Sunday, 24 June 2012

So Why Dolls?... My Dolls

So... Why Dolls?

It's a question that nearly all doll makers get asked from time to time, and I am no exception.

It's a really hard thing to explain. That special, magical feeling you get when you hold a doll is really unique. All the imagination and possibilities that go into making a doll, and those that you get for yourself as the owner of a doll just let me picture my own little world. They help me understand the past, present and future. They give me love and remind me of those that love me. And it all started a very, very long time ago.

Beware of the dodgy 70's photos coming up. The haircuts and decor are scary!

This is me. And yes, I do have a hold of my Dad's beer. And no, I'm not letting it go. What can I say, I was mad even then.

I particularly like the stripy romper suit my Mam has picked out for me. And I did warn you about the haircuts - I've no idea what my Dad looks like but he's always been on his own I guess. My Mam, as always, managed to look pretty and stylish no matter what she wears, even in that dodgy stripy cardie and odd top.

Don't get me wrong, I love vintage. I'm just not sure the 70's are my era. I'm more of a 50's girl.

Just a little older my blond chubby cheeked self (with obligatory dummy in gob) is standing here with my toy Giraffe. I can remember that cot and the odd mouse character at the top, even though I'm sure I was much too young to remember it really. Maybe my little sister got to sleep in it too a few years later...

Many people wouldn't believe me, but I it's true I still have that pink and white blanket upstairs in my closet. And of course Emma the Giraffe still watches over me as I sleep each night.

She's a little old and worn now. Her spots have faded, and her fur has gone rough. She even has one or two small bald patches, as does Nellie my pink elephant who is about the same age.

I've no idea how these beloved things have managed to stay with me all these long 35 years, but there's no way I'd ever leave them behind now. My old toys are some of my most treasured possessions. And I have to thank my Mother for managing to keep them safe and cared for for me as I grew up so that I can enjoy them now.

Just a little older again, just a little bit, and hear I stand at Christmas time surrounded by books and toys.

I loved that pushchair and proudly wheeled my dollies around just like any other little girl, but there's one treasure amongst the rest that's more special to me now that I'm grown - Can you see Molly in her brown and cream dress?

And hear she is just yesterday. Older now, and a little worn and faded. She has a dirty looking face where the sun has cooked in the dirt of years, her eyes are faded and her clothes have some tiny stains. But her soft cotton dress is still so pretty, her hat will still not sit quite right, and her stiff curls look just as cute as ever.

She was my Christmas gift that year, I think maybe from my Grampa Albert, and has been my friend all these years. Her plastic smile never fading, she's always been there, a permanent fixture in my life.

Molly in her brown and cream sits next to Sally in her pink and cream. I got Sally around the same time, and they've always sat together, side by side. These days they sit in my bedroom with a few other friends on top of an old dark trunk in the corner. and seeing them always makes me smile.

I never really understood why Sally's black wool plaited hair is only on the sides of her head, the back being totally bald. But she's happy and smiles no matter what so I guess it's not up to me to judge her maker. Now her plaits are a bit scruffy, and again her clothes are worn and faded. Being fabric she also has a small repair to one of her seams and around her left eye the fabric has gone very thin. But just like Molly, Sally is special to me.

These are the dolls that started it all. My very first dolls, and in some whys my most loved. It amazes me now that I still have them. The magic they hold inside them has kept me from discarding them even when I was a stroppy Goth teenager.

They've always been there, and hopefully always will be. Stained and battered, loved and worn. Looking over me each and every night. They are the earliest dolls in my life. And all those that came after through my childhood just couldn't compare to them.

Now, I make my own dolls, letting my imagination and heart spill into these new things that I hope will be just as loved by others as they are by me.

Madeline Smith here is coming on well and is almost done. And after taking this photo yesterday I managed to finish off all the lace trimming on her dress. She's sitting staring at me at the moment demanding to have some hair added to her shiny bald head so I better go and see to her. But she wont be listed until next weekend as I'm waiting for a special little accessory to go with her.
I mean, what would a poisoner be with out her very own vintage poison bottle :)


  1. Love love LOVE this post! I have many of my favorite dolls and softies from childhood too...some got even more play from my boys! It's those wonderful dolls of our childhood that always remain dear and inspire us as adults. Thanks for sharing yours! I may have to borrow this idea sometime soon... :)

  2. Yes please Cyn, I'd love to see your childhood treasures too :-) I really wish I'd kept more of my old toys, but the memories are always there.