Today I am unveiling a finished project that has taken quite some time to come to fruition. I just love flapper girls, and I've been collecting images of girls from the roaring twenties for years. I've even tried to emulate the popular flapper hairstyle, the slick bob, myself, and sometimes my hair cooperates....
Just for some background, a "flapper girl" was a young woman from the 1920's that sported the new fashions that were much less restrictive, including shorter skirts. They wore makeup, smoked cigarettes, drove cars, and generally behaved in a loose manner. Because of prohibition, adults had to go to speakeasies to indulge in alcohol, and decent women would never consider stooping so low. Thus, there became a divide between law-abiding, religious women and the fun loving and frivolous flapper girl.
Movie actress Louise Brooks is my favorite real-life flapper girl. As I was looking for Louise Brooks images on the web, I discovered Radio Lulu, an online collection of vintage music from all of Louise's movies (her nickname was "Lulu"). It's really fun to listen for a bit, scratchy though the recording are, just to get into a flapper mood! Louise is pictured below:
Here is a cute pin I found on eBay with a little pen drawing of a flapper girl:
I found this collection of chalkware figures in the fun blog Design Rocket:
Design Rocket includes information about collecting all sorts of cool stuff, including cookie jars, old tin litho toys and globes, all displayed in the owner's home.
Because the carnivals didn't have license to duplicate Popeye, Superman, or Disney characters, they would make something that looked similar, but called the figures "Sailor" instead of Popeye, or "Flapper Girl" instead of Betty Boop.
Chalkware was also made into decorative wall plaques, mostly for the kitchen or bathroom, that were sold in dime stores. Here is a collection of cheerful plaques from Design Rocket:
One of my acquisitions many years ago was a little flapper girl that had taken a tumble and been repaired and embellished with a mohair wig and some flowers to hide the repaired cracks. A few years later my family gave me a smaller figure for my birthday, one that had also been repaired a bit. The notion struck me that I could make a mold of my little figurines, and reproduce them.
How does one make a mold of vintage chalkware figurines? Very carefully, that's how! I actually had a friend that makes silicone candle molds create molds for my girls. In the process of having a silicone mold made, my smaller figurine didn't survive, and crumbled when the mold was opened. I wasn't too upset, because now I can make as many as I wish!
My girls are created totally from scratch, which means I mix plaster of Paris with water, pour it into the mold, then pop it out!
Now, I'm making it sound simple. It isn't. As you might notice in the figures above, they have rough spots, little pock marks, and other issues that need addressing. The next step is to fill in any holes with plaster spackling, and wait for it to dry. Then, they are sanded smooth, coated with a sealer, and they are ready to paint. That's the fun part! I love selecting the colors, painting the delicate facial features. This takes a considerable amount of time, though. But I think the end result is worth it!
Now that I have unveiled my flapper girls, I'm planning to sell them on Etsy. I just don't know how much to ask for them. I'll be deciding that this weekend, so I can upload these pictures and get them listed!