“Well, I never!” seems to be the phrase that leaves my lips most often lately. The dolls are starting to grow up and call out all sorts of missed opportunities and also to give me full-length dramas about their future lives, once they leave the house.
Exhibit A: Nova, the town crier. Although a top job, is not very hush-hush nor well-remunerated I should say. Trying to dig further into the motives for such a gossip-inclined job, Nova tells me is because she feels she is most happy when “relaying” news. Since it is frowned upon to tattle-tell, she figured official employment would grant her a bit more respectability. But I mean, town crier! in this day and age! I shall perhaps remind you that my dolls live in a world of their own, unencumbered by cellphones, internet and social media. They live in small villages, with a thriving community full of hooligans and perfect pests; where briskly walks deliver you into the centre of town, or I should say “the long street” that houses all there is available to gape at, the smells of freshly baked bread in communal ovens, the sounds of the butcher shop, the enticing window displays of the haberdashery, the clunky noise of cups and merry banter at the pub. Such is the world where my dolls live, a realm of imagination where common and mystical dwell, where polarities become people and children have power. Especially to choose their own profession at an early age, with “no lengthy apprenticeships” they tell me.
So out of this world and into the fire? Where will fickle fate take Nova? with her cotton frock and frilly petticoat, at times so out of touch with modern life. Will her besotted braids be woven daily? and her head caressed with gentleness, the way I have been doing it for the last few weeks? Will she be propped on a high window, so she can watch the world and see the first flowers bloom? the spring birds raise their young? the crinkly leaves fall on the ground?.
I have been learning and re-learning a few things this year, and I have come to the conclusion that stories shape us. It is hard to not imbue dolls with life-like qualities, when they are so in themselves full of energy and love. Do they have feelings? thoughts? perhaps not. But I do believe they are repositories of energy, mine and everybody else’s that has played a part on their creation. I feel that just the act of looking intently into something bestows it with power, our own power, and that object becomes linked to us by some mysterious way.
When it comes to my dolls, an invisible thread joins us, and although moving through the world by the hand of others, they are still very much part of me. This thread is not broken when I send them away, because I give them a purpose in life: to be of service to others. To fill a hole, perhaps an empty spot in a lonely home; to become a friend to a child in need; to bring joy to a mother who plays with her dolls; to spread the joy that handmade toys bring and maybe, just maybe, make the world slightly better by lighting a candle. I send my dolls away in the hopes that the creativity which they have been made with contributes to wherever they go, that they inspire others to play and feel the power of their childhood, thanking them immensely for nourishing my soul and hands while creating them, and accepting with humility the fact that they put food on my table.
Nova accepts it all with grace, beautiful child that she is. She agrees contently to a life devoted to service, in the hopes that there is much town-crying and tea-time as well. While prudence is not her virtue, she is industrious. She hovers around you, enticing you to pick her up and play with her. She has such a generosity of spirit that is hard to grasp, in the dense fog of our “busy lives”. Looking at her in these photos, my senses sharpen and I get a clear view of who she is. A gentle soul, a free spirit, a stitchy little bit of a person. Who will not complain nor demand, but funnel all her love in earnestness, with sheepishness, “for Pete’s sakes” like she says.
Will stop waffling and get on with it.
Nova is about 17” tall, a needle-felted wool sculpture with an inner core that allows her to hold all her poses. She is extremely petite, and requires strong but gentle hands to manipulate her in and out of clothes. Her skin is swiss jersey and there is a lot of hand-sewn seams in her construction. Her eyes are embroidered and the healthy bite of winter has been blushed with red beeswax. Her hair is mohair weft, sewn down; this allows for beautiful hair styles, but Nova wishes me to tell you that she loves braids, tiny ones the best.
All of Nova’s clothes have been made with repurposed fabrics, this was no domestic spurt for recycling, more like Nova was very inclined to fabrics with a life of their own, something you just can’t get with new material. She favourited pieces of cloth that looked well-lived in. She comes wearing:
- a pair of linen culottes, with elastic and long silk bows.
- a linen frock to match the culottes, with lined bodice and back snaps. Adorned with a wooden “handmade” button.
- an organic cotton top, with cashmere ribbing and a simple cream button; also opens at back and closes with snaps.
- a wool knitted cape, with beautiful fair isle design, and sewn knitted hem.
- a three layer petticoat with elasticized waist.
- an angora hat.
- wool mittens.
- cashmere socks.
- a pair of winter boots (not made by me).
**Nova has slightly different body proportions than previous Mannikin dolls, however she will still fit some clothing issued for MSD-BJD dolls. Especially shoes!.
Now Nova will be up for sale via auction, starting tonight Friday January 1st at 9PM EST and ending tomorrow Saturday January 2nd at Noon EST. I realize this is a very long auction, but I have received a few requests to make the auction available at all times for people in different countries. I hope this allows those interested in bringing Nova home the opportunity to do so. One thing is for sure, this is going to fry my nerves. If you would like to enter the auction please visit this link:
Starting Friday Jan 1st at 9 PM EST to Saturday Jan 2nd at Noon.
Thank you for coming to visit her. I really hope she finds the home where she belongs to. We will chat with all of you tomorrow. Cross your fingers for Nova!.