Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Kimport Dolls were produced by McKim Studios, founded in Independence, Missouri by artist Ruby Short McKim, 1891-1976.
"Ruby Short McKim, 1891-1976, was the prototype for today's modern woman. Artist, author, businesswoman, wife and mother - she excelled in all areas. A graduate of the Parsons School of Design in New York City, Ruby returned to Independence to become the Art Supervisor for the Kansas City Public Schools. After her marriage to Arthur McKim, she began her work as an advisor to Child Life Magazine and created a continuity strip that was one of the first in syndication. This feature in the Chicago Daily News ran for many years. As a couple, the McKims opened a mail-order outlet, McKim Studios, which specialized in needlecraft items and in antique and foreign dolls. At this same time, Ruby was Art Needlework Editor for Better Homes and Gardens." - McKim Studios Revival: Ruby Short McKim
[Image (right) courtesy of McKim Studios]
Her artistry was also expressed in water colors and oils as well as quilt designs that she syndicated to newspapers and eventually incorporated into the book One Hundred and One Patchwork Patterns. Her talent was formally recognized after her death when she was posthumously named to the Quilters Hall of Fame in 2002.
McKim Studios still offers many of her award-winning patterns for sale on their website.
Thursday, April 02, 2009
I was just sent a news announcement about dollmaker Alesia Newman-Breen. I had not encountered her creations before. The article that appeared in the Baltimore Sun displayed an image of some of her celebrity dolls and mentioned her website. I took a chance that she may have created some historical dolls as well and visited her website to find out.
I was rewarded by views of several historical personalities she has tackled including Marie Antoinette, Queen Victoria (both young and old), Queen Elizabeth (I & II) and Cleopatra. Her dolls are very detailed and her facial sculptures are quite realistic.
"Each doll is made by hand with hand-sculpted polymer clay head, breastplate, hands and feet, and a hand-constructed cloth-over-wire-armature body stuffed with polyester fiberfill. The eyes are handpainted. All garments and accessories are sewn and assembled by hand. Prices range from about $400 to about $600 each. The dolls range in size from about 14 to 18 inches."
From her online bio:
"Dollmaker Alesia Newman-Breen is also an actress, sculptor, graphic artist, writer, wife and mother who lives in suburban Baltimore, Maryland with her husband and son. A longtime member of the Screen Actors Guild, Alesia has appeared in many films, television programs and commercials. She played a newscaster in the science-fiction film "Species II"and appeared in dozens of episodes of the long-running Baltimore-based crime drama "Homicide: Life on the Street'. Alesia's unique dolls were featured on the "Fresh Faces" page of DOLLS Magazine in November 2002."
I had a wonderful time the last time I visited Baltimore, especially at the Walters Art Museum, and hope to return before too long. Maybe I'll get a chance to see some of Alesia's work on my next trip!