Sharing a love of Dolls House Miniatures - and making time for other creative crafts and the garden.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Wild Apples and Fimo

I was searching for some old family photographs when I came across some ancient ones of early 'miniature dolls'.
These are the traditional apple dolls I've mentioned'll see why I've hesitated over 'miniature' when you look at them.

We're back in the day here - late 1980s - when a friend and I had embarked on turning our craft hobbies into something more professional. We had come together as part of the team to run a craft fair raising funds to save our little village school under threat of closure (we won and it's still doing great) and enjoyed ourselves so much.

Between us there weren't many 'crafts' we hadn't had a go at and both made small original dolls from a variety of materials.  Craft fairs were in village halls, redundant churches and tents at Country Shows and Ploughing Matches - we frequently got wet or stuck in the mud and didn't make a fortune, but loved it.
Margaret also created soft sculpture dolls and I created poppy seed head dolls - if I find a picture of them I'll show you another time - then I discovered traditional Apple Dolls.

There was no internet then and I only saw them once but I was captivated and had to discover how to make them.  In the end my cousin in Canada came to the rescue - N. America I assume being the home of these characterful and unique dolls  - and I obtained the recipe to preserve the carved apple heads.  My aim was to create miniature versions so that they complemented the poppy dolls - large apples didn't work.  Finally I discovered the perfect apple; small wild apples we called wilderns, a little larger than crabs which grew along the bridle paths near us, and eventually dried to what I considered the right size. There was lots of experimenting!!!!  Quite a learning curve!!

So, here they are. No digital cameras or computers then either - so photo quality isn't great.

I do shudder a bit looking back at them now - so out of proportion for true miniatures. Clumsy costuming.  Still it got me started and led to an invite to the first Marlborough Dolls House Fair - that was a real wake up call - and I learned what a true miniature should look like!!

Fag Ash Lil' - in 1/12th, 1/16th and 1/24th scale. Probably my most popular character.
When I eventually found Fimo I decided to continue with elderly characters still using natural sheep wool for the hair and abandoned the awful 'paws' for proper sculpted hands. .....and sorted out what scale truly meant.

Thanks for looking


jenann said...

The Apple People are so much fun! I can't imagine how they are made though.

Lovely to see Lil again too. She is a true British character! It's a safe bet that no other nation on earth has quite the same cleaning ladies and yet here, like your own Lils, you'd know exactly what her trade was if you saw the human variety in a photo.
I remember when school cleaners looked exactly like her. Now, they tend to look far neater than we teachers as they come in to start work and we try to persuade the reluctant, last to leave child who wants to chat, that it really is time we were 'marking books,' the cover for heading to the staffroom for a much needed cup of tea!

It's such fun to see your people, Robin!

Elizabeth S said...

Hi Robin! Once back in the 70's I made an apple head doll too! She was my only one but I loved her! I think that she eventually became a part of a raffle project with the miniature club I used to belong to, but I had forgotten all about her until I saw your post. How wonderful to have original photos of your early dolls. They may not be what you would make now, but they're what got you started towards the Wonderful character dolls which you've become famous for!


Donna S said...

Hi Robin:
I remember apple head dolls in all sizes. Depending on the size of the apple how big the body would be i guess. I live in Canada and I have seen them at craft fairs and farmer's markets all my life. Interesting to know that that is the way you started. I know way back when, in the 1970's that I was not sure of scale either. When I began to collect minis everything was Victorian for some reason.
Loved to see your photos. Thanks for showing us.