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Two options this year for Seminole Doll ornaments

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Submitted by Rebecca Petrie
Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum Retail Manager

Sometime in April, just as our busy season was ending, the retail staff at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum began work with Mia Kaplan of DaPolonia on the 2016 Seminole Doll ornaments designs.

The first of these ornaments was offered in 2014 and from the beginning they have proven to be very popular. The ornament itself was designed in a months-long process throughout 2013. Images flew back and forth over the internet between our Museum, Mia’s home in the Bronx, New York, and Poland where the ornaments are actually manufactured by DaPolonia, a company specializing in the best of Poland’s handicrafts, including glass ornaments.

The concept was to create an iconic image of Seminole craft tradition: the Seminole Doll. Once the design was approved a mold was made. The mold, unique to the medium of glass, was made from an original clay sculpture. Once the reusable mold was completed, the intensive work of creating these works of art began.

The first step is to mold a molten glob of glass into the correct shape. To that end, the liquid glass is attached to a long pipette and inserted into the two piece mold. The artisan blows a puff of air through the pipette inflating the glass into the shape of the mold. The mold is then opened and the raw ornament is removed and set aside to fully harden and cool.

The next step is to pour a milky white liquid into the hollow ornament. The liquid is swirled to coat the interior and then the ornament is dipped in a bath of warm soapy water. Magic happens when the ornament is removed from the bath – the milky liquid has turned the interior chrome silver. Another drying period is needed before the painting can begin.

Each ornament is hand-painted in the approved design with more drying time as each color is allowed to dry. Once our doll is fully painted the final step is apply the glitter. Once again, each color is added layer by layer with drying time between each coating. When looking at these ornaments it is easy to appreciate the many, many hours of hand work that goes into each one.

In 2014, our first year, the doll wore a red cape with a golden skirt featuring the Rain patchwork. It was followed by 2015’s version with a blue cape, red skirt and Fire patchwork.
This year we will offer two options. The first was inspired by a cape and skirt in the Museum’s collection in a limited edition of 250. This version is beautifully dressed in garnet, gold, black and cream – familiar colors of a certain state university – and decorated with the famous Man on a Horse patchwork pattern.

Our second option is limited to 200 and features a more fancifully colored outfit in turquoise and bold pink with a combination of Telephone Pole and Crawdad patchwork patterns. Either will look striking on a Christmas tree or hung on display year round. If past years’ sales are any indication, customers will need to order this family heirloom soon as they may well sell out. Once gone, they are gone for good. As in past years, the ornament will retail for $54.95.

For those who prefer a more traditional ornament (and less expensive at $14.95), 2016 marks our sixth year of ornament-crawdadoffering a patchwork-inspired round glass ornament. Once again we turned to the Museum’s collection for inspiration choosing two very different patterns and colors. We left the final decision up to our customers by holding a contest throughout the month of August to determine this year’s ornament. All those who visit the Museum or who saw the tribal-wide email throughout the month of August voiced their opinion. Will the 2016 ornament be candy apple red or rose mist? At the time of this writing the final decision hasn’t been made.

Call the Museum store at 863-902-1113, ext. 12224 to learn the results of the voting and to place your order. Once the ornaments are in the store they will also be available online at www.seminole-store.com.

 

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