This past weekend, I was finally able to put the finishing touches on my new Mary Poppins art doll, and she is now in my Etsy shop waiting to fly away to her new home!
“Jane and Michael could see that the newcomer had shiny black hair – ‘Rather like a wooden Dutch doll,’ whispered Jane. And that she was thin, with large feet and hands, and small, rather peering blue eyes…” – Mary Poppins, P. L. Travers
It was very important to me to get Mary Poppins’ face right – the round blue eyes, the upturned nose, the smug smile and the shiny black hair – “Like a Dutch doll.” That’s why I chose to sculpt her head and hands in Paperclay, which I painted in watercolors and sealed, using extra glossy sealant on her hair to give it shine. If you’re interested in the steps I took in sculpting her head, I go into more detail in this blog post.
Mary Poppins’ body and limbs, which are jointed at the shoulders and hips, are handstitched, and she wears her iconic navy blue coat and skirt, and black straw hat with a paper daisy. She also has striped stockings, a red silk scarf, and red leather Mary Janes, and her white blouse is made from vintage linen and lace which belonged to my grandmother.
My Mary Poppins Art Doll Carries Her Own Doll-Sized Parrot-Headed Umbrella and Carpet Bag
I had more fun making Mary’s umbrella than I did during almost any other part of her creation! I built the umbrella around a plastic and fabric umbrella intended for American Girl dolls. The iconic parrot-headed handle and top spike are sculpted in Paperclay over the original plastic, and the entire umbrella has been painted and sealed in shades of black, silver, and brown so that it looks more realistic. Mary also carries a handstitched carpet bag, which I built around a toggle closure intended for a coin purse. The metal closure is etched with daisies, and when I found it online I knew it would be perfect!
Mary Poppins Was One of My Favorite Dolls to Photograph
From the beginning, I’d had in mind that I wanted to photograph my Mary Poppins art doll as if she was flying through the sky with her umbrella. I was actually able to set the scene very easily using a blue ombre sheet, and “clouds” made of extra polyester doll stuffing. I can’t believe they turned out so well!
Don’t forget to visit Mary Poppins in my Etsy shop!