The Quest for a Dream Doll


Does this sound like the same folly of the "search for the perfect man". I have to say that it was Juliane (a.k.a. frokenskicklig) who conversed with me on this silly theme. I am so grateful for her wise words, when they were available to me, that I treasure every single one of them...and with that in mind I will be setting up a new page called "Pearls of Wisdom". Words and phrases that ring true with me.
I have been thinking so much about these words. More so because of what I do. Every now and then I get an email, people asking, people wondering, people reiterating. I do enjoy reading opinions and thoughts, and hearing about their children and what they want. What I do not enjoy is reading about this phrase: "dream doll". What is that? A specific set of qualities, and characteristics in an object. The object of an obsession. I usually attribute it to the parent, as I am not quite sure about children having such a fixation...I might be wrong since my 4 year old is desperate to get her hands on a Little Pony and I just cannot bring myself to go and buy new plastic toys. But the quest for the dream doll seems to me to be totally parent-driven.
I shudder to think that someone is actually expecting to come upon such a thing. Seriously? Fair enough, there are some dolls out there, made by some of my friends, who I have drooled over and had vivid dreams about, but...I am aware these are toys and meant to be played with, not fidgets of my obsession, so I move on. Maybe because I make dolls I am able to let go more easily of that energy. Maybe because I make dolls I can turn that around and use it to create something. Maybe because I make dolls I know what is behind them, the energies that go into them, and so I oh! and ah! over these dolls and then I let go. To keep "waiting" for a "dream doll" to suddenly spring up to life is as unrealistic in my opinion as waiting for the perfect man. We all have to come to terms with real life versus our expectations, we all have to make relationships work, we all have to live. And to put so much energy into this waiting game hurts my brain and really pains me.

I shudder to think that all the work of my hands will be measured up to such standards. It can never measure up. It will never measure up. And I am anxious just thinking about the disappointment on the other end, when after so much waiting and so much patience, they receive something, a doll, and it doesnt measure up to their vivid expectations of their "dream doll", fueled by months of waiting, by  months of adding energy into this "object of fixation". I think it is very unrealistic to have such a thing in life. And it is very stressful for me to think that what I am creating has such a tint and is viewed under that glass.
Dolls are beautiful. Dolls are wonderful. I love them and I love creating them. I do think they have a little bit of soul in them, and I know that a lot of my friends creating them have the same feelings for them. Wether recently acquired or a life-long passion, dolls are special. But they are toys, at least the ones I am making, I am aware that there are many dolls out there meant to be collectibles and meant to be displayed. The ones I make are toys to be played with, and they are meant to be used. This last term, "using", is interpreted in its widest sense. Children use their dolls in many ways, and if there is a group of dolls available, children use them each with a different purpose. Natural dolls are made to be repaired, they are made of natural materials SO they age, so they become different with the passage of time. So they show that we all grow and get older, we are using the doll as an example, a vivid one, of life. They are made of soft cloth, so if there is a hole it can be repaired, so if it gets dirty it can be washed, so if the cheeks need blushing you can do it, they are not hard to make it just takes very long to make one. They are expensive because of the time it takes to create one and because you want to use top quality materials, so the toy lasts for as long as the child will need it. But they are meant to be a special toy, a companion, a friend. Perhaps your child needs more companions or more friends, you are the parent so only you can make that call. These dolls are not meant to be displayed, or obsessed about wether they'll get dirty, or frantically obsess about wether you will find "the right one". The right doll for a child is that one that suits his developmental stage. No more. Not the right amount of handspun, the right shape of the eye, not the right shade of purple, or the right dollmaker. A doll is a doll. Some are better made than others, some are made by one individual or by many. But they are just dolls.


Having a "dream doll" in mind, seeing it and then receiving it, I wonder how long the "mirage" lasts. How long before the obsession turns to another doll, another person's work, and the cycle starts all over again. Maybe after receiving the doll you find that is not exactly your dream doll, perhaps she is still out there? I wonder if a "dream doll" gets played with, after all, wouldn't you want to keep your dream as close as possible to the initial vision? I really have no clue here, and I am just writing this in regards to a series of emails I have been receiving lately. While I try to answer to the best of my abilities, I cannot really "share common ground" and understand this phenomenon. Because all of this energy that goes in obsessing about a specific doll or dollmaker has nothing to do with the original intention behind creating such a doll. We are not talking about designer wares here, we are talking about natural toys, that are meant to nuture imagination (in a child) and be used.

I am quite confused as to how to approach such a journey, such a search. I am wondering wether I should write a disclaimer, or a warning in regards to dolls. I wonder if all that is going on is part of mass hysteria, a fad, a hype, and it will eventually collapse onto itself. I wonder what is my responsibility, as creator, to do. I wonder oh! so many things and I have no answers...yet. Only a vague sense that in the end I might be dissapointed, just like those in search of their dream doll. It is a hard thought to ponder on such a lovely day.
Posted on April 5, 2011 and filed under dollmaking, process.