep gashes on the breastplate and a couple on the hair, let it dry, and then sanded it to the point where it was even.

Back to the leg and arm then, sanding and smoothing, and then painting; first solid colors and then adding detail like the hint of an orange red shoe. 

I then added - judiciously - paint to the hair and skin of the shoulder head, leaving the features untouched.  (The flash makes the flesh color look mottled.)  And then I used a wax polish to give them all a shine that matched the original.
After that I used the remnants of the old leather arm to make an upper for the new arm and then attached all of the limbs to the body, which did not need any repair.  The bit of blue-green leather that was missing, which was used to bind the limbs to the body originally, I replaced with a bit of old teal ribbon that had come with the doll.  The color was perfect! I painted it with glue to make it hard and so it resembled the leather more.
And here she is complete.  I will work on a costume next and post a few photos of her in all of her restored glory when she is done.