Words of late artist Frank Howell...I totally relate!

"There are few days off and no retirement from this entanglement of knowledge, passion and vision that will be molded and converted into creative expression. There are no guarantees of acceptance, understanding or reward, but...the noise inside the mind never ceases. I will paint today, tonight and for as many tomorrows as I am given..." Words of the late artist Frank Howell...

Monday, April 28, 2014

Frozen Charlotte

The Legend of Frozen Charlotte goes something like this-

Charlotte, a beautiful young lady, went to a New Year's ball with her fiancé into a freezing cold night in an open sleigh, and froze to death because she refused to cover her beautiful gown with a blanket. 

Small bisque and porcelain dolls were popular from the mid-1800s until shortly after World War I.  Since they had no joints and were stiff, they became known as Frozen Charlottes. The story/poem/song that went along with the doll became a cautionary tale used to teach young girls about the dangers of considering vanity above their health.  "Fair Charlotte" tells the story, and there is confusion over the actual author of said ballad- William Carter of Vermont, had once been credited for the song, but it is now believed that Seba Smith, a journalist, first published it as a poem in 1843 in The Rover, a newspaper in Maine, and Mr. Carter made it popular by giving it a tune and singing it, thereby making it well known and popular.  Efforts to relate the poem/song to an actual event have failed.  This little tidbit gives me some  comfort- I had much rather think that this sad story never really happened!   The little dolls and fragments have become popular once again, and so the story lives on.

If you would like to read the words to the piece, click here.  I started to include it here in the post, but it is very disturbing when you actually read it...so, I'll leave that up to you!

Today, in Germany, as new construction takes place where the original factories were located, these dolls are being unearthed.  Most of the dolls found are fragments...I don't believe I have ever seen an undamaged doll, which is understandable, considering that they are being dug up after having been discarded as garbage over 100 years ago. They are very popular among artists and crafters as elements in mixed media artwork and jewelry.  Part of the allure of the dolls is the story, and most artists find the imperfections charming. They are very interesting, with some fragments being just white, and others having painted features. Some very nice examples (with prices) can be found here on a website that I found recently and by doing a simple search on Etsy.  

photo credit www.awhitecarousel.com
A while back, I purchased several little dolls from a shop on Etsy.  With one of them, I made this piece, also using a discarded lid from a jelly jar, a round fragment of something that had glass (which perfectly fit the lid!), and some other bits and pieces.  It's sort of like a little shadow box that tells a love story.  It's hard to see, but at the top, I incorporated a vintage mother of pearl button with an unusual shape.  It is definitely a one-of-a-kind piece!

It is listed on my Etsy shop, JujuQueen if you are interested.  Here's a link.

I am thinking now about what I want to make with the other two...I actually started a board on Pinterest a year or so ago...Maybe it's time to re-visit and see what it can stir up in my brain!
Go take a look!  Charlotte Didn't Listen

-Clip art paper dolls by the Graphics Fairy-

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