Monday, January 22, 2018

A Dark Beauty From Russia With Love

18-inch papier mâché doll made with love by Svetlana Lukina

Before going on a self-imposed 30-day doll-buying fast, the opportunity to own a one-of-a-kind Izannah Walker/Martha Chase-inspired doll presented itself on January 2, 2018.  Made by skillful doll artist, Svetlana Lukina, my first doll purchase of 2018 arrived from Russia on January 16, 2018.

One corner of the doll's shipping box was covered with Russian postage stamps

As always, I waited for the perfect box opening moment so my new-doll bonding and photographing time would not be interrupted by anything or anyone.  Because of the Russian postage stamps, which my husband was fascinated by, I photographed the box prior to opening and cut away the stamps, still attached to the cardboard box, and gave that part of the box to my husband.  He wanted one stamp of the three different monetary values, but was only able to remove one.

Close-up of her beautiful face

I removed the bubble wrap that had been carefully wrapped around the 18-inch doll, gazed upon her delightful face, and thought, "She is more beautiful than I had imagined."  With painted brown eyes, full nose and lips, brown hair made from sheepskin with texture that mimics that of natural Africanoid hair, papier mâché head, arms, legs; and firmly-stuffed cloth body, she is perfect from head to toe.  The main color of her exquisitely sewn dress is peach, which is also my favorite color.  There is a matching head wrap, shown below. The overskirt of the dress is multicolored.  She wears an off-white undergarment.  Accessories of beaded earrings and beaded anklet complete her costume.

She can stand with the assistance of a doll stand or sit as shown in the first and final photos of this post.

Her dress buttons in the back and has a brocade ribbon waistband.

Off-white undergarment is lace trimmed.  A portion of her beaded anklet is visible in this photo.
Fingers and...

... toes are separately stitched.  A better view of her anklet is shown here.
The back of her breastplate bears the artist's name.
Her beautifully designed hang tag provides the artist's contact information.
The soft hair has a nice curl pattern.
Sculpted ears are adorned with earrings.
Fabric used to create head wrap was neatly folded inside the shipping box.

Original turbin fashioned by Svetlana
I could not recreate the turban Svetlana created, so I opted for the more modern head wrap illustrated here and in the following photos.

The head wrap almost completes her look.

Before introducing her to a few new vintage-to-modern doll friends, I added a multicolored beaded necklace that picks up the colors in her dress.  This necklace is only temporary until one that better matches her earrings and anklet is found.
As illustrated in this final photograph, she has settled in nicely with friends who have welcomed her warmly.

Unnamed by the artist, I have chosen the Egyptian/Arabic name Layla, which means dark beauty.


I "met" Svetlana Lukina online in 2017 after learning of her generous two-doll donation to the National Black Doll Museum of History and Culture in Mansfield, Massachusetts.  We communicated about the dolls on Facebook and I offered to share her artist profile with the readers of Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black.  That profile can be read here.

Svetlana maintains a blog about her doll art and beautiful doll photography.  Her blog is written in Russian, but can be translated to different languages.

She sells her one-of-a-kind Izannah Walker-style dolls on Etsy.

Who Was Izannah Walker?
Charming example of a late 1800s Black Izannah Walker doll
Lovely circa 1890s Black Martha Chase doll

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Friday, January 19, 2018

Circa 1940s Papier Mâché Mammy

Circa 1940s papier mâché mammy

Found on eBay in November 2017, this circa 1940s one-of-a-kind, hand sculpted, unmarked mammy is made of papier mâché and cloth.

Closeup of circa 1940s mammy

Because her head sculpt reminds me of dolls by the late I. Roberta Bell, I added her to my collection.  She is unmarked, but her 1940s origin predates Bell's dolls.  Her entry in my Excel doll inventory workbook fully describes her as follows:

Circa 1940s Mammy:  13 inches tall, made of a papier mâché or clay, one-of-a-kind mammy with hand sculpted features. Facial features are painted.  Black mohair used for bangs and hair at shoulders underneath red bandanna headscarf that is tied at top center of head. Has brown cloth body with mature bosom; cloth arms, and legs.  Feet and hands are same material as face.  Wears blue floral dress with white (yellowed with age) organdy apron trimmed in red rickrack with pocket that holds a red bandanna handkerchief; wears white cotton slip and matching pantaloons. Has painted-on black shoes.

This photo illustrates her white pantaloons, her mostly brown cloth legs, lower papier mâché legs, and painted-on black shoes.
The seller indicated the firmer surfaces of the doll are possibly made of clay; however, her face, hands, lower legs, and feet are very lightweight, much lighter than a clay that would have been used in dollmaking in the 1940s.

Mammy has a bent (to sit) posture.

Her body was crafted for sitting, but she can also stand with the assistance of a doll stand and still appear to be standing.

Mammy's dress might have been made from flour sack or feed sack material.
The fabric of her dress appears to have been made from flour sack or feed sack material, which was often repurposed to fashion into every thing from dish towels to clothing in the early-to-mid 1900s.  See another doll that wears a dress made from feed sack here.

In the group photo above, Mammy fits in quite nicely with other, mostly early 1900s dolls with a few modern girls and guys thrown into the mix.  Can you find her?

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Hi:Glamm Nicole is All Legs

Hi:Glamm Nicole by MGA Entertainment/Giochi Preziosi

Reminiscent of Hasbro's 1972-1973 Leggy dolls (see link at end of this post), was a 2007 MGA Entertainment/Giochi Preziosi line of dolls called Hi:Glamm.  Like Hasbro's dolls, the Hi:Glamm dolls are all vinyl and have more legs than torso.  There were four Leggy dolls which were 10 inches tall.  The Hi:Glamm doll line included five, 12-1/2-inch dolls:  Nicole, Pam, Alex, Julia, and Kit.

The back of the box illustrates the eyes of each Hi:Glamm doll and includes each doll's theme.

Nicole's eyes are shown in this illustration on the back of the box.  Her theme: Emotions/Love is indicated.

With a complexion not properly colorized in the back-of-box eye image, my doll, Hi:Glamm Nicole, has the deepest complexion of the five dolls.

Measuring 8-1/4 inches, Nicole's long legs comprise 66% of her overall 12-1/2-inch height.  According to the back of the box, the excessively long legs are "for fun" with "long tights to wear."

Visible through her clear cellophane box is a card that reads in English, French, and Spanish:

I'm romantic and I'd like to marry my Prince Charming!
Her mission statement falls in line with her "emotions/love" theme.  (Nicole wants a man!)

The front and back of the box describe the dolls as "Special Ordinary Girls."  My description of Nicole, entered in my spreadsheet reads:

MGA Entertainment/Giochi Preziosi 2007*
Hi:Glamm Nicole, 12-1/2-inch all-vinyl fashion doll with extremely long legs that measure 8-1/4 inches long.   Nicole has brown hair, the ends of which are crimped.  She has painted green/black eyes.  Her outfit consists of a dark pink knit long-sleeved, midriff blouse with ruffled ribbon neckline; light pink mini skirt with curly furry fibers at the hemline; pink sheer, thigh-high leggings; light pink pumps with dark pink soles and heels; pink/brown animal-print, heart-shaped shoulder bag with lime green strap; and she wears a ribbon choker with pink beads and silver heart pendant.  A white plastic teddy bear is attached to Nicole's left arm.  Accessories attached to the box liner are a plastic framed photo of a blonde-haired guy, pink jewelry box (?); pair of pink bracelets: 1 dark pink, 1 light pink; pair of pink socks, and extra pair of multicolored striped thigh-high leggings.

Under the price column I noted that Nicole was a gift from Dawn Spears.  (Thank you again, Dawn!)

A plastic framed photo of a blonde guy is part of Nicole's accessories.

This appears to be a pink jewelry box.  The top of her extra pair of socks is also seen in this photo.

Heart-shaped pink and brown animal-print shoulder bag has a lime green strap.
Nicole has a cute teddy bear made of plastic.

Nicole's original retail price at Walmart was $19.94.

Nicole has a very lovely face.  Because I can see her and all accessories through the box, I have no plans to release her.  The following out-of-box nude and redressed photos were shared by eBay seller, evanonmarketing:

Nicole's lengthy legs are better viewed in this photo, courtesy of eBay seller evanonmarketing.

Evanonmarketing shared this headshot of a Nicole they offered on eBay recently.

Nicole and the other four Hi:Glamm dolls (and their human counterparts) can be seen in the following 30-second Hi:Glamm commercial from 2007.

A Leggy doll Wikipedia entry compares the Hi:Glamm dolls with their Leggy predecessors:

  • Nicole, a black bombshell who corresponds nicely to Leggy Sue,
  • Julia, whose hair is every bit as orange as Leggy Kate's,
  • Alex, a dark-haired beauty who resembles Leggy Nan,
  • Pam, whose long blonde hair brings Leggy Jill to mind,
  • Kit, an Asian with outrageous pointed bangs, who has no counterpart in the classic Hasbro "Leggy" line.
Hi:Glamm dolls were sold in several different global markets.  Like Leggy dolls, they did not remain on the market beyond a year's time.  The dolls, however, can still be found on the secondary market, specifically on eBay, usually offered by sellers outside the US.

*Giochi Preziosi S.p.A., also known as Gruppo Giochi Preziosi, is an Italian company that produces toys and TV series based on their toys. They work in association with Marathon Media and Mondo TV. (Wikipedia).

Hasbro's Leggy Doll Info

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