Ravishing Ruth, 2007

Who Put the B in Ballyhoo?
By Carlyn Beccia
TAODA Storybook VI Exhibit

I have always wanted to make an overstuffed doll, so when I saw this book I was inspired. As a child, I was fascinated by circus life and the sideshow attractions. Ruth Pontico, who weighed 16 lbs. at birth, was the Fat Lady for Ringling Bros. Circus in the 1930’s. She lived a very colorful life, but died at 37, falling short of her goal weight of 1000 pounds.

Although she in only about 16” tall (seated), Ruth seems much larger. I added the crackle technique I learned in Christine Shively’s class to give her a vintage feel. Her dress is made from an old silk dress from the 40’s with vintage lace. She sits on an “elephant stand” created by painted canvas over a lampshade form.

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