Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Eras of Sasha by Tasha

Tasha Rhiannon, with wrong shirt and no shoesWell, hello Sasha World! My name is Tasha Rhiannon, and I am an early 80s (1980-1986) Red Pinafore doll, #111. Like Shyvonne, I'm another foster skid here at MamaT's house. My shoes and my blue-checked shirt are missing, but there have been promises at home to search through the doll stuff for them. It took a little longer for MamaT to name me. She thought I'd be getting a different name (not to be divulged now, as it may be used for someone later), but every time she looked at me, she thought “Tasha” instead. Maybe because I have fairer skin (for a Sasha) and dark hair, and I remind her of her sister, Natasha. She tried out a few different middle names too, and finally settled on Rhiannon which has no special significance. It is probably from the Fleetwood Mac song that has a lovely little instrumental piece in it.

Now that my basic introduction is done, I am wondering what I can tell you that hasn't already been told by the others. I wonder if you have been introduced to all the different eras of Sasha dolls there are. First, of course, and most special are the studio dolls made by Sasha Morgenthaler herself with the help of some assistants. Sasha says she is going to write an entry about them some time, so I'm not to go into any more detail for you. Sasha also taught doll-making classes, so there are a number of Sasha “course” dolls out there in the world. Maybe we'll talk more about those in another entry too. The first factory produced dolls were made in Germany by Gotz from 1964-1970. The first time MamaT saw these dolls she didn't like them so well, but over time, they have grown on her a lot. One thing so intriguing about these dolls is that there is such a wide variety of styles. There were several different facial molds and skin tones, hair and eye color and styles. Some interesting variations include the “no-nose” dolls with a flat bridge, and the “yellow-eyed” dolls are unique. Short-haired dolls were often dressed in unisex outfits, so the owner could choose the gender. Later dolls had no navel. Several different artists painted the eyes, and the asymmetry is pronounced, even in the eyebrows. All the Gotz dolls have Sasha Serie in a circle or concentric circles imprinted on the back and neck. Even now, MamaT's least favorite is probably the school boy and girl, and she likes the “Type III” face over the no-nose dolls. We don't have a '60s Gotz doll in the family. We'd have to be prepared to spend at least $500 which would pretty much take care of the Sasha budget for a year. MamaT's first choice would be a redhead, second choice would be brunette, but she'd still be delighted even to get a blonde. She even dreamed she had one once, a very nice dream. These truly are dream dolls.

From 1965-1986 Sasha dolls were manufactured in England by John and Sara Doggart. The company changed names a few times, beginning as Frido Ltd. In 1965, then to Trendon Ltd. In 1970, and finally became Sasha Dolls Ltd. In 1984, but all were made by the same factory, owners, and staff. The earliest dolls through 1967 or 1968 had no philtrum and had more hand painting done on their eyes, which makes them very special. Only one artist at the English factory did the majority of hand-finishing on the eyes for most of the years of production. Some Sasha collectors can tell you the year of production by looking at the face of the doll. Stringing color, clothing style and accessories, and skin tone, which was lighter beginning in 1980, and even height can all give clues to the age of a doll. Rather than give all the details here, if you are really interested in aging your doll, I would recommend Dorisanne Osborn's book, Sasha Dolls Through the Years, as a great resource for any Sasha collector or lover. There were platinum blondes, brunettes, redheads, honey blondes, and black dolls produced. There were boys, girls, and babies, which were subtly anatomically correct until 1978. Besides Cora, there was only one short-haired girl doll produced. From 1981-1986, limited special edition dolls were run, and all the 1986 dolls were limited, because production shut down early in the year. I think those may deserve their own entry later too.

The final era of Sasha doll production was 1995 to 2001 by Gotz again of Germany. Angela Karinne told you about this line of dolls back in her self-introduction. I think many of these points have been touched on before, so I hope my note hasn't been too redundant for you. But that is a little peek at the various lines of production dolls. For some great examples of 1960s Gotz dolls, I am going to refer you to Margaret Williams' page. Click on Gotz Sashas on the left hand side of the page, and then explore all the rest of her links for fun.
--signed Tasha Rhiannon
Me, after makeoverMe, before clean-up

See how different 2 brunettes can be

A trio of brunettes