It seems that every year, about this time, I am bursting to create new dolls, new patterns. Back in 2011 I started designing a new doll. I called it Figlette. I wanted the dolls to embody my then almost 5 year old, while she still was with me all day. Her long and lanky legs, with bony knees. Her thin arms and little belly. I wanted this Figlette doll to look more like a child, a bit more realistic. I wrote about my intentions over here.
Over the year 2011 I changed my idea of hair. Back then I was toying with using Tibetan Lambswool, which the doll in the picture has now. But I didn't really like it. I made a second one, and kept not liking it. So then I moved to using what was so new to me: wefted mohair. My first doll with wefted fibre had it sewn in concentric circles. I didn't like it either, so I resorted to yarn hair again for Eva, the very first figlette that had all the design details I was looking for: large feet, long legs, long arms, thin proportions, a more sculpted face, ears with little earrings. Like in the drawing back in February of that year. Then my friend Gabi Ford, maker of Fairywool Dolls, showed me a technique to do those mohair wefts I wanted to use and had bought in massive amounts and the rest is history. The dolls were then becoming a bit more real to me.
During 2012 I made many Figlettes. Very large ones, and smaller ones. I kept growing in love with this doll style, the opportunities for dressing them, for writing about them, kept multiplying. There was no end to my inspiration when it came to Figlettes. In 2013 I started changing them again, as a full of year of Figlettes was starting to get me antsy again. So I changed the way of stuffing them, their feet, a little neck, I played with more sculpting of their faces. Antsy fingers.
The need to change was there and so I created Cloth Figs. A natural rag-doll with a bit of a whimsical appearance. Right after I made them, and I was really so excited about them, I saw them copied so harshly that it stole my motivation to keep creating them. I was bored of them. Every time this happens I feel the need to change my tune again. I had been dreaming of stepping with timid feet into the art doll world and started working on another doll style almost at the same time I started designing the Cloth Figs. And with the heart ache of losing the drive to make more Cloth Figs I concentrated those efforts into this new art doll. then there she was: Cygnet, the first Mannikin. A wool sculpted doll, fully poseable, with very realistic characteristics and I fell hard in love. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to fulfill these dreams and keep making more of them and the Figlettes were still pressing in my head, they wanted more work done to them. So by the end of last year I added yet a few more details: needle-felted faces, slightly longer neck, a bum with dimples, sculpted knees and left and right foot. I thought that they would be satisfied by now. Surely they would be satisfied. I concentrated then on the Mannikins and thought "that would be it". But it seems to me, looking back at what has happened every year for three years in a row, that my dolls are never satisfied and neither am I.
I feel another change. Those Figlettes are well established now, with more than three years of growth and recent design improvements. The inner turmoil about the Cloth Figs has subsided, and I also found their pattern which I happened to misplace during the recent move, so perhaps I will get my hands working on them again. The weighted baby dolls are cute and cuddly the way I want them to be. The Mannikins will always need a lot of work and clothing design growth. So where am I to go? Where else!. A new doll. The first sketches and crazy ideas are in my 2013 book, and I just started moving them to this year's book. She is delightful. I even have a name. I know that when I actually start working on her, all hell will break lose. I won't eat very well, I will stay up late, I will dream non-stop about her, I will scour the internet for the right supplies, I will have yet a deeper crazy look, there will be endless sketches and complaints to my husband, and then: my girls will either veto the results or say yes. That has been the regular tune. I can't wait to get started.