My maternal Grandmother. H4a1 haplo group (rare).

Maternal Haplo Group H4a1, Rare Non ABO Diego Blood Type

Daughter in faux old fashioned photo op

Daughter in faux old fashioned photo op

Newest H4a1 addition to the family! Slightly Eurasian features.

Newest H4a1 addition to the family! Eurasian eyes.

Me as a young lady

Me as a young lady

My mother, Ann-Mari Lätt

My mother

My maternal Grandmother. H4a1 haplo group (rare).

My maternal Grandmother. H4a1 haplo group (rare).

Another picture of my maternal grandmother, "Omi"

Another picture of my maternal grandmother, “Omi”

Shown are my daughter, me, my mom, and my maternal grandmother, “Omi” (a nickname for her as a grandmother). Although the shots are from slightly different angles, I’d say there’s been somewhat of a strong family resemblance, yes. Yes and no.

Test results came back regarding my genetics and my maternal haplogroup is H4a1, and I have rare non ABO bloodtype. H4a1 found mostly in Poland, in 5% of Poland’s population.

The Sakha heritage and Polish haplogroup were a bit of a surprise. A little background on that…

Culturally, maternal grandmother’s (Omi’s) family was German. She left Germany for married life in Estonia, fled Estonia, fled within Germany, then extended family fled Dansig, Germany as it became Gdansk, Poland, and as soon as they could, they left Germany for the US, where my mother met my father. They came over on a US Navy ship and the Catholic Church, no friends of the Nazis, helped in some manner (family wasn’t even Catholic). No wonder older generations of my family were polyglots. Geez.

Genetically though… Although not as common, H4a1 haplo group, mostly associated with Poland, was also found in ancient (in what is now Germany) Corded Ware, Bell Beaker, and Unetice cultures. The Corded Ware culture is associated with the expansion of Y-haplogroup R1a (Eurasian) from the steppes to Central Europe and Scandinavia. My maternal grandmother’s maiden name was Preißing (anglisized name is Preissing), and she cam from Danzig, Germany, which is now Gdansk, Poland. People with the last name of Preißing come from Germany. She was proud that her ancestry came from some minor royalty, something few people care about today. (We’re still trying to trace ancestry on meine Omi’s side.) We don’t have any pictures and little information. My genetics results said only 3% German and a good chunk of my ancestry is Eastern European, which would include Poland. That was a bit of a surprise! Though it is true that many of my relatives have very dark hair, super thick, curly hair and somewhat darker coloring. (Unlike them, I’m so fair because I have Irish from my dad’s side and Estonian from my mom’s paternal side, I guess.)

Aside: Why did my Prussian/German grandmother marry an Estonian only to later have to flee Estonia @1940 – 1942 or so and return to Germany? My mom’s family fled the Russian Communists as they took over Estonia. My Estonian-born grandfather was both in the army and a university professor of engineering at Reval (now a university in Tallinn, Estonia as Reval is actually the old name for Tallinn) and I’m not sure what else. Omi (grandma) met Granddaddy when he was studying in Germany, they married and she moved to Estonia with him.

So my mother was born in Estonia in 1932 and her family fled Estonia when she was 8. My Estonian grandfather indicated he feared for his family’s safety and lives when they fled. There was something about communists ripping the gold cross necklace off my mom as she wore it. They were deported by train and didn’t know if they’d end up in Siberia to almost certain death or Germany, a country which had called back German-born citizens, of which my Grandmother was one. Soldiers separated women and children from the men and at one point, in fear for her sick infant’s life, my grandmother pleaded to speak with her husband and that’s when she was threatened with a soldier’s bayonet while she was holding her infant, my uncle.  Can you imagine such a train ride?

From an Estonian Timeline:

“1941        Jan-1941 Apr, Another 7,500 individuals left Estonia for resettlement in Germany.

1941        Jun 14, The Russian secret police gathered up some 40,000 men, women and children and exiled them to Siberia in cattle cars. This was the first of many shipments. Some 10,000 Estonians, more than 15,000 Latvians and between 16,000 and 18,000 Lithuanians were herded onto cattle trains and transported to the far eastern reaches of the Soviet Union, where many of them died.
(WP, 6/29/96, p.A16)(

1941        Jun 14, Over 10,000 people (10,861 according to some sources) were deported as whole families from Estonia. About 230 Estonian officers serving in the 22nd Estonian Territorial Corps of the Red Army were imprisoned at the summer camp of the Estonian Army in southeastern Estonia. Most of them were sent to the Norilsk prison camp, where most of them either died or were executed.

My grandparents hated both Communism and Nazism and faced political refuge woes which resulted in the death of my infant uncle, and then my mother contracting scarlet fever, a disease which led to rheumatic heart damage and premature death later in her adult years (she died in related surgery). Even within Germany, they moved or fled many times, suffered near fatal malnutrition, and practiced extreme frugality and inventiveness. Sometimes children were moved around separately from the parents, and my mom was one of them. What they had to endure!

From this, they learned to be positive, goal oriented, resourceful, and to count on each other. When hungry, they dreamed of things like jam. They, my mother and her sister, actually didn’t reveal much about their childhood affected by war until in their 70s and their childhood and mine were like night and day.

So I didn’t even know this but found it on Wikipedia. “The city was known as Reval from the 13th century until 1918[7] and again during the Nazi occupation of Estonia from 1941 to 1944.” I do believe this is why they went by train, not knowing whether they were going to Siberia or Germany, soldiers monitoring, ruling the whole trip? First Russian Communists and then Nazis threatened their existence in Reval, which is now Tallinn, Estonia.

I don’t have any pictures or much information about Omi’s parents, all I have are names. I do know that when Poland took Danzig, Germany back and renamed it Gdansk, Poland, there were murders and rapes of Germans in the streets. My grandmother, however, had moved family out just hours before the melee started. I know some of extended family were left behind, I just don’t know who or what happened to them and whether they moved to Germany, died, or what. People didn’t like to talk about it.

It seems that in order to understand my family, I feel I have to approach it by studying genetic, emotional-social, Estonian, Russian, Polish/German/Prussian, white European, Eastern European, and eurasian avenues.

Anyway, maybe this, along with the Estonian background from my mother’ father’s side, helps explain why there are hints of eurasian ancestry in the family, like having a distinct epicanthal fold in infancy, or infants initially looking so asian that a father might doubt his paternity. One of my grown sons can’t grow facial hair, the other only has some scraggly hair on the chin and outer upper lip. Neither has chest hair.

Update: I’m part Yakut. (Had the Nazis known!)  My husband also had Polish and other similar background. It’s quite possible he too carried Tartar/Mongolian DNA as well. I’d love for my kids to get their DNA done too.

Back to H — haplogroup H is a human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup that likely originated in Southwest Asia 20,000-25,000 YBP. Or that’s the present theory.

H4a1 is a sub-clade of Haplogroup H with a high concentration of this sub-clade found in today’s Poland — 5% of Poland’s population. That doesn’t mean it isn’t found elsewhere though.

H4 and H6, both absent from Europe before the Bronze Age, have such a wide distribution across the continent nowadays that they would likely have been spread both by R1a and R1b branches of the Indo-Europeans.

My son’s DNA results mentioned R1a1 too though I wonder if that came from his father’s side, which includes Polish-Lithuanian heritage, or both sides (probably both). Roughly 45 percent of Lithuanian men carry types within the Y-DNA (paternal DNA) haplogroup R1a. This haplogroup, especially R1a1a, arrived in eastern Europe when the Indo-Europeans migrated to the Ukrainian-Russian steppe, if they originated in Central Asia, although this group may have formed in eastern Europe itself (in the Pontic-Caspian steppelands).…

Update:  Some of my genetic background originates from Russia and East-Central Asia.

Update: I have higher than average percentage of Neanderthal DNA for someone of European heritage. At least 301 genetic bits and bobs come from this source and wonder if this is why I’m unusually strong.

The Mad Art Doll Sculptor Experiments — A PaperClay-Premier Slurry Mix (Slip)

He-he-ho-ho-ha-ha! Mwha-ha-ha-ha-ha-HA!

It’s kind of like that for a few seconds but then days (and into some mornings) were spent examining many different art doll mediums, sculpting techniques, youtube videos, and pinterest pins. But you know, that initial glee does infuse a peaceful and intense joy into hours of research.

Related Pinterest Boards

I’ve built up little libraries on my Pinterest boards. It’s not all the usual, so you may want to check these boards out.

La Doll Premix Clay, an Air-Dry Clay

Official sites refer to La Doll Premix as a stone clay, a paper clay, and a polymer clay  — a hybrid clay! It has paper pulp in it as well as two types of finely ground stone – talc and pumice. It also has other stuff in it that allows it to dry to artist grade strength and you can make hollow dolls with it just as you can with La Doll Premier clay. Premix is a proprietary mix of La Doll Stone (often just referred to as “La Doll) and La Doll Premier, their most advanced clay. It is stronger than if a customer mixed the two, I’m not sure how.

Unfortunately, I can’t find Premix locally and shipping costs are financially prohibitive so I turned to an experimental mix.

Considering Air-Dry Clays … Paperclay and Premier

I have some delightful polymer doll clays (Cernit, Puppen Fimo), but have become quite fascinated with the air-dry clays suitable for art dolls, mainly Padico La Doll Premier, one of if not the strongest air-dry clay on the market. (Clays that seem to dry in the air but that really cure by chemical reaction not included.)

Air-dry Clay Directory:

Many of the renowned figurative art doll artists on my pinterest  boards use these two air-dry clays. Others most commonly use artist grade polymer doll clays, often Cernit and Fimo.

Air-dry Clay Slip … What For?

Padico makes Premier, Premix, and La Doll (meaning their original Stone clay) and  La Doll Cloth Clay, a clay slurry/slip version of Premier air-dry clay, essentially.

Slurry, n. — a semiliquid mixture, typically of fine particles of manure, cement, or coal suspended in water.

In the ceramics world, clay slurry is referred to as “slip.” It’s used to coat or join pieces. It’s also a handy way of recycling dried up bits of clay, as they can be rewetted (providing they weren’t fired, I presume).

The Cloth Clay page states: It is a liquid air-dry clay sure to inspire some new styles of doll crafting. It can be used in a manner similar to the clay-over-cloth technique currently used by many cloth doll crafters or used for draping fabric on a sculpted clay figure. It can also be used like a clay slip, to fill small holes or cracks on finished surface of a sculpted figure.

If you go to the video on youtube, “Japan ‘Ichimatsu’ doll Making (without subtitle),” you’ll notice they’re working with a surface clay made of pulverized shells (must not breath in while dry!) and do wonders with clay slip. They don’t just use it to join things like the ears. They also use it to create the eyes — to embed the eyes. They later carve them out in a highly stylized way. Captivating.

Ecorche (sculpting of the muscles, often over a wire armature), such as what sculptor Julian Kohr accomplishes, involves sculpting the fatty padding and skin for a more realistic appearance.

Can an art doll artist do that with Premier and other artist grade air-dry doll clays, maybe like this at times? It’s a WIP (work in progress) by russian art doll artist extraordinaire, Михаил Зайков (Michael Zajkov). Such an approach would better portray all sorts of people — young, old, female, male, active, inactive and an artist could better portray the body as a living, breathing, body, a person with a story.

The Questions, They Burn!
  1. Why not do an adapted version of ecorche and then dip the sculpture in a clay slurry to add fat/skin?
  2. Why not dip armature in a clay slurry to start coating the armature with clay?
  3. Why not, at various stages, dip WIPs in clay slurry to smooth things out and bulk things up at the same time?
  4. Will slurry be smoother and easier, more magical, than traditional additive and/or subtractive methods, litterally and figuratively, pardon the pun? If it is, can a slurry open doors when working with air-dry clays? Is it part of how to work air-dry clays masterfully? Is it part of that toolbox?

Slurry Creation, a 3:1 Mix, and Testing it Out

I got two larger jars, put in a block each of Creative PaperClay in one jar and Padico La Doll Premier clay in the other, in chunks. I then added water and tried to break the clay down  and create that magical slurry. Apparently, that was going to take forever so I transferred the clay and water to a blender and added enough water to make smooth slurry of each kind of clay. I added cling wrap over each open jar then closed the lids.

I started testing. I wanted slurries to provide a smooth and an even enough coat and then sanding can take care of the rest.

  1. PaperClay slurry was too gritty in a coarse way.
  2. Premier clay slurry was so smooth and gelatinous-like that it bunched up when I tried to smoothly apply it over a sheet of paper with a brush. Nope. Neither were quite what I wanted.
  3. A mix of the two?! In mad scientist mode, I got a trusted dual ended measuring spoon out — a teaspoon on one end and a tablespoon on the other end, and made a 3:1 Creative PaperClay Premier clay mix, meaning one part Premier (1 t) and three parts PaperClay (1 T). “T” is for tablespoon and “t” is for teaspoon.  I mixed it up well, applied with a brush to paper, applied it to a papier-mache egg, filled a mold with it, and dipped a wooden skewer in it.
    1. The 3:1 molded clay slurry has dried.
      1. Dried, the molded clay slurry is close to a thin wafer like medallion and it broke easily. Curious, it’s strong if it’s coating something, even a thin wooden skewer normally used in BBQing, and is whacked against something hard but if strong shearing force is applied, if on its own, the dried 3:1 clay slurry breaks. So it has some kinds of strength but not others. Unless someone tried to snap doll in two, dried slurry remains incredibly strong. This is a vote for using this slury as part of the sculpting process, but only in thin layers over something else — the first coating of armature, coating musculature to soften appearance, adding sculpted eyebrows/moles/elbow skin. I will not use it for joining limbs, other body parts, or digits. It’s a vote for either decreasing amount of Creative Paperclay slurry in the mix or switching to a premade slurry of eithre La Doll Stone (regular) or La Doll Premier. The slurry for La Doll Premier is called Padico Cloth Clay. I just now ordered some Padico Cloth Clay for $11.20 US dollars. I must compare, of course.
    2. The clay slurry dried on the wood, paper, and papier-mache very nicely, stayed put, dried overnight, and sands ever so easily.
    3. Strength and other qualities will be continually checked as I use this mix.
    4. The clay slurry I haven’t mixed will be kept separate by brand and used with the clay it’s made from…unless I mix it for certain purposes. I don’t know if I will?
    5. Two coats of 3:1 slurry on a wooden skewer, letting the first dip dry overnight before dipping again, made the stick at least twice as thick as its original width. It does not easily chip off even though I whacked the coated skewer against many surfaces many times.
    6. One coat of 3:1 slurry dried on paper does crack and separate one dry when you fold the paper.
    7. Testing of brand-pure, 3:1, and other ratio mixes of slurry will be dried over armature and tested.
    8. Putting clay slurry in a thin line squeeze bottle to write, create brows, create moles and other details is still a monstrously good idea. I was incredibly pleased with the results.


I am more interested in Premier, Cloth Clay, and Premix than ever. Premix is not available locally or from many o the major art supplies online stores.

The book Yoshida Style Ball Jointed Doll Making Guide, by Ryo Yoshida just arrived. I got it for 20-something US dollars, a good price. It came weeks early, a rather pleasant surprise. Now I must find help with translation or find ready-made translations of chapters online. No one’s Japanese here is that strong.