Keeping The Dolls Clean And Tidy

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It interests me greatly when I see Petterssen dolls for sale on the internet that they  are so often poorly posed and also often very untidy looking.  For folks selling dolls regularly I suggest  buying the book so one can see whether the doll being sold have all the costume parts or correct .

Magazine ad 1937

Magazine ad 1937

I have seen dolls offered with entirely unrelated costume pieces. I have even seen in one instance costume pieces replaced with with pieces from another culture all together.  It will look a bit odd. My mother would, well you can imagine.

Damage to dolls or clothing may occur if the dolls are displayed in direct light, especially direct sunlight and left to gather dust, because they are unprotected from dust and moths. The best of course is to place them in a display case. A display case does not have to be extravagant or expensive. Many are constructed from simple pine with glass shelves, glass front and sides. But depending on the space available and the budget available, they can have just a grass front (as door that can open).

Nisse wife

Nisse wife

Displaying them this way protects your investment against (further) damage, because you are keeping them dust free and also can place some form of moth protection with the dolls.  My mother used fabric natural, like cotton and wool. To keep the dolls clean you may want to consult the book which has a chapter on that. But let me say, even in a display case, inspect the dolls a couple of times a year for any damage and brush theme off a bit. This will give you a chance to “play” with them and perhaps rearrange the display to suit your current interest.  The dolls from the smallest to the largest are eminently posable (check earlier blog). If you find you need to part with a doll and have kept them clean as possible and also know how to pose them, that will make the doll far more desirable to a buyer.  We respond to the dolls because of their inherently individual personality. Be with a doll for a bit, it will reveal to you who she/he is.

Here is the full review from Antique doll collector Magazine. Click on the image and it will be large enough to read. It is also posted on the Review page, accessible at the top.Antique doll review 1014

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Editorial Review

Donna Kaonis of the Antique Doll Collector Magazine has written a thoughtful review of my book for the magazine’s September online version of the September page.  The review will appear in the magazine’s print copy in October.  I am of course tickled pink with this thorough review.  There are slated to be two more editorial reviews later this fall and I will of course, as always, keep you posted.

Last week I also received permission to share with you the Hardanger Bridal Couple given to Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum in 1975. As it turns out they own a few more dolls. I am looking forward to seeing photos of them.

Hardanger Bridal Couple, Vesteheim Norwegian American Museum, 1975

Hardanger Bridal Couple, Vesteheim Norwegian American Museum, 1975

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And So We Come To The End Of The Story

Østerdal and Fana boys 18cm

Østerdal and Fana boys 18cm

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Once home after my trip (2011) what remained was to pull the manuscript together and also continue the search for a publisher. The latter proved to be perhaps the most frustrating part of the project. As happens with any creative project one tries to “birth” into the public arena, one has to expect rejections. I knew this from my work as an exhibiting visual artist and was prepared for it, I thought. My initial forays into the world of publishing proved unsuccessful both in Norway and in the US. I then armed myself with other books in the field of doll making/collecting and took a hard look at what made them look appealing and desirable to own, interesting to read and easy to use as reference guides and went on to format my own manuscript to fit within those parameters. Along the way there were further rejections. I was told the book was too much a niche book, that the current economy would not support the investment of funds that such a book would demand. The clock kept ticking.

There were times of great frustration, I knew I had a good manuscript, good photos; a book that people wanted. That much had become clear from the response to the website and from website stats I had created and later a Facebook page and the number of people both in the US, UK and in Norway who asked to be placed on the mailing list and with other interested people world wide. But it was not enough to sway the publishing industry. It became clear that self publishing was likely the answer. Friends gave me advise and I did research, but with many self publishing companies the cost of just the printing of each copy was prohibitive and with the cost of distribution and shipping on top of it would make the book too expensive to sell. It was all quite depressing.

Eventually I looked more closely at Createspace. My initial issue with self publishing was that most of the companies could not provide coated paper which does show photographs to a better advantage. With Createspace the trim size options were also limited. But it became clear that it was either jumping in or permanently shelve the project. There were however little silver linings in all the waiting. I knew my mother had made certain types of dolls I really wanted to include photos of in the book but I knew no one who owned such dolls. I asked collectors I had come to know over the course of the project if they knew people who might have them and eventually a few collectors surfaced in Norway and the US who were willing to photograph their dolls under my guidance. In the middle of all this I was introduced to Alberto Ucles and Tom Knoll whose publishing company, Green Kids Press, eventually became my publishers. They understood the world of publishing quite well and after an afternoon of talking I too came to understand why it had all been so hard. I had a project on a topic that was no longer well recognized and I came with no large built in fan base, just a limited (in publishing terms) number of very dedicated people, many who were collectors. I knew there were many, many more behind them and more behind those again who didn’t yet know they wanted to own such a book. I knew from stats that they were located world wide.

Front cover

Front cover

In early 2014 I finally uploaded a small trial copy of the book on Createspace to see how it would look with their trim format and paper type. When I received the trial copy back I realized I could live with it. Createspace proved to be extraordinarily helpful and were always available, 24/7, to answer questions or help solve problems.  The project now took on urgency. More hours than can be counted were spent battling the software programs I was using. I had mocked up the front and back cover and found a graphic artist who could pull it all together in the format Createspace required. While it all took time, it was eventually ready for uploading. By the end of July 2014 even the proofing process of the finished book was done and the book went to press. A project that had occupied my time, one way or another for 8 years was finished.

I hope you enjoy it.

Weather vane with Siamese cats

Weather vane with Siamese cats

This is what Rønnaug Petterssen’s grand daughter Karen Green creates at her and her husband, Gordon Green’s studio, Greens Weathervanes in Herefordshire, UK, not far from Hay-on-Wye She is the the third generation artist in our family.

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Book Is Now Available on Amazon WorldWide

Standing angel close up

Standing angel close up

My book, Rønnaug Petterssen, the artist and her dolls is now available through Amazon.worldwide  Up, up and away. Wonderful things are happening. We will be adding a map to track where the book has found a home.

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Welcome to the new Rønnaug Petterssen website

Sami girl 45cm, ca 1970

Sami girl 45cm, ca 1970

For updates on what is happening in the world of Rønnaug Petterssen dolls please check  our News page from time to time.

In the years between 1934 and 1975 Rønnaug Petterssen became one of Norway’s leading creators of Norwegian costumed dolls.  She had already as a child made herself a rag doll which became her trusted childhood companion. Later, when she was in her early twenties she made the doll that was to give impetus to her career, a little witch merely 15 centimeters (cm.) (6 inches) tall. But it was not till 1934 after she returned from two years in Spain that her career as a doll artist began in earnest.

The war years were difficult and there is a marked difference between the dolls my mother produced before and after WWII.   When the workshop opened again she resolutely moved on and began making the dolls we know so well today.  A Rønnaug Petterssen doll is unmistakable, different from other makers of the time, yet her production and the individual dolls are poorly understood today, thirty years later.  I hope that this book will shed light on the scope of her production, the individual dolls, as well as Rønnaug Petterssen, the woman and set straight much of the conjecture and incorrect information printed over the years.In the summer of 2005

My mother made an early choice to specialize in the production of Norwegian costumed dolls.  Her dolls have been praised for their quality, accuracy and character.  “Norway has a cultural tradition in costumed doll making, thanks to one person in particular; Rønnaug Petterssen.  Her dolls are like small works of art, enchanting miniature people, who are so much alive that young and old alike can’t resist being fascinated by them”  So says Aslaug Kvernberg, Editor of Norsk Husflid (Norwegian Handcrafts) in her article for Norwegian doll American Commerce (Winter 1973).

Sami couple ca 1936

Sami couple ca 1936

 

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