Sep 25, 2017

Happy Birthday to Izannah Walker!

Well I thought I felt old, but at least I'm not 200.  Ha!  Today is Izannah Walker's birthday, and lots of artists who admire her work are getting together to celebrate it.

I had originally intended to make a doll for this day, but as I got busy with orders and now for the upcoming show down in Phoenix, I must be one of Mr. Burns' mice:  “The best laid schemes o' mice an' men...Gang aft a-gley.”  Yep, my schemes ganged aft a-gley back in July and I haven't seen 'em since.  Hmph.

So the best I can do (and I wonder if Ms Walker ever got snowed under with work, especially once she got her patent?) is to post a sort of chronicle of my Izzy studies.  My first ones, made from a pattern that Dixie Redmond designed, were chunky babies to be sure.  And my vast inexperience really made itself apparent.  But through determined study and the chance to see several real Izannah Dolls in person, I improved.  The following are in sets, from the first to the last. I never realized how many of these sweet dolls I have made over the last five or six years until I started going through photos, so I had to leave quite a few out.

Here's to you, Ms Walker.  Thank you for being so independent, creative, and innovative.  You are an inspiration to us, and always will be. 

Clicking on the photos enlarges, but read captions first.  :~)

My first three from Dixie's pattern; Enid, Odessa, and Vernon.

The next ones, after a little pattern drafting for a smaller head to body ratio.  I don't think it was authentic--antique Izzies really did have large heads for their bodies, but I seemed incapable to making them that way.

After more pattern drafting.  Still working on the head-to-body ratio, and head shape.  LOTS of study on the face sculpting went into this bunch, and I was finding a groove I liked. 

The two outside ones are mine, the two inside were antiques belong to my friend Edyth O'Neil.

My friend Martha Bishop inspired me to experiment with lamb skin wigs...this is Delia.

Geillis, Thomas, and Elizabeth.

I think this one had been in the cooking sherry.

This is Red Riding Hood, for Connie Tognoli.  I'd gotten used to making the bigger ones, so the 15" size was a treat to make.

This one for a dear friend of mine in Texas.

This one was inspired by that wine-red velvet hat...I found it at a flea market and a Kate "Greenaway Izannah" doll came to life full blown in my mind. 

The most recent custom Izannah that I did for a dear lady.  This may well be my favorite one ever. 
Dixie asked us this morning what we would give Ms Walker for her birthday from our time.  I think I'd collect allllll the articles and books written about her and her work, to show her what an incredible influence she has had on artists that came after her.  Happy Birthday, Izannah Walker. 


  1. Oh my goodness! What a treat! I love seeing your Izzy dolls, even though I have followed you for quite awhile and have seen lots of them. The ones you chose to add to this blog post are some of my very favorites, with the last being my most favorite! I love my dear Sybil so much! And I love the gift you would give Ms. Walker! What a wonderful idea! I am celebrating along with you. :o)

  2. As I scrolled down through photos of your marvelous Izzie-inspired dolls, I couldn't help but think, "She just continues to get better and better." While there are some real beauties all along the way, I agree that the last one may be the best!

  3. all the dolls are great. We all evolve in everything we do. I think Izannah Walker would be very pleased with the dolls you have made. I certainly love the ones you made for me. Izannah probably did get super busy at times. She had some help though. Hard to say who did different parts on the dolls, but Izannah was the driving force for sure on her fabulous dolls.

  4. This was a DELIGHTFUL! :-)
    Many blessings, Linnie

  5. All your dolls are beautiful! I have so many questions! What are they made of? Where did you get a pattern? They are so lovely.

    1. Brenda, they are made of cloth, with arms & legs painted, and the head is covered with Creative Paper Clay, then sanded (a lot) and painted. Dixie Redmond originally taught an online class w/ a pattern, and then over the years I created my own. Mine tend to be longer limbed than the original antiques, but they suit me. Thank you for the kind words. :~) You might try the MAIDA on Facebook, or if it's invitation only, go to the MAIDA blog and ask Dixie. She's got a pattern for sale.


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