Agnes, a little doll with a real big heart. If you want to read a little more about her, come on in.
Agnes and I have been talking a lot about her displays of imagination. While considering all animals to have wee voices, and therefore tell her stories, sounds like a very plausible thing for me to hear about, some of her other "stories" do sound a bit "stretched".
Her dreamy image of the world (and her even more eschewed geography concepts) really suits me to be honest. Agnes, still a young child, pretends all sorts of things. Maybe pretend is not the right word, as she believes wholeheartedly in them. Her certainty about fairies, wild dragons romping in the night and causing mayhem, the "consolidated fact" that mice and rats are highly intelligent animals and therefore must wear quaint clothes when we are not looking, her cries of scandal at the censure she endures in front of adult humans, all of these feelings remind me of another little girl who struggled the same fate.
Agnes doesn't have a grandmother (not yet) and she is utterly mystified by them. She read about "them" for the first time in Little Red Riding Hood and played for ages to be Little Red bringing vials of comfort to her ailing Grandmother.
I do have to warn you, being the theatrical being she is, that she changes names and calls things in other languages, "for added flavour" she tells me. So it really wasn't Grandmother, but Grand-Mére, the old lady with white hair and beautifully embroidered nightgowns who holds her swiftly and re-tells her stories of her youth.
When she lives in another story, I mean country, one where she is taught to tend the land and find out all the medicinal powers of the gentle beings that surround her, i.e. herbs and wild weeds, then it's not Grand-Mére anymore but Oma. Oma is kind but firm, provides simple food, knits deliciously squishy woollen socks and decorates the Christmas tree with nothing but cleverness.
When the woods abound in berries and delicious morsels in the shape of mushrooms, then Oma is gone and Grand-Mére is nowhere to be found. Is Mormor who comes to her aid. Mormor, I'm told, knows all about the forest creatures, including trolls and fairies. She knows their secret ways and they guide them both to where the best mushrooms grow. Mormor tells Agnes all about the tomte, the nisse, the elves and Agnes just swallows every word. Some days when she comes home from playing outside, I do wish I had a Mormor too.
When the weather is so hot, and one needs to live under the kitchen table, watching little scraps fall to the floor, then who but Nonna is around?. Nonna, with her black ankle-skirt and her trusty apron, who with militant fervour creates the simplest, but most delicious food in the world. Agnes reveres Nonna, I think of all the "Grandmas" she is the one she fears and loves the most. Hiding in the tufts and hollowed caves of the pantry, you can hear her heart-beat, both from fear and excitement. The yells of Nonna can mean final doom or supper is ready. So you are equally terrified and enticed to stick around. I had a Nonna once, so I do understand the fascination.
I could go on and on, telling you all about Yiayiá, Abuelita and Avozinha. But I think you can understand by now the fancies of Little Agnes. How her imagination provides her with everything she needs: playmates, caring Grandmothers to suit the occasion, a bounty of love never found before. This is why I call my Little Agnes "the dreamer".
Her languid look on life, the way she plays, all the stories she tells, bring me into a deep trance. She invites me to play in this rich wilderness, populated by both scary and magical creatures, gardens full of cabbages and sprouting pumpkins, rolling tides brimming with mer-people, old ladies with feather softness that carry with them the wafts of ancient perfumes, long ago forgotten. The powers of imagination she carries can turn rubbish into gold, witches into faeries, ripe grass into thick forests, day drudgery into adventure.
If you are feeling bog-down by life's worries, if your heart aches to return to the sacrosanct dwellings of childhood, then Agnes can take you there. If you have a child who needs a play mate, a confidante, a secret-keeper, then Agnes can fit the bill.
Only good words about this ray of sunshine, who in the very last minute decided the sun was to bring her a smack of freckles. Agnes is a very petite but tall 23" doll. She is made with swiss cotton in my most favourite shade (which I call olive), and stuffed firmly with clean wool. Her hair is a very soft, permanently curled mohair weft, sewn to a woollen cap and sewn down. This allows for playful and sturdy styling by gentle hands. Agnes' facial features were needle-felted, and needle-sculpted. Her eyes are embroidered by hand and painted little freckles give her just the right amount of cheek.
Agnes wears a frilly but practical outfit. Is there such a thing? A pink 100% linen top with added bib, short sleeves, peter pan collar and wooden buttons for decoration. A linen/cotton skirt with elasticized waist (this is one of my favourite fabrics and I am running out!). Colourful but pretty undies. A pair of real-baby socks that we bought some time ago to keep the dolls' feet warm while I dress them. A pair of velour shoes with added straps and wooden buttons. A little linen kerchief trimmed with beautiful cotton lace. And her woollen cape made with cashmere/wool yarn.
- - - Little Agnes found a home. Thank you so much to the kind mothers who volunteered to take this little storyteller into their homes. We feel so blessed and empowered by your kindness, your warm words, your encouragement, that it keep us humble and going strong. Thank you for supporting Hand Made!.
As a last note. My "good" camera had to go on vacation while I started taking photos of Agnes, so all of these were taken with my phone, so I must apologize because they don't really do Miss Agnes any justice. I hope you can see even a little of her sweet nature with this photographic drudges.
And before we go, I wanted to give you Agnes' favourite poem. Hope you take it to heart. She is trying to memorize it, the clever girl (blacks are mine).
THE CALL OF THE WILD
by Robert W. Service
Have you gazed on naked grandeur where there's nothing else to gaze on,
Set pieces and drop-curtain scenes galore,
Big mountains heaved to heaven, which the blinding sunsets blazon,
Black canyons where the rapids rip and roar?
Have you swept the visioned valley with the green stream streaking through it,
Searched the Vastness for a something you have lost?
Have you strung your soul to silence? Then for God's sake go and do it;
Hear the challenge, learn the lesson, pay the cost.
Have you wandered in the wilderness, the sage-brush desolation,
The bunch-grass levels where the cattle graze?
Have you whistled bits of rag-time at the end of all creation,
And learned to know the desert's little ways?
Have you camped upon the foothills, have you galloped o'er the ranges,
Have you roamed the arid sun-lands through and through?
Have you chummed up with the mesa? Do you know its moods and changes?
Then listen to the Wild — it's calling you.
Have you known the Great White Silence, not a snow-gemmed twig aquiver?
(Eternal truths that shame our soothing lies.)
Have you broken trail on snowshoes? mushed your huskies up the river,
Dared the unknown, led the way, and clutched the prize?
Have you marked the map's void spaces, mingled with the mongrel races,
Felt the savage strength of brute in every thew?
And though grim as hell the worst is, can you round it off with curses?
Then hearken to the Wild — it's wanting you.
Have you suffered, starved and triumphed, groveled down, yet grasped at glory,
Grown bigger in the bigness of the whole?
"Done things" just for the doing, letting babblers tell the story,
Seeing through the nice veneer the naked soul?
Have you seen God in His splendors, heard the text that nature renders?
(You'll never hear it in the family pew.)
The simple things, the true things, the silent men who do things —
Then listen to the Wild — it's calling you.
They have cradled you in custom, they have primed you with their preaching,
They have soaked you in convention through and through;
They have put you in a showcase; you're a credit to their teaching —
But can't you hear the Wild? — it's calling you.
Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us;
Let us journey to a lonely land I know.
There's a whisper on the night-wind, there's a star agleam to guide us,
And the Wild is calling, calling . . . let us go.
You are welcome! See you all tonight.