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, MIAs
home in the Bronx, New York, and Poland where the ornaments are
actually manufactured by DaPolonia, a company specializing in the
best of Polands 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 2015s
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 Museums 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
Man on the Horse patchwork doll ornament doll with colors
similar to Florida State University, left, and the Telephone
Poll and Crawdad patchwork pattern are this years offerings
by the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museums store.
For those who prefer a more traditional ornament (and less expensive
at $14.95), 2016 marks our sixth year of offering a patchwork-inspired
round glass ornament. Once again we turned to the Museums
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 years
ornament. All those who visit the Museum or who saw the tribal wide
e-mail 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 hasnt 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.