Friday, July 27, 2007

Realistic felt dolls created by Maggie Iacono


Today as I was researching some dolls I purchased on Ebay I came across a website with pictures of beautiful felt dolls created by doll artist Maggie Iacono. Her dolls of children were so lifelike I could hardly believe they were made of felt. Then I noticed that she has started a "fashion doll" series with women dressed in early 20th century fashions.

The first of these was 15" Olivia featured in a turn of the century felt dress with an embroidered bodice and a straight skirt. It is accented with a textured silk overskirt, lined with a matching fine woven silk. Her coat is decorated with hand made felt pastel flowers on a painted and embroidered background. Two silk covered buttons hold her coat closed. Black suede pumps complete the ensemble. Her hair is turned up in the traditional bun style of the day. She is fully jointed and poseable, with wired fingers, elbows, shoulders, hips and knees. Only 100 pieces were produced and retailed for $895.

Evelyn is this year's addition to the new line. Evelyn is 17 1/2 inches tall. Her blonde hair is cut in a bob style and she wears a 1920s-style felt dress, matching hat with a felt flower on the side and a silk scarf. She is wearing black suede pumps and carries a black handbag. Evelyn is available from fine doll retailers for a suggested retail price of $925. Only 100 pieces were made.

Maggie explains her journey to becoming an award winning doll artist on her website:

"I became interested in doll making soon after the birth of my first child. I began by making simple cloth rag dolls. I took these to craft shows and then later to doll shows. This was great for earning some extra money while still being able to be home and care for my children. As my skills progressed, the "flat" faces of my cloth dolls frustrated me, and I knew I needed to achieve something more realistic. I discovered a felt doll at a show one day and thought this might be the medium for me. Discovering a method for pressing the faces was a huge challenge. After much experimenting, I discovered a technique that gave me the results I was looking for. Adding dimension to their faces breathed new life into my dolls.

My work progressed and became more and more refined. Eventually, demand for my work grew to such an extent, that my husband quit his job and came to help me full time. Together we came up with a jointing system for the dolls that gives them a full range of motion. This was something I had always wanted for my dolls, the ability to pose them in many positions. At present our studio is at home. We produce an average of five editions of seventy dolls each year, with the help of several outside assistants. I also produce a few one of a kind dolls during the year that I will sell directly to collectors, and maybe one very small edition.

The costuming for my dolls is very important and is the one area that I spend a great deal of time on. I enjoy playing with all the different textiles that I use and inventing ways to transform them and embellish the fabrics in different ways. Many collectors have referred to my doll costuming as "art on art".

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