Creator of Life Size Hitty #1
|Michelle delValle was born in Southern California in 1964. She developed a love for woodworking at an early age, following her father around the family workshop.
In 1998, Michelle’s love for woodworking blossomed when her father bought her a chainsaw to carve with. Michelle has carved many bears and figures over the years, which decorate homes in Montana and California.
In 2000, Michelle saw a peg wooden doll online and decided to make one for herself. This successful endeavor led her to carve and sell dolls online. In 2003, after many customer requests to carve Hitty, Michelle researched the doll's history and read Hitty: Her First Hundred Years. That first doll and subsequent sales encouraged her to continue to carve Hitty.
After many successful years of carving and selling Hitty, Michelle’s husband encouraged her to combine her two talents of chainsaw carving and doll making. The pair began planning and drawing up sketches for a Life Size Hitty.
In the summer of 2005, work was begun in the Crazy Mountains of Montana. Logs were felled in the forest and carving began. Hiitty's head and torso were carved from a solid Douglas Fir log, her arms were hewn from Lodge Pole Pine, and her legs are Douglas Fir.
After the chainsaw work was completed, Hitty was sanded, distressed, and hand painted by Michelle. The final touch was a layer of antiquing to provide an impression of age. With her husband's help, the doll was drilled and pegged, fitting the arms and legs to the torso.
With the doll now naked but together, it was time to clothe her. Michelle contacted her mother, Liana Rebhahn in order to design and sew appropriate period clothing.
Her lace and ribbon pantaloons were sewn first, fitting them to Hitty’s exact size.
The dress color was chosen to match Hitty’s lip and cheek color. The lace trim finishing of the dress was purchased from an antique store.
Michelle and her family reside in Bozeman, Montana and maintain the website: OfThimblesAndSticks.com