Sunday, March 27, 2011

Doll Land update

My husband and I attended a local doll show yesterday. Yes, believe it or not, he likes going to them as much as I do because doll shows are more than just about dolls. There were teddy bears, tin toys, and old pedal cars. Attending a doll show is like a step back into your childhood, and we had lots of fun.

While there, I picked up a hand sewn dress for my Rosebud doll, as well as some shoes. She was never dressed in her original costume, so I figured that she may as well be dressed in something pretty. So, here she is, all decked out in a new red gingham dress and red patent shoes. She wears her original rayon socks and underwear, but now looks as if she's ready for a Sunday morning go-to-meeting.

I've also added another Monica Studio doll to my collection. This doll is smaller than the others. She stands 18 inches tall, but like her sisters, she is also made of composition, putty, and has rooted human hair. Sadly for this doll, most of her hair has broken off, so I purchased a human hair doll wig that pretty much is the same style that she had originally. Her dress and hat appear to be original to her and are made of taffeta. She has lovely violet eyes that remind me of the late Elizabeth Taylor. If you look at all of my Monica Studio dolls, you'll see that their faces are all slightly different. Aren't they gorgeous, though?

Click on photos to enlarge.

Helen Kish doll: Spring

In my collection of dolls, my Helen Kish Spring doll is the youngster of the bunch. Helen Kish, her designer, has been creating beautiful dolls for the past thirty years. She started out making porcelain dolls and worked as a freelance designer for such companies as The Franklin Mint and the Danbury Mint until she decided to start her own company in 1991. In addition to dolls, Helen Kish designs jewelry and sculptures.

Helen Kish dolls are remarkable for their charming faces that include large painted eyes and pouty, well-defined lips. Dolls range in size from 5 inches to 28 inches tall and are balanced well enough to stand on their own. My Spring is jointed at the neck, shoulders and hips, but there are Kish dolls, such as Sheherazade, who are also jointed at the elbows, wrists, and knees. Spring's head and body are made of hard vinyl, and she is strung the same as vintage dolls.

Spring, from the 1997 Four Seasons collection, is 16 inches tall and has beautiful soft blonde rooted hair. You see her here, also wearing Autumn's dress, but Spring typically wears a fresh green dress made from ribbon-embroidered felt and fine netting. She wears pink flowers in her hair, and pink lace up ballet shoes. Spring and her sisters, were made in Valencia, Spain by White Balloon, who made exclusive dolls by world-renowned designers.

Helen Kish dolls are highly collectable, due to their finely sculpted features, beautiful costumes, and perfect balance.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lenci dolls

I have three Lenci dolls in my collection. They all date from the 1980s.

The Lenci doll manufacturing company began as a workshop 1919 and was the brainchild of Madame Lenci (a shortened form of Elena Konig Scavini's nickname of Helenchen.)  Lenci is famous for the use of felt to create soft and almost animated faces. Oil paints were used to create the distinctive side glancing eyes and pouty lips. While the name Lenci is most often associated with Turin, Italy, dolls made in the 1930s were often made in Madame Lenci's German workshop.  Lenci dolls made before 1940 are the most valuable of the Lenci collection as their production was presided over by Madame Lenci herself and have the best craftsmanship.

From the 1950s until the 1970s, Lenci produced porcelain and celluloid dolls and sold old felt stock with new costumes. New felt dolls were produced in the 1970s. For more about the history of Lenci, I recommend the book Lenci: The History and the Dolls by Nancy Lazenby.

In my Lenci collection are the "twins" Aurelia and Bettina. Both dolls are about 13 inches tall and both wear felt dresses with pockets in which they have placed a soft toy "pet."  Aurelia's is a goose, and Bettina's is a rabbit. Bettina wears a blue dress, and Aurelia's is pink. They both have blonde, curly hair made of a soft man-made fibre and can stand independently.

My other Lenci doll is a bride doll named Bibija. She is a large example of a Lenci doll, being 24 inches tall. She is number 433 of 499 dolls made. She, too, is made of felt and has beautiful soft blonde hair made of an amazing manmade fibre. Bibija is a boudoir-style doll, that is, she can't stand on her own. Her legs are quite soft and she's more suited to being placed on a chair or on a bed.

Sadly, after World War 2, quality and production went into decline and the Lenci workshop closed in 2002. Still, a doll made in the 1970s or 1980s will make a fine addition to your doll collection, especially if you have a "soft spot" for cloth dolls.