Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dolls and ponies

I haven't made a doll for a long time and am starting to miss them; have been busy working on the cradle for RSF and a few odds/ends, mostly small hide bags. Soon I'll start making xmas gifts, maybe some beaded gauntlets/gloves. One doll element that I'm anxious to try is a horse; found an interesting pattern on a 4-H website but hes a bit too detailed if you get my meaning! So I'll try to modify the pattern and see how it goes. Then I found ones for sale on ebay; I googled the artist, Marty Cuny, and his name shows up as a stuntman for Hollywood films about Sioux folks. Hmmm. Hopefully I'll find other examples of his work as it is really inspiring. I've found a few old plains horses, including this Comanche horse and rider, but not sure if they were intended for play or more serious business.

Friday, September 5, 2008


I'm in the back half of my life now so if I want to get things done, I'd better get to it! For 30 years I've been attending pow wows but never had my own dance regalia...its time to start working on that. Of course a 3 hide dress would be lovely but we will start with something a bit more manageable...RSF has kindly offered to sew a wool cloth dress; I got the pattern and it looks so easy maybe I could do it myself. And then again maybe not. Next step: fabric. Today southern plains victory dresses are blue or red cloth with silver conchos on the belt & dragger but before modern cloth there was trade wool and brass. Without a doubt the most lovely blue wool dress I have ever seen has to be one made by Vanessa Jennings, a gifted Kiowa artist. Do yourself a favor and buy the Smithsonian book Identity by Design which celebrates plains and plateau women's clothing. Ok, so I don't expect mine to look quite like this but its a nice thought.

I think I'll go with a dark green saved edge stroud; saved edge is a lovely little white band that is left undyed and becomes a decorative element on the sleeves and hem. Its also more expensive than the broadcloth: $80 per meter and I'll need 2-3 meters. Green is a less commonly seen color although it is used by Crow women up north and I like its contrast with brass decoration. Other lovely colors include yellow and purple but those are a bit too bright for me. I found a supplier with old style brass sequins; they disappeared from my regular place and I wondered why...apparently they are no longer made. I order a small amount each time I order something else and in time I should have a little pile. I had hoped for a large number of elk teeth to decorate the yoke but no; I don't really care for the artifial ones and while dentallium is lovely its not quite right for me. Anyway I like the idea of using old French brass beads mixed with the sequins, complimented by brass conchos on the belt and/or tacks on the belt. Some wool dresses had hide fringe attached to the bottom and i like that idea too...

Next challenge: moccasins. Got a pattern even though I make them in doll size; surprisingly braintan hide is on sale so I feel now is the time to gather my materials. New moccs are mostly in white, but old ones were more natural. White looks nice with silver spots, natural with brass so I know where this dilema is headed. But I may have to buy 2 hides in case I change my mind.

Last will be all the belt bags etc. Goodness, this is getting complicated and I'm getting older still. Its entirely possible I will have grey hair by the time its all done!