means I've been able to photograph my latest dolls.
Do you remember Beatrix Potter's Tale of Two Bad Mice? It was one of my favourite books when I was a child; I loved the naughty mice, and how they rampaged through the doll's house and wrecked all of Jane's and Lucinda's belongings. I have to confess this was probably due to jealousy on my part, since I didn't have a doll's house and wasn't overly blessed with dolls (unless of course, you count the scuba diving Action Men Dad gave me).
So when I recently decided to make some dolls from self-hardening clay I immediately turned to Miss Potter for inspiration. I didn't want to make something that was too twee, or looked like a fairy–there are a lot of those around already–but wanted my dolls to have a more worldly appearance. I particularly liked, Jane, Miss Potter's dark-haired doll (Lucinda, the blonde one, was much too cute for my liking!) and the way her stiff little limbs made her look as if she was rigid with horror at what those pesky mice had done to their home.
I hope however that my dolls don't look as if they might swoon or blub at the sight of an intruder. I've tried to make them more modern too, although I'd like to think you can see where my inspiration came from.
The process for making them is really quite simple: all you need is some self hardening clay, a few scraps of fabric and a lump of toy stuffing. The bodies are stuffed bell-shaped fabric bags, while the limbs and head are made from clay, but pierced with holes before drying so they can be stitched to the body. I've given them little urchin dresses, nothing too swanky or pretty, but basic, hardworking clothes – ideal attire for fighting off mice!