The 2014 Christmas issue of Early American Life, which includes their Holiday Directory of Traditional American Craftsmen, is currently on newsstands. I’m honored to have been juried into the directory again this year!!! I also have an article in the this issue :)
Big thank yous to both Alice Tessier and Laurie Gaboardi for the very nice article and lovely photos of our home and my studio that appear in the current issue of the Litchfield County Times magazine section.
If you’ve read the article and find a few things printed in it confusing, don’t worry, it isn’t your memory playing tricks on you! Take the article with a grain of salt & don’t believe everything you read. :) No, I didn’t change my name, nor did I suddenly split into triplets, Paula, Pamela, and Paul! Early American Life did not suddenly scrub my name off of 25 of their Directories of the Top Traditional Craftsmen in America (I’ve been juried into the EAL directory 29 times, not 4). You cannot see photos of our home on Early American Life’s website, Facebook page or Twitter Account. You can see them on one of my blogs, Paula Walton’s 18th Century Home Journal. In spite of these errors and a few more wrong facts and misquotes, it is still an engaging write-up. If you would like to read the article and see the accompanying photos, follow this link.
Here are my two latest works! I finished them yesterday afternoon. Surprisingly enough they are not left over projects that I didn’t get done before Christmas, they are actually brand new creations for Christmas 2014!!! :) The bizarre calendar of magazine deadlines strikes again!
A. This is a 24 – Inch tall Father Christmas figure. I sculpted the head of this figure from polymer clay, then primed the clay with multiple coats of gesso and painted it with artist oils. His hair, beard and eyebrows are made from individually hand applied strands of kid mohair. A wood armature supports the sculpted head and shoulders of the figure and forms the core of the torso and legs. The arms and hands have wire armatures, with individual wires for each finger and thumb, which allows the hands to firmly hold objects. The boots are hand sculpted. His coat is made from antique red velvet that was originally a curtain (which had been damaged beyond repair), it has antique metal buttons and a hood lined in wool that I hand dyed to match the velvet. He wears pleated trousers made from the same hand dyed wool that lines his hood. In one arm, Father Christmas carries and hand-made spun cotton girl, with a lithographed face, dressed in crepe paper, two hand – made paper dolls that are based on mid-nineteenth century originals, and three tiny feather trees, topped with candles. In his other hand he holds the paw of a tiny hand-made mohair teddy bear, with working joints, glass eyes, a newspaper hat and a miniature American flag made of silk. I made the spun cotton girl, the paper dolls, and the teddy bear. The feather trees and silk flag are purchased commercially made reproduction components.
A. This young lady is a 17- Inch tall candy container doll. The papier-mâché head of this candy container was cast in a mold that I made directly from an antique doll head that I restored prior to making the mold. The head is painted with artist oils. The body of the candy container is made from two graduated cardboard cylinders. Her arms and legs are spun cotton with wire armatures. The darker top layers of her skirt are vintage crepe-paper, with newer crepe-paper petticoats underneath. Her jacket and hat are made from cotton batting with hand-made spun cotton snowball accents. She holds a mica dusted spun cotton snowball in one hand. This candy container is not an exact reproduction. I deviated from the original on which it is based by using papier-mâché to cast the head rather than bisque, to make the head lighter weight. I used a slightly different antique doll head from the original to make my mold. I changed the size of the candy container to keep the doll in proportion to the head I used. I used a wood base, rather than cardboard, for more stability and I added mica around the edge of the base and to the large snowball she holds in her hand.
Well, I’ve finally had time to begin working on it. It was a busy few months leading up to Christmas, and all the while I was working on other projects, the little tree was never far from my thoughts. Finally on Christmas Eve, as I was putting the last few stitches in a quilt I made for my youngest son and his wife, I stopped and spent just a few minutes spinning cotton around two tiny branches of my tree. It wasn’t much, but it made me feel good to at least get some of the cotton on before Christmas!
Now that Christmas is past I’ve been able to work on the tree a bit more. I still have a long way to go, but the tree is taking on the look of snow covered branches… at least here and there!
I received these photos today from a very generous customer, who was kind enough to show me how the ornament I made for him looks on his Christmas tree. It is such a lovely festive tree that I asked for permission to share the photos with all of you. I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I did! Wishing you joy and happiness in the few remaining days before Christmas.
For the past few Christmases I have been paying to enhance the features on my Spun Cotton Class Member Ning site, so that I can post how-to videos as my Christmas present to all my students. Everyone appreciated the videos so much that I have posted them again this year. So if you are already a student of mine and need to brush up on your techniques a bit, make sure to stop by the class site and watch the videos. If you have been considering taking my class, now would be the perfect time. You may order my Spun Cotton Ornament Class by Mail on my website Paula Walton’s A Sweet Remembrance. As soon as I receive your order I will send you an invitation to the class member site so that you can jump right in and start by watching the three how to videos while you wait for your class to arrive.