Hello dear friends. I hope that April is treating you well. We just got some more snow, but life in New England often means snow in April, so we’re just putting more logs on the fire, stirring the soup and getting on with it.
Tomorrow! at 12 pm EST, I am participating in the Virtual Daughters of Darkness Festival. I highly encourage you to check out the other vendors- so much lovely darkness! I have made some dolls specifically for this show, and a portion of the profits will be going to HAWC, which is a Salem, MA crisis center for folks experiencing domestic abuse. The dolls will be in my Etsy shop.
All of the dolls that I have made for this show, revolve around the imaginary New England village of Little Northrop. I picture it in Northern Maine. In my brain it’s sort of stuck in time- from anywhere to the early 1700’s to the late 1800’s- quite a stretch. Here’s the story as my brain has relayed it to me.
Sickness came to Little Northrop.
It arrived first at the Foundling Asylum, no-one knows from where. Matthew, the Groundskeeper, had found some tiny dead birds in the woods before things started unravelling, perhaps they were first victims, perhaps also the cause. The sickness then traveled from person to person until soon, only very few were left. Now, if you walk deep into the Maine woods, and then deeper still, you can find what remains of the old church, some of the stone walls which still stand guard, and, if you're very lucky, and you're there at exactly the right time, you can pick an apple from what used to be Benjamin's orchard. The fruit is now very tart.
There’s way more to the story, but this will get you started.
And here are some of the unfortunate residents.
There are also some orphans from the Foundling Asylum. I will share two- there are more. They all come in their own little coffin, which I made from salvaged wood.
Also! We are presenting for the first time, some Post-Mortem Cabinet Cards. These are exquisitely photographed by my darling, John Damn Seven.
These 5x7, double-sided prints on 130 lb. Classic Felt archival paper are based on Victorian Cabinet cards that focus the terrible fate of the citizens of Little Northrop one dark year.
Cabinet cards featured portraits mounted onto thicker paper for display purposes and became hugely popular in the 1880s until the Kodak Brownie camera appeared in 1900 to democratize photo-taking. Post-mortem portraits became fixtures on Cabinet cards as bereaved families hired photographers to memorialize their loved ones with one last photograph, sometimes with the body alone in a coffin, sometimes with family members posing with the deceased.
Post-mortem cabinet cards are considered to be the largest genre of cabinet cards, sometimes used in conjunction with funerals or memorials, and post-mortem photography had a long life before and after these cards were embraced by Victorian society.
As Rag and Bone Dolls often presents deceased figures as part of its creations, we desired to honor the dead that are wrought from our minds and hands with this set of post-mortem cabinet cards that also pays tribute to the original versions from more than a century ago. We are offering these in a Rag & Bone box, wrapped in red ribbon. We will be adding more Cabinet Cards to this selection through the year.
OK! Now that I’ve stuffed your Inbox and slowed down your phone with all of these images, I’m going to go eat pizza and tear down part of a wall. Because plumbers are coming tomorrow, and that’s what they expect of me.
all of the Rag & Bone love that you can handle without weeping,
jana (and John, too)