Yes, my dear Robin, we must never lose hope. Miracles do happen every single day, we are just too busy and worried to notice them.
Robin, the curious little bird that she is, has an inquiring eye about her world. Notices the tiniest blowing winds, the change of colour at the end of a leaf, the posed manner of a cricket as he goes about his melodious song, the far off steady bark of a dog and wonders. She does wonder. Why is the wind blowing north to south? Why has the tree lost its leaves and they have dressed themselves down for the occasion? Why is the cricket so sad, or better, why is his song so melancholic? What ails the dog?.
I find that my wool children are always posing questions. They like to ask about their world, because they are young and and want to learn all about it. Being newly fleshed in cotton and wool gives them an affinity for nature. They respect it, I adore it.
I try to instil in them that wonderment. Because even though some days we get wrapped up in the news of the world, horrifying and troubling, about wars, deprecation, loss, biological genocide, so much pain…it is only by returning to our centre and mother nature where we can heal. And only when we are healed emotionally and psychologically, can we go about trying to help others.
These are not conversations I have with my wooly children. With them we talk about Hans Christian Andersen and John Muir. We read Elsa Beskow and Jan Brett. We drink pinkish tea and eat glazed buns. We go for walks and stop at all the right places: at the muddy end of the watering hole, inspecting all the hoof marks left by our friends; under the brush of the mesquite, where we always find little dwellings; around the pecan groves, looking for birds. We sit by the river and we rest, our eyes, our ears, our tired feet. Dust settles on our shoulders, thirst grabs our throat. We get back, but somehow changed. Even the smallest little walk connects us to our true selves.
Some days the wonder is mine. Why do they seem all knowing? Why are they so unbelievably loving? How come they twist my heart in so many directions? How is it possible for a cloth doll to change expression?. I've thought before of them as mirrors. A looking glass into my own emotional field. But the odd thing is, they have a life of their own, they do.
Take Robin for example. Cemented in the sadness of the painful leave of absence her mother is set to embark on, I just couldn't work as fast as I wanted, as the circumstances demanded. Until she smiled at me. Robin smiled at me, she told me everything would be alright, and she needed to get "made". As the layers of wool became her body, and we stitched with fervour and steady hands, she took her own life. She had her own views of the world, and she set out to show me.
The anguish at the beginning completely dissipated. Her eyes gave me strength. I was able to let go. There is something so powerful in the human eye, even when mirrored to the one on a doll. Perhaps that is where we connect. It's that gaze that emboldens us, that break us down, that reminds us we are human and we are here. We are here. Not forever, but here now.
And here, in this present, is where my dolls live. Very aware of their environment at the very moment when they are created. Robin didn't want to go in the fields and chase after cows, like we've done before. She even refused to bring a carrot to our lonely donkey inmate. She just wanted to poke her fingers into all the nooks of the old adobe walls and giggle.
The afternoon was waning, and as much as I love walking around town with a doll in my lap, I started to get cold. Robin asked me if we could sleep outside, at least once. I promised her that adventure at the hands of her new mother (tag, you're it!). I told her all about the aurora borealis, the beautiful canadian skies, the roar of the ocean. Looking around her, to yellow fields and purple mountains, she can't imagine it. Boy, I wish I could see her face when she gets to see it.
Preparing for her northern adventures, we tried to give her as many layers as possible, without weighing her down like a brick. Old fashioned though she dresses, she has a very contemporary look as well. Robin wanted me to talk a little about her clothes, funny thing is most dolls love to hear the description of their clothes. Some times they ask with really big eyes: "what is an in-seam pocket?". Bless them.
So here it is Robin, for your pleasure and enjoyment, top to bottoms:
* You wear a lovely wool plaid chapeau. First you wanted a bonnet, but then changed to a pointy number. We lined it with our favourite tiny chocolate cotton, the one we stare at, trying to gather courage to make oneself a lovely skirt from. The ties are brown and lovely.
* A knitted cowl keeps your cheeks nice and toasty on our morning walks. It is made with thick and thin yarn, which makes it pebbly and sweet. You wanted a deep pink and you got it.
* We then made you a sweet short cape, because shoulders, hello?. We chose an appropriate thick woven wool and lined it with a beautiful white and red print. You chose so many different prints and colours for your clothes, I wonder if you have colour sense. Anyways, it closes with a little handmade button loop, has embroidery stitches on the seams and best of all, scalloped hem. Oh! the scallops!. We had fun turning them, didn't we? Pressing them down into submission we did. You said it makes you look like a flower.
* Underneath you have a feminine pink dress. Long and puffy as you requested. Although not quite technical terms, I think I understood you. We gave it a big wide hem, in case you grow a few inches. The sleeves have elastic, so you can bring them up if you want to go searching for clams in the ocean or digging deep in the sand.
* Atop your fancy dress, you wear a practical apron, because girls need to wipe their hands on something, and dresses are not for that. You apron is made with raw linen and we embroidered pretty wool roses and a blue wreath. Blue for hope, pink for love, right? That's what you said. The ties are long and made with cotton ticking.
* You needed something to support the dress, so a petticoat had to be made. You refused lace and tulle. You wanted small flowers again. So we chose the cream background with the tiny pink ones. I think you like pink. A lot. The petticoat has two wide tucks to give it strength at the hem, and has an elastic waist, for the times when you eat too much at supper.
* You wear sweet underpants and warm and cozy wool leggins, we do not want healthy breezes down there. Not during the winter.
* Squishy socks and a pair of matching woollen shoes. That all completes your outfit my dear.
Let's not forget you have a little wild thing traveling with you, so that your long journey is spent in the company of your friend, and you can both gasp in unison when frightened, but hold each other real tight.
So there you have it. A little girl, wearing her most favourite clothes, made for a loving mother and her daughter. There is so much tenderness in those eyes, such kindness.
I do think I have used that word a bit much lately: kindness. But I can't really help it, if you look at Hester, Hepsibah, Hestia, Doortje, Raisa…they all have such kindness in their expression. In any case, I think using the word "kind" beats using the other one I was always saying too "cute". Our vocabulary is evolving, praise the Lord.
Now, having finished Robin, we are going to put her in a lovely box, feed her lots of sweets before her journey, and send her home.
We do not know what future awaits her. We do not know what will become of her. We do know that we were privileged to have such an opportunity: to spend this lovely time making stitches, sewing clothes, embroidering those sweet eyes. We felt honoured to have this request land on our hands. We hope we did her mother's plight justice. We hope she will be of service and spend many, many hours being played with.
Thank you Kellie, for allowing me the pleasure to see her come out of my hands. For giving me the most wonderful opportunity to get in touch with my self, and take notice of my life. For letting me dream and make those dreams a reality. For supporting my family and my creativity. For sharing your pain with me, to make me stronger. For reminding me that every minute counts, we are not here forever. For taking Robin into your arms and allowing her to be part of the long lasting memories of your own child. For your courage, your struggle, your love for dolls and your path. I do not know you, but I feel a connection now with you. I will be sending her your way, with love and light wrapped in her little arms. Hope she makes you happy.