This week I have again been working on my altered book and in particular on the bookmark(s) which I thought I would make as paper doll figures of my mother and my two grandmothers. I never met either of my grandmothers as they died before I was born but I have some lovely photographs of them and family stories told me by my mother.
After I needlelaced around the top of the book spine I made a chain stitch cord, adding in additional threads so that, as I worked it, it divided into three. In this way it gave me the three cords I needed to attach my paper dolls. I printed a paper doll pattern onto paper (I did this three times) and then stuck the pattern onto cardboard. I then printed off from photographs the head and neck of my mother and two grandmothers. These were then applied to the three figures after which I very carefully cut round the three figures with a very sharp craft knife. Next they needed to be dressed and I carefully selected the fabrics - I wanted to keep the colours sympathetic to the colours I have been using in the book. I wanted to wrap them in rich fabrics, my mother in cotton and silk velvet, my maternal grandmother in linen and silk and my paternal grandmother in silk and wool, all finished off with a lovely old button.
While I was working on my grandmothers I was thinking of their lives - last week I went to see the film "Suffragette" - I knew that women got the vote in 1928 by which time both my grandmothers were married with children, in fact my maternal grandmother was a widow and remarried with five children. It is not that long ago really - not even 100 years.
The two photographs above are the original pictures that I used for my grandmothers head and shoulders for the paper doll. On the left is my maternal grandmother, Ethel Emma, it is her wedding day to her first husband Walter - sadly Walter died from meningitis just eight years later. In fact in the picture just behind my grandmother is her sister, Alice, who died in childbirth (it was her first baby and she was 36) and behind her is my great grandmother, Eliza Ann. On the right is my paternal grandmother, Jenny - the photograph is taken in India where she lived between the wars with her husband and children.
A few years ago I made paper dolls of my mother and grandmothers which I then affixed to old photographs of my sister and me as children - these hang in a quiet corner of the sitting room. My two grandmothers are bearing gift of toys they may have brought us and my mother is holding a camera as she was the one who was always behind the camera.