Monday, November 30, 2009

Izannah Walker Workshop

Dixie here - I've been writing this site for almost two years to share pictures, images, links, etc with others who are Izannah enthusiasts. I generally don't refer to my own artistic works here, other than putting a link in to my site. But my next project is on Izannah Walker dolls, so I want to give readers the opportunity to know what I've been up to. Later in December I will release my Izannah Walker type pattern and offering an online Izannah Walker Workshop in January.  (This class has finished but the pattern is available).  Click here for more information on the Izannah Walker Workshop.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that all you Izannah lovers out there have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family and gratitude for all we have. That's something I've been thinking about. This blog, which started on a whim on January 1, 2008, is an expression of gratitude, really. I created it because I wanted to share pictures of the wonderful Izannah Walker dolls I've been able to study and document. I'm so glad I did. It is a wonderful joy to be able to create and study and read and learn. And I am so glad that there are so many of YOU out there who love Izannah Walker dolls as well. Have a safe and happy day tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Monica Bessette's Izannah Doll

I received the following email from Monica Bessette, who has graciously shared pictures of her well-loved Izannah doll with us. I find these well-loved dolls very interesting, because you can often see more about the construction of the dolls because of the wear. Here's the email, and pictures following. Monica has said she will share some additional detailed pictures as well. Thank you, Monica!
Hi Dixie,

Well, I missed the end of the month, but here I am. Attached are some photos of my Walker doll that I named Joy. Her namesake is Joy Kelleher, of Special Joys Bed & Breakfast in Coventry, CT.

Joy Kelleher was instrumental in bringing me together with Maurine Popp, one of the the premier Izannah Walker collectors of our time. Back in 1998, just prior to the publication of my article, Walker Dolls: A Family Business, Joy invited me to speak to her doll club's upcoming meeting. The meeting was to be held in her doll museum, which was then part of the Bed & Breakfast. I jumped at the chance to speak in this intimate venue, but I wasn't prepared for the surprise guests and the wonderful response to my research. I had always wanted to meet Maurine Popp. Her comprehensive collection of Walker dolls, which she was collecting in the 1960's or even earlier, were some of the first I had ever seen in print, as she was always very generous in sharing her collection in books and magazines.
We can all thank Maurine for bringing these fascinating dolls to the attention of collectors.

Not only did Maurine Popp come to my slide lecture at Joy's invitation, she also brought two of my favorite Walker dolls with her to display. Since we were both staying at the bed & breakfast the night of the meeting, I was able to have a personal chat with her and Joy over tea beforehand.

Six years later, when Joy decided to sell part of her museum collection, I took a chance and called to see if there was any way she would consider selling me her Walker doll. She said she'd give it some thought, but I didn't think I had a chance. About two weeks later, I received an email from Joy playfully asking if I knew anyone who would consider purchasing an old rag doll with missing limbs and cracks all over her face. I was overcome with emotion. Could this be true? Would I actually have an Izannah Walker doll of my own? After I stopped crying, I called Joy to thank her for her kind offer and make arrangements to pick up the doll--the next day before she changed her mind!.
Included is a photo of me on that day, and you can see that I'm a little disoriented holding my new treasure.

Joy Kelleher has given me so much pleasure in her friendship and her confidence in my research, that I immediately named the doll after her so I would always be reminded of her and the special times I've spent in her bed & breakfast
and museum, which is now her shop.

I've included photos of different angles of the doll. One photo is interesting in that it shows that the arms were stuffed with hair. It's probably horse hair, since that was plentiful in Izannah's early Central Falls neighborhood, but it's hard to tell exactly. You can see from the full side view that the body was sewn together and then the arms were attached at the shoulders. She's 18 inches tall and has the typical repaired breaks in the mid-calf area of the legs. She's in rough shape, but I couldn't love her more than I do.

Please write if you have any questions.

Monica Bessette

The arms appear to be stuffed with horsehair.

Many Izannah dolls legs seem
to have needed repairs...
too much dancing?

Thanks so much, Monica!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Yankee Magazine

This past week a member of the Izannah Walker Dolls group (thanks, Judi!) pointed out that there was a two page article about Izannah Walker dolls in Yankee Magazine. The article was written by Catherine Riedel of Skinner Auctioneers. It was so fun to read that the Izannah Walker Chronicles had been listed as one of the resources for information about original, antique Izannah Walker dolls. I was happy to see that Lucy's Doll House in Camden, Maine was mentioned, as it was their generosity that made it possible for me to take pictures of original Izannah Walker dolls, and those pictures are what prompted me to create this site to share those pictures.

The mention in Yankee Magazine confirms that this site is becoming what I hoped it would - a kind of clearinghouse of links and resources and a repository for pictures of original Izannah Walker dolls. I love Yankee magazine. My own family Yankee-ness goes back to the Mayflower and to the first Puritan settlement in Massachusetts - and from there to various seaports in New England. If you are interested in early American history and classic meetinghouses, there is a wonderful article in this month's issue. And of course an article about my favorite kind of doll, Izannah Walker dolls.

A Pictorial Directory of Dolls<br> Featured on the Izannah Walker Chronicles

My mission for this blog in 2008 was to create the site I wished existed - a site for doll makers and collectors who love Izannah Walker dol...