Tag Archives: softie

Barbara Kettlebelle – Strongwoman

26 Mar

Strongmen were a mainstay of many a turn of the century sideshow, much rarer however was the strongwoman. There were several of note, often lifting men above their heads or offering a sum of money to any man who could beat them in a weight-lifting competition, as well as plenty of other odd displays of their inordinate strength.220px-Katie_Sandwina_(the_Lady_Hercules) article-2255849-1680C720000005DC-870_306x502 article-2255849-1680C945000005DC-659_306x442I figured my Ten-in-One wouldn’t be complete without a glamorous strongwoman of its own, so here comes Barbara Kettlebelle.

Barbara KettlebelleDespite her scrawny appearance, Barbara possesses unnatural strength for a woman having grown up wrestling with her fourteen older brothers. The circus offered her a place after witnessing her performing a clean and press with a baby elephant in the strongfolks Olympics. As you can imagine, a lady of her abilities needs a lot of fuel and her daily diet includes eight whole chickens, a gallon of chocolate milk, and her bodyweight in peanut butter and jam sandwiches.

Barbara Kettlebelle

Barbara Kettlebelle

 

 

The Dollface Collection

19 Mar

I’ve been searching for a suitable branding for my new style of creation. I was toying with the idea of a total rebrand, but I’m rather attached to my pseudonym now so it’s here to stay. Instead, I’ve decided to give the dolls an umbrella name of their own, so from here on they will be known as

‘THE DOLLFACE COLLECTION’ By The Mistress of Monsters.

Anyone who sees them seems surprised by the size of them, so I thought it would be a good idea to give you an idea of scale by having a photoshoot with my little darlings. Nothing beats the feeling of having an armful of things you’ve made!

The Dollface CollectionMr Monster is busy designing me a logo for the collection so will be able to show you that soon too. I love it when a plan comes together!

Juliana De’Vine – Fortune Teller

19 Mar

Another new addition to the sideshow arrived today. Introducing Ms Juliana De’vine.

Juliana De'VineJuliana had a very successful career as a stockbroker, until she was a little TOO good at predicting the next big money-maker, leading her to be investigated for insider trading. No one would believe that it was her ‘gift’ which was her secret to success and so she was forced to leave the profession. After the circus came to town one fateful day, she realised that with the sideshow she could make her fortune by telling punters their own. And so the rest is history.

Juliana De'Vine

Juliana De'Vine

Bridget O’Hair – Bearded Lady

10 Mar

As promised, I’ve been sewing like a demon this morning to complete the second of my ‘Ten-in-one’ Sideshow Starlets. Making her debut is Bridget O’Hair, bearded lady extraordinaire.

Bridget O'HairBridget was born with a full head of auburn locks, and by her third birthday she was already sporting a pretty impressive moustache. Her beard kicked in at age eighteen and scuppered her plans to become a seamstress as she kept getting it caught in her sewing machine. She tried her hand at welding after seeing the movie Flashdance, but it soon became clear that she was a fire-hazard, so her only option was to join the circus as the sideshow bearded lady where she shares digs with best-friend and partner in crime Elsie.

Elsie and BridgetBearded ladies were a firm fixture in circus sideshows of the Victorian era. Few women are able to grow an impressive enough beard to shock and amaze paying customers so their facial hair was often ‘enhanced’ or even entirely faked, although this was rare.

One of the most well-known and successful bearded ladies was Annie Jones. Born in 1860, she joined her first circus at just nine months old, and continued to exhibit her fully genuine beard until she died at the age of 42.

Annie Jones-Bearded Lady8

I used her fairly plain style of Victorian dress as my inspiration for Bridget’s simple dress which worked quite well as her face is the main focus.

Bridget O'Hair

So now Elsie and Bridget can keep one another company while I work on the next act for my sideshow. Hmmm….who shall I make next?

Elsie Inkwell – Tattooed Lady

5 Mar

After finishing Carmen the other day, I’ve been dying to make another doll. So today as it’s my day off I locked myself away in the craft room, popped on some old movies, and beavered away all day. I must admit I’m really happy with the result. I’ve eliminated the wobbly neck problem and am really hitting my stride with the new shape and style.

I had toyed with the idea of a tattooed lady some time ago but never actually got around to making one. The idea resurfaced in conversation with Curious Pip over a cup of coffee just before Christmas, and then Mr Monster mentioned it again just the other day so I figured it must be my destiny to create one!

 

I had a good look at some photos of tattooed ladies from a bygone era, and was inspired by this shot of Maud Wagner, a circus performer who married a tattoo artist and became the inked beauty you see here:

Maud Wagner

I love her no-nonsense expression and proudly tilted chin which I took as my starting point.

It took some time to work out how to do the tattoos on such a small-scale but eventually managed to find a combination of acrylic paint and permanent pen which worked pretty well. I did get a bit impatient though and ended up smudging some of the designs by trying to work with them before they were dry but I managed to hide that pretty well and ended up with a piece which I’m very fond of.

So, it’s time to meet Elsie Inkwell.

Elsie InkwellElsie ran away to the circus as a girl after witnessing an incident involving the Easter Bunny and a violent assault left her disillusioned with the world. She worked as a showgirl, riding a white pony and breathing fire, but after her bosom started to head south and the punters stopped coming to her show she was forced to go under the tattooist’s needle and join the sideshow. She shares digs with the bearded lady and helps her in the upkeep of her lustrous mane through a complicated grooming process of setting lotion, beeswax, and a fine-tooth comb.

I respect the history and symbolism of traditional tattoos so wanted to use them respectfully for Elsie’s chest piece and sleeves. I picked a few iconic images such as the gemstone and the swallow and tried to reproduce them as faithfully as possible, albeit on a very small-scale.

Elsie Inkwell

Elsie Inkwell

Elsie Inkwell

Elsie InkwellI’m starting to realise where my niche might be on the art doll scene. In combining my love of vintage and glamour, but combining it with the alternative, bawdy, perhaps slightly seedy side of life. I can’t wait to get working on the next one.

Elsie Inkwell

Elsie Inkwell

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 542 other followers