As a very young girl I can remember playing with my very first paper doll - Betsy McCall. I would cut Betsy and her clothes out of the magazine ever so carefully. Of course, being a young girl my first attempts at cutting every so carefully didn't go as smooth as I had planned and my mother or grandmother would try to correct for my errors.
I didn't like the paper doll tabs and didn't always utilize them. I quickly learned, however, that the clothes would not stay on the paper doll without them.
I must have a thing for tabs and markers as I also didn't like the triangle placement tabs in sewing patterns when I first started to sew. I would cut them off as well until I learned that for clothing they served a very useful purpose.
Since I had a passion for Victorian dolls from a very young age I loved playing with my Victorian paper dolls. I could sit for hours on end just putting this outfit on or that outfit. When I was finished playing with my paper dolls I would put them back in a cardboard cigar box that my grandfather had given to me for storing them.
Back them I would never have foreseen the enormous explosion in the paper industry that has occurred over the last decade. Nor could I have foreseen that paper dolls would become and art form in its' own right. Who would have know that altered art and mixed media creations would rule the art world in the 21st century.
One of the books I bought last year was Artful Paper Dolls: New Ways to Play with a Traditional Form. Even at first glance I was immediately taken by the visually stunning paper creations of some 22 well known designers.
On every page was yet another beautiful paper doll creation that I wanted to try. Of course, there isn't any kind of doll, paper included, that I haven't wanted to try and make. My problem is always one of time. There are just not enough hours in the day, nor days in the year for me to try everything.
Artful Paper Dolls is not just a compendium of project after project, it also includes a little bit of history on various paper dolls and paper doll artists. So, it's a perfect book for me as it offers a little bit of history as well as project after project after project.
It is divided into four chapters: Figuring It Out, Playing Dress Up, Playing House, and Learning From Books. Each chapter has a multitude of sections and a multitude of paper doll creations to try. I, of course, loved them all but was especially taken with the Disjointed Figure, Elisabeth's Doppelganger (which is a life-size paper doll), My Memory Doll, Secret Messenger Doll, the section on playing dress up, Old Woman In Purple, Stitched Paper Dolls, Sunday Best Dress, and Paper Doll Magnets.
I also enjoyed the chapter on "Who Is Betsy McCall" and "Tom Tierney's World Of Paper Dolls."
If you love paper dolls, mixed media art, and altered art images then you will love "Artful Paper Dolls." Several of the corners of the pages in my book have been turned over as a reminder to me that I want to try that project. I know that I shouldn't do that to the pages of my books, but sometimes childhood habits are hard to break. You could also say that sometimes childhood loves last forever. For me a love of paper dolls certainly has. Now where are my scissors?