Some time last Millennium I bought a dollmaking book from a charity shop (That's a thrift store to you) by
E J Taylor. That book became one of the wisest things I have ever bought and I kept it with me through financial trouble, homelessness, divorce and emigration. It is one of the very few books I made sure I brought with me in my suitcase when I left the UK.
The Miss Pollys and the others wouldn't have been possible without this book; not just because of the instructions and the patterns, but because Mr Taylor inspires you to have a go.
In the introduction he says:
"....you don't have to have professional aspirations to create beautiful dolls Anyone who understands the basic techniques can succeed."
He goes on to say that if you run into problems, fabric is cheap enough to start over, but that mistakes sometimes look better and give character to a doll. The freedom this gave me, just to plunge in and try stuff, meant I was less frustrated by mistakes and am more prepared to try something new.
E J Taylor is probably best remembered in the UK for his Ivy Cottage series, which he wrote and illustrated with gentle images of charm and sweetness.
His own dolls are gorgeous creatures, with expressive faces full of character. They clearly have their own past, their own story.
They wear clothes of rich texture and subtle colour. The gowns themselves have an identity, narrating the tale of the doll who wears them.
If you're interested in artists, in costume, in dollmaking or in the fabric arts. please pop over and see some of Mr Taylor's dolls. They're worth the trip.