Friday, January 28, 2011
he is slowly coming together...he will also have a Peace Medal made from a drilled French franc coin; peace medals were given by government officials as tokens of friendship and were highly prized by Native peoples in the Great Lakes and Northern Plains. He needs earrings and bead necklaces as well as moccasins and perhaps a rawhide shield across his back
Thursday, January 27, 2011
In keeping with a central plains feel to the doll I decided to decorate him with a bear claw necklace; I selected coyote claws from Noc Bay, a native craft supplier located in Michigan. They were pre-drilled and just the right size but too small to use with a fur strip like real ones. Among the Pawnee certain families held the right to assemble the claws into a necklace and were usually paid a horse for their efforts. Photos of museum held necklaces almost always show them spaced with blue glass beads but I have not found an explanation for this; I have opted to use brass beads on this doll version.
Another feature of prominent central plains men is the otter fur turban, also commonly found in the Great lakes and Prairie states. It is worn today by men who dance a style known as straight dance. My doll version is made of imitation fur decorated with brass sequins, lined with red felt and edge beading using 12/0 pearl seed beads. It will need to be secured to his head but that will happen after earrings, bead necklaces and moccasins are made...he will be handled and bumped around for a bit yet!
The old saying "clothes makes the man" seems to be true, at least for this guy anyway. He now has a shirt made from a golden colored deer hide suede split (probably 2-3 oz weight). I attempted to dye interfacing orange using food coloring but it didn't hold (interfacing is probably synthetic instead of organic like cotton and needs a chemical dye which I didn't have on hand); I then beaded this interfacing but unfortunately didn't double the material...the thinness makes the beads seem loose. Note to self: always double the beading medium (which I usually do). Forgot to take photos as I worked but had taken them during an earlier doll construction; working on interfacing in an embroidery hoop is easier, keeps the bead work straight and reduced strain on the hide. Old hide shirts show a similar effort and presumably beaded sections could be removed and placed on new shirts when necessary.
I made a strip for each arm and two for the body (passing over each shoulder) then sewed each onto hide with enough space on either side to cut fringe. Then these were sewn onto the shirt and the side seams closed (gets a bit tricky under his arms). The fringe could have been cut a bit thinner but it floats fairly well.
For me a doll really comes to life once hair is added. In this instance I used a mix of gray and black horse hair; braided and then sewn onto the head with a curved upholstery needle. The braids were tied with a short strip on suede and wrapped with red ribbon to help hold them together.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
because of the dark hide color I keep thinking this doll looks like a tall gingerbread man! But now he has black deer hide leggings with fringe & bead work and a long loin cloth decorated with brass sequins. The loin cloth is long in front & back, like the modern dance style. Both are held up by a simple deer hide lace
He is starting to look more like a doll and less of a gingerbread man!! But its winter, so a nice warm shirt is needed; the slightly larger doll body with new arm positioning will require that I make a new shirt pattern. Likely I will also make a cloth shirt to test before cutting out the golden colored deer hide.