The feat of many hands.
I have been meaning to write this for a very long time, in fact, every time someone asks me how I got to where I am, or how did I create the community that exists behind my work. When people tell me I am “very talented”, or thank me for sharing whatever little bit of knowledge I have, I want to be able to write them back saying all this. Since it would be more helpful to them, and eventually for me, to write it here, I finally take the plunge in answering truthfully: I didn’t do it alone.
Creating dolls is not a one-woman-show. In most cases, yes. A pair of human hands create the doll but it is not a thing that one human alone can accomplish. Oh no. Many, if not hundreds of human hands take part in its creation, and therefore taking the compliment for something that so many co-created is a bit unnerving for me.
First, many hands took care of the animals that grew their fiber not just for stuffing the dolls, but for their hair. Hands took care of the feed of such animals, they (hopefully) took care of them, treating them kindly (I want to believe this) and processed the fiber. It made its way to me by the hands of many in the company whom I buy it from, and through the shipping companies that make this miracle possible.
All the fabrics I use were made by oh! so many people. The cotton, linen, wool and silk. Hands and minds were required to produce them efficiently, to create the dyes, to design the patterns, to put paths of distribution and small etsy shops at my fingertips. They make their way to me if not by magic, I don’t know what.
It goes the same for the buttons, elastic, trims, sewing machine, yarn, pins and needles, threads, tape, envelopes, pencils, scissors, paper, wrapping materials, tags, embroidery floss, chair and tables, chalk, iron, knitting needles, measuring tapes, beeswax, and everything else that resides in my studio and plays a part when I am at work. To say that what I do is a one-woman-show is not true. It is the work of many, many kind, devoted, hard working people. That make it possible for me to sit in my studio, with tools at my hands, with resources at my fingertips, with the intention to create a doll. Without them I couldn’t do it.
I also require a stable place from which to work, electricity to run my machines, internet not only to buy these resources but to communicate with the world and share my dolls. So much and such a vast network of people give ME the opportunity to do what I do, that to call it “my own thing” it just wouldn’t be truthful.
And above all these, without my family’s disposition and acceptance of this calling or profession, there would be no doll making. They give me time, indulge my creative hands, put up with my antics when I am photographing dolls, ask questions, give advice, keep quiet when I need to write, endure the endless stream of packages in or out, sometimes take a second place to a doll that must be finished, feed me and take care of me, they let me be who I am. If that is not love, I don’t know what is.
The support, the kindness, the comments on my blog or on photos of my dolls, the customers who love what I do, the letters I receive, the friendships I have made. The endless support of other doll makers who value my input in this creative arena, the teachings of many of my friends, who took it upon themselves to guide me and show me the way (they are most accurate when they say “it takes a village to raise you Fabs”), with gentle words as to not crush my spirit. How could I ever do even the smallest part of this without all of them?
So, next time you see a doll here that captures your heart, think this: she doesn’t do it alone. A legion of helpers, light workers, friends and family, stand behind her. The doll is only the tip of the iceberg. The culmination of an endless chain of causalities that created its existence. I am nothing else but the humble hands that craft the doll, but without the backbone, the support, the encouragement, the feeding and the propping, I wouldn’t be able to do it. The doll is the materialization of the work of many hands. The cusp of a river of human, animal and earth forces. I channel all of their efforts and produce dolls for you to see. To feel. To play with.