Thursday, May 1, 2008

Blast from the Past

My brother was just in town visiting and he brought me this paper doll. Don't you love that red hair, hourglass figure and those kicky majorette boots? He got it in a retro shop in Napa Valley (he takes the best vacations!). He said it seemed so familiar to him, and he remembers a Carnation Ice Cream store from our childhood. I can't say I remember that store, but I remember my love of paper dolls. Our local hardware store (it was a very small town) sold books of paper dolls for a quarter and I bought lots of them. I also took out a book from the school library about making your own paper dolls. I remember using a batch of flour and water paste and scraps of fabric and rick rack. I wish I had saved some of them. My favorite paper doll memory is from when I was a bit older and I had the mumps. My Mom came back from the grocery store with a Twiggy paper doll for me. I watched Twiggy on tv and adored her short hair cut, big eyes and boyishly thin figure. The clothes that came with the paper doll were all those great mod styles: the bell bottom pants, the mini-dresses with cut-outs on the side and the patterned hose. There was even a paper mini-dress for me! The dress didn't survive, but I still have Twiggy. While my brother was visiting, we toured the Steamboat Arabia museum. If you're in the Kansas City area, I would recommend it to you. It sank in the Missouri River in 1856 and its cargo has been rescued and restored. My favorite items are the tiny porcelain frozen Charlotte doll, the calico buttons and the Italian glass beads. The beads have such beautiful colors and such a glossy surface--they remind me of that beautiful holiday ribbon candy. One of the amazing things to observe about this collection was how much detail was lavished on the most mundane items. For example, the handle of a saw would have amazing curves cut into it or beautiful flowers painted on it. I've visited several times and I always find some new detail to delight me there.

2 comments: said...

I've never been to the Arabia, but heard it was worth the visit.

Sarah said...

What a sweet brother! I don't have any paper dolls but those will be fun to collage with or make a project out of them!