Waldorf style Marie Antoinette Doll

needle felting
Marie Antoinette doll

 After we returned home from Paris, all my inspiration I had gathered there vanished. I guess living in a small apartment with my three, shreiking kids, husband and my mother-in-law for two weeks will zap the creativity from even the most creative soul! (oh, I’m just kidding –wink-or am I?)

I saw three movies on vacation:

  • Super 8 (very cute)
  • Brides’ Maids (gross, but very funny)
  • Bad Teacher (o.k.) 

I read 4 books on my i-phone (I think reading books on my i-phone is WONDERFUL):

  • Water for Elephants
  • Before I Go to Sleep
  • A Stolen Life
  • A Big, Little Life

Apparently, reading a lot and seeing movies is also a recipe for losing your creative spark; I rarely do either of these things, except on vacation. Before we went on our trip, I was full of creativity, partly because my friend/muse Tiffany came to visit me from New York and we worked on lots of projects together. She’s always full of good ideas and enthusiasm, which helps me a lot! I need a full-time muse.

Rivoli mosaic
Art Deco building decoration on Rue Rivoli

The week since I’ve been back have been spent cleaning, doing laundry and fretting about how I would find a renewed, creative spark.  Trying to revive my Joie d’Art, I tried eating copious amounts of cheese, eating a ham sandwich on a bagette, drinking Champagne instead of wine and using all the French words that I know-all to no avail. The one thing that I can usually find the patience and enthusiasm to create is a doll, so before I really get down to business, I made a Waldorf-style Marie Antoinette doll, in honor of our trip to France.

wool, cotton
Marie Antoinette, cotton face, wool hair, taffeta and tulle dress

 I’ve had a fascination with Marie Antoinette’s style and look for a long time. I’ve made many costumes and dolls based on this 18th century French queen. She is needle felted, but because she is so small (8″ tall), it was hard to put the detail that I wanted into her face, at least in a reasonable amount of time, so I covered her wool face with cotton tricot and embroidered her facial features. The hair is made from curly, silver/white wool. The rest of Marie is made of wool wrapped/needle felted around  a pipe cleaner armiture. I sewed her dress from taffeta, tulle and lace. I’ll soon be putting a kit for sale and posting a tutorial on how to make a smaller (5.5″ tall), slightly simpler version of pipe cleaner dolls and clothes, so stay tuned.

My other Marie Antoinette inspired projects:

Marie Antoinette
My Marie Antoinette puppet, child's costume and wigMy felt Marie Antoinette wig
costume
Marie Antoinette, child's costume in my store

The Waldorf-style pipe cleaner dolls are easy and fast to make plus they can be made to be more attractive to older children (8-12 years old), less “babyish” than the stout Waldorf dolls.

paris
Rue Rivoli Art Deco building decoration

Laura as Marie Antoinette

marie antoinette
Laughing Marie Antoinette

I decided to change my Laura Lee Burch Studio Facebook page photo to something fun, so I donned my Marie Antoinette felt wig and asked my oldest daughter Lili to shoot some photos of me. She must have taken 50 photos of me or more, none of which I thought did Marie nor I justice. I just felt like I had a plastic face (my girls make modeling look so easy-it’s not), then Lili told me she thought I looked like a drag queen in this wig, which made me laugh really hard and voila-I like this picture. My kids say the darnest things to me like, you know mama, if you dyed your hair you wouldn’t look so old and if you put more cream on your face you wouldn’t be so wrinkly! My youngest daughter asked me recently if I voted for Abraham Lincoln and she asked if I had  ever seen a real dinosaur!!! She also once told me that I was a real mother felter, which I wasn’t sure was a compliment or a misguided insult disguised as a compliment.

felt wig
I'm trying not to laugh

Are those train tracks around your eyes? Lili assured me that I didn’t look bad and that I’d be 28 this year on my birthday (since I was 29 last year-I have a Jack Benny/Benjamen Button thing going on). We decided that if the wig was blue, I could pass for Marge Simpson; that gives me an idea for the upcoming Halloween costume! All I need now is a doughnut for Doron and we’re set as Marge and Homer.

Emili wearing a Marie Antoinette wig
Emili wearing a wool Marie Antoinette wig

Marie Antoinette has played a major role in my artwork for the last several years. I made this wool wig for Emili to wear in a fashion show; it was so big she could barely walk in it! The Marie Antoinette dress was the most popular princess costume in my shop.

princess dress
Marie Antoinette princess costume

I think it’s the elegance and excess that appeals to me about Marie, she was something that I’m not. I don’t wear makeup or big puffy dresses. The last time I wore a big,  puffy dress, the girls were little and they crawled up under it and used it as a tent, while I was wearing it! Even my puppets have gotten into the action.

Marie Antoinette puppet
Needle felted Marie Antoinette Puppet and Emili in matching wig and dress.

This Marie Antoinette puppet is one of my favorite pieces; I woman bought her last year after she persuaded me to sell her. I was paid a pretty penny for her, but I had this emotional attachment to her. I felt terrible after I sold this puppet. I said I’d make another one, but I haven’t yet…..I will.

Marie Antoinette puppet
Needle felted/sewn Marie Antoinette puppet