Mar 27, 2012

Visit with Royalty, Part II

If someone had asked me five years ago if I ever thought I'd be a doll collector, 
I'd have looked at them funny and said, "Seriously?"  

But now that I've spent so much time studying them--from the dolls found in prehistorical grave sites to the "modern" dolls of today--I find it impossible not to find them fascinating in their own right.  The sociological aspect alone is enough to make me want to write a thesis.  I've only touched the surface of the topic in my studies, I know this.  But the more I learn, the more I want to learn.

What does that have to do with being a doll collector?  Well, I'm not one!  Am I?  Well, at least not in the traditional sense.  But what is the traditional sense?  Technically, more than two makes a collection.  In that case, the silly smiling Treasure Trolls that have added themselves to my life over the years makes it official, to heck with definitions.  Maybe I should go to meetings now.

Hello, my name is Jan Conwell, and I am a doll collector.  

Right now I can only afford PICTURES of certain dolls, because of house payments and groceries and silly things like that.  But pictures are good, if that's what you can get.  I got the following pictures, while visiting with Nan the Izannah Walker doll at Lady Collector's house.  Lady is a collector in every sense of the word, and her collection is awe-inspiring.  Hers focuses mainly on early to mid-century composition, but she did have a few cloth dolls, of which Nan was one...and then she had this pair. 

These are first generation Kathe Kruse dolls, so sweet in person that the pictures just don't do them justice.  They're heavier, smaller, and stiffer than I expected, given their adorable slumpy posture.  There's an unexpected blend of the primitive and complex in their construction at first touch.  These early dolls were sewn from so many pieces, they were more like fabric sculptures...but done with the materials, methods, and tools available back then (early 1900's), which gives them an innocence that's hard to explain in light of that realistically sculpted face.

The face gets me every time.  Hard to believe that's molded cloth, isn't it?  Here's a short history of these dolls, from the first generation (like this pair) to the modern ones...

Thank you again, Lady Collector, for letting me meet these little sweeties.
They inspire the artist in me to create, even if the collector has to wait a while.


  1. These little ones are adorable and remind me of the doll I have that was my mother's and one of the older dolls in my "collection". I'm not really a collector either but I do have several dolls and some are quite old.

  2. I love the Kathe Kruse dolls and I think that is what drew me to wanting to make dolls way back when...LOL I also really love the Lenci dolls...fabulous.

  3. Those faces are so sweet. thank you for letting us see the pictures.

    and Jan... Guess who is coming to live with Emily Rose???

    1. I know!!! She'll be on her way in tomorrow's mail. :~) I know you'll take good care of her royal tiny-ness.

    2. Enjoyed your post...great photos of the fabulous Kathe Kruse dolls.

  4. Sweet dolls................Lucky you!!!!

  5. I adore Kaethe Kruse puppen (maybe it's in my genes - my mother is German and there was apparently a KK doll in the family when she was young) Anyway, I like them so much I had a go at making my own version last year - trying to replicate the nuanced modelling that gives them their typical look. I like my KK replica - it's the nearest I'll ever get to one!
    These two are lovely examples and in great condition! Lucky Jan :-D

  6. It's funny how our passions evolve, isn't it? Your collection is wonderful ~ enjoy!

  7. These are darling! Molded cloth? Amazing! Thanks for sharing these, I can see why you are in love with them!


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