Neither of these images is Photoshopped and unfortunately, I can't recall where on the web that I found them originally. But I think they are hilarious (and a little weird). A good reminder that our ancestors were not a bunch of prim God-fearing people who never smiled (smiling was difficult for photos because it's hard to hold a natural smile for the length of time it took for the exposure).
Anyway, here at left we have two theatrical critters: Hedgehog and Rabbit. Hard to tell when it was taken ~ can't even hazard a guess. Even the style of the coats is likely "costume" and not contemporary.
This second picture is easier to date because the woman is dressed quite normally (so I would place this in the 1870s based on her hairstyle and dress style.
Who knows who the person in the diving suit is ~ probably a man, maybe her husband? Diving suits of this type were still experimental (Jules Verne made much of them in this era, as did other adventure story writers). I like to think this couple, aside from being adventurers themselves, had quite a fine sense of humor to want to take this portrait, which sort of sets typical classic portraiture on its end.
I have been suffering from computer woes this past week, alas, but hoping things will improve shortly.
To tide you over, here's a lovely fashion plate of children's clothing from October of 1875 (source uncertain, unfortunately). I haven't come across a lot of fashion plates for children, which makes this one interesting. Mostly children wore rather amorphous dresses until they were about 7 or 8 years old, then they generally wore miniature versions of whatever was fashionable for adults.
Love the colors: the blue shiny stripes and the gold/coppery combination. It seems I have not posted much from this era, which is interesting since it's so smack-dab into Reconstruction-era America, but maybe I have just been saving this stuff for when I get there. I feel right now like I will never get out of the 1850s. Gotta move this ahead quicker!
It's been hard to get any creative work done this past week. Busy on the regular job and evenings have been spent reading and trying to stay away from things that otherwise tax my eyes. But I am hoping to have new things to post after the coming weekend (which can't get here soon enough!)
Meanwhile, here's Lydia by Peggy Jo Rosamund. I think she's one of Rosamund's nicer looking dolls (more natural, anyway ~ she doesn't have that creepy doll look). I bought her on eBay a bazillion years ago, it seems. She was originally made with three extra pages of clothes, but I only have one extra page (a shame!).
She was published in a doll magazine (Doll Reader, I think). These are the two pages I own. I actually found the other two pages online and will share them in another post at another time. I just wanted to share a bit of her here to keep things buzzing along in the interim. As always, give the image a click to see a little more detail.
It's definitely my ambition to finish a couple of dresses this weekend! I am studying some color combinations and working myself up to the task of tackling something that's not quite so duo or monochrome!
I am trying to be diligent here ~ and really challenge myself to stay on track with all of the various projects I have running concurrently at the moment. And while I did, for a breather, set aside the dress I was working on for Amy, I forced myself to complete at least one small piece this weekend. It's not much, but I'm actually quite fond of it: a vest for Mr. Morse. It's not based on any special historical model; men's vests haven't changed too much over the last 100+ years. I did give him a somewhat old-fashioned wrap-around tie, and the fingerless gloves are particular to the character and not anything especially 19th-centuryish.
This was especially fun to do because I was basically experimenting with the embroidery on it and it actually came out exactly as I wanted it too: sort of shimmery (click the image to see it in more detail). Purple is a color I have a particular horror of ~ not for itself, I love purple! But painting with it has always been a nightmare of ugliness. This has given me some much-needed confidence.
So it's not much, but it's a good starter piece for the new year. I also like the way the black onyx rosary came out. Now I just have to make Mr. Morse some pants so he won't be wandering around in half-dress.
I came to this conclusion while trying to work out some dresses for the Amy doll I made before Christmas. I was futzing with skirts and overskirts and draping and sleeves and basically cobbling bits and pieces of various outfits from various fashion plates (trying to come up with something "new" rather than just reproducing the images), and guess what? It was hard! This may seem like a "no duh" sort of thing for many people (especially if you are a designer), but it had never occurred to me for some reason that there's this whole art of fashion design and however much enthusiasm I have for the clothing of the era, I haven't much of a sensibility as to how to begin to design for it.
To make matters worse, the problem of color still haunts me. If you look at the two scribbled designs I have posted here (click to see them in more detail), you'll immediately notice that I used all of three colors to create them: a mahoganyish orange-brown, an ochre yellow-gold, and a deeper brown for some of the detailing on the second dress. Not exactly bold choices. I feel pretty safe in these almost sepia-like tones. The thought of venturing into blue or green or purple (ack!) scares the beejeebies out of me. But I can't make Amy wear nothing but these colors. Much as I would like the various parts of her outfits to coordinate, it's not as though her entire wardrobe was built out of the same two bolts of cloth. Not even in the 19th century where that was sometimes the case!
So I'll be doing a lot of experimenting with colors and fabrics and designs here. I have no dearth of resources for this sort of thing. If I can copy other color schemes with my own designs, that might be a solid way of learning something like color theory in a way that will actually stick. It's worth a shot!
I am still organizing content to fill here, but hello in the meantime! I am using this first post to set up the tagging feature. It's my goal to add new content at least twice a week, so even though this probably won't be a "daily", I hope you will subscribe to the RSS Feed and check back regularly!
One of the things I hope to focus on here is paper doll men, which I think are highly underrated and underrepresented in the paper doll world. So while you can expect to see an array of beautiful dresses, expect to see even more frock coats, military uniforms, and other contemporary occupational wear.