Last year a dear customer mentioned to me that one of her daughters had a thing for my dolls, and that she was already saving to "one day" be able to buy one. Such comment made my day and I agreed with her Mom to surprise this girl when the time was right, to let her know that I was more than happy and excited to create a custom doll for her. That was the first step on Adelita's journey. Christmas that year came to a lovely home in Western Canada and our girl got a card from her parents letting her know that we would be working together on creating a doll, just for her. It was all so magical and full of possibility.
Getting to know this young person, interacting with her and reading what she liked about my dolls, how she saw herself in her family and world, what things she was inspired by, was such a treat for me. I often try to look into the future and envision what my own daughters' will look like, or who they will be. It was so lovely to get to talk with Adelita's young mother and get to know her a little better. I'm not entirely sure her family knows what a sage they have living with them.
In her words, she was greatly inspired by Mexican culture. She was most impressed by the colourful floral tops that women of the south regularly wear. So it was of course my challenge to try and create something along those lines for Adelita. I, by the way, picked her name based on a popular Mexican song that speaks about a revolutionary woman . You might not know this of course, but although I have chosen Canada as the home for my family, I am from Mexico and getting to work on this little doll brought all sorts of memories into my working studio. I won't lie, there were a few tears because I do miss the land that I was born in, but also some of those tears were of happiness realizing the wonderful life I lead where I am constantly offered the opportunity of creating dolls like this, not just as a creative outlet but also as means of revisiting my past and hopefully gleaming important milestones of my life.
Of course, I think some of the longing and the wishful thinking got into Adelita, for she came out of the wool and cloth with a bit of sadness in her eyes. Those melancholic eyes trick you because underneath there is a hopeful heart, a slight smile, that tells you she hasn't lost hope. She looks to her future with her head held high, wishing and hoping, just like me.
Adelita and I got to work on her wardrobe, marvelling at the amazing skill and wondrous talent of the artisans in Mexico, who produce magnificent embroideries full of colour, shine and texture. Our humble effort is but an echo of that kind of work, but Adelita approved and so we created a bright and cheery outfit for her.
Since her young Mom loves jewel tones, we selected all sorts of pretty colours for her. Lots of green, turquoise, teal, bright pink and purple. Her floral top closes on back with snaps, and her pretty balloon pants have cuffs that can be folded into the pants and turned into shorts for warm weather (she is of course wearing sweet and colourful underwear as well). Adelita, as a Mexican girl, loves accessories: a wooden bead necklace, a bow hair clip, a rebozo (scarf), and a pretty morral (satchel). All in all we had fun adding little details, mulling over colour combinations and executing our vision together. But the real fun was trying to set this photoshoot! Oh the fun we had picking all those flowers and putting her in the centre! She kept giggling so much there were many outtakes.
She will finally fly into the arms of the young lady that inspired her creation, and judging by the life her family leads, she and Adelita will have a lot of fun. I hope this doll brings Ella a friend to confide in through the turbulence of her teenagedom, a friend to hug at night, to feel playful and childish when the world beckons you to grow up, a trusting ear when you need to tell a secret to someone who won't reveal it, and why not? maybe one day Ella will bestow this doll on one of her own children. One can only dream, ever hopeful.
Thank you Ella, and Heather and Andy, for trusting my hands and giving me this opportunity. It has been wonderful to spend time with Adelita, you have re-kindled a fire in me for traditional embroidery and learning as much as I can (as far as I am) about the artisan work of my people, and to get to know Ella. I hope you welcome her into your home with open arms!. Much love, always.