Since I rediscovered my obsession with Izannah Walker dolls, I've been fascinated by the reports of the process she used to make the dolls. After I finished the first few dolls, I realized I wasn't completely happy with the dolls surface and feel- that there is something about the dolls made out of all cloth that appeals to me.
Then again, I was the 15 year old who made a full size Irish Chain Quilt top with 1 1/2 inch block completely by hand because it was authentic. (too bad the 1970 partly polyester fabric wasn't !). I have since convinced myself that anyone who had sewing machines used them, and that it is in the spirit of quilt making to use a machine.
Just like Maria Montessouri would have loved computers! I think.
Anyway, I haven't produced a doll yet, but have learned a lot in the process.
A- a cotton batting when wet or saturated with paint is very easily molded.
B-It works better if you start with a very firmly packed head.
C- Getting impatient and putting on a stockinette layer before the batting layer is completely dry is a bad idea- the first doll is still moldable after many coats .
D- the final finish of the doll does feel very different that the paper clay heads- she has a softness that the dolls I made with paper clay don't have, both in finish and texture.
I'll show the process once I figure it out! here is the head before I remolded her and painted the base coat.