In January I took a little side-trip from hat design with the chance to draw on some skills from decades ago, namely – stuffed creatures (seriously? you want a Sasquatch for your birthday?) and countless zany costumes for my once-upon-a-time young children.

Working together with my son Jarami’s company Hopewell Works, we made some ‘interesting’ props for the TV series Once Upon a Time.

The job was to design and create two Medieval-era dolls. In 3 days! “Hey, welcome to the film industry, Mom”.  Here is the only information I was given – an artist’s rendition of the Tea Party Princess Acorn and her sidekick the Mock Turtle:

Day 1:  After a mad-dash trip of sourcing materials, I set to designing and drafting patterns to spec. Mindful of historical accuracies (drawing upon my classroom experience as a History of Costume instructor) and little time for mistakes, a lot of problem-solving cogs in my brain were called to alert. Here’s the hemp canvas body of Princess Acorn:

Day 2: Draft/design patterns for dress, hat (yay!), booties –

Braid & attach wool hair, hand-stitch silk & lace clothing, accessories, face.    note: eye with hanging thread as per drawing :(

Day 3: Mock Turtle – this guy’s ca-razy! a wild mixed breed of Cow and Turtle – complete with – I must say ‘adorable’ – cow face, cow horns & hooves, turtle shell & tail, wearing a mock turtleneck knit sweater:

End of Day 3 – together and done!!

Back at Hopewell Works workshop, the dolls go through the ‘age-ing’ process, which includes getting very dirty, messed-up and threadworn, with stuffing protruding and a missing eye :(, and are now ready for their big film debut:

Episode 17  “Hat Trick” of Once Upon a Time aired on Sunday March 25, 2012, with a storyline based on the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland (now there’s some irony!). Dolls can be seen early in the show, the first shot being 5 minutes along, as the Evil Queen holds Princess Acorn. Here are a few stills of the episode, including the ‘tea party’ where both dolls attended and sipped some tasty tea, according to Mock Turtle:

Fun! now back to the hats…